Tag Archives: Tofino

There is something for everyone in Tofino


We have just spent another glorious week in Tofino – also fondly referred to as “my happy place”. It never disappoints and each visit seems to get better and better, even in the variable weather.

Over the past 20 years we have been here eight times and these visits have ranged from campground (no amenities) all the way up to a 5 star Relais and Chateau Inn on the beach. Our last two stays have been based in a friends one bedroom condo on South Chesterman beach and I think we’ve found “just right” for us… We walk right out onto the beach and the level of surf is perfect for our abilities on any given day. ¬†It is great to be able to play in the surf, even in the rain, and then come back in and dry off and have never ending hot chocolates! It’s even better having somewhere that your gear will dry so when head back out later in the day you aren’t cold, wet and clammy ūüôā

At the midpoint between South Chesterman and North Chesterman is Frank’s Island, which you can get to at low tide and is a mecca for tidal pool exploring. Starfish colonies¬†and clusters of Sea Anenome’s abound! Walking the full length of North and South Chesterman beaches (and back) takes about an hour and is something we do every day, rain or no rain.

We flew this year verses drove and it felt like an exercise in minimalism to get down to 40lbs per person (not per bag) due to the KingAir flight from Vancouver to Tofino. We had left our boards and surf kayak there in the spring so our big splurges were taking the new inflatable SUP and Hunter’s Scooter. One bag full of water gear and one shared duffle bag for the rest of our clothes, ranging from shorts to fleece plus rubber boots and rain coats.


Much to Hunter’s dismay it rained about 80% of the time this trip. We caught two sunny breaks and headed straight for the skateboard park so he could get some scooter time in. It’s one of his favourite parks and he loves to be able to gauge his improvement over past trips. We like it because it’s really family friendly and graffiti free, which is possibly due to it being just across the street from the RCMP station.

We got the SUP out on our second day and both Tim and Hunter had fun experimenting with it. It’s definitely harder to get out through the surf and the crashes look fabulous thanks to the extra length (9ft 6″) plus paddle that go flying around. We attempted to take it out another day but the storm swell was just too powerful and it quickly became clear how futile this was. The rest of our time was split between surfboards and Tim in his surf kayak.

The more I surf, the more I love surfing…

  • a bad day surfing is still a day outside in the ocean with my family
  • how can you not smile when you are “playing” in the ocean?
  • the crashes don’t hurt nearly as much as they do in other sports, and many of mine are epic!
  • the sense of community and camaraderie at the beginner areas is fabulous – you often cheer for strangers

While it was nice to be able to fly in for a quick visit, we definitely missed having all of our toys with us. Hunter wished he had his BMX and his skateboard. We all wished we had our mountain bikes to play in their bike park and ride to town an back on the bike paths. Hunter was also wistful for his kayak. Visit #8 was not a disappointment and we’re already planning out when we can come next and how we can bring all the toys…


How easy it is to slide back into “old normals”…


Weather in the Yukon for the past three weeks has not been great ¬†– it’s been hovering around the zero mark and we had snow on September 30th. We’ve been out for a few walks outside but there has been very little “playing” outside. There has been a lot of inside time and more focus on school and work BUT this has left things feeling fairly unsettled and unbalanced.

I had a sense that it might have to do with the lack of outside adventure time and that was confirmed 100% when we rolled into Tofino today and moods were raised across the board. It was sunny and 18c outside. We got here about noon and spent over 2 hours at the skatepark for Hunter. He was thrilled and was on the go with his scooter almost non-stop. We headed back to our condo at South Chesterman Beach and Tim and I hit the surf, with grins and giggles. We eventually came out of the surf Рmore because we were exhausted, not because we wanted to leave.



A quick round of family cards, with Big North and Little North doing their best to hold their own, and we headed back out to catch the peak of low tide and explore Frank Island and the tidal pools. While going new places brings excitement, there is also a sense of comfort that comes from revisiting a place you love. That’s how we all felt as we headed down the beach to Frank’s Island. It’s an easy 15 minute walk from the condo and sits between south and north Chesterman Beaches’. At high tide it’s a fully disconnected Island. At low tide, it’s a wonder of tidal pools with amazing starfish and sea anenome colonies! Science in action…

We closed the night off with drinks and chatting with friends Steve & Kim – old and new friends at the same time. Steve & Tim have an old shared past, and the 4 of us have a new shared friendship from when we connected last fall. We are staying in their condo here in Tofino and it is great to catch up on the winter’s adventures…

South Chesterman Beach

South Chesterman Beach

We are excited for what the next six days bring and how it helps us reconnect with what we continue to learn is important for defining our “new normal”…

Wally Creek & Cathedral Trail

wally creek 4

Having had such a great time at our swimming hole (aka Wally Creek) on our way over to Tofino, we were all looking forward to the stop on the way back east across the Island. We we amazed at the difference – the “creek” was up by at least 8 feet!!! What you can see above is the top of the cave that Tim and Hunter jumped off into the water from. It had rained a good 24 hours out of the last 36 so this provided a great opportunity to pause and talk about geography, water run-off and river drainage systems.

lee & hunter cathedral trail

After a supply stop in Port Alberni (Canadian Tire, Walmart and Boston Pizza) we continued on down the road. With a break in the rain timed perfectly, we pulled off and explored the trails of Cathedral Grove. More geography discussions as we learned all about the make-up of forests, ecosystems and being able to recognize different types of trees…

lee & hunter hugging a tree


We’re looking forward to more old growth forests in Oregon and California!

Ucluelet Aquarium

Lee & Hunter ucluelet aquarium

We discovered the Ucluelet Aquarium during our October trip to Tofino last year. It is a small but plentiful aquarium focused on the local marine life in the Tofino/Ucluelet area and the best part is that 50% of their space is taken up with touch tanks where you get to touch, feel and pick up the animals.

The staff are incredibly helpful and will answer any questions you have. They often do educational sessions which are great for adults and kids alike.

Tofino – you never disappoint!

tim hunter tofino bike park

Tofino is my happy place… Tim and I first came here 20 years ago on our first cross canada camping adventure. We were driving the ford ranger and pulling a small (relative to what we pull now) gear trailer. It was another fall trip so we spent alot of time camping (tenting!) in the rain. My memories of that first Tofino trip are of tenting at the Green Point Campground, surf kayaking on the beach, being almost permanently damp (ok WET) and of absolutely LOVING the feel and culture of the town.

Things have changed since then – we no longer really fit in the Green Point Campground (Pacific Rim National Park), we live in a trailer these days (yep, I’m getting comfortable admitting that…and am grateful for it on rainy days) and the town has been “discovered” with respect to development so there is alot more here than there was 20 years ago. The fabulous thing is that the town has done a solid job blending development with holding on to the earth/hippy culture (anyone remember the Clayquot Sound protests – that was here 20 years ago).

We have been back a handful of times since that first trip, always in October for my birthday, and it has always been a fabulous experience. Hunter’s first trip here was last year, and he was brought into the fold of magical tofino – surf lessons, beach walks, tidal pool playing etc. etc. etc.

lee & hunter surf boards

The last nine days have been fabulous – for a week that was forecast to rain every day, we had one cloudy day and one full 18 hour period of torrential rains. Pretty good balance for fall weather on the coast. We have made the most of that weather with almost daily surfing at either Cox Beach or South Chesterman, Bike rides to town (on what Hunter terms the most amazing bike path ever!) and plenty of time at both the Tuff City Bike Park and the Tuff City Skate Park.

hunter skate park & shoes

Driving here has allowed Tim to get back to Ocean Kayak surfing. He has humoured all of us by learning to surf with a surf board but in his heart he is a kayak surfer and this is his zen thing. It has been great for him to be able to do that and we look forward to much more of that through this trip. Hunter and I continue to plod through the learning curve (and pummelling that comes with it) and I am confident that we will be competent surfers when our 8 month journey comes to an end.

tim kayak surfing

Tofino is an amazing, family friendly, low key destination. I could write pages and pages of information so if anyone is interested in coming and either camping or hoteling, please drop us a line and I will be happy to answer questions and make recommendations.