Beyond the Beach: Tofino’s Wildlife Hidden Gems

Discovering Tofino's Wildlife Treasures

By discovercanada | May 30, 2023
Tofino, a small hamlet on western Vancouver Island, has become a hugely popular seaside destination. Located within one of Canada’s top national parks - the Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino is well-known to anyone wanting to hit the beach and catch a wave or two. Yes! Canada has beaches and surfing - Tofino and nearby Ucluelet, are popular year-round destinations. Storm watching is the newest winter attraction in the area as huge swells come in off the Pacific Ocean that are delightful to watch from the comfort of your beachfront accommodation, you may even catch a few hardy surfers having their own fun! While we could talk you ear off about how amazing the surf is in Tofino and how spectacular the beaches are, the wildlife here is remarkable no matter the season!

Discover Tofino’s Mysterious Sea Wolves: Can You Spot the One-of-a-Kind?

The region’s vast rainforests and rugged beaches are home to some of the most diverse wildlife you’ll be able to set eyes on in Canada! Animal viewing tours like whale watching and bear viewing are the most popular options for visitors and they are well worth the trip out into the Pacific Ocean. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, you’ll be able to see some of the larger-in-size species such as Grey Whales and Humpback whales, and of course, the regional symbol – Orcas.  In fact, our wonderful Tofino Pacific Rim tour has an add-on option for Whale-watching to further enhance your Pacific Rim experience!

Beyond the magnificent whales that call the Pacific Ocean home, are numerous other wildlife species that have carved out a unique life in the rainforests and beaches of Pacific Rim National Park. One of the most unique here are sea wolves, so named because of their sea-based diet and excellent swimming ability. Sea wolves are a sub-species of grey wolves and western Vancouver Island is one of the best areas to see them in BC! These wolves subsist on a diet of fish and shellfish, even otters and seals! Interesting fact: sea wolves specifically eat the brain of Salmon, which allows them to avoid parasites commonly found in raw fish.©Lisanne_Smeele_Tofino_FAM-20-scaled.jpg©Lisanne_Smeele_Tofino_FAM-26-scaled.jpg

Black bears, bald eagles, otters, marmots… but what about Tufted Puffins?

Of course, no trip to western Canada is complete without a chance to see black bears.  You can bookBear-watching boat tours that navigate near the shoreline to find the local bears feeding on ocean life. On these tours, or from simply exploring the park, you may be treated to the sightings of numerous wildlife, such as bald eagles, otters, marmots, cougars, sea lions and even Tufted Puffins!

Be sure to book a wildlife tour when you are in Tofino. It would greatly enhance your chances of seeing these unique animals. A wonderful attraction is the Thornton Creek Fish Hatchery, where, during salmon spawning season, you’ll not only see 1000s of these colorful fish swimming upstream (“Salmon Run”), but also black bears catching their next meal! It’s truly an once-in-a-lifetime encounter.©Canva.png

Explore amazing Tofino with Discover Canada Tours

With local expertise, we curated 3 unique itineraries of Tofino Tours that will surely get your heart racing and your camera button clicking! The Rockies and Tofino Pacific Rim tour and Tofino Pacific Rim Tour both offer travellers an unparalleled opportunity to spend 8 days exploring BC with a focus on Tofino, our first stop. Explore the quirky Coombs market before you reach Tofino and Ucluelet. Whether you enjoy the Bird sanctuary, salmon hatchery or board a boat for whale watching or bear viewing tours, you’ll be overwhelmed at the wildlife viewing opportunities

NEW for 2024 – A highly anticipated Vancouver Island Premium Tour is now available for booking. Aside from visiting the popular Tofino in the west, and Victoria in the southern Vancouver Island region, this 8-day premium tour also takes you through the Pacific Rim Highway to the lesser visited Northern Vancouver Island region, where ancient rainforests and off-the-beaten-path shorelines are visited, boasting more unique chances for wildlife sightings. This area is next to Desolation Sound – a celebrated destination by kayaking enthusiasts for its concentration of whales and wildlife activities. You can say it’s one of BC’s best-kept secrets!©BenjaminEgger-3-scaled.jpg©Benjamin_Egger_Tofino-7-scaled.jpg

Tofino in off-season – go on a storm watching

Those of you visiting us outside of the summer season, fear not as we have the perfect getaway for you: Tofino Storm Watching. Here you’ll not only get the change to see some of the world’s most stunning coastal storm and the wild waves that comes with them, but also how the local wildlife thrives in this unique region. September and October offer amazing chances to see bears feeding at the salmon hatchery. Now that you know Tofino is more than just beaches and surfing, be sure to book your next visit there with Discover Canada Tours and let us take you to one of the best towns for wildlife viewing in western Canada!

Written by Lucas Coldwell, edited by DCT. Photos courtesy of ©Destination BC, ©Lisanne Smeele, ©Benjamin Egger, ©Destination BC | Tofino Aerial, ©Destination BC | Jordan Dyck, ©Canva