Find a wealth of wildlife, water pursuits and scenic views

 

TOFINO, Canada » Bald eagles soar overhead along this remote, rugged coastline, while a black bear shows her twin cubs how to find morsels in the bayside brush.

Wildlife is among the many delights of the rugged Pacific shores of Vancouver Island, and the menagerie includes gray whales, orcas, wolves and the occasional cougar. The banana slugs can grow to 9 inches long.

Most famously, Tofino is also the capital of Canada’s small but growing surfing culture.

Wet suits recommended, of course.

But even nonsurfers have plenty of other ways to get out on the water: stand-up paddling, kayaks, a bear-watching cruise, a whale-watching excursion or a fishing charter.

Visitors can also just soak up the stunning scenery of this temperate rain forest, refreshingly cool in the summer.

The town of Tofino sits at the tip of a peninsula in the heart of Clayoquot Sound, with open ocean to the west and a maze of bays, inlets and islands to the mountainous north and east. Especially in the summer, the town is vibrant with shops and restaurants that look out across Browning Passage, to Meares Island, and seemingly boundless forests beyond.

Outside town, Tofino has an edge-of-the-world atmosphere, as you might expect in, say, Patagonia, even though it is only a five-hour drive from Victoria, British Columbia’s provincial capital.

At the southern end of the island, Victoria can be reached easily from Vancouver and Seattle by plane, seaplane or ferry. There is also a ferry from Port Angeles, Wash., set against the snow-capped mountains of Olympic National Park.

The drive from Victoria begins along the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, along what is called the Inland Island Highway, bypassing Nanaimo on the Strait of Georgia before heading into the hills.

THE PACIFIC Rim Highway cuts through Port Alberni, smack on the spine of the island. Port Alberni (motto: Gateway to the Pacific West Coast) is on the Alberni Inlet, the island’s longest at 35 miles, a prime example of the many fjordlike waterways here.

Sproat Lake and Kennedy Lake offer good picnicking opportunities for those who want to break up the drive.

 

 Tourism Tofino: tourismtofino.com

 

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Travelling to Tofino during COVID-19 – Please review this information before you plan

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Updated Highway 4 Road Closure Schedule at Kennedy Hill