We always love an excuse to visit this West Coast surfing gem during the warm months of summer when it’s easy to pitch a tent and grab some beach time during a long weekend stay. During the off-season in winter, Tofino still has plenty to offer young professionals looking for a sweet escape from the city, and we’ve got a selection of ideas to set your plan into action when you’ve got a few days off.
Pack your weekend bag, bring that stash of books you’ve been hankering to thumb your way through, and let the adventures begin.
Getting there is as easy as hopping aboard BC Ferries and landing in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay. From there, it’s about a 3.5 hour long drive along picturesque Highway 4 that meanders through stunning coastal landscape and the ancient mile-high trees that make up Cathedral Grove.
Not up for the drive yourself? Grab a seat on the Tofino Bus (leaves from downtown Vancouver) and let the driver do all the navigating while you unplug and prep for a weekend of R&R. Another option is to score a seat with Orca Air or Tofino Air floatplanes. Both operate from Vancouver and fly directly to Tofino/Ucluelet and offer special promotions online.
Once in Tofino, take advantage of off-season deals at the areas bountiful hotels, B&Bs (check out Chesterman Beach B&B) and lodges (we dig the dog-friendly Long Beach Lodge). Book their storm-watching or weekly special and land yourself a room with a view for less than $100/night. Sink into your own hot tub with a notably West Coast beach view and curl up with a glass of wine as you take in the scene.
Looking for a foodie fix? Tofino has plenty of options sure to tempt your taste buds. Head into town and over to Shelter for no-fuss comfort food with a seafood twist. Tuck into their seafood cioppino and order a steaming bowl of fresh mussels for starters. Another Tofino favourite is SoBo with a menu must-try we know you’ll love. Their smoked seafood chowder is possibly the best ever, anywhere.
Grab your java at Breakers Deli and gear up for surf time at Cox Bay or Chesterman’s Beach. Looking for lessons and a thick wetsuit? Ask the folks over at Pacific Surf School or Long Beach Surf Shop, who will be more than happy to help you out.
After you’ve braved the Pacific swell for a few hours, get warm, bundle up in your best raingear (you’ll likely need it at this time of year) and take a stroll along the beach. Marvel at the natural beauty that makes up this sprawling UNESCO biosphere reserve. Winter is the perfect time to grab some memorable photos; it’s prime storm season after all, and massive waves continually drive toward the beach practically landing at your doorstep. For more info on all that Tofino has to offer during winter, click here.