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Tofino Surfing, Photo Destination BC Brian Caissie

Tofino

Located on the stunning shores of the Pacific Ocean on the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island lies Tofino. With magnificent scenery, wonderful beaches and a backdrop of mountains you will never tire of anything to do. Whale watching, fishing, birding, kayaking – the list is endless.

The best surfing beaches are Chesterman Beach and Cox Bay but with 35 km (22 mi) of surfable beach there is plenty of room for everyone. Long Beach is an attached community, located in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It is without doubt Tofino’s (and arguably Canada’s) most famous beach. You can take a one-hour boat ride or short flight to Hot Springs Cove. Walk the 1.5 km (1 mi) boardwalk and soak in seven successive (hot to cooler) geothermal hot spring pools.

You will also enjoy the stunning views and surrounding waterfalls. Wander the Tofino Botanical Gardens, visit the Rainforest Interpretive Centre & Whale Centre Museum, enjoy the carvings, original prints, paintings and more at the Eagle Aerie Gallery. Best of all you can just relax and watch the surf roll in. And if you return in the winter you will be able to do some amazing storm watching.

A Bear on the Long Beach Golf Course in Tofino.

Location

Tofino is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is the official western terminus of the Trans Canada Highway. Accessed via Highway 19 north and Highway 4 west from Nanaimo, Tofino is 40 km (25 mi) north of Ucluelet, 126 km (78 mi) west of Port Alberni and 207 km (128 mi) northwest of Nanaimo.

An aerial view of the dock at Tofino.

A Step Back in Time

The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations have made Clayoquot Sound their home for thousands of years. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations village of Opitsaht (across the water from Tofino on Meares Island) is thought to have been continuously inhabited for at least the past 5,000 years, according to carbon dating of a long-buried stash of discarded clamshells. The word Clayoquot comes from Tla-o- qui-aht, and is said to mean “people who are different from who they used to be.”

The earliest recorded European contact with Vancouver Island’s First Nations residents occurred just north of Clayoquot Sound, between Estevan Point and the Escalante River. In 1774 Captain Juan Pérez was sent north to reassert the long standing Spanish claim on the west coast of North America. Pérez reached the Queen Charlotte Islands in July 1774. After some trading with the Haida people from aboard the Santiago, Pérez turned south and made contact with Hesquiaht people near what are now called Perez Rocks, approximately 40 km north of Tofino. Pérez preceded the more celebrated Captain James Cook, who arrived three years later at Nootka Island, in the spring of 1778.

During the 1792 exploration of Vancouver Island by Captains Galiano and Valdez, Clayoquot Sound’s southernmost inlet gained the name Tofino Inlet honouring Vincente Tofiño, a Spanish hydrographer who taught Galiano cartography.

By the late 1890s, a scattering of homesteads had appeared on the Esowista Peninsula, across the water from Clayoquot. Gradually, the new townsite of Tofino took shape here, as more settlers arrived, mostly Norwegian, Scots, and English.

In 1959, a long-awaited logging road was punched through the mountains between Port Alberni and the coast and Tofino became an increasingly popular destination. In 1970, the Pacific Rim National Park was created, the road was paved, and Tofino became the official western terminus of the Trans Canada Highway.

Golfing at Long Beach in Tofino.

Contact Information

Tourism Tofino

Tofino & Nearby Accommodations

19 Listings

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. ... More Details
Tsawaak RV Resort

Tsawaak RV Resort

Tofino

**TENTATIVE OPENING DATE SEPTEMBER 2021** Whether your setting up camp or parking your RV, there’s nothing but good times ahead at this laid-back outdoor haven. Enjoy private access to Mackenzie Beach, close to the island’s most popular hikes and attractions and the best part? Nature at your do ... More Details
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 ... More Details
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 ... More Details
Tofino Swell Lodge

Tofino Swell Lodge

Tofino

Situated on the beautiful harbour of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound, Tofino Swell Lodge offers waterfront accommodation for a peaceful and relaxing getaway. Join us for a quiet weekend for two and explore the beauty of nature. Our lodge overlooks Meares Island with magnificent mountain views. The guestro ... More Details
Torfino Motel HarborView

Torfino Motel HarborView

Tofino

Welcome to beautiful Tofino! A relaxing and tranquil getaway is waiting for you at Tofino Motel HarborView. Situated on the waterfront of beautiful Clayoqout Sound, our motel encourages guests to unwind on their private balconies and hear the sound of peaceful water and majestic wildlife. The motel ... More Details
Tofino Hostel/ Hi Whalers on the Point Guesthouse

Tofino Hostel/ Hi 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 ... More Details
Surf Grove Campground

Surf Grove Campground

Tofino

Tofino's Top Rated family-friendly campground and the 2020 CCRV Canadian Campground of the Year. Immediate beach access with world-class surfing at Cox Bay and endless adventure in the Pacific Rim National Park. Enjoy an elevated camping experience at Surf Grove. ... More Details
Long Beach Golf Course

Long Beach Golf Course

Tofino

Washroom and shower facilities with flush toilets and hot showers. The most private camping sites on the west coast! Sites include picnic table and firepit.  Minutes away from world famous Long Beach. Lots of wildlife on property, be sure to bring your camera! We have surf rentals, driving range, m ... More Details
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 campsites, one group site and one oTENTik. Pacific Rim is known for long sandy beaches and lush coastal temperate rainforests. Green Point Campground fills every night during high season, ... More Details
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Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989