Visiting the beach for sunset is one of the best things to do in Tofino! Looking out from Coomber's beach in Tofin othe sky has turned all shades of pink for a stunning sunset scene.

Best Things To Do in Tofino BC in 2024 (from a BC expert)

19+ Unforgettable Things to Do Around Tofino

I have been living in British Columbia for 9 years, and have made multiple visits each year to Tofino! Regardless if it is your first or only visit or you can’t get enough of Tofino, like me, there is so much to do!!

Tofino is a magical oceanfront town located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It is surrounded Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is a part of Pacific Rim National Park.

As a BC local, I can assure you that when people ask Is Tofino worth the hype, I have no hesitation in saying YES!!! Regardless if you are a nature lover and are looking to explore the wild west coast, or you love to curl up and relax and take in the views from a cabin or the beach, you will find many unforgettable things to do!

Surfers walk along the sand of a Cox Bay beach at sunset
A sunset at one of Tofino’s many stunning beaches

Tofino is located on the unceded traditional territories of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations

Quick and dirty-If you don’t have much time, here are my top 5 picks for the BEST things to do in Tofino

  • Whale Watching
  • Hiking-the hiking in Tofino is unlimited and stunning!!
  • Beaches– Beachcombing, Surfing, Swimming, Tofino’s Beaches are stunning!
  • Food -Food trucks, fine dining, fresh seafood, pizza, the list goes on!

19 Best Things To Do In Tofino

1.Whale Watching

 A grey whale is jumping out of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of British Columbia.
A Grey Whale breeching (jumping) out of the Pacific Ocean

If you enjoy wild life viewing and experiences, a whale watching tour from Tofino is a must do! Go on a guided whale watching tour to spot gray whales, humpback whales, orcas, and other sea creatures. For more information about making decisions about animal safe ethical wildlife tours visit World Animal Protection.

Many local tour operators run tours directly from Pacific Rim National Park.

  1. Cameron Ocean Adventures
  2. Jamie’s Whaling Station
  3. The Whale Centre
  4. Tofino Resort and Marina

2.Surfing

 A woman runs out into the surf carrying a surf board at sunset at one of Tofino's many beaches
Surfing at sunset in Tofino British Columbia

Try surfing in Canada’s world-famous waves. Surfing is a quintessential thing to do in Tofino year round! Due to the cold water all year, you’ll want to use a wet suit 🙂

  • Tofino Paddle Surf You can rent surfboards, take lessons, and book Tofino surfing tours, as well as paddleboards and SUP gear. Tofino Paddle Surf is located right on Mackenzie Beach.
  • Tofino Surf Adventures offers lessons, surf gear, and surf coaching. Tofino Surf Adventures offers private and group surfing lessons in Tofino for ages 5 and up.
  • Surf Sister is the only surf school in Canada to be certified by National Surf Schools and Instructors Association. Surfing lessons, rentals, camps, and surf apparel. As a bonus for Pacific Sands guests-a guest exclusive surf shack is on the property at Pacific Sands

3. Hiking & Walking

Overlooking Tofino and the Pacific Rim from the top of the best hike in Tofino, Lone Cone.
The views from the top of Lone Cone, a beautiful hike close to Tofino

Because of Tofino’s location, you will find plenty of trails through beautiful rainforest and along rugged coastlines. Immerse yourself in the incredible natural beauty of the wild west coast. Find the best hiking trails around Tofino here: Top 13 Tofino Hikes

4. Hot Springs

Hot springs cove close to Tofino is pictured,  the waterfall pour over the rocks into the hot pools below.
Hot Springs Cove is an amazing thing to do in Tofino!

If like most people, you enjoy hot springs, this is an epic Vancouver Island day-trip: visit Hot Springs Cove. After being closed to the public for a couple of years, Hotsprings Cove is open in 2023. Maquinna Marine Provincial Park is a 20 minute seaplane ride or 1.5 hour boat ride from Tofino. Either way, you’ll be treated to extraordinary views along the way.

Book trips to Hotsprings Cove

Jamie’s, Tofino Air, Tofino Resort and Marina all offer trips to visit the stunning, hidden natural hot springs of Hotsprings Cove. Enjoy a relaxing soak surrounded by the rainforest.

5. Kayak & SUP Paddleboard

Kayaking in the waters of Clayoquot sound, in the Tofino Harbour.
Sea kayaking

Looking for the perfect place to paddle, try the inner harbour of Tofino. Clayoquot Sound waters are calm and gentle. This means you can paddle by kayak or stand up paddle-board across the harbour to Meares Island or around through the channels. If you choose to visit Ucluelet, just 20 mins down the highway, the Ucluelet harbour is another great spot to paddle. Additionally, there are many day trips and multi-day kayaking trips you can book!

Kayaking tours and rentals in Tofino

Kayaking tours with knowledgeable guides are available from many locations in Pacific Rim National Park

6. Fishing

Go on a fishing trip to catch salmon or halibut with a professional guide

7. Visit Tofino’s Best Beaches

Something very unique about the Pacific Rim Area is the variety of stunning sandy and rocky beaches. You’ll find shells, rocks, a wide variety of plant life, and sea creatures including starfish, sea urchins, anemones, and coral.

8. Photography

Capture the mind-blowing scenery of Pacific Rim National Park on camera, from lush rainforests to dramatic coastline. Even better, take a sea plane from Tofino to Vancouver, and document the gorgeous views! Maybe you want to have someone else shoot your vacation for memories that will last a life time, why not try a professional photography package

9. Take an ATV tour to view the Pacific Rim Peninsula from Above

Conceivably, you might want to take in the views of the area from above. Vancouver Island local guides will take you via All Terrain Vehicle to mind-blowing off the beaten path locations. Views from Barkley Sound over the Pacific Rim will take your breath away!

10. Rent Bikes

A woman rides a cruiser bike on the beach at Cox Bay Beach in Tofino

Rent a bike and explore the scenic trails and quiet backroads of the Pacific Rim. For a unique activity-rent bikes from Tofino Bike and cruise along the beaches. You’ll be treated to amazing views from your bike. For a real treat, bike along the beach at sunset! Additionally, there is a paved trail along the highway, making bike travel easy and safe.

11. Visit Naa’Waya’Sum Coastal Indigenous Gardens

While visiting the coastal rainforest, take the opportunity to learn more about the regions’s natural history and Indigenous Culture. As you are exploring, you will notice the beautiful trails throughout the lush rainforest. Formerly known as Tofino Botanical Gardens, you will now have opportunities to view Indigenous carving practices and interact with Nuu’chah’nulth master artists and knowledge holders.

12. Take in Golden Hour and Sunset

Sunset from Cox Bay lookout in Tofino, looking down on the waves of the Pacific Ocean
Sunset from Cox Bay lookout, overlooking Cox Bay beach in Tofino

Being on the West side of the West Coast of Vancouver Island means dazzling sunsets. Choose any of the beaches around Tofino or Ucluelet for incredible sunset spots

Now that you know, west coast =best coast, I’ll let you in on 2 of my personal favourite sunset spots: Tonquin Beach and Cox Bay Lookout. Grab some takeout from a restaurant in town and eat overlooking the bay or relaxing on a sandy beach! You can read all about the beaches of Tofino and Ucluelet here.

Things to do in Tofino when it Rains

Rainforest covers the west coast of British Columbia Consequently, it does rain quite a bit! Thankfully, there is still lots to do in Tofino when it rains:

13. Drive the Pacific Rim Highway from Tofino to Ucluelet

Drive 20 minutes down the highway to Ucluelet, another beautiful oceanside town. Ucluelet has plenty of things to do, see, and eat as well! Check out the best things to do in Ucluelet here.

14. Take a tour of a Brewery

Visit the Tofino Brewing Company or The Tofino Distillery Tasting Room

15. Make yourself at home and check out local shops and boutiques throughout Tofino.

You will find so many great options and local brands. Pop into any shop along main street in Tofino, and you will find it hard to choose your favourite!

16. Spend time visiting the many galleries and studios in Tofino.

Information about some of the many studios is available via Tourism Tofino.

The original Tacofino food truck in Tofino, is now a permanent food truck, it is orange and has a wood base.
The original Tacofino food truck. A must visit in Tofino

17. Eat!

Enjoy fresh seafood, craft beer, and locally roasted coffee at Tofino’s many restaurants and cafes. No visit to Tofino is complete without visiting the food-truck that started it all, Tacofino . You will not have a hard time finding good food (and drinks!) in the area-check out this list here for more ideas.

18. Take a rainy day hike

Now that you know about the rain, embrace the west coast lifestyle and take a rainy day hike!

19. Visit a spa

Book relaxing treatments including massage and facials

20. Cold Hot Therapy

Maybe you have heard of nordic saunas? Check out one of the nordic saunas for alternating cold and hot therapy around the Pacific Rim, or head for a lovely chilly, polar plunge!

21. Storm Watch

The winter storms in Tofino can be quite spectacular to watch. The waves are huge. A great way to embrace the cozy and watch from the windows of many beautiful businesses. Be sure to follow suggestions regarding access to beaches during storms-the waves are no joke!

Map of Tofino

A map of the village of Tofino, British Columbia
Map of the village of Tofino courtesy of Tofino Adventure Map (found on BC Ferries)
A map of the area of Vancouver Island from Tofino to Ucluelet British Columbia.
Pacific Rim Region of the West Coast of Vancouver Island from Tofino to Ucluelet

Top Tours in Tofino

Whale Watching with Cameron Ocean Adventures

Cameron Ocean Adventures is run by Caleb Cameron. Born and raised on the west coast, he knows the area incredibly well. Caleb is an experienced local west coast guide who shares his love of the ocean and passion for whale watching & fishing with Cameron Ocean Adventures guests.

Incredible 3 day Kayaking group through the Broken Islands Group in Pacific National Park

Fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the west coast with a 3-day, small-group kayaking tour of the Barkley Sound. You’ll spend time kayaking, hiking, and exploring forests and beaches. Tour includes meals, camping and kayaking equipment, transit, and is suitable for all levels including beginngers.

Offroad tour, Pacific Rim to Barkley Sound Viewpoint

Experience the beautiful west coast scenery, all from the comfort of an all wheel drive vehicle. Take in breathtaking mountain viewpoints, amazing valleys with waterfalls, pristine rivers, lakes, rainforest. Wildlife viewing opportunities include Eagles, Black Bear, & Roosevelt Elk

Where to Stay in Tofino

Accommodations in Tofino range from budget stays to luxury resorts and are located right in the village of Tofino, in the forest, or beachfront on the famous sandy beaches of the Pacific Rim. In addition, Ucluelet, which is just 20 minutes down the Pacific Rim Highway offers many beautiful accommodations. If you are visiting Tofino during the summer, you’ll want to make sure to have accommodations booked before starting your trip.

📍Camping There are many beautiful spots for camping near Tofino. No better way to experience the West Coast beauty than to immerse yourself in it! It is important to know that there is no free camping or boondocking in Tofino, for real!

📍Best Budget Spot Whaler’s on the Point Guesthouse is walking distance to Tofino’s town centre and Tonquin Beach. Guests have access to shared kitchen facilities and have incredible views \ of the Pacific Ocean and Clayoquot Sound

📍Best Mid-Range Spot Hotel Zed Tofino – Eclectic retro inspired decor makes this pet friendly, family oriented spot a hit with guests! This hotel has a restaurant on site and is within a few kms of sandy beaches.

📍Best Luxury Spot Pacific Sands Beach Resort – “As Beachfront as it Gets” located right on Cox Bay Beach, luxurious rooms, fully equipped kitchens, on site bike rentals, surf rentals and school, as well as barrel saunas (Tuff City Saunas), firepits, and outoor showers, it doesn’t get more West Coast Luxury than this!

A woman standing on a sandy beach close to Tofino BC at sunset.  She is  looking towards the camera
Sunset from the beach at Pacific Sands Beach Resort in Tofino British Columbia. Jacket from a local Vancouver Island Company-Modest Maverick

FAQ: Tofino Travel Tips

The Pacific Rim area is an incredible place to visit for both outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to relax.

What is Tofino famous for?

Tofino is known for it’s laid back atmosphere, stunning beaches, surfing, huge trees, ancient old-growth rainforests, beautiful hiking trails, and abundance of wildlife including whales, black bears, sea otters, wolves, and sea life. Visiting Tofino is a nature lover’s dream, and a surfer’s paradise.

Are sharks in Tofino?

Yes, there are sharks in the waters of this area of British Columbia. However, the risk of a shark attack in this area is extremely low. The types of sharks here are not aggressive toward humans and are rarely encountered by swimmers or surfers.

How many days is enough in Tofino?

Plan to spend 3-5 days around the Pacific Rim to experience everything the area has to offer! Chances are, once you visit once, if you have the opportunity, like me, you will find reasons to continue to come to back

What is the best month to visit Tofino?

Tofino is a great vacation destination year round. In order to help you decide when to visit Tofino, here is more information about what each season might look like:

  • Summer (June-August) is peak tourist season. With more sun, comes warmer temperatures. Summer equals great swimming, surfing, and time in nature. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so expect crowds and higher prices. You’ll need to pre-book accommodations and ferries if you are travelling to Tofino from Vancouver.
  • Shoulder Season : Spring (March-May) and Fall (September-November) offer occasional sunny days, and some rainy days. There are less crowds, and accommodations are cheaper during shoulder season in the Pacific Rim.
  • Winter: (December-February): Does it snow in Tofino? It does not snow very often -maybe 1-2 times a year. Having said that, winters can be cold and VERY wet. Trust me as a local to the area, the rain in the PNW in winter is no joke! However, it is also a great time for storm watching and whale watching. There are also many festivals and events during the winter months, including Tofino Winterlights Festival and the Pacific Rim Whale Festival

Final Thoughts: Things To Do In Tofino

SO, Is Tofino worth the hype? Tofino has exciting festivals and many things to do year-round. Not to mention, beautiful beaches, surfing, incredible accommodations and food, hiking trails galore, laid back atmosphere, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Regardless of the time of year you visit, you won’t be disappointed in the Tofino area. SO, Yes Tofino is worth the hype! If you are interested in other BC getaways from Vancouver, you might also be interested in Bowen Island!

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