How to spend a weekend in Tofino

March 20, 2020

Tofino is a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

We spent a weekend in Tofino when we visited Vancouver.

In this blog post, I am going to share with you guys, things to check out in Tofino, places to eat and things to do.

Before we jump into it, remember to bring rain gear as it tends to rain here quite a lot.

We visited at the end of June and it was raining and pretty chilly.

What to see on the way to Tofino

Goats on the Roof

You heard that right! On the way to Tofino, make sure to stop by the Coombs Old Country Market.

It is a cute shop, where you can buy fresh produce, delicious baked goods, as well as find some unique gifts.

Try the candied salmon!!

The roof of the building is covered with grass and there are a bunch of goats just chilling on it.

There are a few other shops in the area, such as an ice-cream parlor and a donut shop.

It is a popular pit-stop on the way to Tofino and I highly recommend it.

I mean goats and donuts?? It doesn’t get better than that. 

 

goats on the roof, Tofino

Here are two of the goats that live on the roof

 

Cathedral Grove

It is located in MacMillan Provincial Park. There are paths on each side of the highway that lead to an area where there are these giant Douglas Fir trees.

Some of the trees in Cathedral Grove are over 800 years old. They are remnants of the ecosystem that used to cover all of Vancouver Island once upon a time.

The trees here are just huge!! It makes for a very nice and peaceful walk among them.

It will take you about half an hour to do each side of the highway. 

 

Cathedral Grove, trees

Cathedral Grove

 

On the way to Tofino, we also saw a mama bear with her baby by the road.  Here is a video of them too.

 

bears, wildlife

Mama bear and baby bear

 

Wally Creek

We stopped by Wally Creek to eat the lunch we bought at Old Country Market (the one with the goats). It is a very pretty spot with stones and a small waterfall between them.

Also, we took some pictures and hopped around the stones for a bit.

Here is a video of it. 

 

Wally Creek, rocks

Wally Creek

  

What to see in Tofino

 

Main Street/ Shopping

The Main Street of Tofino is full of small, cute shops were you can find some very unique gifts.

Also, there are a lot of hand made products which can be a bit pricier.

A lot of people come to Tofino to surf, so a lot of the stores offer surf-related products.

Considering the fact that I can’t even swim, surfing was out of the question for me lol. Unicorns are not good swimmers you guys!!

There are a bunch of restaurants, ice cream parlors, and coffee shops along the main city center area. 

 

city center, Tofino, main street, shopping

The city center of Tofino

 

Tofino Brewing Company

We rented a nice cottage that had a hot tub. So most of the time we spend soaking in it.

The one thing that goes very well with hot tubs is some ice-cold beer. Fortunately, the Tofino Brewing Company was right around the corner from the cottage.

We made a few trips to it, even sat down for a flight.

The beer is very nice and fresh and if you are a beer drinker I highly recommend stopping for a pint. 

 

Tofino Brewing Company, beer, flight

A flight of beer at the Tofino Brewing Company

 

Whale Watching 

I have been whale watching before, but I really wanted to see orcas. So we booked a whale watching tour from Tofino with Jamie’s Whaling Station.

After researching whale watching tours in the area, we decided to go with Jamie’s Whaling Station as it seemed the most reputable.

We booked the Large Cruiser Vessel which was a good idea as it rained that day and that boat had a cover. This is the tour that we did.

It was nice and warm inside and I didn’t get seasick. They also had complimentary tea and coffee onboard which was amazing as I was freezing.

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and told us a lot about the animals we were seeing.

If you choose the Zodiac boat, then keep in mind that it is faster and you can get closer to the whales but it’s shakier and there is no cover. 

Overall the company, the crew, and the boat were very nice, however, the day that we went whale watching was very cold and rainy.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see any orcas (they did see some the week before). 

We only saw a few gray whales (you can only see their backs, they don’t come out), sea otters and some sea lions. 

Here are a few videos of them:

Whale Watching in Tofino – Gray Whales

Whale Watching in Tofino – Sea Otter Mama and Baby

Whale Watching in Tofino – Sea Lions

 

whale watching, gray whales

We saw some Gray Whales

 

Long Beach 

Long Beach spans staggering 16 km and it is really famous with surfers.

It was pretty cold when we went to Long Beach but it was still very pretty.

If the weather is good, definitely check it out even if you don’t surf.  It is the perfect place for a beach walk. 

 

Long Beach, surfing, beach

Long Beach with two surfers in the background

 

Wild Pacific Trail

The Wild Pacific Trail is located near Ucluelet, BC which is another town on the west coast of Vancouver Island, south of Tofino.

It is a bit of a drive from Tofino – about 45 mins.

The Wild Pacific Trail is 8 km long and offers amazing panoramic views of the coastline.

You can see old forests and abundant wildlife – we actually saw a dear.

We only had time to do the Lighthouse Loop which is about 2.6 km and takes about an hour to walk.

I like this trail because it is very easy to hike.

There is a cute, little lighthouse along the trail as well.

Close by they have the Big Beach Mystery Shipwreck, which is the remnant of an old ship that was washed ashore.

 

lighthouse, trail

The cute, little lighthouse

 

What to eat in Tofino 

The food to try in Tofino is mainly seafood – oysters, mussels, fish, etc. One of the nights we cooked salmon and potatoes at home.

The next evening, we went to dinner at a restaurant called Shelter and the food was amazing!! We shared a plate of calamari and I had the steamed mussels with fries.

Shelter is very popular so I would recommend making reservations especially for bigger groups or on the weekends. Here is a link to their site. 

 

For breakfast, we went to a place called Wildside Grill which is located in an area where they have a few food shacks with outside seating.

It is mostly known for its fish and chips and local seafood (so you can definitely go there for lunch too) but it also had some breakfast options.

I had the Breakfast Kaiser and it was delicious.

We grabbed coffee at Tofitian Cafe and Bakery, which is right beside Wildside Grill.

If you don’t want a big breakfast, at the Tofitian Cafe and Bakery you can also find baked goods as well.

It has more seating available and there are seats inside (in case the weather is bad). It was packed when we went there.

The coffee shop was voted Best Coffee in Tofino multiple times. 

 

mussels, fries, restaurant

Mussels and fries at Shelter

 

Tofino is all about nature and good food. Enjoy the ocean, the many hiking trails, and the old-growth forests.

Immerse yourself in the beautiful nature that Vancouver Island has to offer. 

 

If you want to check out more nature in Vancouver, check out these two posts. 

Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain & Lynn Canyon

Vancouver: 12 things to do in Stanley Park

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