27 Unique Things to Do in Tofino for the Nature & Food Enthusiast

27 Unique Things to Do in Tofino for the Nature & Food Enthusiast

Tofino is one of the best travel destinations in Canada. The wild and remote "surf capital of Canada" has a lot to offer the traveller with its thriving food scene, boutique hotels with ocean views and gorgeous beaches that make you feel like you're on the edge of the world.

We list 27 unique things to do in Tofino, as well as our top picks for boutique hotels and cozy B&Bs with ocean views.

Overview: What to do in Tofino BC

27 Unique Things to do in Tofino BC

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1. Walk Long Beach at sunset

Long Beach, Tofino

Long Beach is especially worth visiting since it represents the origin of surf culture in Tofino. In the 1960s before there was a paved highway, surfers would make the pilgrimage to this wild coast. Long Beach soon became home to the first surf school, which opened in 1968.

Walk along the west-facing beach for sunset to see beautiful colours light up the sky and water. Long Beach is over 16km long, making it the longest beach on Vancouver Island.

2. Eat the best fish taco in the world

Fish taco at Tacofino

Tofino has an amazing culinary scene and some delectable bites you won't want to miss... like Tacofino's fish taco! We think it's hands down the best fish taco in the world. Let us know if you have any contenders πŸ˜‰.

Tacofino started in a food truck in Tofino and has grown in popularity with food trucks and taco bars now located in Vancouver and Victoria. Stop by the original food truck in Tofino and grab yourself some mouthwatering tacos! Watch out for big lineups - we recommend arriving right when it opens at 11 AM.

3. Stay at a boutique hotel with ocean views

Wickaninnish Inn

Tofino is known for its luxury lodges and boutique hotels along the coastline. Hotels can be quite expensive during tourist season in summer, but if you wait until fall or winter for storm watching, you can save a lot on the price.

Our top hotel picks on the ocean

Wickaninnish Inn

Breakfast in our room at the Wickaninnish Inn
We highly recommend staying at the Wickaninnish Inn, one of the boutique hotels situated right on the ocean. It's not only our favourite hotel in BC, it's our favourite hotel in Canada!

The Wickaninnish Inn ticks off all the boxes for a luxurious stay in Tofino. The hotel is part of the Relais & Chateau luxury brand, known for its collection of top-tier landmark hotels and restaurants around the world.

You are steps away from everything you need for the ultimate west coast experience. You can walk to Chesterman Beach next door, eat fresh seafood at their fine dining restaurant, pamper yourself at the spa with ocean views, or hang back in your room by the fireplace. The food at the hotel is excellent. We loved ordering eggs benedict in the morning to our room.

Pointe Building vs. Beach Building at the Wick

There are two buildings at the Wickaninnish Inn, the Pointe Building and the Beach Building. The Pointe Building is perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean and gives incredible expansive views of the ocean. The Beach Building gives you views of Chesterman Beach and direct access to the beach from the ground level.

We preferred the Pointe Building as it felt more isolated than the Beach Building, which faces the public beach. The Pointe Building is the original building of the hotel and feels more luxurious. Although it's not right on Chesterman Beach, you can still walk to the beach in seconds.

πŸ₯” πŸ”Ž Fun fact: from the Pointe Building, you can see the wooden stilted house where the movie 'Come to Daddy' was filmed.

Pacific Sands Beach Resort

Photo credit: pacificsands.com
Pacific Sands Beach Resort is another stunning beachfront hotel with wild ocean views. It sits right on Cox Bay Beach, a spectacular crescent-shaped beach enclosed by rugged cliffs. The bay is fantastic for surfing and is also known to have some of the biggest waves during storm watching season.

In the morning grab a coffee and walk just a few steps from your hotel to the beach. If the weather is nice, visit the onsite surf shack where you can rent surfboards or book a surf lesson. If it's rainy outside, warm up by the fireplace or in your hot tub and admire the stormy views.

See rates for Pacific Sands Beach Resort

πŸ›οΈ Browse more hotels in Tofino

4. Have a beach bonfire under the moon and stars

Beach bonfire on Chesterman Beach

One of our favourite things about Tofino is that you can have bonfires on Mackenzie Beach and Chesterman Beach. It's so wild listening to the ocean waves under the moonlight! Campfires are permitted from 8 AM - 10 PM if there is no fire ban.

❗New beach campfire rule: Your fire must now be contained in a clean burning fire appliance that is elevated off the ground, allowing airflow through ventilation openings. You can buy these for cheap from Amazon.

Where to get firewood in Tofino

The best place to get firewood is at the Bella Pacifica Campground at Mackenzie Beach or at Gas N Go. You can buy a bundle of wood there.

Subtle penumbral lunar eclipse

If you're not up for lighting a fire, going for a night walk on the beach under the moon and stars is also magical.

5. Eat fresh crab for dinner

Crab at Schooner Restaurant

While on the West Coast, you must have delicious fresh crab, one of Tofino's specialties. Here are three amazing ways to have a crab feast in Tofino:

 πŸ¦€ For a cozy spot located in town, check out The Schooner Restaurant, a seafood restaurant that has been in business since 1949! You'll find the freshest of seafood here.

✨ For a fine dining experience, order a full Dungeness crab at The Pointe Restaurant overlooking Chesterman Beach.

🌊 For a unique experience, the Wickaninish Hotel has a crab cookout during summer months, but it's only open to hotel guests. Three days a week, dinner is set up on a driftwood table located right on Chesterman Beach. Your feast includes fresh crab, salads, corn and baked bread. Afterwards, s'mores are served over a beach bonfire. Something important to note is that if it's raining outside, they will have to cancel the cookout, but you can dine at their restaurant, The Pointe, for crab instead.

6. Go storm watching

Beautiful ocean views in Tofino

Tofino is a fun place to visit all year round, even when the weather is stormy! Winter storms create dramatic scenery on the wild coast. It feels cozy bundling up in your hotel room by the fire while watching large waves crash into the shore. Many oceanside resorts offer rain ponchos and rubber boots you can borrow to walk out on the stormy beach and take in the dramatic views.

Best time to storm watch in Tofino

The best time to storm watch in Tofino is in the off season from November - February.

7. Walk among giant old growth trees on Meares Island

Boardwalk into the Big Tree Trail, Meares Island

The trees on Meares Island will most likely be the biggest you've ever seen in your life. The Big Tree Trail is 3.2 km roundtrip and takes you through an old-growth forest to see some of the largest trees in BC. Some are more than 1000 years old!

If it's rainy, prepare to get soaked and muddy. It's recommended to hike the trail on dry days.

How to get to Meares Island

You will have to take a 10 minute water taxi to get to The Big Tree Trail. With Tofino Water Taxi the price is $35 CAD roundtrip per person and leaves from the town of Tofino. Once you're done your hike, you have to call them to pick you up and take you back.

8. Eat at the award winning restaurant, Wolf in the Fog

Wolf in the Fog, Tofino

Wolf in the Fog was named Air Canada Enroute's #1 Best New Restaurant in Canada in 2014 and has continued to be one of BC's top dining spots. Their cuisine is inspired by the coast and the surrounding forests. You will find fresh seafood dishes and veggie dishes harvested from seasonal ingredients.

They also serve excellent cocktails and craft beer. Ensure to make a reservation far in advance as this restaurant books up fast, especially in summer.

9. Shop at the Saturday Market

Every Saturday from May Long Weekend to Thanksgiving, Tofino has a market with local vendors selling artisan products. The market is located in Tofino Village Green, a park located in the centre of town.

10. Go surfing

Surfers at Cox Bay Beach

Usually people don't associate surfing with Canada, but surprisingly, Tofino is one of the best surf towns in North America. What makes it so unique is the landscape around you. Rather than surfing in the tropics, you're instead surfing with coniferous forests and mountains around you.

Best time to surf Tofino

For beginner surfers, the best time to go is during June-August. The waves will be the smallest and the weather the warmest. North Chesterman Beach is a good spot for beginners as the waves are gentler.

For advanced surfers, the best season is from October - November when the waves are bigger, water is warm, but the weather is still calm. Cox Bay Beach is a good spot for advanced surfers since it has waves of all sizes throughout the year.

πŸ„ Here are three top-rated surf schools in Tofino to check out:

11. Go 4x4ing up to Virgin Falls

Virgin Falls, Vancouver Island

It's a lot of fun driving into the backcountry to explore the wilderness around Tofino. One of the best scenic spots is Virgin Falls, however you will need a 4x4 to get there. It takes about 1.5 hours of driving through forest roads to reach the magnificent waterfall. The roads aren't scary at all and honestly, you could do about 80% of it in a 2WD car. It's the last stretch that you need the 4x4.

Bring some flip flops since you will have to walk through a shallow creek to get to the falls. We were surprised to have the waterfall all to ourselves when we got there! Make sure to save another 1.5 hours to get back to Tofino before it gets dark. You can also camp in the area for free if you're up for it.

How to get to Virgin Falls from Tofino

  • Drive south towards Ucluelet on Highway 4
  • Take a left on West Road and take it across the Kennedy River Bridge
  • Once across the bridge, turn left onto Deer Bay Road. From the Kennedy River Bridge, it's 31 km to the falls.
  • Keep driving until you reach the end of the blocked road.
  • From the end of the road, it's a 2 minute walk to the falls. Just follow the sound of the falls and you will find it.

Detailed instructions with a map are available here.

12. Dine with ocean views at The Pointe Restaurant

The Pointe Restaurant, Tofino

The food, the views and the ambience at The Pointe make for a wonderful fine dining experience. From your table, you have 240Β° views of the ocean and Chesterman Beach. Go before sunset so you can watch surfers ride the waves until the sun sets.

The Canadian-West Coast inspired dishes are delicious. We've eaten here multiple times and it's always excellent. You can choose from the a-la-carte menu or the tasting menu. There is also a vegetarian tasting menu available.

Spruce cured scallop at The Pointe Restaurant

Our first night we chose the five-course tasting menu with wine pairing. Our favourite dishes were the spruce cured scallop, the morel mushrooms stuffed with foie gras and the charcoal roasted beef. It was such a treat!

13. Play board games

Playing Scrabble in our room

Go analog and play board games in your cozy cabin or hotel room by the fire. This is a fun activity to do if it's stormy outside. Set up a games table by the window to have a beautiful view of the nature surrounding you.

14. Visit First Nations art galleries & shops

Tofino has a rich indigenous culture and is situated in the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. It has been home to the indigenous Nuu-chah-nulth peoples for over 5,000 years. Nuu-chah-nulth means "all along the mountains and sea".

House of Himwitsa, Tofino

In the town of Tofino, you will find First Nations art galleries and shops. House of Himwitsa is a great place to shop for wooden carvings, wall art, moccasins, masks and jewelry.

For First Nations paintings and original prints, make sure to check out the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery. He is a distinguished Canadian-First Nations artist known around the world for his prints. We loved his work so much that we bought a painting.

15. Pamper yourself at the spa

Having a massage is one of the best ways to unwind and there is no better location than the mystical Tofino.

Best luxury spa in Tofino: Ancient Cedars Spa

If you really want to treat yourself, book the massage hut that opens up onto the ocean. As you're getting your massage you will hear the sounds of the waves crashing into the rock. Our massages were excellent and almost put us to sleep.

The Ancient Cedars Spa is located at the Wickaninnish Inn. They accept non-hotel guests, but hotel guests get priority. During high season they offer to put non-hotel guests on a waiting list and then let them know a few days in advance if there is availability.

Can't get a reservation at Ancient Cedars Spa? Check out Stillwater Nature Spa, a unique boutique tented experience in the forest.

Best value spa in Tofino: Sacred Stone Spa

Sacred Stone Spa is located in the town of Tofino. It doesn't have the bells and whistles the Ancient Cedars Spa has with the sounds of the waves crashing as you get your massage, but the treatments are excellent and spa therapists attentive and professional. The cozy boutique spa also offers RMT massages. Ari had one of the best massages of his life there!

16. Eat smoked salmon jerky

Smoked salmon from Dockside Smoked Fish Store

One of Tofino's specialties is smoked salmon. The Dockside Smoked Fish Store has a daily selection of different types of smoked salmon that are ready to eat. Three types of salmon are caught fresh right off the coast and they are either cold smoked or hot smoked. Our favourite type was the sockeye candied strips.

17. Have a charcuterie picnic on the beach

Grab your beach blanket and order a charcuterie board from Picnic Charcuterie to take with you to the beach. The charcuterie shop focuses on using local, high quality ingredients and makes many of their items in house. We loved watching surfers catch waves at Cox Bay Beach while snacking away. Don't forget to bring a garbage bag to pack away your garbage after, leave no trace!

18. Grab a pint at Tofino Brewing Co.

Hang out with some beers in the impressive two-story brewery known for its small batch, handcrafted beer. If you can't choose one, go for a flight. They have some interesting types, like their Spruce Tree Ale and Kelp Stout. If one of you isn't a beer drinker you will be happy to hear they have cider available.

19. Walk the Rainforest Trail

Walking the Rainforest Trail in Tofino

Breathe in fresh oxygen-rich air as you walk along a boardwalk through an ancient forest. The Rainforest Trail has two 1 km loops (Loop A and Loop B), which are easily accessible from the Pacific Rim Highway. We did Loop A across the road from the parking lot and were impressed by the humongous red cedar trees.

20. Have a cocktail flight at Tofino Distillery

Our cocktail flights at Tofino Distillery

Just beside Tofino Brewing Co., you will find Tofino Distillery, a tasting room and distillery selling premium organic spirits. I'm typically not a fan of visiting distilleries since I don't like drinking straight liquor, however they offer mini-cocktail flights here!

We were given a menu and picked out three mini cocktails to try. I went for the "Bee Knees" with Rose Hibiscus Gin, "Tijuana Go Surfing" with Jalapeno Vodka and "Tofino Pegasus" with Psychedelic Jellyfish Absinthe. It was a fun concept.

21. Shop Tofino's quirky boutique stores

Tofino may be small, but it has many boutique stores worth checking out.

Our favourite shops in Tofino:

  • Merge - the super cute pink store carries an awesome selection of Canadian-made housewares and clothing.
  • The Factory Goods & Gallery - the studio carries a well-curated selection of handcrafted housewares, jewelry and prints.
  • Two Trees - a cute store selling local artisanal products.
  • Caravan - a beach shop selling items inspired by the Pacific Northwest.

22. Walk alongside the beachfront homes on Chesterman Beach

Chesterman Beach walk

Some of Tofino's prime real estate is located along North and South Chesterman Beach. We had fun walking along the beach and pretending what house we would buy. Each one of them is so different and unique. You can do this walk as a loop by coming back on Chesterman Beach Rd/Lynn Rd.

Start your walk from the North Chesterman Beach Parking Lot and walk south down North Chesterman Beach and South Chesterman Beach. Once you reach South Chesterman Beach, there is a public trail you can take that brings you to Chesterman Beach Rd. This road continues onto Lynn Road, which takes you back to the parking lot.

23. Stay in a cozy B&B near the ocean

A fun and authentic way to stay in Tofino is by renting a cozy cottage close to the beach. This is a great activity to do year round to get out into nature.

Our top B&B picks in Tofino with ocean views:

24. Enjoy breakfast with views of Tofino Harbour at Savary Island Pie Company

Savary Island Pie Company

Enjoy a scenic breakfast experience at the Savary Island Pie Company, known for its off-the-beaten-path charm that attracts a local crowd. Order one of their delightful baked specialties, like their irresistible gooey cinnamon buns, and grab a seat at the bar table by the window.

25. Rent a private sauna on the beach

If taking a dip in the cool ocean is on your checklist, try Tuff City Saunas for a unique beachfront sauna experience. They have two barrel saunas on Cox Bay Beach and one cabin sauna on Mackenzie Beach, all available for private rental for 2 hours.

Enjoy the aroma of cedar, relax in the sauna's warmth, and when things get too hot, step outside and jump into the invigorating ocean water.

With only three saunas available, it's a good idea to book well in advance. The cost is $199 CAD for a 2-hour session, and the sauna can accommodate up to 6 people.

26. Enjoy brunch in The Great Room overlooking Cox Bay Beach

Eating eggs benedict in The Great Room

After strolling along Cox Bay Beach, have a leisurely brunch in The Great Room of the Long Beach Lodge Resort. The view from your table overlooking Cox Bay Beach is beautiful - we think it's a hidden gem for brunch.

You don't have to stay at the hotel to eat at the restaurant and it's more affordable than The Pointe Restaurant, a popular oceanfront spot for brunch.

The Great Room serves breakfast from 8 AM to 1 PM, so there is no need to rush.

27. Treat yourself to outstanding Korean cuisine at Jeju

Jeju Restaurant Tofino

Out of all the fantastic restaurants in Tofino, we think Jeju ranks #1. Our dining experience at Jeju was exceptional, from the authentic Korean dinnerware to the impeccable presentation and rich flavours of the dishes.

In 2022, Jeju earned a nomination as one of the best new restaurants in Canada by enRoute Magazine. We highly recommend trying the tasting menuβ€”it's reason enough to make a return trip to Tofino! Make your reservation in advance through Tock.

We hope you enjoyed these 27 unique things to do in Tofino!

Continue planning your trip with our 3 Day Tofino Itinerary and list of the best things to do in Tofino in Winter.

Start planning your trip to Tofino

  • 🌃 Accommodation: Booking.com is our go-to for finding places to stay. Sort by top reviewed.
  • 🚗 Car rental: see Rentalcars.com to compare car rental prices across different companies.
  • 🛫 Flights: rather fly instead of drive? See the Kayak tool to compare flights (we recommend booking direct with the airline however)

Travelling in winter? See our guide on what to do in Tofino in winter.

Planning a trip to Vancouver Island? Don't miss our 4 Day Nanaimo to Tofino itinerary and 5 Day Victoria and Tofino itinerary.

You should also consider adding the charming town of Ucluelet to your itinerary. It's 20 minutes away from Tofino, but less touristy and more affordable. See our list of the top 8 things to do in Ucluelet, to see if this coastal town is right for you.

See our full list of the 17 best trips from Vancouver.

Save and pin these unique things to do in Tofino for later:

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our list of 20 Relaxation Travel Ideas to Clear Your Mind

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