- Wander the beaches! Tofino Hummingbird Cottage is just steps from the sandy, driftwood-strewn expanse of Chesterman Beach, named one of Canada’s best surfing beaches by Lonely Planet. Nearby Long Beach, Cox Bay and McKenzie Beach also offer surf, sunsets and the kind of mystical healing powers only the ocean can provide. Don’t forget to use environmentally safe sunscreen (on sunny days), but remember that your skin needs some sun to manufacture essential Vitamin D. I love ēcōMD Clean Natural Daily Solar Defence SPF 30 Cream, which is reef safe and non-toxic.
- Go bird watching! Dozens of species can be observed year-round, but late April through May is the best time, when flocks of sandpipers, plovers, whimbrels, and many other shorebirds pass through the Tofino area. Find out more or take a bird watching tour.
- Put on your walking shoes. There are plenty of forests in and around Tofino Hummingbird Cottage and in nearby Pacific Rim National Park just a few miles away. The sights and smells of some of Canada’s tallest trees with stay with you forever- fantastic Forest Bathing opportunities. For the best hikes, visit this 10 top Tofino hikes website.
- Take an e-bike tour. Another appropriate way to explore this region’s unspoiled beauty is on a silent, comfortable, electrically assisted bike. Riders of all ages and abilities get a helmet, e-bike and experienced guide Marc to lead them to the sites locals know best – leaving only the tiniest tire print. Take an e-bike tour.
- Kayaking. Yes, Tofino is famous for surf, but with so much of it sheltered by nearby islands, there are ample opportunities for kayaking in calm, smooth waters. Local outfitters can fix you up with boats and gear, as well as escort you on a paddle that suits your fitness, time, experience and budget.
- See what’s bruin. Browning Pass Boat Charters is a wildlife touring company owned and operated by lifelong Tofino residents Mike and Linda White. They specialize in bear-watching boat cruises in the calm waters of Clayoquot Sound. I had a brilliant time bear watching with them when my family was visiting from Ireland. They also offer charters for whale watching, Hot Springs Cove tours, the Freedom Cove Artist Tour and evening cruises for small groups.
- Surfing, paddling boarding. Tofino is the best place in Canada to surf, and you can find waves of all sizes at Tofino’s main surf beaches on the west side of the peninsula, including Chesterman, Long Beach, Cox Bay and Mackenzie. Or enjoy paddleboarding on the much calmer waters of Browning Passage on the protected (east) side. Boards and lessons for both sports are available from a number Tofino outfitters.
- Yummy local food. Tofino’s cuisine is known for being healthy, locally sourced and as tasty as its scenic delights. Fresh mussels? Got ‘em. Scrumptious local fish? Yep. Strictly vegan? Fill your boots. Trip Advisor can tell you all you need to know: click here.
- Hot Springs Cove. This is one of my favourite places in the world. You can stand under a warm waterfall any time of year, or bask in the tide pools and enjoy the bracing contrast of the cool flow. Hot Springs Cove is about 20 minutes by float plane or a couple of hours by boat, followed by a 45-minute hike on a boardwalk once you disembark. Many tours and flights available in town.
- Visit local artists
Mark Hobson Gallery. Born in Vancouver, Mark spent some of his youth in faraway parts of the world such as Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland. A biologist by training, he taught science in high school for nine years before moving to painting fulltime. Now in BC, Mark has been painting in his home town of Tofino for over thirty years. Mark supports conservation of the wildlife he passionately depicts. Wildlife and landscapes of the Canadian Pacific Coast are his subjects – misty forests, thundering waves, luminous tranquil water, birds in the sky and animals on land and under the water – and he infuses all with his dramatic use of light. http://markhobson.com/artist
Roy Henry Vickers Art Gallery. Built in 1986 with the help of Roy’s family and legendary carver Henry Nolla, this gallery is housed within a traditional Northwest Coast longhouse with a carved and painted cedar plank exterior and doors of beaten copper. Inside you’ll discover soft lighting, restful music, and dozens of Roy’s paintings, original prints, calendars, art cards, and reproductions hanging on hand adzed cedar walls. The gallery is free and open seven days a week throughout the year, and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors annually. https://royhenryvickers.com/