Looking for your next travel and foodie adventure that will make your friends green with envy? Look no further than Tofino, British Columbia! It’s the ultimate foodie and surfer paradise meets Canadian hospitality.
Tofino is a small district with approximately 2,000 residents on the Vancouver Island. Take one whiff of Tofino air and you’ll never want to leave. The impeccably clean and fresh air should be enough of a reason to visit Tofino. There’s something for everyone. Surfing is a big pastime for Tofitians. Rain or shine, you can find them surfing. The best part is that the beaches have crystal clear waters. It’s also entirely possible to have the entire beach to yourself if you go early.
Summer brings a lot of surfing tourists to town, whereas winter brings the storm watchers. Businesses in Tofino are all about eating local. Farm-to-table food is the norm there and you can taste the freshness in every bite. There’s no fast food or big chains here. And at under a 35-minute flight from Vancouver Airport, it’s an absolute no-brainer that Tofino should be your next trip!
HOT SPRINGS AND HIKE
With its natural hot springs, Maquinna Marine Provincial Park is a popular day-trip destination for anyone visiting Tofino. Located approximately 30 miles north of Tofino, the springs are only reachable via floatplane or boat. During the journey, it’s common to spot whales, bears, sea otters, puffins, and a barrage of other animals. Once visitors arrive at the dock, the hot springs are located at the end of a one-mile walk.
The hot springs were created more than 160 million years ago under extreme fire and pressure. The area is located on a major geological fault where the ocean water is pulled into the earth and heated to more than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the temperature of the water pouring from the rock is extremely hot, when it mixes with the cold ocean water, the temperature makes for a very comfortable hot springs experience. The end result is a relaxing sauna and hike all in one!
Address: Alberni-Clayoquot C, BC, Canada
Tofino has a plethora of resort choices from low to high end, but Tofino Resort & Marina is the best bang for your buck. The property is a mid-range property that has recently been completely renovated from the ground up. As the only full-service resort situated on the inlet, Tofino Resort & Marina is located on prime real estate, just steps away from the bustling downtown, which is just minutes from one-of-a-kind boutiques, beaches, and other must-visit spots.
Their onsite Adventure Center offers bear and whale-watching tours, fishing, kayaking, camping, storm-watching, bird-watching, First Nations cultural tours, boat tours, and other adventure and eco-friendly experiences. Any fish caught on the adventures can be cooked at the two onsite waterfront restaurants.
Address: 634 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0, Canada, (844) 680-4184
RENT A BIKE
Tofino is an extremely bike-friendly and walkable place. It’s very easy to either pick up a rental bike or have the bike company drop one off where you are staying. There’s so much to do in a small area! With all the local businesses around, such as coffee shops, souvenir stores, and restaurants, renting a bike is an easy way to make the most out of your trip to Tofino. There’s no need to worry about bike theft, just park your bike and leave the chain and lock behind!
Tofino Brewing Company is a tasting room where all the locals go. Open seven days a week, they brew small batch, handcrafted beers. They have five beers on tap, their regulars, a seasonal, and even locally made kombucha. You can get a pint, sample a flight, or just buy some beers to go. The company is local and preaches sustainability. Their growlers are also part of their business model to promote a reusable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly world. They are currently in the midst of expanding to a new and bigger location.
Address: 681 Industrial Way, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0, Canada, 250-725-2899
The best fishing experience in Tofino occurs during the summer late July and through August. This is when the region’s salmon are at peak migration. The best part of this time of year is that the silver salmon come into the near-shore to get ready to finish their migration to their home streams. The nearby hotels and restaurants will gladly take your catch and cook it into a gourmet meal for you.
Wolf in the Fog
If there’s one thing worth flying to Tofino for, it’s Wolf in the Fog. The restaurant was put on the map when they were named one of Canada’s best new restaurants in 2014. Prepare yourself for upscale Canadian food without the pretension.
The menu changes often, using seasonal ingredients. Wolf in the Fog’s menu is meant to be enjoyed family style. The restaurant is quirky and invokes nostalgia. All their dish wear is mismatched, like something you’d find in your mother’s cupboard. The best-selling dish is lightly smoked oysters wrapped in potato and fried till crispy and served with a seasonal garnish.
You’d be hard-pressed to find ingredients fresher than at Wolf in the Fog. Their fish comes from a dock that is only steps away from the restaurant. The chefs use herbs, wild mushrooms, and other ingredients foraged locally in their backyard.
Besides the fun punchbowls, Wolf in the Fog has a great wine list, local craft beers, and an impressively stocked bar with a number of specialty cocktails that show off Tofino front and center. Don’t forget the spectacular views from the second floor. Buy a six-pack for the kitchen and you’ll be greeted with a roar of loud pots and pans banging in appreciation!
Address: 150 4 St, Tofino, BC, Canada, 250-725-9653
Tofino Resort & Marina’s signature restaurant, 1909 Kitchen, offers ingredient-driven cuisine by Executive Chef Paul Moran. Chef Paul forages for many of the ingredients himself and uses produce sourced and foraged from Tofino’s ocean, shoreline, and forests. Other than the special Italian Mugnaini wood-fired oven they imported from Italy, caught fish is one of the most popular items. The menu constantly changes and reflects local Tofino ingredients such as gooseneck barnacles, chanterelles and sea asparagus. 1909 Kitchen also offers a chef’s menu where for an additional $50, the chef will not only personally cook every dish for you, but also customize a whole meal.
Address: 634 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0, Canada, (844) 680-4184
Visit Chocolate Tofino for delicious handcrafted chocolates, truffles, and homemade gelato and sorbet, all made fresh daily in house.
Their handcrafted, artisan chocolates are made fresh in the store with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, incorporating organic and local flavors. Some of the local Tofino specialties include the Salt Spring Island Organic Lavender Truffle, Wildflower Honey Ganache, and Clayoquot Blackberry Buttercream.
Best ice cream in Tofino and very family friendly. Best known for Honey Lavender Gelato, fresh organic chocolates and their “Hot Chocolate Elixir.” For those looking to bring home a souvenir, Chocolate Tofino makes lots of different chocolates made into the shapes of indigenous Tofino animals!
Address: 1180 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0, Canada, 250-725-2526
Picnic Charcuterie is a Tofino favorite. It’s locally owned like most of the businesses in town. Picnic specializes in cured meats, preserves, and cheeses. They produce high-quality cured meats using local and seasonal BC ingredients. What makes Picnic Charcuterie unique is that they practice traditional production and aging techniques, using only the minimum required preservatives.
They believe in directly supporting farmers and harvesters who practice sustainable management techniques and prioritize sourcing ingredients from Vancouver Island producers. Stop by for a chat and you’ll see how passionate these folks are about their meats.
Best part is that since Tofino Brewery across the street does not serve food, you can buy a sandwich here and bring it into the brewery and wash it down with a pint of local beer!
Address: 700 Industrial Way, Tofino, British Columbia, 250-889-5738.
Tofino Botanical Gardens Foundation a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s temperate coastal rainforests.
With 12 acres of paths and boardwalks, the Tofino Botanical Gardens provides visitors with waterside trails filled with plants and art installations from as far away as Chile and Japan. Learn to forage while studying the indigenous and foreign plants in the gardens. Walk on over to the mud flats of Clayoquot Sound and take some Insta-worthy photos of the tree-covered islands, including Meares Island. Don’t forget stops at the large cedar tree, herb garden, flower garden, and the pond.
The gardens are also home to the Clayoquot Field Station, a hostel-like accommodation with daily discovery programs. There’s always something to do and someone around to talk to. The onsite Darwin Café makes some great food and coffee, and also has one heck of a view from the gardens.
Address: 1084 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0, Canada, 250-725-1220
Whether or not you’re a surfer, Tofino’s beaches are world-famous. There are plenty of stretches of sand to choose from. Tofino doesn’t call itself the Surf Capital of Canada for no reason. There are consistent beach breaks year-round here, no matter what the swell size. Pacific Surf School provides lessons for those who wish to learn.
Address: 441 Campbell St, Tofino, British Columbia V0R 2Z0