The Guide


Find it on the map

Regional carriers such as Orca Airways run daily flights to Tofino’s small-plane airport from Vancouver or Victoria. (888-359-6722;
Most people, however, take the ferry from Seattle to Victoria or Nanaimo, on the east side of Vancouver Island, and then drive. Tofino is about a 4.5-hour drive from Victoria, but the views of mountains, old-growth Douglas fir, and the shores of Kennedy Lake make it easy on the eyes.

Sobo This pillar of Tofino cuisine finally has upgraded its digs from an old purple lunch truck to a four-walled restaurant. Killer Fish Tacos and polenta fries—preferably drowned in spicy Caesar sauce—are huge hits, but nothing on the menu disappoints. (Lunch $4-12, dinner $20-29; 250-725-2341;

The Pointe (at the Wickaninnish Inn) Even if you’re not staying at “the Wick,” a splurge on a meal is entirely worth it. Set on a rocky perch with huge windows looking out over Chesterman Beach, the Pointe specializes in exquisitely prepared seafood like seared halibut with endives and almond nage, or lamb chops with medjool dates and parsnip purée. (Lunch $16-25, dinner $26-42; 800-333-4604;

Wickaninnish Inn One of the area’s signature resorts, the Wick’s attention to detail and its unadulterated Pacific views explain why it remains booked much of the year in spite of its high price tag. Many of the rooms include a soaker tub that looks out on the shore at Chesterman Beach. (Prices can vary from $280-1,500 a night, depending on the season and room; 800-333-4604;

Middle Beach Lodge Although the rooms are quite simple, all are located right on the shores of Middle Beach. The freshly baked cookies served in the reading room each night are unbeatable, and for groups and families, there are individual cabins for rent. ($100-450; 250-725-2900;

Inn at Tough City There are just eight rooms at this harborside hotel in Tofino. Book one with a water view to watch kayakers and the occasional seaplane making their way across Browning Pass, the inlet to the east of town. ($99-229; 250-725-2021;

Jamie’s Whaling Station Jamie’s, which has been in business for more than 25 years, hosts whale-watching tours by Zodiac or 65-foot boat. The outfit also offers bear-watching tours and trips to Hot Springs Cove, among other adventures. ($55-165; 250-725-3919;
Tofino Sea-Kayaking Company Jump in for an instruction course or one of many tour options, ranging from a morning jaunt around Meares Island to a six-day camping and kayaking adventure spent among the beaches and islands of Clayoquot Sound. (From $59 for a half-day trip, $1,440 for a six-day excursion; 250-725-4222;

Surf Sister For a terrific introduction to surfing on beginner-friendly waves, consider a morning lesson with Surf Sister. The encouraging, no-pressure vibe makes everyone feel like a pro, and the owners claim most of their students finish the two-hour lesson having successfully ridden at least a couple of waves. ($75 for group lesson, $145 for private lesson; 250-725-4456;