Tofino isn’t just for summertime fun.
And we have proof having recently hopped aboard an Orca Air flight to hit up the ocean-side town along the northern part of Vancouver Island’s Pacific Coast.
Fall and winter is when Tofino truly comes alive as the surf swell grows, storm season rolls in, and all you want to do (aside from beachcomb) is curl up by the fire with an XL glass of red wine.
A 45-minute flight landed us in Long Beach Airport – ‘cute’ is the only appropriate word here.
We were picked up by our host for the weekend and whisked off to settle in at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort, a rustic-modern waterfront property set along the fringes of Pacific Rim National Park.
Surf lessons, dining out at a few top-notch local favourites, checking out some new hot spots, mushroom foraging (yeah, we did that), and still having time for a little retail therapy on the side – our Tofino weekend was packed.
Here’s what you need to check out if you go. And trust us: you won’t be disappointed.
Pacific Sands Beach Resort is a no-brainer. Its convenient location from the airport, town, and beach will have you feeling cozy and comfortable in no time. Add to that the fact that you can load up on groceries and booze and basically stay onsite for the duration of your trip.
Shelter is located in the heart of Tofino town and has been around for a number of years. Having recently undergone a complete renovation, it now includes a pretty sweet year-round patio and a menu of locally inspired dishes – needless to say, it’s packed pretty much every night. Dig into their daily specials and be sure to order up a serving of their local Tofino-caught prawn, halibut, or salmon features – you’ll thank us later.
Wolf In The Fog is the new kid on the Tofino block but definitely ought to be a must-do on your list. Owned by a trio of passionate culinary-minded YPs it’s an architecturally sweet space. Design aside, their menu features fresh, local ingredients aplenty with elements often sourced that day. They’re all about bringing a unique and tasty twist to favourites and educating guests about their definition of Tofitian cuisine.
Chocolate Tofino is a definite must when on the hunt for a little sweet something to remember your trip by. Owned by two YP transplants from the Prairies, it’s a labour of love that you need to see for yourself.
Score a board and a lesson via the ladies over at Surf Sister Surf School and hit the beach. They’ll meet you at Chesterman’s (or wherever things are cranking that day) and lead you out into the swell for some adrenalin-pumping fun. With over 100 years of combined instruction hours you’ll be in good hands.
Tofino is a mecca for art and creative minded people who linger in the laidback place for years. We recommend you pop by Sol Art Studio and get mesmerized by Sol Maya’s glassblowing talents (he may even let you in on the action).
While in Tofino, score a new look and hit up Piña’s pop-up shop (across from Sol in the Live to Surf Complex) or head into town and check out original jewelry and metal works by local artist, Christy Feaver before doing some damage at Habit where we scored a pair of requisite gumboots (a necessity this time of year in Tofino).
Cover photo from: Pacific Sands