From lush old growth forests to seemingly endless Pacific Ocean beaches to world-class cuisine, Tofino is a sought-after destination. In this post, I share my list of Top Things to do in Tofino.
Tofino is situated on the tip of the Esowista Peninsula, within the traditional Ha-Houthlee (territory) of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and their Tribal Parks.
To help you plan your stay, here are best places to stay, eat, and enjoy all Tofino has to offer.
Things to do in Tofino British Columbia
Explore the Tide Pools at Chesterman Beach
The most popular beach in Tofino has plenty to offer, no matter what you’re into.
Start by exploring the tide pools, searching for sea stars and anemones. If the wind’s blowing, fly a kite.
For something to do in the winter, visit Chesterman Beach for storm watching.
Pacific Rim Highway, Tofino, British Columbia V0R 2Z0
Walk the Rainforest Trail
The Rainforest Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails for locals and visitors alike.
This quick 2 km path takes you through towering western Red cedars and Western Hemlocks. As you go, look for birds who make the upper canopy their home.
The Rainforest Trail consists of two loops. Rainforest Trail Loop A signs emphasize forest cycles while Loop B signs emphasize forest structure and inhabitants.
To get there from Tofino Village, drive south along Pacific Rim Highway and turn right at the sign for Rain Forest Trail.
Turning off the highway you will drive directly into the paid parking lot and the beginning of Rainforest Trail Loop A.
Loop A is located on the opposite side of the highway from the parking lot while Loop B starts from the parking lot.
2040 Pacific Rim Highway, Tofino, British Columbia V0R 2Z0
Breathe in the Tofino Botanical Gardens
The Tofino Botanic Gardens stretch across 12 acres of gardens, forest, and shoreline.
The grounds actually include not only cultivated botanical gardens, but also a sculpture park and old-growth temperate rainforest.
Some gardens feature plants from all over the world, from Chile to Japan. Others are cultivated to celebrate cultural groups around the area.
On your way out, stop by Darwin’s Café for a local kombucha, soups and sandwiches and say hi to the chickens that roam the area.
Their patio has a lovely view of the Botanical Gardens.
Tofino Botanical Gardens
1084 Pacific Rim Highway, Tofino, British Columbia V0R 2Z0
The Roy Henry Vickers Gallery
The Roy Henry Vickers Galley is housed in an elaborately carved and painted cedar-plank longhouse with beaten copper doors, is a landmark in and of itself.
Admire the indigenous art of Roy Henry featuring a collection of paintings – all hung alongside totem poles and carvings.
The gallery is open free to the public 7 days a week. Check the events page on their website to see when the artist is available to tell stories and sign artwork.
Roy Henry Vickers Gallery
350 Campbell Street, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Hike the Big Tree Trail
The Big Tree Trail is an old-growth forest accessible by a 10-minute water taxi ride from town.
This easy, gentle 3 km roundtrip wooden boardwalk hike takes you through some of the biggest trees in British Columbia.
You’ll see spruce, hemlock, and western cedar trees, some more than 1,000 years old.
The trail is located on Meares Island and requires you to take one of Tofino’s water taxi services to the start of the trail (cost is $30 per person). Scheduled pickup is usually pre-planned in advance.
The Big Tree Trail
Meares Island (near Tofino), BC
Every April through October, you can join a bear watching tour operated by local outdoor tour companies.
All bear watching tours head to the calm inside waters around Meares Island.
Tours typically run 2.5 hours, can be offered in an roofless boat or covered cabin cruiser.
The tours run during low-tide when the shoreline becomes accessible for the bears to come out for food.
Whale watching season runs from March (sometimes late February) through October.
20,000 Gray whales swim past Tofino’s shores in spring on their annual migration from birthing waters by the Baja Peninsula north to the Bering Strait by Alaska.
Whale watching trips typically last 2.5 to 3 hours. Choose from a range of vessels from the wind-in-your-hair zodiac boat to a covered vessel.
Surfing + Stand Up Paddling
The surf culture in Tofino is strong as surfers of all skill levels have access to year-round surfing along 35 kilometres of beaches and an exposed coast.
Surf rentals and surfing lessons are readily offered around town.
Tofino Hotels and Resorts: Where to Stay
Tofino Resort + Marina
If your plans for Tofino, British Columbia are to spend 90% of your time on the water, why not stay right at the marina?
The Tofino Resort + Marina makes it easy for you to take advantage of Tofino’s gorgeous waterfronts while enjoying yourself when you’re on land.
Every room is pet-friendly, and the sleek, modern décor is the perfect place to crash after a day out in the sun.
With strong “come as you are” vibes, you’ll feel fine showing up and relaxing. No need to get fancy – unless you want to, of course.
Tofino Resort + Marina
634 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Pacific Sands Beach Resort
Pacific Sands Beach Resort is a beachfront haven gives you a front-row seat to nature’s greatest waterpark.
Ranked within the top two Tofino Resorts by Trip Advisor, Pacific Sands Beach Resort offers an authentically West Coast experience that reflects service, comfort and style in the most spectacular of settings.
It’s an ideal spot for everything from surfing to relaxing beach walks.
A Tofino landmark since 1972, the resort offers ocean views, surf-in, surf-out access and fully equipped, family-friendly kitchens and fireplaces.
Planning to spend the entire trip out on the water? Try their Surf Package.
It’s suitable for men and women of all skill levels and ages.
You’ll be fully equipped with lessons and everything you need, as well as your choice of beachfront and ocean view accommodations, surfing lessons for 2, and unlimited DVD rentals and popcorn to make it easy for you to unwind after a day out on the ocean.
Looking for a romantic getaway? Check out their Romance Package, made for honeymoons and couples.
You’ll receive a bottle of sparkling wine, keepsake champagne flutes, local handmade Tofino chocolates, a massage candle, locally made scented bath salts, and unlimited DVD movies and popcorn for the ultimate bonding experience.
Pacific Sands Beach Resort
1421 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Ocean Village Resort Tofino
Along the shores of MacKenzie Beach in the heart of Tofino, Ocean Village Resort boasts a charming string of cabins serving 1970’s vintage vibes.
Choose from a studio, 1, or 2-bedroom cabin, or a garden suite for larger groups.
Either way, you’ll enjoy your cozy rooms and amenities like laundry service.
The family-friendly resort includes a heated pool, hot tub, fire pits, and barbecue and grilling areas.
Stop by the cabin shop in the lobby for local products like cold brew coffee and kombucha
Take to the sea with their surf rentals or unwind at an onsite yoga class.
Ocean Village Resort
555 Hellesen Dr, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Hotel Zed is the ideal vacation spot for those who like to travel in style with a heavy dose of quirkiness.
We all know a hotel isn’t just about a place to stay.
The perfect hotel creates the perfect backdrop for your Instagram posts, which is exactly what you’ll find here.
Every room is decorated to create a moody atmosphere and comes equipped with a retro rotary dial phone.
The entire hotel and all its amenities serve 1970’s retro vibes.
Party on the mini disco dance floor, get existential in the psychic’s den with the onsite tarot card reader, or chill in the retro-style sunken living room complete with a teardrop fireplace.
But you don’t have to sacrifice style and comfort for location.
Hotel Zed Tofino is a ten-minute walk from Chesterman Beach.
The local bird sanctuary is nearby, overlooking the mudflats, and you won’t have to look far to find a bike path – there’s literally one running through the lobby.
Hotel Zed Tofino
1258 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
The Maq Hotel
Situated right in the middle of town, this newly-renovated boutique hotel gives eclectic vibes and cozy, comfortable rooms.
Onsite amenities at The Maq Hotel include locally sourced, organic bath products in every room, harbour views, and onsite pub, wine store, live music, and art.
The Maq Hotel
120 First St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0, Canada
Tofino Motel Harborview
Sometimes you have so much planned to do during your trip that you just want a comfy, no-frills hotel that makes it easy for you to grab your things and head out to explore.
That’s exactly what Tofino Motel Harborview serves. It’s right on the water, which makes it perfect if you’re planning to spend your entire day on the water anyway.
After you arrive in town, hop onto the motel shuttle so you can get settled ASAP. And every single room has water views – what’s better than that?
Tofino Motel Harborview
542 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
If you’re seeking the perfect balance between nature and glamor, look no further.
Every Wildpod dome is situated right on the waterfront, giving wide ocean views so you can experience nature without sacrificing comfort or style.
You also won’t have to sacrifice the location and amenities you’re used to.
Book an appointment with the onsite massage therapist. Nearby, you’ll have access to bars, restaurants, shops, eco-tours, boating, seaplanes, kayaking, bike rentals, and more.
174 West St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Where to Eat
Wolf in the Fog
At this warm, rustic, seaside spot, you’ll find creative, locally-sourced dishes with a dash of the unexpected at Wolf in the Fog.
Start with a house cocktail (it’s brunch, after all) like the Leisure Suit (amber rum, Benedictine, falernum, lime, nutmeg, 151 float) or the Lift Ticket (bourbon, green chartreuse, white chocolate, chili chocolate bitters).
Once you move onto the main menu, you’ll find items like the Spot Prawn Benny with house-made biscuits, bulgogi beef sandwich with kimchi mayo, and fried Humboldt squid.
Wolf in the Fog
150 4 St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Set in a contemporary timber house complete with patio dining, Shelter serves locally-coursed bistro fare.
Expect offerings like the Meares Island chowder cup (with smoked salmon, lingcod, and grilled house-made sourdough), crispy calamari with jalapeno and sweet peppers, and Salt Spring Island mussels and grilled sourdough complete with chimichurri.
If you’re looking for something heavier, look to their Mains. Enjoy lingcod fish and chips with cabbage and kale slaw, Baja fish tacos with chipotle crema and chicharron, and the Hopcott Farms beef burger with red pepper relish.
Those hankering for a cocktail will be pleased to find house specials like the Seaside Smash (gin, Chambord, fresh lemon, and rosemary) and an entire menu dedicated to Caesars.
601 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
For more Tofino food suggestions, check out this post dedicated to the Best Restaurants in Tofino.
Here are some more eateries you should try:
- 1909 Kitchen at the Tofino Resort and Marina
- Roar Tofino at Hotel Zed
- The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn
- The Great Room At Long Beach Lodge Resort
- Rhino Tofino
- Chirpz Chicken
- Chocolate Tofino