Tofino, BC – A Bucket List Trip

When planning a trip to a place as unique as Tofino on Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim, be prepared to get busy and enjoy everything it has to offer. With only 4 days and 7 of us in our group, we had a jam packed but amazing visit. Relive our stay in one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see.

Tonquin Beach, Pacific Rim

Day 1 – Travel and Arrival

After a scenic ferry ride from the Vancouver mainland we took a pit stop in Nanaimo, then hit the road for the 3.5-hour trek to Tofino. If you haven’t done the drive before, the beaches of Parksville, goats on the roof at Coombs, Cameron Lake and Cathedral Grove are all worth while stops along the way. Our first stop in the Tofino area however was Long Beach. And they weren’t kidding – it’s huge! The tide was out, the breeze was blowing and all we could think about was flying kites. The kids could run while we took in the view, felt the sand between our toes and then dipped those toes in the Pacific Ocean. Ahhhhh… any stress washes away and you can’t help but feel inspired with the beauty.

Flying Kites at Long Beach

We carried on to check-in at our campsite, Crystal Cove Beach Resort. It was a top-notch resort and campground with everything you could need to make you feel at home. Check out their website to see for yourself!  We also had firewood delivered to our site each day and we were permitted to have fires on the beach.

An Amazing Sunset | Photo: Rooted by Love Photography

Crystal Cove connects right on to MacKenzie beach, which is a premiere location for taking in a sunset. You feel as if you’re on the edge of the earth as the sun sinks below the horizon. This became our nightly routine.

Day 2 – Divide and Conquer

The boys were out early to the dock for a chartered salmon fishing excursion. An experience like none-other, they caught Chinook and Coho and created memories that our 7-year-old son will remember for a lifetime.

Salmon Fishing in the Pacific Ocean

The girls explored the downtown shopping and walked to the Tonquin Beach trailhead. This well-maintained, easy trail took us down to a secluded beach. The tide was out just enough to spot a bright orange starfish and of course draw pictures in the sand.

Once the group was back together, we knew we wanted to visit the Eagle Aerie Gallery of local artist (and our friend!) Roy Henry Vickers.

Roy Henry Vickers’ Eagle Aerie Gallery

Our day capped off with sunset family photos at Middle Beach with local photographer Danielle of Rooted By Love Photography.

Day 3 – Touch Pools and Surfs Up!

We had heard such great things about the Ucluelet Aquarium so off we went! Did you know everything in the aquarium is from the local bays and is Canada’s first catch and release aquarium? Lucky for us, one of the knowledgeable staff offered to guide us through all the touch tanks and tell us about each of the amazing creatures – very cool! 

Ucluelet Aquarium

Now for my absolute highlight of our Tofino adventure… surfing lessons! We arranged a private lesson for 5 of us (3 adults and 2 kids) through Tofino Surf School at Cox Bay. After an intro and some dry land training we hit the waves. I have to say, wetsuits are an amazing thing. Not only do you not feel cold at all, but they are extremely buoyant. Surfing is hard, but it is so much fun. There is a reason Tofino is known around the world as a surf town and it’s certainly worth taking the plunge to give it a go.

Day 4 – The Final Countdown

We were pulling out that afternoon but still had some attractions to cross off our list. We’re a golfing family, so our first stop was the Long Beach Golf Course for a quick round of mini golf. Every one of us managed to rack up a hole in one! To celebrate, we had lunch at the famous Tacofino food truck followed by ice cream at Chocolate Tofino.

Chocolate Tofino

A true hidden gem is the Tofino Botanical Garden and a perfect final stop to walk off lunch. We spent way longer here than we anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed the walk through the rain forest and along the shoreline. The kids especially loved the Children’s Garden where “adults must be supervised”.

Tofino Botanical Gardens

This was a bucket list trip for me and it did not disappoint! The area is so beautiful and unique, it’s no wonder that people travel from around the world to visit this tiny surf town.

For more campgrounds in Tofino and other areas of British Columbia check out the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc.

Published: April 25th, 2019

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Avatar by Lindsay MacDermott

Lindsay was born and raised in B.C. and currently resides in Kamloops. Lindsay and her family have been avid campers since purchasing their first trailer in 2014. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a road trip to a new destination, Lindsay loves how camping encourages you to unplug, connect with nature and focus on some good quality family time.

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