Tofino is a beloved town in the heart of Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island, BC and offers a wide variety of wellness destinations and lifestyle experiences. There is an incredible healing energy in this part of Canada from the powerful ocean waves, the spirit of the West Coast, the majestic forests of hemlock and red cedars and, of course, the First Nations culture.
Tofino has a relaxed, laid back culture yet adventurous lifestyle embodied by surfing the cold Pacific waters amongst the miles of white sand beaches lined by majestic forests. A surf lesson is a must while visiting Tofino! I would highly recommend Surf Sister which is a surf school run by women and caters to any level of surfing.
For yoga, check out Tofino Yoga or Coastal Bliss which offer unique yoga experiences like sunset on the beach, in a quaint cedar yoga studio or in the beautiful Botanical Gardens surrounded by ducks and goats. Take some down time to indulge in a waterfront tent massage by Stillwater, or a spa service in town at the Sacred Stone Spa or perhaps treat yourself to an in-house massage with Tofino Mindful Touch. An unforgettable energy healing session can be booked with Therese Bouchard in her lovely garden cedar studio.
There are a number of cozy cafes to visit, like, Rhino Coffee House, Common Loaf and Tofino Coffee Roasting Company. which have incredible coffee and offer delicious gluten free and vegan treats. Also, inside Tofino Sea Kayaking there is a gem of a cafe with a spectacular view to watch the seaplanes glide by. This tour company provides a unique opportunity to experience the great Pacific Ocean by sea kayak. A must do while in Tofino! A cruise on an electric bike along the beach is an exhilarating way to explore the coastline with TOF Cycles Co.
A few great restaurants in the area include the historical Schooner Restaurant, Shelter for a vibrant fun atmosphere, 1909 Kitchen for a great view, the Ice House for oysters and Wolf in the Fog with top notch food quality, vibrant atmosphere and flavourful cocktails. Most of these restaurants serve up delicious local, fresh seafood and provide a very West Coast dining experience. There are many food trucks such as Al’oha, Tacofino and Wildside Grill that serve up the best poke bowls and tacos. Be sure to save room for a sweet treat at Chocolate Tofino or Tofino Licks!
Connect with all the beautiful local artisans at the weekend Tofino Market and, while in town, be sure to check out shops including Gaia Grocery, Tofino Towel, Merge, Tofino Soap Company and the original Storm Surf Shop.
A must visit is the powerful Roy Henry Vickers art gallery for an authentic spiritual and energizing storytelling of the First Nations culture through his awe-inspiring artwork.
Simply stopping to view the sunsets at the beach is a true spiritual experience in itself! I highly suggest checking out the sunset at Chesterman’s beach and walking the inlet to Frank Island. The sunset point at Cox Bay beach is a wonderful viewing spot as well.
There are some incredible hiking trails which include Tonquin Beach and the Rainforest hike in the Pacific Rim National park. You can take the small ferry across to Meares Island and climb up the steep Lone Cone for some of the best 360 views around. If you plan on going whale watching or experiencing another aquatic adventure I would recommend tour operators Ocean Outfitters and Tofino Harbour Marina. These zodiac boat trips take you up close to see whales and sea lions which is simply breathtaking.
A minute’s stroll from the sandy, wild expanse of Chesterman Beach, leads you to discover one of Tofino’s most unique, intentionally created cottages. Newly built in 2020, Tofino Hummingbird Cottage is custom-designed by spa and wellness expert Vivienne O’Keeffe as the ideal place for self-directed retreats, restful getaways and surf escapes. Here, you can experience the serenity of the sea, sleep deeply to the rhythm of the tides, soothe away stress and rediscover yourself. I personally really enjoyed the peace and tranquility during my stay here.
There are many other accommodations to choose from around Tofino from glamping, camping, cabins, RVs, lodges to the luxe, Wickaninnish Inn. The infamous “Wick” is a must experience, even if it’s to visit for sunset dinner at the in-house The Pointe Restaurant, offering incredible views of Chesterman Beach. The spa at The Wick, Ancient Cedars offers yoga and some amazing treatments. One of the signature treatments is the Seaflora seaweed body and facial. A unique and fun experience would be a stay at the new retro-inspired Hotel Zed. There are some great beachfront hotels including Pacific Sands, Long Beach Lodge, Surf Grove that line the best Canadian surf beach, Cox Bay.
Just a short drive away is the town of Ucluelet. Here you will find the amazing catch and release Ucluelet Aquarium where there are ‘touchy-feely’ tanks that give you a real hands-on experience. I also highly recommend hiking the Wild Pacific trail and allocating a lot of time here for exploring and taking in the breathtaking scenery. After you can soak your muscles in an oceanfront hot tub located at the stunning Drift Spa at Black Rock overlooking the rugged ocean. You might also spot a few black bears at the Hatchery just off the highway. There is a great little food truck in town called Raven Lady which I would highly recommend for service and food.
Overall there is so much to see and do in Tofino. It is by far one of the most amazing places to come and enjoy the rugged Pacific Coastline, expansive beaches, dense forests of ancient trees holding First Nations history or to just participate in a rejuvenation of your body, mind and soul.
Simply put, it is truly one powerful and magical place in Canada, if not the world!!
Travel Guide by: Andrea Elizabeth Dragosits
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