Travel Spotlight

Pacific Rim

On the western fringe of Canada is the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island, world renowned for pristine beaches, whale watching, hiking, incredible fishing, and winter storm watching.

Alberni Valley

The journey begins on Highway 4 just outside Parksville on the east side of Vancouver Island and heads to Port Alberni. Along the way you will drive through MacMillan Provincial Park/Cathedral Grove where the famous stand of old-growth Douglas firs is simply awe inspiring. Take some time to stop and explore the forest on a guided trail.

Port Alberni is surrounded by tree-covered mountains and the deep blue waters of the Somass River. It is nestled in Alberni Valley at the head of Vancouver Island’s longest inlet, the Alberni Inlet and its rich salmon fishing grounds.  A visit to the fish hatchery on the Stamp River or the fish ladders in the Stamp River Provincial Park is fascinating. Attractions include the Alberni Valley Museum, Maritime Discovery Centre, and the McLean Mill National Historic Site which you can visit via a steam train ride from downtown.

Ucluelet & Tofino

Heading west out of Port Alberni along Highway 4, the road meanders through unspoiled mountain wilderness on its journey towards Ucluelet (96 km / 60 mi) or Tofino (122 km / 76 mi). These picturesque communities are located 42 km apart, at either end of popular Long Beach.

Kayaking the Broken Group Islands Photo Kim Walker

Kayaking the Broken Group Islands Photo Kim Walker

Ucluelet, meaning “safe harbour” and pronounced “yew-kloo-let,” is 8 km (5 mi) south of the West Coast Junction and is the Gateway to the Broken Group Islands. The harbour bustles with a mixture of classic fishing boats and modern yachts. Numerous picnic areas along the beaches and rocky coast offer spectacular views and, in winter time, storm watching is among the world’s best. Several well-known restauranteurs have opted for the quieter life and provide Ucluelet with exceptional dining experiences not normally found in such small communities. Fresh local seafood is a Ucluelet specialty and is featured on most menus.

Before reaching Tofino you travel through the Pacific Rim National Park. The Park consists of three geographically separate areas including Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail. The Long Beach area is named for the longest of a series of beaches on Vancouver Island’s west coast. The Broken Group Islands is an archipelago of over 100 islets in the Barkley Sound and the West Coast Trail is 77 km (48 mi) of challenging hiking which was originally used as a life-saving trail for shipwrecked mariners battling the elements of Vancouver Island’s west coast. The West Coast Trail is so popular today that you must book ahead. By limiting access this helps to protect this environmentally sensitive area.

The picturesque, coastal district of Tofino is an intriguing contrast of old-growth forests, white sand beaches, and the ever-churning Pacific Ocean. Tofino, in the centre of Clayoquot Sound, has been designated B.C.’s first United Nations Biosphere Reserve. A variety of world-class accommodations, excellent restaurants specializing in seafood, and plenty of exhilarating activities await visitors. It is easy to book an open Zodiac or boat tour to visit the Gray Whales or to rent a kayak to enjoy the peaceful waters of Clayoquot Sound.

Bamfield

On the south arm of the Alberni Inlet from Port Alberni you can travel 100 km of gravel logging roads to one of Vancouver Islands most remote communities, Bamfield located on Barkeley Sound. Others take the more peaceful route via the MV Lady Rose, a vintage coaster serving remote communities. Bamfield is a fishing village with boardwalks that act as the main street, joining houses, stores, resorts, and marine suppliers. Bamfield offers superb salt water fishing and a staging post for other adventures such as the north point of the West Coast Trail or sea kayaking the broken islands.

Pacific Rim & Nearby Accommodations

19 Listings

A Snug Harbour Inn

A Snug Harbour Inn

Ucluelet

Located in the small fishing village of Ucluelet just south of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island this luxury oceanfront bed & breakfast has been selected by TripAdvisor as one of Canada’s top 25 B&B’s. Ideally situated on the Wild Pacific Trail, A Snug Harbour Inn is also conveniently ... Read more
Arrowvale Riverside Campground and Cottages

Arrowvale Riverside Campground and Cottages

Port Alberni

Nestled on lush riverside grounds in beautiful Port Alberni, Arrowvale Riverside Campground & Cottages offers a traditional camping experience. With picturesque vistas surrounding our property, you’ll find it easy to sit back and relax. Choose from one of our 40 campsites with many situated near t ... Read more
Bella Pacifica Campground

Bella Pacifica Campground

Tofino

Campground, RV Park 3 Km (2 mi.) South of Tofino, walk on oceanfront on sandy Mackenzie Beach. Ocean front and wilderness campsites, full and partial hookups, cable, flush toilets, pay showers, laundry, ice. ... Read more
Canadian Princess Lodge & Marina

Canadian Princess Lodge & Marina

Ucluelet

On the rugged shores of Ucluelet near the most spectacular beaches on Canada’s west coast, The Canadian Princess Lodge is a base for all things wild. The west coast of Vancouver Island, the very core of the Pacific Rim, draws adventurers, surfers, explorers, and hikers to its beautifully rough set ... Read more
Crystal Cove Beach Resort

Crystal Cove Beach Resort

Tofino

Nestled among ancient cedars at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, this family oriented, pet friendly resort is located on Mackenzie Beach, just 5 minutes from the town of Tofino. From beachfront cabins with private hot tubs, to secluded cabins set in the rainforest, you will be immersed in the beauty t ... Read more
Esta Villa Motel

Esta Villa Motel

Port Alberni

Welcome to the gateway of scenic Long Beach and majestic Pacific Rim National Park! Esta Villa Motel is situated in Port Alberni near the Alberni Inlet, surrounded by beautiful lakes, forests, and mountains. Our motel offers sleeping units and one-bedroom kitchen suites. Each room features free WiFi ... Read more
Hi Tofino, Whalers on the Point Guesthouse

Hi Tofino, Whalers on the Point Guesthouse

Tofino

Indulge in the beautiful waterfront luxury hostel of Hi Tofino, Whalers on the Point Guesthouse. Offering guest lockers, bike rentals, communal open concept kitchen, BBQ and outdoor dining area, guests have their needs meet and experience a comfortable stay. Whether you are interested in surfing, fi ... Read more
Ocean Village Beach Resort

Ocean Village Beach Resort

Tofino

Nestled among the breathtaking landscape of Tofino on the waterfront of MacKenzie Beach, Ocean Village Beach Resort is a tranquil escape from the fast-paced city life. With unique “beehive” arches constructed on every cottage, guests are spoiled with panoramic views of MacKenzie Beach and the Pa ... Read more
Pachena Bay Campground

Pachena Bay Campground

Bamfield

Pachena Bay Campground is nestled in an old-growth rainforest next to an expansive, sandy beach that directly faces the open Pacific Ocean. The campground has been smartly upgraded to welcome RVs, campers and tenting. ... Read more
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve - Green Point Campground

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve - Green Point Campground

Ucluelet

Poised on the bluffs above Long Beach, Green Point Campground features 94 vehicle drive-in campsites, 20 walk-in campsitesand a group campsite. Pacific Rim is known for long sandy beaches and lush coastal temperate rainforests. Green Point Campground fills every night during high season, and reserva ... Read more
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Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989