This town is so more than surfing and long walks on the beach. Tofino’s riches extend back thousands of years, in the traditions and artwork of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, and are simultaneously set firmly in the future, with the modern culinary creativity of forward-thinking restaurants like 1909 Kitchen + Bar and Wolf in the Fog. It’s a town that naturally mixes outdoor adventure—like fishing, hiking, surfing and SUP—with the sexy allure of a true west coast culture. A vibrant culture of art blends flawlessly with the sort of adventurous lifestyle Tofitians like to live. It’s a beautiful place to visit, and to call home.
We take chances here, if only to live the sort of end-of-road-but-passionately-engaged lifestyle we’ve become known for. Show up any time of year and there will be both adventure and leisure to be experienced. So don’t be afraid to start with the obvious. After all, the surfing is super fun and accessible for everyone. But once you’ve pulled your wetsuit off, dive into some of these other activities. You’ll find Tofino’s waters are deeper than you thought. Dive in.
Your Guide To Adventure
The magic of a great meal is hard to identity. It’s not so much about what you paid or how fancy the linens are. It’s about the joy we experience through the slow, deliberate act of dining—sharing plates, lively conversation taking the time to truly let it shine.
In Tofino, the restaurant scene is reason alone to visit. From the more desirable 1909 Kitchen + Bar with the oceanfront patio, to casual destinations like The Shed and Tacofino, this town knows food. We highlight a few of our favourites below, and will continue to build this list as time goes on. Bon appetit, thirsty traveler.
1909 Kitchen + Bar – $$
634 Campbell St, Tofino B.C.
Located right on the Inlet in Tofino, 1909 Kitchen + Bar is a must-visit. Warm conversation is encouraged by the stunning dining room, Mugliania wood-fired oven, and mouth-watering share plates. An incredible craft beer and wine list demands respect from the most discerning of palettes. The desserts are epic. And there is a Cook Your Catch program where the chefs can cook your catch of the day on one of Tofino Resort + Marina’s adventures.
Shelter Restaurant – $$
601 Campbell St., Tofino B.C.
The pioneer of Tofino’s food renaissance, Shelter knows comfort food intimately. The calamari and tuna stack appies will transform your life, and the burger is one of the best in town. The beer is crazy cold and the surf bowls keep surfers coming back. A heated outdoor patio invites relaxation. Always surf or hockey on the TV. Always friendly servers working.
Wolf in the Fog – $$$
150 Fourth St., Tofino B.C.
Looking for food that puts flavour and creativity above all else? Wolf in the Fog delivers. The menu changes constantly but a few things can be guaranteed: impeccable service and seafood so fresh that you can taste the waves. Wolf’s cocktail program puts everyone else to shame, and the vibe is lively, for those of you looking for a party.
SoBo – $
311 Neill St.
Known for the freshest of west coast cuisine, SoBo (short for “Sophisticated Bohemian”) is a long-time favourite of Tofitians. Go for their infamous margaritas. Stay for the fish tacos and incredible oysters. Chef Lisa Ahier is a champion of “grassroots gourmet cuisine” and local sources for everything on the menu. Closed in winter. Crazy busy in summer. Make SoBo a priority.
The Schooner – $$$
Before Tofino became a famous culinary destination, The Schooner was the local’s favourite for great meals and a solid cocktail program. Not much has changed. This almost 70-year-old spot makes does seafood and steaks proper. The Titan(ic) Caesar is a sight to behold, stacked high with a burger, hot wings, spicy prawns, onion rings and too much more to list in this short description.
To lift a pint with a good friend. Sharing a bottle of wine over laughs. Admiring the craftsmanship of a meticulously-created cocktail. Alongside the recent influx of food-focused culture in Tofino, an intoxicating complement of great drinks has been paired. We highlight your options below. Drink up.
Shelter Restaurant – $$
601 Campbell Street, Tofino, B.C.
While this is more of a restaurant than a pub, it’s an inviting space and they do feature a small bar with surfing on the television. A small selection of craft beers is available and the wine list is solid. Almost always busy, Shelter is a go-to for locals and a recurring hotspot for out-of-towners. The food lies somewhere between high-end pub grub and proper resto. Try the Tofino Brewing Co. beer on draught. The Cortes Island mussels and fries are excellent.
691 Industrial Way, Tofino, B.C.
Every town deserves a good craft brewer. Tofino is lucky to have a simply stunning one in Tofino Brewing Co. Situated a new space in the industrial section of town (aren’t all good breweries?) Tofino Brew Co. knows beer drinkers want both challenging and laid-back brews. They also offer Vancouver Island-made cider, and fun seasonal additions like micheladas and beergaritas. Run next door and get some charcuterie from Picnic to make a meal of it.
Wolf in the Fog -$$
150 Fourth St, Tofino, B.C.
While Wolf is more of an upscale dinner spot, there are two bars in this lively spot, one upstairs that is stunningly beautiful, and a more casual downstairs bar featuring vinyl music and charismatic bartenders. Hands down, Wolf in the Fog has the best cocktails in town. It’s definitely expensive, but fans of a well-crafted drink would be foolish to not put it on the must-visit list. Bartender Ken Gifford is a master of the craft, and always up for a challenge.
331 Campbell St, Tofino, BC
A great cocktail list ensures the Schooner a spot on this list but otherwise it’s not really a place to go drinking. The upstairs bar is small and the service is excellent. A beauty view of Tofino reminds you why this spot continues to be a classic Tofino destination.
The Great Room at Long Beach Lodge – $$
1441 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, B.C.
Located on beautiful Cox Bay, where you can watch the surfers or the sunsets from the comfort of a glass and timber framed Great Room, this spot is far from town but close to the beach. Featuring an almost 100% British Columbian wine list, The Great Room is a good spot for vino. Not a party spot whatsoever, it is a nice space to share drinks and conversation with a close friend. Keep a designated driver sober, or plan around Tofino’s notoriously-slow taxi service. Shuttles may be available through Long Beach Lodge.
1441 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, B.C.
Once dubbed “The Dirty Mac” for its notorious reputation, The Maq Hotel is back due to popular demand. A super-fun late-night spot, this dark dance club features live tunes, DJs and karaoke, and loves its rock, blues, punk, indie, house, dub, electro, and alternative music. Legendary for good times and bad decisions, it’s a Tofino institution.
Coastal towns Like Tofino attract creative people. Maybe it’s because they are inspired by the rugged coastline and vibrant wildlife viewing? Maybe it’s because they can work unhindered by the urban sprawl? Whatever it is, Tofino is home to many artists, and their galleries are almost all accessible by walking from Tofino Resort + Marina. A walking tour of downtown is incomplete without a visit to these galleries.
440 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Tofino’s most celebrated photographer, Jeremy Koreski creates magic out of Clayoquot Sound’s landscapes and wildlife. A must-visit.
350 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Roy Henry Vickers is a long-time First Nations artist who has defined the Tofino arts scene for decades. A visit to his gallery is essential for every first-time Tofino visitor.
366 Campbell St., Tofino, B.C. V0R 2Z0
Beautiful watercolours, acrylics and oil paintings of classic Tofino scenes in realistic fashion. Hobson was B.C.’s Wildlife Artist of the Year in 1996.
300 Main St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
First Nations art gallery on the water in Tofino. Carved mask, gifts, and more tourism-focused gift shop items.
264 First St, Tofino BC
Kevin Midgley’s creative blown glass art studio located an easy walk from downtown Tofino.
500 Osprey Ln, Tofino, BC
Historic carving shed with resident artists working, situated on the beach at Wickaninnish Inn. Not always open but definitely worth a visit if the “open” sign is hanging on the door.
1180 Pacific Rim Highway
Glass-blowing artist Sol Maya has been creating unique glass art since 1992 out of his popular studio in the Live to Surf parking lot.
564 Campbell Street
Jeweler, artist and metalworker Christy Feaver creates beautiful jewelry and other unique pieces.
If there’s any one activity that takes precedent as Tofino’s original pastime, it’s fishing. Whether quietly fly fishing salmon in a Clayoquot Sound river, jigging for rockfish around Wickanninish or Vargas Islands, floating for cutthroat on Kennedy Lake, or chasing albacore tuna 160 kilometres offshore, Tofino brings the best of the west coast when it comes to angling. Saltwater fishing, fly fishing, crabbing, prawning and even the most precious of west coast favourites, steelhead, this is the launch pad for true fishing adventure
Tofino Resort + Marina
634 Campbell St, Tofino, BC
The Marine Adventure Centre at Tofino Resort + Marina is a jumping-off point for every kind of fishing mission. Rental boats, guides, bait, fuel and food; this place is Ground Zero for Tofino saltwater fishing, and freshwater fishing adventure.
Cleanline Sportfishing Charters
Long-time fishing guide Blake Klopfenstein offers everything for the Tofino fisherman, from guiding of all types, to offering an accommodation option close to Tofino Resort + Marina. The Angler’s Inn is perfectly situated for fishing adventure is Tofino.
The Tofino Fishing Club
The Tofino Fishing Club offers top-quality gear on great boats, and are known for friendliness and knowledge of local spots. Their guides are born-and-raised in Tofino, a detail that any angler knows is an advantage.
Lance’s Sportfishing Adventures
Lance’s is an independently owned and operated fishing charter based in Clayoquot Sound. Their boats are the highlight as every vessel is equipped with electronic downriggers, premier electronics, GPS, radar, fish finders, fishing rods, fishing tackle, bait and bathroom facilities.
Specializing in salmon and halibut on the offshore bank, Fishing Tofino guarantees you will catch one or the other. While only available from May to September, a guarantee is hard thing to beat.
Between the adventure and the eating comes the shopping. Tofino has a small-but-eclectic offering of shops to meander through on down days. From curious gifts to a wide selection of clothing to First Nations artwork, Tofino’s tiny townsite offers a big shopping experience.
430 Campbell St, Tofino, BC
For the past ten years Habit has been the go-to shop for women’s clothing and fashion accessories. Habit is the kind of place that invites you to take your time. Friendly, exceptionally well-curated, cozy as heck.
Caravan Beach Shop
430 Campbell St, Tofino, BC
A decidedly Pacific Northwest vibe makes Caravan Beach Shop feel like a cabin in the woods. It’s the kind of place where all the goods are quality and curious enough that you buy them as gifts but keep them for yourself.
House of Himwitsa
300 Main St, Tofino, BC
A little more touristy with a lot more First Nations art than most shops, the House of Himwitsa is the place to go for authentic indigenous art. From the smallest of souvenirs to the big-ticket items like carved wooden masks, this is a must-visit for truly local artwork.
The Tree House Gift Co.
305 Campbell St, Tofino, B.C.
A long-time Tofino institution, The Tree House Gift Co. is tucked away behind the CIBC bank branch, and stuffed to the rafters with small gifts. Go here when you want to bring a little something something home to your friends and family.
Tofino Resort + Marina
634 Campbell St, Tofino, BC
The retail shop at Tofino Resort + Marina carries a range of quality goods, from Yeti coolers to Xtra Tuf boots to Anian natural fibre clothing, among other premium brands.
1180A Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, B.C.
Located south of town by Tacofino and Beaches Grocery, this spot makes house-made chocolates that are so damn good you’ll bring some back. Try the truffles. Eat as much gelato as you can because you can’t take it home with you.
Good times are made better when shared with others. Whether connecting with an old friend, a new lover or sharing moments with family, Tofino brings people closer.
Start fresh with tasty breakfast and a beautiful view at 1909 Kitchen and follow up with coffee for mom and dad at Rhino Coffee House or Tofino Coffee Roasting Co. Take the whole family to a beach, any beach. Mackenzie Beach is a quiet, family friendly beach with tide pools and streams. Long Beach is huge and has beautiful white sand. Chesterman’s Beach has cool rock formations for kids to play around. Next up, hit up the Rainforest Trail in Pacific Rim National Park. This elevated boardwalk winds through lush Pacific Northwest old growth.
One thing that will make any kids day will be seeing a whale or bear. Get on a boat. After all, this is the “end of the road.” If you want to make a longer day of it, pack the swimming suits and head to Hot Springs Cove. It’s an unforgettable experience.
If you’re not completely hiked out, finish with a leisurely walk on Tonquin Trail, a sunset-friendly rainforest and beach trail close to downtown. Follow with dinner and dessert, You’ve earned it, mom and dad.
Resist sleeping in too long—the outdoors is calling. A long walk on Long Beach is a classic way to start the day with your loved one. Bring a coffee or tea and spend an hour meandering up the white sandy beach. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of whales beyond the surf break. You’ll certainly get a chance to watch surfers doing their thing on Long Beach’s famous swell. On your way back into Tofino, stop at Chocolate Tofino and The Tofitian to get treats. If you’re hungry, share a few tacos at the Tacofino truck…it’s a local institution. Bring cash.
Next up is the chill-but-lively atmosphere at Tofino Brewing Company. Hoist a few pints of great craft beer and indulge in some one-on-one time. The place has no wifi—on purpose, a move meant to provoke connection and conversation.
Head back into Tofino proper, and wander around downtown. Stop in for oysters somewhere, anywhere. They are always good. Check out the Jeremy Koreski Gallery and Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, both must-visit destinations that will inspire couples to plan their next adventure. Finish up with a mid-afternoon cocktail and dessert at Wolf in the Fog before planning dinner. Then rest up…tomorrow is Adventure Day.
Let’s start with a good breakfast at The Shed, and strong coffee at The Tofitian. Once you’re fuelled up it’s time to pick up your surfboard. This is Tofino, after all. Surf Sisters, Storm, Live to Surf, and Long Beach Surf Shop are all great options for rentals, advice or a fresh bar of surf wax. Ask the friendly staff at any of them where the waves will be best for your skill level.
If you still have energy after a solid surf session, consider a hike to site of an airplane crash from 1945. The trail to the site is located just south of Radar Hill, 11 kilometres south of Tofino, 15 telephone poles south of the turnoff. This hike is extremely muddy. Don’t do it alone, and be prepared. This is the west coast.
When you get back to town after your big adventures, consider a late-day sightseeing trip through Clayoquot Sound. Many operations offer boat trips to see bears, whales, sea lions and other wildlife. You’ll be exhausted from the surf so sit back and let someone else drive the ship.
Finish with an ice-cold beer at long-time locals’ favourite, Shelter, or sit waterfront at The Hatch.
Our friends down the road in the fishing village of Ucluelet, B.C. have so much to share. When the family has exhausted the possibilities in Tofino take them to “Ukee” for the day. The Wild Pacific Trail is a beautiful walk that meanders in and out of the rainforest and comes highly recommended. The Ucluelet Aquarium is a fascinating look at sea life in the Pacific Ocean, plus the animals are only guests in this catch-and-release operation. They are regularly swapped out for new animals. Follow up with good food and bowling at Howler’s Family Restaurant and Amusements.
We love whales. Tofino’s whale watching season extends March through to November, but whales can be seen year-round. The main whales viewed in the area are grey whales, humpback whales and orcas (killer whales). Tofino and Ucluelet celebrated the Pacific Rim Whale Festival for 32 years—up until 2018—but it has been cancelled for 2019. No one told the whales though. They’ll still come for the annual March party and you should too. Come celebrate the humpbacks migratory visit to our cold winter waters. There’s simply nothing as exciting as watching these giant leviathans breach the ocean’s surface. It will simply change your life.
Tofino Resort + Marina
634 Campbell St., Tofino, B.C.
This waterfront resort features a marine Adventure Centre which features multiple brand-new comfy-as-heck whale watching boats. Set crab traps before setting sail to Flores, Vargas and Long Beach to view whales. When you get back, get fresh crab prepared by 1909 Kitchen’s culinary wizards, with our exclusive #CookYourCatch program. It’s value-added whale watching.
Tofino Whale Centre
411 Campbell Street, Tofino
Tofino Whale Watching Tours connect you with the west coast elements, wildlife and nature. You will be fully equipped for an adventure in red floaters suits to keep you warm and safe on board our Open Boston Whaler vessels.
Jamie’s Whaling Station
606 Campbell Street, Tofino, B.C.
Jamie’s Whaling Station is the original whale tour company in Tofino, having operated in the area since 1982. They’re probably the most experienced whale watching company in Tofino, showing thousands of people whales each season.
368 Main St., Tofino, B.C.
This carbon neutral business features luxury, covered vessels plus Zodiacs for two different experiences. Sit back and relax, or get out there and rip around quickly in an open-air boat. Either way, you’ll have fun.
Remote Passages Marine Excursions
51 Wharf Street, Box 624, Tofino, BC
This company has been exploring Clayoquot Sound since 1986 and features whale watching March through October.