Most visitors to Tofino & Clayoquot Sound arrive by car or plane. Options for air travel include scheduled service and charters from Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. Flight time is approximately 50 minutes from Vancouver International Airport, and shuttle bus and taxi service is available from the Tofino Long Beach Airport. To reach Tofino by car, travel to Vancouver Island via ferry service from Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay just North of Vancouver and Tsawassen just to the South), Seattle or the Sunshine Coast. Travel North from Nanaimo on Highway 19 for 43 km (26 miles), take Exit 60 onto Highway 4 West, also known as the Pacific Rim Highway, 156 km (97 miles) through spectacular Cathedral Grove, historic Port Alberni, and around beautiful Sproat and Kennedy Lakes. Travel westward until you come to the junction between Tofino and Ucluelet. Take a right turn leading you north through the Pacific Rim National Park toward Tofino, now only 28 km (17 miles) away. Directions
What To Do In Tofino Whale Watching Whales can be seen around the year in Tofino. Between March and May up to 25,000 Gray Whales travel through Clayoquot Sound on their migration from Baja in Mexico to Alaska. Many of these whales take advantage of the ample food sources in the pristine waters around Tofino. They can be seen in feeding, breaching and sometimes just taking it easy. A number of experienced operators offer tours on a variety of vessels, from comfortable ships with all amenities to fast zodiacs for the more rugged whale watcher. Scenic flights offer a unique perspective of whales in the water. The Great Outdoors – Tofino’s main draw for visitors is without a doubt the location in the heart of Clayoquot Sound. The natural wonders of Clayoquot Sound are world renowned. With its ancient old growth temperate rainforests, biologically diverse waters and rugged coastline it is truly magnificent. It stretches over nearly 700,000 acres from the Kennedy River to the Hesquiat Peninsula encompassing 6 villages, an archipelago of islands and alpine peaks. The Rainforest Interpretive Center runs a number of programs for both children and adults. With in the boundaries of the Pacific Rim National Park there are many trails to explore and the Wickininnish Interpretive Center has much to offer. A number of guides offer educational tours through the forest, inlets and beaches of this area. Nature & Wildlife
What To Do In Tofino Hot Springs Twenty-seven nautical miles north west of Tofino sits the picturesque Hot Springs Cove, home of the Hesquiat people and the Maquinna Provincial Park. Unique to this location is the natural hot spring that bubbles up from a crack in the earth near the mouth of the bay. The simmering sulphur water flows as a gentle brook and then cascades as a waterfall into 5 interconnected natural pools that descend into the sea. Getting from Tofino to Hot Springs cove itself is half the fun. A number of different operators in Tofino offer transportation via water or air. Most of these trips usually include whale watching, bird watching, and other eco-interpretive activities. Once in the bay it’s a 30-minute hike along a cedar board walk through old growth temperate rainforest to get to the hot springs. For those that wish to enjoy the hot springs under the stars there is a lodge, a bed & breakfast and a campground. For a truly unique experience, stay at the floating bed & breakfast in the bay. Surfing The area around Tofino is fully exposed to the Pacific Ocean and so - believe it or not - you can actually surf everyday year round. Tofino’s beaches and coves are balancing between majestic mountains and a very powerful body of water, making for a genuine wilderness surfing experience. Mix that with a laid back lifestyle and it’s no wonder this area has developed its own unique surf culture.
Events & Activities Imagine wandering along trails with connecting boardwalks in the ancient temperate rainforest, or strolling down long stretches of sandy beaches. Go for a quick dip in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, or enjoy a wide variety of activities that include guided rainforest tours, scenic wildlife cruises, beach biking and bird watching. A visit to Tofino is not complete without one of the whale watching tours, that are offered in one of the most spectacular settings in the world. The more adventurous can chose from sea kayaking treks, seaplane cruises or diving excursions. The rough and tumble ocean waves are perfect for surfing and body boarding. After a day in the water, treat yourself to a massage or a steam bath at one of Tofino’s spa and wellness establishments. For the more leisurely inclined there are long stretches of beautiful beaches, wonderful hidden coves where you can explore the fascinating wildlife of the tidal pools, or fly a kite to the sound of the pounding surf. Clayoquot Sound’s history dates back millennia. Experience First Nations culture through many of the interpretive activities and local galleries. The world renowned Pacific Rim National Park is just a few minutes away, inviting you to enjoy relaxing strolls on Long Beach or on one of the boardwalks in the ancient rain forest. Perhaps a round of golf on the amazing greens of Long Beach Golf Course, located in the heart of the national park.
Accomodations Camping in Tofino is a great way to spend a long weekend, Spring Break, or an entire summer holiday. Spend your nights under the stars of Clayoquot Sound, listen to the ocean and enjoy the beauty of the rainforest with your friends and family around a campfire. Tofino Bed and Breakfast offerings vary as much as your hosts. From intimate cabins in the woods to beachfront Bed and Breakfasts with spectacular views, Tofino B&Bs will deliver an experience for your taste and budget. Tofino hotel accommodation is known for its superior hospitality: Tofino hotels range from award winning luxury hotels to more intimate oceanfront lodges, find a Tofino hotel room for your taste and budget in Tofino accommodations. Tofino hostel accommodation is a popular choice for the backpacker and budget minded traveller. Reservations are strongly recommended in the peak season of the summer months.
Restaurants A day out on the water or hiking through the forest can build a strong appetite. Tofino has the full range of food services to satisfy all your needs. Several of the Tofino restaurants have established themselves as award winning places for fine dining. Whether you are looking for a quick bite on the run, supplies for your own creation, fresh Tofino seafood or the luxury of a gourmet meal all can be found within Tofino. It’s recommended to get reservations for any of the Tofino restaurants for they can get quite busy. Many cafés in town provide packed lunches that can be very convenient for a day of adventures.
Shopping Tofino boutiques and stores cater to every taste. Browse through our directory of Tofino shopping, for furniture crafted in Clayoquot Sound, esoteric clothing designs, hemp and organic cotton apparel, to a variety of Tofino gifts and souvenirs for the distinguished Tofino traveller. Clayoquot Crafts, based in Tofino, produces high end cedar furniture for your patio and garden. All the furniture is their own design and is handcrafted from salvaged local western red cedar. They specialize in Adirondack or Cape Cod chairs and garden benches. Their patio furniture is designed for the ultimate in comfort, quality and craftsmanship. You will find excellent value on their rocker glider benches, garden arbores and outdoor dining sets. Visit their cedar store and shop at their online cedar outlet.
Artists & Galleries Artistic expression runs strong within the people of Tofino and Clayoquot Sound. The Nuu-chah-nulth people, the First Nation of this area, are very active as artists. Carving and weaving has always been a part of their lives. Art was integral to ceremonial displays, whaling canoes, clothing and nearly every aspect of their days. In recent history, the 60s, a new style of artist expression entered the area with the arrival of the hippies. Looking for a new lifestyle they left the city and created communities on outer beaches of the area. A free and expressive flair came out of those times that can still be seen within the works of local artists today. Within the fishing and industrial community folk art forms on their own developed utilizing nautical themes and rustic west coast looks. There are many fine galleries in Tofino, showcasing a broad range of the areas wares.