"Tofino - Spiritual, Magical Beauty" Top 5 Page for this destination Tofino by opiumpoppy

Tofino Travel Guide: 173 reviews and 390 photos

The Town

Tofino was my place of residence for over a year - it's a small town with a permanent population of about 1500 people, and an annual visitor rate of over a million, most of whom come during the warmer months (May-August), but some who come in colder months for storm watching and a quieter (and cheaper) vacation.

Even though the town is so small, and I lived there for 14 months, I still did not do everything the area has to offer.

First of all, the town has many great places to stay and to eat, many things to do (though not a lot at night, which is one of the reasons there is abundant drinking and pot-smoking), especially if you enjoy the outdoors, and spectacular views.

The people in town tend to be very friendly and if you're not an obvious tourist, usually will take an interest in you if you are friendly and outgoing. The main populace is young people there to work and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle. Surfers, hippies. tourists, Native Indians, skaters, and nature lovers are the main groups you will notice.

The specialty of the town is seafood, considering it is a fishing village - the quality of it is astounding - I've never had any bad seafood at all here, and the prices aren't exorberant either. Even a cheap fish burger will be high quality.

You can almost get anything you want in Tofino, but don't go looking for stores you'll recognize - everything in Tofino (except for a bank, one hotel, a real estate place, and a gas station) is locally owned and run. This adds to the charm of the place.
The town is comprised of food places, surf shops, souvenier shops and galleries, tourism/whale-watching hubs, and other little stores. The main place to hang out is The Common Loaf Bakery, as there is a lot of room and a friendly atmosphere, outdoor, indoor, and upstairs seating.

There is some Native culture here; definately more than you'll find on the mainland.

Work is abundant, and easy to get (especially for housekeeping, - some places hire you immediately) in the summer as tourist season is crazy, though accomidation for living is almost impossible to find, unless you find it in spring, autumn , or winter. Some bed and breakfast's rent to people in the low-season, and if you do come to work in summer, staff housing is usually the only option, as well as long-term camping. Staff accomidation is usually shared, and can get rowdy and crazy, gossipy and exhausting, but if you're into that, and a social person, then it could be for you. Most people get sick of it after a while though.

Work in winter is harder to find, but the rare opportunity exists, and of course this is when housing is easier to find.

For a town of this size, it surprisingly has it's own hospital. Good idea seeing as lots of people get stupid drunk!

Nature at it's Finest

Nothing beats how you can feel in this place. The abundance of trees, the ravens and bald eagles flying overhead, the beaches and glorious sunsets, surfing in the rain, savouring fresh salmon, relaxing in the hot springs in Clayoquot sound, seeing grey whales, black bears, and sea lions, meandering through trails in lushly scented forests. You can feel serene, you can feel touched, you can feel like you never want to leave, because this place will affect you no matter what you do.

If you're lucky in the summer, you might see black bears on the drive to town. There are a lot of bald eagles to see in spring, and plenty of opportunities to see grey whales if you want to spend the dough to do it.

As for beautiful spots to see, head to Sunset Point at Cox Bay - beautiful to see the ocean during the day at both Cox and Rosie Bay, especially in winter when the waves are huge and breaking far out. Sunset is the time to go though, hence the name.
Tonquin Beach is a perfect place to relax. There's no waves there, unless there's a large swell - then there might be some tiny ones. It's more of a place to chill out, smoke your stuff, maybe skimboard, or try to camp illegally. If the tide is out, there are some lovely coves to look into on the left, and a ridiculously large amount of mussels - check if there is red tide with Department of Oeans and Fisheries - if not, take as many as you like.

There are lots of nature walks and hikes in the area, though I haven't been on any except through a more secretive area I can't divulge. One place that has been rated one of the most beautiful islands on the planet is Meares Island, with old growth forest, massive trees, and unspoilt beauty. When I return, I'll be doing more wakling as I have a taste for it now.

Grab a drink at Breakers or the Common Loaf and walk down to the harbour, with lovely views of Meares Island and surrounding hills. The crows can be cheeky so keep an eye on your food.

Definately take a walk along Mackenzie Beach and scope out the abundance of shells and bits of sea anemone if you can find it. Many people walk here, along with many dogs. The sunsets here are also spectacular - there tends to be a mist and magical aura to the place at certain times of the day.

It's a beautiful town and area to explore. Ask around, get ideas, and enjoy it - but how could you not - it's the best!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Scenery, good surfing, nice people, good food. variety of places to stay, lots of work in the summer, great beaches, wildlife, trees!
  • Cons:Rain, cold water, lack of nightlife, flat waves in summer, cabin fever for long-termers
  • In a nutshell:Impossible not to enjoy
  • Last visit to Tofino: Jan 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (23)

Comments (4)

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2006 at 12:53 PM

    Great looking surf spot! Grew up surfing in Southern Cal. Tried it in a dry suit up here and it wasn't the same! Birthday greetings from the Aleutians!

  • Hermanater's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2006 at 6:53 AM

    Happy Birthday....great info. We are planning on taking our camper there next summer.......

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2005 at 5:00 PM

    sounds like a really cool place. hpefully i'll make my way over to that part of the world next year.

  • Siddha3th's Profile Photo
    Apr 22, 2005 at 2:42 AM

    I think you might just have found Paradise. Could I come on over :) See you around Lorra... Siddharth


“Just go.”

Online Now


Top 10,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 5 2 1 5

Badges & Stats in Tofino

  • 23 Reviews
  • 23 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 9,468PageViews

Have you been to Tofino?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Tofino


See All Friends (1)

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)