Tofino is the western most destination on the Moose tours and is located on a remote peninsular on Vancouver Island. Tofino attracts surfers, whale watchers, fishermen and nature lovers looking to explore the rough west coast. Due to it’s location on the edge of the Pacific Ocean the weather can change quickly bringing in coastal storms and many people make a pilgrimage to Tofino to watch these roll in.
The whale watching season runs from March to October as whales migrate south to Mexico’s Baja Penisula for mating season. You’ll need a lot of luck and patience to catch a glimpse of whales from shore, so we highly recommend booking a whale watching boat tour. Most trips take 2-3 hours and will expect to see pacific grey and humpback whales, as well as bald eagles, harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters and, if you’re lucky, orcas.
Tofino is Canada’s surfing mecca, with over 35kms of surfable sandy beaches, ideal for all skill levels. Beginners can hire a board and wet suit (highly recommended even in the summer) and get a surf lesson to help get you cruising like the locals. Get a chance to meet some of the original pioneers of Canada’s west coast surf scene that first hit these beaches back in the 1960’s and have been enjoying a quiet west coast life ever since.
Tofino offers miles of hiking trails along the coastline and through the neighboring parks; from rocky terrains to boardwalks. Put your boots on and grab a trail map from the visitors center or hostel. For half day hikes we can suggest the Lighthouse Trail or take a water taxi to Meares Island and hike the Big Tree Trail. Expect uneven terrain along rocky beaches, through rainforest, and across sometimes rough tracks with incredible views. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!
A popular day trip from Tofino is to the nearby natural hot springs in the Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. They are located about 45 kms north of Tofino and are only reachable by boat or float plane. A perfect day trip from Tofino includes a whale watching boat tour and a return trip to the hot springs (total trip 6.5 hours for $101).
Pacific Rim National Park encompasses over 500 square kms of land and ocean. This landscape is characterized by rugged coast line, lush temperate rainforests and hundreds of small islands and islets.
Long Beach, part of the Pacific Rim National Park, is one of the most popular beaches to explore, and takes up the coastal region from Tofino to Ucluelet. Stroll along the endless sandy beaches scattered with twisted driftwood and grasp that west coast feeling as the morning fog rolls in.
Highlights for Visiting Tofino
- Whale watching tour (3 hour boat tour)
- Take a surf lesson and ride the west coast swells
- Stroll along one of the many quiet beaches
- Take a relaxing dip in the hot springs
- Go sea kayaking to explore the hundreds of islands dotted off the coast
- Hike along the coastal trails to see this incredible landscape