Why Tofino should be on your winter to do list

I have written a few blogs now sharing my love for Tofino. It is the perfect escape, quaint and quiet and absolutely beautiful. The village is located on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island. Since it is nestled in the Clayoquot Sound, it is the prime summer destination for surfing and beach time. 

However, thanks to the help of Tourism Tofino, I quickly realized Tofino isn’t just for the summer, but it is the perfect winter getaway as well. I spent two days exploring the beautiful island town and getting to see a very different side of Tofino that I wanted to share with you. 

Day 1: Storm watching and surfing

I started the day with breakfast and a coffee in the Great Room of the Long Beach Lodge. The Long Beach Lodge is a stunning resort located right on Cox Bay Beach. In fact I woke up to the sounds of the waves crashing right outside my window. 

The Great Room offers award winning cuisine and large windows that let you see the stunning views of the water. The perfect spot to watch the waves crash against the rocks during the storm watching season. 

Speaking of storm watching, that is one of the things that make winter so special in Tofino. Because of the open waters, we tend to see gale force winds, giant swells, and lashing waves. Waves can crash right up to the shore and can reach more than 9 meters high. 

What I loved about storm watching is that there are so many ways to enjoy nature at work. You could sit by the fire inside with a book listening to the power of the waves, or you could go outside and experience it up close and personal, just make sure you are in safe areas. 

After being memorized throughout breakfast watching and listening to the waves smashing on the rocks, it was time to actually get in the water and experience it first hand. 

I have tried surfing in the summer, but the waves are much larger during the winter months. Of course, you wear a full and thick wetsuit because the water is freezing, but being able to feel the power of the waves is incredible. 

Of course, it is important to stay safe and know the conditions ahead of time. If you aren’t experienced you should talk to some of the local surf shops and maybe sign up for a lesson. 

After surfing, I was in need of some food so we made our way to Pai. Pai is a newer food truck tucked away behind the main strip. They serve delicious fusion asian and Thai food. In fact, some of the chefs there even went to Thailand to get their training. The seasoning and food was absolutely incredible and it was very affordable. 

Then it was back to our ocean front room at the Long Beach Lodge to get a good night sleep before the next day of our adventure

Day 2: Brunch with a view and whiskey samples 

To start our second day, we made our way over the Wickaninnish Inn, another perfect storm watching spot. WE got a tour of the beautiful property. We were able to meet with the owner Charles McDiarmid to find out how he started to market storm watching season as a tourist opportunity over a delicious brunch. 

After watching the waves crashing up against the rocks, we made our way into town and did a little bit of shopping. 

I decided to finally purchase my very own Roy Henry Vickers piece of art. He is known for limited addition first nations beautiful pieces. 

After a bit of shopping, I made my way over to The Distillery, a brand new distillery in Tofino and tried samples of their West Coast Gin and delicious Jalapeno Vodka. 

A few drinks in it was time for some fresh air. We took a little walk along Chesterman beach and through the beautiful forests in the area. Even though the rain was falling down, it felt so good to be outside among these giants and breathing in the fresh air. Seeing these ancient trees up close and personal make you so appreciate to live in a place like BC. 

The night finished off at my favourite restaurant in the area, Shelter. It is the perfect date night spot in Tofino with a quaint fire place and romantic feel. Plus every single item on their menu is both fresh and delicious. I always try and sneak in some BC wild Salmon. 

Tofino winter vacation tips 

I have fallen in love with the amazing town of Tofino and will be sure to visit again soon in summer or winter. Just a few tips if you are planning a winter getaway 

  • Check the weather forecast ahead of time especially if you are hoping to see storms. We unfortunately didn’t see any crazy waves on our trip but still had an amazing time. If you are hoping for an intense storm make sure the forecast calls for it ahead of time. 
  • Bring an umbrella and waterproof clothes: What I loved about a lot of the hotels we visited in the area is that they really embrace storm watching. They offered umbrellas and raincoats for guests at both Long Beach Lodge and Wickanninsh Inn, but you might want to check with the hotel ahead of time to see if you need to bring your own. 
  • Look for some sweet deals ahead of time: While tourism is definitely on the rise, it is still considered the off season and so a lot of hotels will offer some pretty sweet deals. Make sure you search for them if you are thinking of booking a trip! 
  • Be ready to relax. I am the kind of person that loves adventure, and while Tofino does have a lot of outdoor activities, it is a really small town. It is the perfect place to go if you are looking for a relaxing weekend getaway 

Happy traveling my friends 

xo 

Mia 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is No Place Like Home: Tofino

Tofino 

22459566_10155909995472139_8823417620567464755_oshoes522495963_10155918628407139_6405971414372050881_o

 mia5shoes8IMG_4533DSC01684
FullSizeRender-2.jpg
Start the day with a good cup of coffee…
We started the day at  Common Loaf Bake Shop. This little restaurant located in an adorably colourful house had a variety of fresh and delicious options. The perfect way to start the day.
Visit the world famous beaches…
We then made our way to Long Beach to take some pictures. Long Beach is the longest beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. 10km of soft sand and a stunning panoramic view of the ocean and sky made for the perfect snaps.
Indulge in some tacos…
 On the way back from Long Beach we stopped at the original Tacofino. I had Tacofino in Vancouver before, but I heard the original was even better. I knew it was a food truck, but I was still surprised by the set up. A lone food truck in a parking lot with a long line. The truck was colourful and so was the menu. I got the fish and veggie tacos and it was definitely worth the wait.
Hang ten on the waves…
After filling our bellies with tacos, it was then time for our surf lesson. I tried surfing once before and it ended terribly, but Estuardo at Tofino Surf Adventures promised that by the end of my lesson I would be surfing. He was right. It was a little bit of a shaky start, but by the fourth try I was standing up on my board. I won’t be competing in any surf competitions any time soon but it definitely was a thrill. The best part about surfing was the perfect day we had. Despite it being October, the sun was out, the water was relatively warm, and the skies were blue. It was an amazing experience.
 Indulge in world class cuisine…
A quick hot tub to help our aching muscles, it was time to try and choose from the list of amazing restaurants in the area. I have the Sobo cookbook at home, so it only made sense to enjoy a meal at their Tofino restaurant. With their wood fire oven, it was hard not to pick from the pizza menu. I ordered a mushroom pizza and it was delicious.
Day 2: Hot springs, whales, and walks
shoes 119488491_10155552351222139_4768959932060617431_o22553244_10155915721502139_8654187320991273373_o22426599_10155911753682139_5071773052363767848_o22496325_10155915781142139_4544503184178671643_o
Relax in the hot springs… 
Day two started bright and early as we set out on about an hour and a half boat ride with West Coast Aquatic Safaris to Hot Springs Cove. Hot Springs Cove is home to seven natural geothermal rock pools that cool down the closer you get to the ocean.
On the way there we saw a grey whale, my first time seeing one up close. Once we arrived, we walked about 1.5 km through a beautiful forest until we arrived at the springs. I warmed up under a small waterfall and sat in the hottest bath as the waves crashed in around us. The view of the ocean on the cool damp day was spectacular.
On the way back we were in for another treat, we spotted some Orcas which were quite rare in October. Two species of whales in one day is pretty special.
Admire local art…
In the afternoon we took a stroll and explored the adorable town of Tofino. During the walk we stumbled into the Eagle Aerie Art Gallery. The gallery was filled with west coast inspired paintings, prints, carvings, and even jewelry. I really suggest taking your time to read about each painting. They all tell a beautifully unique story.
Indulge in some wine and food… 
The weekend ended at Shelter. What I love about this restaurant is they aim to minimize their global footprint and the majority of ingredients used are local, organic, and ethically raised. The majority of the fish is caught by Tofino fisherman so of course I had to give the salmon a try. It was delicious! Another amazing fact is in the back of the restaurant there is a garden where they produce fresh herbs and vegetables. You can’t go wrong with anything on this menu.

What to pack?

Tofino is one of those magical places that you can visit year round. In the summer packed beaches and plenty of surfing. In the winter storm watching and still plenty of surfing. I went in October and it was fairly wet and cool.

Arc’teryx Durant Jacket: I find this the perfect jacket for the wet and slightly cooler days. It is waterproof and insulated so perfect for when you are out on the water trying to stay warm

Emu Roadside BootsThese waterproof boots are comfy on the inside but stylish on the outside. Perfect for wet and colder days

Ryu Tough Tight High-rise BottomsFor the outdoor hikes and walks you want to make sure you have pants that look good, are comfortable, and can stretch. I found these pants perfect for hikes to dinner.

Your camera: Tofino is so beautiful you are going to want to make sure you have the perfect camera to remember them memories. Most of mine are shot on a Cannon 5D.

Tofino offers the perfect combination of outdoor adventure, fine dining, and stunning scenery to make it the perfect weekend getaway spot.