Back in May, the family and I went out to Vancouver Island to visit my parents in Nanoose Bay (just outside of Parksville). My parents just sold their house out there so it was a bittersweet trip. I used to go to the Island as a baby/kid and have then been going out every year for the past 12+ years.
Because we knew this trip would be extra special and possibly our last visit to the Island for a while, my parents graciously offered to watch the boys for a few nights so that Chris and I could drive to Tofino. Tofino is one of my favourite places in Canada. For those unfamiliar with Tofino, it sits on the tip of the Esowista Peninsula at the Southern edge of Clayoquot Sound. It is quite possibly one of the most magical and beautiful places you will ever see.
I would like to share with you my Top 10 highlights from the wonderful 48 hours we had in Tofino, BC.
1. LUNCH AT THE BLACK ROCK OCEANFRONT RESORT
When you are driving into Tofino, you come to a fork in the road. Left, you go to Ucluelet (about 40kms from Tofino), and right, Tofino. We did a quick pit stop in Ucluelet and enjoyed an amazing lunch at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort while overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was an overcast day and the waves were crashing on the giant rocks. A refreshing club soda and some poutine (and a burger for Chris) is always a great way to start a mini-holiday!
2. SCORING AN OCEAN FRONT HOTEL ROOM FOR A GOOD PRICE
We booked our accommodations rather last minute (oops), but were lucky to snag an ocean front room at the Best Western Tin Wis Resort. The resort is located on Mackenzie Beach and about a five minute drive into downtown Tofino. The resort is well kept, clean, and right on the beach. The staff were incredibly kind and helpful, and there is a Surf shop (Tofino Paddle and Surf) right on site as well. Perfect for Paddle Boarding or "learn to surf" lessons. The resort was reasonably priced (accommodations can get pretty darn pricey around town, especially in the summer), which was an added bonus.
3. CHECKING OUT THE LOCAL SITES AND SHOPS
After checking in, we headed into town to check out some of the local shops and walk down by the water to watch the seaplanes take off and land.
I had followed the Caravan Beach Shop on Instagram for some time, so it was fun to pop into the store and meet Jen, the beach loving babe that owns the store. She loves to surf and was a kind, yet mellow soul. Her shop has lovely candles, cards, surf apparel, backpacks, etc.
4. COCKTAILS IN THE GREAT ROOM AT LONG BEACH LODGE RESORT
This stunning resort sits on Box Bay Beach, about 7km south of Tofino. The Long Beach Lodge Resort is incredibly cozy and welcoming. It is the perfect place to watch the surfers or perhaps witness a wedding. The afternoon we were there, there was a small wedding that was having their photos taken in the Great Room which was rather lovely. We had the perfect view of the ocean from our comfy chairs and enjoyed watching the surfers.
5. HAVING AN IMPROMPTU BEACH PICNIC
We headed back into town to see where we should go for dinner. Tofino has so many amazing restaurants. I felt a little overwhelmed by all the incredible options, so we decided to grab some food from the local CO-OP, drinks, and a few slices of pizza from Tony's Pizza (down off Main Street). We took it all back to the beach behind our hotel and set up the perfect date night. I had bought a Tofino Towel Co. round towel last year and always wanted to "break it in" while visiting the real deal, so it worked out perfectly. People were out walking their dogs, having campfires, strolling the beach, and playing frisbee. It was so peaceful.
6. CATCHING AN AMAZING SUNSET
After dinner we strolled along the beach and watched as the sun started to set. If you are lucky, you will catch one of the famous "Tofino sunsets" (that I am sure you have seen in photos). The stars totally aligned for us and we watch the sun go down behind the ocean and rocks. Simply stunning.
Chris and I had both wanted to re-try surfing. Each of us had done it on family holidays when we were younger, but we wanted to do it together while in Tofino. We signed up with Surf Sister and spent 4 hours at Chesterman Beach. We had a great lesson on the beach, and then hit the water in our winter wet suits (I get cold SO easily, and I was not the least bit cold!). I am a somewhat fit person. I can wake surf and do some yoga, and let me tell you...I got my buttinski kicked. I couldn't even get up. Chris and I blame it on the fact that we are "tall people", but I think it is just really hard. We met the nicest people and had wonderful instructors (I had our rad instructors' names written down and can't find them anywhere. I want to say Jess and Steph? Sorry if I am wrong, but everyone was just lovely, none the less!). Chris's board flew out from underneath him while I happened to be underwater. I got cracked in the head, but he claims that is the one time he happened to stand up. I guess it is his word against mine.
If you know me at all or follow any of my social media accounts, then you know I often talk about food and my love affair with it. Located at the back of a parking lot just off the Pacific Rim Highway, Tacofino is a food truck that is a town and tourist favourite. Surfers will often come here after a day on the water and can fuel up on amazing tacos, burritos, and gringas. Since this was a "snack" before dinner, I was tasteful and only had two fish tacos and a smoothie. WOW. So fresh and so amazing. I am thinking about it all right now as I write this.
9. MASSAGES AT THE ANCIENT CEDARS SPA (AT THE WICKANINNISH INN)
Years ago, my Mom had taken me for a massage at the Ancient Cedars Spa and we got the private Cedar Sanctuary, which is the little hut that sits nestled in the rocks by the ocean. I never stopped thinking about that massage or the sound of the waves during my treatment, so I convinced Chris we had to try to do it. When we booked, they couldn't quite guarantee that we would get the sanctuary, but I did let them know my preference. I was on cloud nine when our massage therapists came to get us and we were being taken to that hut! You start your treatment with a nice foot soak in a copper tub, while you talk about what kind of massage you want (pressure preferences and areas that need the most work) and choose your Tofino Soap Company essential oil. I chose 'Beach Stone', as I love rosemary and eucalyptus.
The massage and experience were just as incredible as I had remembered, and I am so happy we got to have that experience together! A definite spurge, but oh-so worth it!
10. STROLLING LONG BEACH
Leaving Tofino, we stopped at Long Beach. I needed to snap some photos one last time. Long Beach is the largest and longest beach in the Pacific Rim National Park. It is known for being one of the earliest and most popular surfing locations in BC. It is fun to stroll the beach while watching the surfers catch the waves.
Thank you re-exploring Tofino with me! All thoughts, opinions, and photos are my own. I know Chris and I only scratched the surface, but I would love to hear if you have been here before or would like to go. What is the one thing that was/is on your "to do" list while visiting?