An Ode to The Tofino Beach Picnic

The beach picnic is a time-honoured tradition. There’s just something about curating the perfect mix of good food, frosty beverages and leisure tools for the beach that shows you really mean it. “This is where you will find me,” it says. But a beach picnic can’t be thrown together too easily. A six-pack of beer and a stick of pepperoni do not make a proper picnic. You need to plan it out well. Where to go? Who to bring? Effort leads to enjoyment, and a properly picked partner makes all the difference. Enjoy Tofino Resort + Marina’s quick-and-dirty guide to good clean fun on Tofino’s beauty beaches.

Who to Bring

As with every leisure activity, someone optimistic is best for a day at the beach. A solid understanding of the Art of Conversation is key, as is a thirst for adventure, but not too adventurous. Nothing ruins a good beach hang quicker than some Type-A adventure nut job who can’t stay still. Think equal measures of fun and laziness.

A good beach buddy doesn’t talk too much, but they also don’t fall asleep on the sand. They understand the music should be somewhere between chill and energetic, and shouldn’t annoy the hell out of neighbours. While we are on that topic, you shouldn’t have neighbours if you’re doing it right (more on that later), but even if your camp of merry beachgoers is on a truly deserted beach, there is limited need for NWA or speed metal at a good beach picnic.

Where to Go

Hell, it’s Tofino…the choices are limitless. Easy access and parking can be had close to town at Chestermans Beach, and if you’re a tourist you won’t need a Canada Parks Pass. It’s also a bit busier, which for some people is a bonus. For most though, some solitude is sweet, and a quick bit of research will show you some beauty gems at every beach in Tofino. We recommend getting on a boat if you have one and finding a slice of paradise. If you don’t have your own, charter one from the Tofino Resort + Marina Adventure Centre. If you’re looking to tie a bit of surfing into your day of laziness, pick a spot where you can hide away from the constant line of surfers coming in and out of the water. We don’t want to blow up spots so we’re not giving up the goods here, but with a little mental elbow grease, we are confident you can find a suitable spot on one of Tofino’s man, many surfing beaches. Kennedy Lake is a freshwater option for those who want a little less salt in their hair.


What to Bring

Food and cold drinks are the most obvious needs at a beach picnic. Want to go cheap? Hit up the Tofino Co-Op and build a sweet charcuterie box with cheese, meat and pickles. Or if you’re lazy like we are, go to Picnic and get them to craft the perfect box of goodies for you. Add a wood-fired pizza (or three) to go from The Hatch Waterfront Pub. Why these foods? Cured meats and pizza travel well, and still taste like heaven when they get warm in the springtime sun.

On the subject of beer, Tofino’s bylaw mean you can’t drink alcohol on the beach, but if you’re lucky enough to have rented a beachfront property, there’s one place to get beer—Tofino Brewing Co. They do six packs of cans (no bottles…basic beach!) in multiple styles. We recommended the Tofino Blonde Ale. It pairs well with tall tales about past experiences.

Bring a couple bags to carry your trash and empties home with you. Pro tip: Get a Yeti Rambler Colster to keep your frosty can cold. We sell ‘em in our retail shop.  

How to Go

Bikes are key for three reasons. One, Tofino has a bike path. Use it. Who are these strange people who ride on the road next to a bike path? Bizarre. Two, no problems with parking, although we rarely deal with full parking lots here. Three, Long Beach is especially long, and if you pedal your ass far enough south on it you can guarantee your own private sweet spot far from the crowds and the dogs and the surfers. Want to get further away? Clayoquot Sound is full of beaches, islands, and even rivers that make for incredible picnics. Come to the Marine Adventure Centre at Tofino Resort + Marina and tell our team what you want in the perfect beach getaway and you’ll be shocked at the places we can take you. For real. Plus, with a boat you can easily bring a bigger cooler and a little BBQ. Elevate your picnic to new levels and turn it into an overnight camping trip.

On the Topic of Fires

No matter what you do in this world, someone will get worked up about it. Dogs off leash and fires on the beach get some people really mad. Dogs can’t run free on the beach, and they have been attacked—and even killed—by wolves in recent years. Plus, they poop everywhere and that sucks. But, as a pet-friendly hotel, we LOVE dogs at Tofino Resort + Marina and know the need to bring them to the party. Just keep them on leash and clean up and no one will care.

Visitors still need a “valid Park Entry or Camping Permit” to have beach fires in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, but only in the following locations: Florencia Beach, Wickaninnish Beach, Schooner Cove Beach, Radar Beaches. This excludes: Long Beach between the bottom of Schooner Trail and Sandhill Creek on Combers Beach; Swim Beach on Kennedy Lake. Don’t let someone trash talk you for having a fire. Just make sure you keep it small. Keep it clean. And don’t use wet wood or cardboard/garbage…no one likes an excessively smoky fire.

  • Fire sites must be a minimum of 3 metres from drift logs, the forest, overhanging vegetation and structures
  • Fires are prohibited in the forest and in sandy areas with evidence of root systems underneath
  • Fires must be less than one metre in diameter and less than one metre high – small enough to extinguish quickly and completely
  • Fuel may only consist of purchased firewood or driftwood found on beaches below the high tide line that is small enough to burn down completely to ashes
  • Fires must be burnt to ashes and extinguished with water until cool to the touch (do not bury with sand unless in an emergency
  • Once the fire has been extinguished, all signs of the fire must be obliterated