In Tofino and Ucluelet the remote towns on the beautiful west coast of Vancouver Island it’s all about experiencing the incredible nature. You can hike in the rain forest, walk along the wild beaches, surf in the cold waves, go kayaking or join a whale watching tour.
Do: See whales, beavers and seals on a whale watching zodiac tour with Jamie’s Whaling Station. They start from Ucluelet and Tofino during summer but only from Tofino at the end of the season.
Via Jamie’s you can also book a Kayaking tour with Paddle West Kayaking. You paddle in small groups with one guide and don’t need any kayaking experience. During a three hour tour you explore the beautiful area around the Tofino harbor, the many islands and calm sea. You also take a small walk on Meares Island to see the magnificent, huge and old cedar trees. You’ll have a fantastic afternoon while by the way learning so much about the wild life, history of the resident First Nations and environmental protests in the area. You might also spot starfish, seals and bald eagles.
A very special experience is a float plane tour. Atleo River Air Service starts from Tofino and offers different flights, you’ll see the Comox glacier, green hinterland mountains and the seashore with its countless little islands.
It’s also great to walk the Pacific Rim trails. Most of the rather short walks start at the Pacific Rim Highway in-between Ucluelet and Tofino and lead through the enchanted rainforest to the beach. The Schooner Cove, Combers Beach, Rainforest and Tonquin Beach trails are all very beautiful, also interesting is the Radar Hill trail. At Wickaninnish Beach you can visit the Kwisitis Visitor Centre to learn more about the region. A highlight is also the Lighthouse Loop of the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, especially at sunset.
Eat: Even though Tofino is so small there are many nice options for food and drinks. Wolf in the Fog is a great restaurant, it’s laid back but with amazing food like fresh fish or subtle Thai salad and huge cocktail punch bowls.
Another restaurant with a nice vibe is Shelter. Famous for it’s Tacos is Tacofino, by now they have several restaurants also in Vancouver, but their first food truck is still in Tofino. In the same area you also find the nice shops Tofitian Coffee and Chocolate Tofino. Great for harbor views and Happy Hour is The Hatch pub next to 1909 Kitchen. Worth a try are also Sea Monster Noodle Bar and Rhino Coffee. The public market takes place on Saturdays at 10am.
There are also nice options in Ucluelet, like the amazing Zoe’s bakery and cafe or cozy Howler’s Pub with a great old-fashioned bowling alley and billiard hall. There is also a big co-op supermarket and nice liquor store.
For souvenirs and unique closing there are the boutiques Pina and the Wreckage at the main Peninsula road in Ucluelet.
Stay: In Ucluelet there is Waters Edge Shoreside Suites with apartments and the very nice vacation home La Mer Inn.
Getting around: You need a car to get to and around the remote towns on the peninsula. From Vancouver you can take the big BC ferry to Vancouver Island, they depart several times a day and go either to Victoria or Nanaimo. Victoria has some nice shops and attractions, like the harbor, Empress hotel and Royal BC museum. Around Chinatown and Downtown you find the quirky Fan Tan Alley, Silk Road Tea, the cool men boutique Four Horsemen and the nice 10 Acres Bistro. Also, around the southern part of Vancouver Island there are many farms and farmers markets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. You find them here.
For more great travel inspiration in Canada see also the guide for the Canadian Rockies including Banff national park or the city guide for Vancouver! Or read more about road trips through the North American nature and national parks of New England here and here.