About Tofino Seasons

Experience the many moods of Tofino as the seasons subtly fold one into another.

Appreciate the subtle changes year-round. In fall, the rhythm of life slows as the crisp and cozy weather melds into the gigantic swells of winter storm watching. Spring showers usher in salmonberry blossoms and long, sunny summer days. The succession of flora and fauna each year will surprise and delight you along the way.

Surfer walking on a long on the beach with sunbeams peeking though the forest in the background
Mushroom in the hands of a forager

Fall

The salmon run heralds the fall season of shorter days, earlier golden hours, and crisp mornings. This slower season fosters calm with more time for nature walks, reading in cozy corners, quiet surf sessions, comfort food by candlelight, and open mic nights with friends as rain patters on the roof.

Two surfers walking along the beach with boards and surf and an island in the background
Looking over the shoulder of a person at a restaurant with dinner and a cocktail on the table

Winter

The height of dramatic coal grey skies and stormy seas comes in the winter. This is when we witness nature in motion - seafoam accumulates along the high tide line and windswept trees creak. The turbulence of storms mixes deep ocean nutrients and brings them to the surface, generating more food in the ocean as the coast reawakens. Winter in Tofino is storm watching, the adventurous cold plunge, and quieter days that welcome inward contemplation.

Sea foam

Microscopic phytoplankton and other dissolved nutrients in the ocean like calcium and silica get churned up in the winter swell, creating sea foam that washes ashore.

Waves crashing against the shore in a storm

Jeremy Koreski

View from the sky of small islands amidst the clouds

Jeremy Koreski

Looking down on surf, sand and beach

Jeremy Koreski

Sunset view of a small island attached by beach

Jeremy Koreski

Grey whale travelling in the green sea
Skunk cabbage in bloom

Spring

In Canada, spring arrives first on Vancouver Island. In Tofino, the herring spawn announces the season with brilliant turquoise blue waters. This short-lived event is a feeding frenzy for the likes of sea lions and coincides with the Grey and Humpback whale migrations through inlets and sounds. By the middle of the season, Tofino is in bloom with towering rhododendron shrubs that line the streets a vibrant rose, red and white.

Bear necessities

When Black bears emerge in the spring from torpor (a deep sleep over the winter, similar to hibernation), they eat the roots of the beautiful yellow skunk cabbage to reset their digestion. 

Long view of ocean, surf, sand and forest
Shadow of a person looking at the Milky Way

Summer

Sunny summer days seem to last forever here. As the summer solstice approaches, the days stretch on, with the sunset as late as 9:30 pm. Live out the classic surf dream of a dawn patrol (daybreak surf) with friends, bask in the day’s warmth along the sand, indulge in a charcuterie picnic along driftwood beaches, and hike an offshore trail with a guide with all the extra daylight hours. The ocean’s zooplankton make an appearance after dark in the form of glowing turquoise light (bioluminescence) emitted from the crashing waves. A special spectacle during these warm months.

ʔiisaak pledge

Guests are welcomed with open arms in Tofino, but they are expected to respect the land, animals, people, and community while travelling within the Hahuulthi (territory) of the ƛaɁuukwiatḥ (Tla-o-qui-aht) Ḥaw̓iiḥ (Hereditary Chiefs). Take the ʔiisaak Pledge to ensure that you travel here thoughtfully.

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