Things to Do in Tofino & Ucluelet

Experience the best of Tofino and Ucluelet in Vancouver Island: Nature, adventure, and hidden gems of the Pacific Rim National Park

By Alicia Luna | June 21, 2024
Nestled on the edge of Vancouver Island, the charming towns of Tofino and Ucluelet attract adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. With their stunning coastal views, lush ancient rainforests, and vibrant local culture, these destinations offer an unforgettable experience. In this guide, we will explore the best things to do in Tofino & Ucluelet, including the activities, attractions, and hidden gems that make these towns a must-visit. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first adventure in nature, this guide has something for everyone.

Pacific Rim National Park: A Nature Wonderland

Hiking Trails and Scenic Walks

The Pacific Rim National Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty that offers a wide array of hiking trails for all skill levels; from the tranquil Shorepine Bog Trail to the stunning Wild Pacific Trail. Some of the must-visit trails include:

  • Shorepine Bog Trail: A short, accessible walk through a unique bog ecosystem.
  • Wild Pacific Trail: Offering stunning coastal views, this trail is perfect for photography enthusiasts.
  • Nuu-chah-nulth Trail: This trail takes you through lush rainforests and offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous Nuu-chah-nulth people.

Wildlife Watching

Pacific Rim National Park is also a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for black bears, gray whales, and the iconic bald eagle. The best time for whale watching is from March to October, and early mornings and late afternoons are ideal for spotting bears outside of the winter season.

Important note: If you choose to go wildlife watching, remember to do so with a certified guide, and take the appropriate measures to ensure your safety and the animals’.©DCT-LouiseMallard-WildPacificTrail-PacificRim.jpg

Tofino: The Surfing Mecca

Tofino is renowned as Canada’s premier surfing destination. With its extensive beaches and perfect waves, it’s a surfer’s paradise!

Catching the Waves

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, Tofino offers waves for all skill levels. Long Beach, Chesterman Beach, and Cox Bay are popular spots.

The town is also home to surfing prodigies Mathea Dempfle-Olin and her sister Sanoa, who recently won the Canadian Pro Surfing National Title and is set to compete in the Olympics in Paris 2024. Their achievements have put Tofino on the global surfing map.

Surf Schools and Rentals

Numerous surf schools and rental shops are available in Tofino, making it easy for beginners to get started. Tofino Surf Adventures and Pacific Surf Company are highly recommended.

Ucluelet: Adventure in Nature

Ucluelet, a hidden gem alongside the renowned Tofino, is a quiet oasis for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers! With its rugged coastline and serene forests, this town offers a more laid-back yet equally thrilling experience. Some of the top things to do in Ucluelet are:

  • Walking the Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet’s crown jewel. This trail offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, dramatic cliffs, and dense rainforests.
  • Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Explore Ucluelet’s pristine waters by kayak or paddleboard. The calm waters of Ucluelet Inlet are perfect for beginners, while more experienced paddlers can venture out to the Broken Group Islands.
  • Visiting the Ucluelet Aquarium: This Aquarium is a unique, catch-and-release aquarium showcasing local marine life. It’s a fantastic educational experience for visitors of all ages.©Lisanne_Smeele_Tofino_August13th-40-scaled.jpg©Benjamin_Egger_Tofino-7-scaled.jpg©DCT-AliciaLuna-Kayaking-Tofino-scaled.jpg

Culinary Delights: Eating and Drinking in Tofino & Ucluelet

Both Tofino and Ucluelet boast a vibrant food scene, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and seafood.

Tofino’s Top Spots

  • Wolf in the Fog – Known for its innovative dishes, cozy West Coast vibe, and a menu inspired by local ingredients, this restaurant offers dishes ranging from fish to wild food. It was named Air Canada’s Best New Restaurant in 2014 and continues to impress with its innovative cuisine and rustic decor​.
  • Tacofino – Famous for its original taco truck that turned into a local landmark, Tacofino serves Baja-style meals such as fish tacos, burritos, and gringas. Located in the Live to Surf parking lot, this spot is a must-visit for both tourists and locals.
  • Shelter Restaurant – This popular spot serves a variety of fresh, locally sourced dishes, including seafood, steaks, and vegetarian options. The casual yet stylish atmosphere makes it a great choice for any meal​.
  • BONUS: The Pointe Restaurant – Situated at the Wickaninnish Inn, part of the Relais & Châteaux, this restaurant offers stunning views of Chesterman Beach and an exceptional menu focusing on local seafood and cuisine. It’s perfect for special occasions and offers a romantic setting with a beach crab cookout option​.

Ucluelet’s Culinary Gems

  • Norwoods Restaurant –  A top-rated fine dining experience known for its sophisticated menu that highlights fresh, locally sourced ingredients and contemporary Canadian cuisine. The intimate and elegant setting makes it perfect for special occasions and romantic dinners. Diners consistently praise the exceptional food quality, innovative dishes, and attentive service​.
  • Ravenlady Oyster Forte – Perfect for seafood lovers, the Ravenlady offers a casual yet high-quality seafood dining experience, specializing in a variety of oyster dishes and other seafood options. The relaxed, street food-inspired atmosphere makes it a popular spot for quick, satisfying meals. Customers appreciate the fresh, tasty oysters, friendly service, and great value for money.
  • FloatHouse Patio & Grill – The FloatHouse is situated right on the water and known for its excellent seafood dishes and relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy your meal while taking in the beautiful harbor views!
  • BONUS: Currents Restaurant – Located within the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Currents offers stunning ocean views along with a diverse menu featuring fresh seafood and contemporary Canadian dishes. It’s perfect for a relaxing meal with a view.​

Tours and Adventures: Making the Most of Your Visit

Tofino & Ucluelet Pacific Rim Tour

Experience the best of Tofino and Ucluelet on our 3-day Pacific Rim Tour. This short yet comprehensive tour includes a 2-night stay in an oceanfront resort, roundtrip ferry fees from Vancouver, guided hikes to top spots, and plenty of free time to explore or to book an optional activity.

Vancouver Island Premium Tour

For those looking to explore more of Vancouver Island, our 8-day Premium Tour is the perfect choice. This tour covers Tofino and Ucluelet, as well as Victoria, the capital of BC, and Campbell River, offering a complete and authentic Vancouver Island experience.

West Trek’s Tofino Ultimate Camping Tour

For the young and young at heart, our West Trek division offers more social and active tours at best value. If you’re looking for a Canadian wilderness experience, the 3-day Tofino Ultimate Camping Tour offers an adventurous alternative. This package includes all camping gear for 2 amazing nights by the ocean, roundtrip ferry fees from the Mainland, beach bonfires, star gazing, and optional surfing lessons.

Learn more on the West Trek site, or speak to one of our agents to see what tour option best suits your Vancouver Island bucket list!©DCT-Tofino-Ucluelet-Rainforest.jpg©Benjamin_Egger_Tofino-4-scaled-e1657147532223.jpg©Lisanne_Smeele_Tofino_FAM-20-scaled.jpg

Conclusion: Your Adventure Awaits

Tofino and Ucluelet offer an unparalleled blend of natural beauty, thrilling activities, and cultural richness. Whether you’re surfing the waves in Tofino or hiking the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, these destinations promise an unforgettable adventure for all. Don’t miss out on our exclusive tours to make the most of your visit. Book now and embark on the adventure of a lifetime!