Take Me to Tofino
This is one for the books
Jacob and I don’t really celebrate our anniversary, but we happen to have gone to Tofino every October since we started dating, and decided it should be a sort of an anniversary celebration trip for us. This was our third trip there together and it was just as amazing as the two times before that. Tofino is such a special place - nothing can beat the breathtaking beauty of nature in that place! Food is amazing too, but it deserves a separate paragraph. It’s a tough spot to get to - located basically on the furthest Northwest coast of Vancouver Island. Tofino, is totally worth the trip though for a few reasons:
If you live in the Lower Mainland, it will take you approximately six hours to get there, give or take. I love the ferry portion of the trip! We usually leave super early in the morning to take the 8:20am ferry from the Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. I love the giant White Spot breakfasts they serve on the ferry - not something I let myself indulge in every day. If the weather is nice, it’s also nice to go hang out on the viewing deck and see a whale or two if you’re lucky.
After the ferry, you’re looking at about a three hour drive across the Island to your destination. I’ve only been to Tofino during the colder months, but I just love the drive there! It’s a bit tricky, winding very close to the cliff’s edge, but the foliage and the views of many lakes on your way make it worthwhile.
On our way there we pass by Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park. It’s famous for it’s giant ancient Douglas Fir trees. It’s a truly magical place - some trees are more than 800 years old, standing tall covered in moss and ferns. It looks like a type of place forest nymphs would live.
We usually get a bunch of snacks and download loads of podcasts and music for the drive, because there is no signal for the best part of the road. This year we listened to this podcast, that left us both in horrified awe.
Our first time we stayed at an AirBnB, but for the last 2 times we’ve stayed at the Ocean Village Resort on MacKenzie Beach. It’s a cute little place with separate cabins. Both times we stayed at the one-bedroom beachfront cabin that was literally steps from the beach. The place is really neat with a living room, bedroom, bathroom, full kitchen and a small gas fireplace. It was really nice to have it all to ourselves, but it could be also easily and comfortably be shared with friends!
They sell firewood at the front office, so we decided to make a bonfire on the beach and cook some skewers on the coals for dinner. The proximity to the beach was perfect since we didn’t have to carry all of our skewers (and beers) too far!
eating & drinking
Tofino is a little gem with a few really amazing restaurants and one great brewery! So far, I haven’t had a meal there that I didn’t enjoy. We were pretty starved after the drive up, despite all the snacks, so we went to Shelter -one of the bigger restaurants there. They have a great happy hour deal - $12 burgers, so we went with burgers and beers to start the trip off strong. The food was very good and the place has a nice heated outdoor patio with a fireplace.
Later in the evening we stopped by Tofino Brewing Co. - the only brewery there. It’s a really fun spot with some delicious beers. They’ve expanded since the last year, and it was totally packed when we got there! We were lucky to snag the last two spots at the bar before there was a line-up to get in. I love their beer and often get it in Vancouver. My favourite is their crisp Blonde Ale. This time I also had some funky cider that was 9% alcohol so I don’t remember what it’s called, but it sure tasted good.
If you’re not in the mood for a full-on meal, there are some great coffee shops in Tofino, including my favourite Tofitian. It’s located in a quaint little wooden house with an outdoor terrace covered in plants. They have a bunch of mouth-watering treats like ham & gruyere scones and almond croissants. They also have great coffee and tons of cool merch with their famous scull logo. I got a pin for my jacket because I’m punk like that.
Speaking of merch, basically every business in Tofino has their own cute ass stuff for sale like baseball caps, toques, pins, patches, mugs and other stuff. Jacob got a sweet corduroy hat from Tofino Brewing Co. and I just wish I did the same…I guess next time!
HANGING OUT & DOING STUFF
I love going to Tofino for a maximum relaxing time. That means all I want is walks on the beach with no destination in mind, midday beers, possibly naps, and eating anything my heart desires. That being said, I also feel like by the next morning I’m in desperate need of some kind of exercise, and that’s when it’s the perfect time to go surfing. This year we didn’t go, and decided to take things extra easy in the morning. If you do want to go surfing though, Live to Surf is a great surf shop/ school where you can rent all the necessary equipment and sign up for a surfing lesson. We did it last year, and it was awesome! I actually only stood on the board for maybe three seconds at a time, but it was exhilarating none the less.
This year we had fun just going for a nice long walk along Chesterman Beach, stomping on washed up kelp (they make a funny popping sound) and just breathing in the wet salty air. The weather was beautiful, but we also did the same thing in the pouring rain and it has a different kind of beauty.
This trip is a very special tradition for us and I will never tire of going to Tofino to do the exact same things we do each year. It’s my happy place where I feel at peace like nowhere else.