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Visit Tofino: A Surf Town On The Western Coast of Canada

Tofino lies off the beaten path on the western coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This small town of around 1,900 residents is home to great surfing as well as other outdoor recreation, delicious dining, and fun shopping. Driving to the island will require taking a ferry and from there it’s a windy drive through beautiful forest, but the journey is well worth the destination.

North Chesterman’s Beach. Photo by Hayden Seder
Where to stay in Tofino

There are several areas in town available for RV and camping, most of them right at the beach! 

Mackenzie Beach RV & Camping is a beachfront collection of camping and RV sites as well as rustic cabins and re-imagined vintage Airstreams. Monthly RV site rentals are available September 1-June 30 with advance reservations for all RV sites. Sites are available with 15 or 30 amp full hook-ups or partial hookups with electric and water at the site. Enjoy amenities like laundry, access to beautiful Mackenzie Beach, free high-speed Wi-Fi, coin-operated laundry, hot coin showers, a lobby with firewood, and a selection of basic camping supplies and dining at Ronnie’s Beachside BBQ!

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Long Beach Golf Course Campground is nestled in the rainforest between Tofino and nearby town of Ucluelet, giving access to tons of attractions in both locations. The Long Beach Golf Course Campground has 76 large, private campsites just minutes from Long Beach. Each site has a picnic table and fire pit and running drinking water throughout the sites. There are also flush toilets, coin-operated laundry, a free library, free showers, and surf reports. Other amenities available for purchase are 18-hole mini-putt, a driving range, championship 9-hole golf course, paintball, food from RedCan Gourmet, cold beer, ice cream, and mobile massage/yoga.

The Bella Pacifica Campground is located right on Mackenzie Beach and features walk-out waterfront sites, private, forested sites and full hook-up sites for all RV vehicles. Each campsite has a picnic table and firepit as well as access to on-site facilities including three washroom buildings with flush toilets and pay showers, free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and public payphones. Firewood and ice are available for purchase at the campground office. Advance reservations are required for summer camping and recommended throughout the year.

Crystal Cove Beach RV Camping & Glamping is also located on Mackenzie Beach and offers 34 modern log cabins, 66 fully-serviced RV sites and 9 “glamping” trailers. Their RV sites offer 30-amp power, sewer, and water hookups as well as a picnic table, firepit, and Wi-Fi. A Starbucks coffee bar is located on-site, and a shower house provides flush toilets, sinks, and showers with running hot and cold water.

Photo by Hayden Seder
What to do in Tofino

The biggest draw to Tofino is the surfing and there are a number of places to surf, camps and instructors, and surf shops. Check out one of the five beaches: Chesterman Beach, Cox Bay Beach, Mackenzie Beach, Long Beach, or Wickaninnish Beach. Rent or buy gear from numerous shops like Westside Surf or Long Beach Surf shop. Lessons and surf camps can be found at Surf Sister, Tofino Surfing School and more. 

Other fun activities in the area include biking, hiking, fishing, golfing, kayaking, canoeing, zip-lining, bear watching, birding, whale watching, and more. Journey to Hot Springs Cove located 27 nautical miles northwest of Tofino either by a 20-minute seaplane flight or a 1.5-hour boat ride. A boardwalk trail a little less than a mile takes you through old-growth forest to the hot springs.

There are also numerous artists and galleries in town to explore to get a bit more cultural after a day of being outdoors!

Rhino Coffee. Photo by Hayden Seder
Where to eat in Tofino

This small town has the dining quality and quantity of a metropolitan area with vegan and vegetarian options galore, bakeries and coffee shops, restaurants and pubs, and breweries and distilleries. For fresh-baked goods or coffee try Rhino Coffee, located on Main Street and known for their homemade donuts. The Tofitian Café is on the Highway near many of the surf breaks so it makes a great stop for coffee and fresh-baked goods after a good sesh. 

For a quick lunch bite, try the Tacofino Cantina food truck, open 11am-6pm every day. They offer up Mexican-inspired, West coast-influenced fish tacos, big burritos, and fresh drinks, all for under twelve dollars. Big Daddy’s Fish Fry shack serves up delicious fresh, tempura-battered fries, halibut, cod, salmon, and prawns with homemade tartar sauce and options like popcorn shrimp, scallops, coconut prawns, fish and beef burgers, chicken, chowders, Caesar salad, smoked oyster, deep-fried pickles, hot dogs, crab, and Humbolt squid.

For dinner, get a little more refined and try Shed, a delicious burgers, bowls, and brews restaurant that serves only the highest quality products from local farms and waters, a common theme in the restaurants here. Open from 11:30am-10pm, there’s a variety for everyone and every meal from a breakfast sandwich to the Shed burger to a poke bowl. Wolf in the Fog is another great dinner option with a local fish and forage-focused menu. The restaurant does dinner every day as well as happy hour and brunch on weekends. Dinner selections include crispy lingcod cheek, charred octopus, house-made pasta, and a Canadian Angus ribeye.

For a taste of the brewery and distillery scene in Tofino, check out the Tofino Brewing Company for small-batch, handcrafted beer made with high-quality malted barley and Pacific Northwest hops. Their tasting room is open every day from 11am-10pm where you can try a flight of their beers or take some to-go. The Tofino Distillery brews up certified organic spirits as well as craft tonics. Their lineup includes several vodkas, psychedelic jellyfish absinthe, old-growth cedar gin and more. 

Photo by Hayden Seder
Where to shop in Tofino

There are tons of goods to be found in Tofino from handcrafted chocolates to fun souvenirs. The Factory Tofino is a creative, working space showcasing the work of three Tofino “makers”; a jeweler, a photographer, and a leather goods maker. A retail shop and gallery showcases their work and is open to the public for shopping and seeing the artists in action 7 days a week.

Try Merge Curated Goods for thoughtfully engineered products from Canadian and International artisans. For some classic souvenirs and Tofino-related products, check out Driftwood Gifts.

You can learn more about the area on