Tofino, for those uninitiated, lies on a peninsula among British Columbia’s gulf islands. Getting there from the mainland can be a trek: your options are seaplane (an expensive option) or vehicle and ferry (a fairly lengthy option).
It’s worth it, though. The island is gorgeous all year round. Tofino’s renowned for its storm season. Cozy resorts dot the island’s coast, so travellers can experience the wind and rain in comfort. It’s a gem for surfers as well, with surf schools and gear rental all over. Regardless of what time of year you travel to Tofino, you can count on food, beer, surfing, hiking—and maybe some storm watching—aplenty.
Getting to Tofino without a car isn’t as much of a challenge as you might think. I left from Pacific Central Station on the Tofino Bus, boarded the ferry for Nanaimo, and hopped on another bus for the last leg of the trip. This amounted to several hours of travel: I left my home at 6:30 a.m. and arrived at around 3 p.m. With books, podcasts, and an appreciation for the gorgeous scenery though, you have all you need.
Another option is to take the seaplane over to Tofino. I’d rather save my money though, and spend it on delicious food.
I chose to stay at Ocean Village Beach Resort, primarily for its adorable little huts and proximity to Mackenzie Beach. Read: it’s directly on the dang beach. I fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the beach.
By happenstance, the resort is conveniently located for travelling all over Tofino without a car. Ocean Village Beach Resort is walking distance to a few bike rental locations. There’s a bike lane that runs along the Pacific Rim Highway, so you can safely get around sans car. While your expeditions might be somewhat limited without a vehicle, these bike rentals mean you can explore outside of Mackenzie Beach.
If you’re not one for biking, Tofino’s downtown core is a reasonable 40-minute walk from the resort. While that walk is along the highway, there’s plenty to see on the way: Tofino Botanical Garden and Tofino Brewing Co., just to name a few.
Tofino cannot be mentioned without note of its wealth of surfing locations. Whether you want to rent gear or learn, there are options peppered throughout Tofino. Another significant allure is the host of hiking trails. Granted, some of these trails might be more difficult to access in Tofino without a car. Wherever you’re staying, just grab a map and see where it takes you.
I’m more of a books and tea gal though, to be honest. Explore hard, nap hard—right?
Thanks for reading my quick guide to Tofino without a car! Stay tuned for part two, with Tofino in pictures.