We know vacation costs can add up quickly, and we also know how you can visit Tofino in a budget-friendly way.  Tofino and Clayoquot Sound are filled with experiences that are inexpensive – or free!

Here are our staff picks for what you can do and see without having to empty your pockets or run that credit card off its feet:

1. Come to the beach!  Take your pick from Chesterman, Cox Bay, MacKenzie or Tonquin – parking and access to all of these is public and FREE.

2. Walk the Tonquin Trail.  Just a few minutes from Tofino’s town centre (we’re talking about our lone flashing red light at Campbell and First Street), you’ll find the trailhead to this recently-built path.  Walk through tall trees and down a staircase to enchanting Tonquin Beach. FREE

3. Explore the Tofino Botanical Gardens in all their Lord of the Rings-esque beauty.  Wind down forest trails leading to Tofino’s “other side” which happens to be a wildlife conservation area, the Tofino Mudflats.  As an alternative to the whale and bear watching tours on offer around Tofino, George and Josie have thoughtfully built a chicken watching area – with guaranteed sightings.  A day pass to the gardens is just $10/person.

4. Get to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and its many trails.  Standouts include Schooner Cove Trail, Rainforest Trail and the Shorepine Bog.  Pack a picnic and find your secret spot by the weather-bleached driftwood along Long Beach.   A day park use pass is $7.80/adult and is valid through 4:00pm the next day.

5. Walk the Big Tree Trail on Meares Island, known for its friendly and silent giants in an old-growth forest.  You’ll want to hug a tree (we do this all the time) and look up to the Hanging Garden Tree with a circumference of 18.3 m or 60 feet.  A water taxi will transport you to and from Meares Island for approximately $30 per adult and there is a $5 trail fee for adults and students for access to the Meares Island Tribal Park.

How to Get Around:


  • Bring your bike or rent a Beach Cruiser and ride the Tofino Multi-Use Path from Cox Bay to the town centre.  You’ll find plenty to discover along the way.  A day rental will run around $25/bicycle.
  • If you’re here in summer, a Tofino Transit bus runs regularly between the centre of town and our Cox Bay Visitor Centre with several stops in between – all for free! 

What’s your favourite free (or almost free) thing to do in and around Tofino?  Leave your comment below!

Next up in the Whee, it’s free (or doesn’t cost much) in Tofino! blog series – Where to stay.  Stay tuned for this, coming your way the week of August 11.



Updated Highway 4 Road Closure Schedule at Kennedy Hill