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Tofino, British Columbia

What to See & Do in Tofino?

Tofino has great whale watching tours, has scenic kayaking, and is the endpoint for the rugged West Coat Trail. Nearby is Long Beach, with its rugged waves and ethereal mists which make is Nirvana for surfers. The area is full of First National art, relics, and totems that all visitors will appreciate.

Tofino is on the west side of Vancouver Island, and located 317 km NW of Victoria, 126 km west of Port Alberni, and 207 km west of Nanaimo (and the Victoria-Nanaimo portion of the #1 Trans-Canada Highway), via a very scenic Highway4.Whaling Tour on a Zodiac (some operators have bigger boats)

Tofino is a popular jumping-off point for whale watching tours (along with Ucluelet to the south). Some tours are by kayak, some by zodiac, and some on full-sized boats (more comfortable in rougher seas).

Surfers along Long Beach

The west coast of Vancouver Island along Pacific Rim National Park is quite spectacular between November and March during storm season, when 10 metre swells on the ocean turn into 15-18 metre (50-60 feet) waves that crash into the shore. Best wave watching is about 12 hours after a storm has passed, and the waves aren’t tossed by the wind. Never walk on the beach (or on slippery rocks) during extreme conditions. You can watch storms from safe indoor vantage points like several coastal restaurants at Long Beach Lodge, The Wikannish Inn or Tin-Wes Best Western.

Tofino-Pacific Rim National Park with tall trees
Tofino-Pacific Rim National Park with tall trees

Tofino History

West Coast Trail view from HighwayTofino lies on the western side of Vancouver Island, at the end of Highway 4. Tofino is about 205 km west of Nanaimo, and  125 km west of Port Alberni , and about 40 km NW of Ucluelet (with the stunning Pacific Rim National Park in betweeen the two).

In 1791, Boston fur trader Robert Gray built Fort Defiance to stay the winter, though the next spring the fort was stripped and abandoned, with only ruins remaining today. The town’s sandy beaches are popular with beachcombers, scuba divers and whale watchers.

Back in 1912, it proclaimed itself the “western end of the Trans-Canada Highway”, though when the route across Canada was finally completed in 1963, it veered south from Nanaimo to Victoria (today’ highway #1), instead of west to Tofino. This sign is located at the foot of First Street at the northwest end of the town

Tofino Annual Events







Pacific Rim Whale FestivalLate MarchDaily educational & fun events to celebrate the annual migration of the whales
Shorebird festivalEarly MayBird watching tours led by experts from the Raincoast Education Society
Edge to Edge Marathonmid-JuneOfficial marathon an relay race from uculuelet to Tofino
Aboriginal DayLate JuneParks Canada hosts First Nations performers
Lantern FestivalLate AugustAt Tofino Botanical Gardens
Oyster FestivalLate OctoberGorumet restaurant and wine tasting competition
Bald Eagle in nest-Tofino-sliver
Bald Eagle in nest-Tofino-sliver

Tofino Attractions

Tofino has numerous private art galleries, many showcasing indigenous artworks, that can be visited on a short walk around town.

Jamie’s Whaling Station

606 Campbell St, PO BOX 129, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

Team of local experts has been professionally guiding adventure seekers from around the world to explore the nooks and crannies of Clayoquot Sound and Barkley Sound since 1982! Jamie’s operates our waterfront Adventure Stations in the hearts of both seaside communities of Tofino and Ucluelet.

The Whale Centre

411 Campbell St
Box 111, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

See scientific and artistic displays, artifacts and photographs about the whale and whale encounters past and recent.

Tofino, British Columbia Area Map

Tofino & Ucluelet Area Experiences & Tours

These excursions all depart from Tofino or Ucluelet:

These excursions all depart from Victoria, BC and include transportation to & from:

Tofino & Ucluelet Area Experiences & Tours

These excursions all depart from Vancouver, BC and include transportation to & from: