Summer time means vacation time for many of us, and we love to explore the beauty that is British Columbia. We packed up the family and headed to Tofino, a gorgeous little seaside town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. About three hours beyond the Departure Bay ferry terminal, Tofino feels like an exotic beachy getaway, and we can’t wait to go back.

The winding drive to Tofino is beautiful, but we were most amazed by the waves on the beaches we passed. So we were pleased to find a beach with free parking where we could watch the waves – and the surfers – without watching the (parking) clock. Chesterman Beach is a tucked away among residential homes but is public and can be accessed via an easy trail. At low tide, kids can splash in tide pools, and at high tide you’re very likely to see surfers – even in the rain!

Tofino is famous for whale watching, and we were looking forward to giving that a go. However, rain and choppy seas stood in our way, so we went bear watching instead. During low tide, the bears come down to feast on the crabs and other seafood that gets stranded on the beach, and it’s a great opportunity to observe them from a distance. A half-hour jaunt up the inlet in a covered boat on calm seas brought us to our first bear. The kids loved watching him turn over rocks and have his own seafood buffet!

Eat & Stay
We spent our weekend at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn. Under new ownership, this inn has been renovated and restored and has emerged as one of Tofino’s best accommodations. The in-house restaurant and lounge has delicious food with very generous portions, as well as an attractive kids menu. We were also impressed with the service at (and we’re fussy about service). Bonus: Jaime’s offers deals at their sister company, Jamie’s Whaling Station.

Tofino is a true BC getaway, a rugged place where waves and winds collide, where bears, whales and surfers mingle, and kids get to experience nature in the raw … but with comfy beds and yummy meals!

Chesterman Beach:
Jamie’s Rainforest Inn:
Jamie’s Whaling Station:

Yo mamas and papas! Looking for more fun summer getaways? Check out these finds:


Updated Highway 4 Road Closure Schedule at Kennedy Hill