Rated as one of the top surf towns in the world by National Geographic, this charming, funky yet paradoxically sophisticated coastal village has A-list culinary establishments, galleries and boutiques, great accommodations, and easy access to prime beaches and trails.
Shop for local and First Nations art. Learn to master a SUP or surfboard. Visit the Hot Springs Cove for toasty soaks in its natural rock pools and waterfalls. Situated within Clayoquot Sound and home to iconic temperate old-growth forests, Tofino is part of BC’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Tofino Through the eyes of the travellers
Things to do in Tofino
- Some 22,000 grey whales migrate through local waters between February and October, and small groups of them spend the full season in Clayoquot Sound. On a whale-watching tour from Tofino, you may also encounter lunge-feeding humpback whales, rafts of sea otters, enormous Steller sea lions and a good variety of colorful seabirds, including tufted puffins.
- Welcome to “Surf City, Canada.” Surf shops and schools offer gear and instruction, and there’s plenty of room on Long Beach, Chesterman Beach and Cox Bay for all comers. Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has become the thing to do off MacKenzie Beach and in the calm waters of Tofino Inlet. The Rip Curl Pro Tofino/Canadian Surf Championships is held annually in early June and the Queen of the Peak Women’s Surf Championships follows in October.
- Tofino is home to a number of acclaimed restaurants and artisan culinary purveyors. The fish taco has become a signature Tofino dish, served from roadside food trucks and on the menus of many of the town’s full-service establishments.
- For a taste of Tofino while nestled in a lodge or campground, check out the new tasting room and grab a growler-to-go at the Tofino Brewery. Or pick up some homemade gelato, fresh charcuterie and locally roasted coffee.
- The new Kwisitis Visitor Centre is the area’s best one-stop for learning about First Nations history, marine mammals and the coastal rainforest. In downtown Tofino, check out the Whale Centre’s gray whale skeleton.
- Kayaking the serene waters of Clayoquot Sound – a life-list experience for paddlers the world over – is suitable for all skill levels. Rentals, lessons, moonlight paddles and extended tours are available.
- Hike and cycle on area trails that wind through the forests and lead to beaches, bays, and inlets. Daredevils tackle the Tuff City Bike Skills Park.
- Short water taxi and boat trips take daytrippers to off-shore neighbourhood must-visits. Meares Island is home to a 2,000-year-old cedar tree, the oldest in the world, as well as the Lone Cone trail, a steep ascent to panoramic Clayoquot Sound viewpoints. On Flores Island, First Nations guides lead hikes through forests, along beaches and past heritage sites on the Ahousaht Wildside Heritage Trail.
- Literally soak up the West Coast vibes on a daytrip to magical Hot Springs Cove, a 20-minute floatplane ride or 75-minute boat ride each way from Tofino. An easy, breathtakingly beautiful boardwalk hike through Maquinna Provincial Park leads to a series of progressively hotter geothermal pools and a waterfall. True recreational therapy for the soul.
- Fishing adventures galore are available, including salmon and halibut charters, saltwater and freshwater fly fishing, and steelhead and trout fishing in lakes and rivers.
- Wander the unique Tofino Botanical Gardens, 12 acres of gardens, forest and shoreline filled with quirky attractions and whimsical detours. The gardens are home base for the Raincoast Education Society (with its public talks, summer camps and “young naturalist” program) and host site for the Tofino Wine and Food Festival (June) and the Lantern Festival (August).
- Other popular local annual festivals include the Pacific Rim Whale Festival (March), the Shorebird Festival (May), Feast Tofino (a month-long celebration of boat-to-table cuisine in May), the Tofino Food and Wine Festival (June), the Carving on the Edge Festival (September), the Tofino Film Festival (October) and the Clayoquot Oyster Festival (November).
- Browse shops and galleries for first-rate retail therapy. Drop into home studios (some open year-round) to meet local artists and artisans. The flourishing public market on the Tofino Village Green is held every Saturday from the Victoria Day weekend through September.
- The armchair sport of winter storm watching originated in Tofino. Charles McDiarmid, managing director of the Wickaninnish Inn coined the term – and launched the season – in the late 1990s.