Tucked away on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino is one of the most visited destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Known for surfing, incredible and ethically sourced food, wildlife, and outdoor activities (either hiking or a visit to Tofino Brewery, depending on your definition of “outdoor activity”), it is a place many flock to for the ultimate weekend getaway!
About Tofino, BC
Tofino is a village located in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere, consisting of temperate rainforests and cascading coastlines. While this climate doesn’t translate into the hottest or driest weather, the scenery and wildlife more than make up for the need to pack a raincoat and a wetsuit.
Below I’ve outlined how to spend 3 days in Tofino, BC including things to do, day trips and must try food destinations!
How to get around Tofino
Tofino is quite small, so you can walk around the town and explore very easily! Another great option is to rent a bike for the duration of your stay. Tofino has an awesome bike path connecting the town to various beaches and hotels. For everything else, you can drive or hire a tour company to take you to your desired destinations. There aren’t many taxis in Tofino, so make sure to plan ahead if you need a ride at a specific time or if you will be drinking!
How to Spend 3 days in Tofino – Day 1: Explore (and eat, of course)
Breakfast/Brunch at the famous Wickinnish Inn
Enjoy amazing food overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Chesterman beach. Grab a latte and mimosa while planning your next few days! Everything on the menu is great, so I recommend everyone ordering something different and sharing!
Walk off breakfast by beach combing Chesterman Beach, one of the largest beaches in Tofino. Stop to watch the surfers for awhile before heading back. Chesterman beach is also a great place to ride bikes, so if you have rented some, I highly recommend biking around (just make sure you rent the bikes with the fatter tires, the rental place will be able to give you all the details).
Tacofino for Lunch
If you’re like me, you’ll be hungry again at this point (who am I kidding, I’m ALWAYS hungry). Head over to the original taco truck, the predecessor to all the restaurants you can now find in Vancouver. These tacos are next level. Be prepared to wait in line!
Before you leave, explore a few shops in the area like Chocolate Tofino (amazing truffles and gelato) and Tofitian Coffee for an afternoon pick me up.
Sunset at the beach
You can’t leave Tofino without seeing a sunset! For a place that is known to be quite damp, it sure does have some incredible sunsets! Cox Bay and Mackenzie Beach have amazing views as the sun disappears over the water.
If you want to eat dinner at the beach, you can order a pizza for a picnic from Basic Goodness pizza or grab a few groceries from Tofino Co-op.
How to Spend 3 days in Tofino – Day 2: Hikes, Bikes and all the food!
Coffee and a Hike!
Grab a coffee and light breakfast at either Rhino Coffee or Tofitian Coffee and go on a hike!
When it comes to things to do in Tofino, enjoying the scenic outdoors should be at the top of the list! There are a ton of hikes, trails, and beach walks you can choose from. Be sure to grab a brochure from the tourist office in town, or at your hotel for a full list! My favourite hikes in Tofino are:
Walk the Big Tree boardwalk and marvel at the massive cedar trees, some of the oldest life forms on the planet. The trail is very well maintained, and very leisurely. For a steeper climb, consider Lone Cone Hike, a 6.5 km round trip hike that will give you stunning views of Tofino and the neighbouring islands!
This island can only be accessed by boat or kayak. Tofino has a water taxi that will take you there and back at your convenience! More info on getting to Meares Island.
On my subsequent trip to Tofino I decided to explore Rainforest trail. These are two 1km loops located on either side of the highway. I suggest doing both if you have time as they are moderate and don’t take very long, but are equally stunning. Pay attention to the beautiful sounds of the rainforest as birds communicate with each other, insects buzz and the trees envelop you. Take a moment to see, smell and listen. It’s truly incredible.
After your hike, make your way over to Tofino Brewing for a flight of beer and some snacks! The apparel makes for a great keepsake or gift for loved ones. There is a small bakery nearby called Summit Bread Company. Pop in there for your carb fix. You know me, I’ll sniff out a bakery and find the bread no matter where it is.
Shopping in town
After the brewery, head into town to do a little shopping. My favourite shops in Tofino are Habit, Live to Surf, Rubio, and Merge, but just walk around and you’ll find some amazing Artisan shops to pop into!
Dinner at Wolf in the Fog
You can’t spend 3 days in Tofino without a meal at Wolf in the Fog. It is one of the best restaurants in Canada, has a really cool vibe, and the food and cocktails are ah-mazing!
How to spend 3 days in Tofino: Day 3 – Choose your day trip!
Tofino Day Trip #1 – Explore Ucluelet
Take the short drive to Ucluelet for the day, about 20-30 minutes outside of Tofino. Stop at Lighthouse park and pop in to shop at Gypsy Drifter, a cool vintage and modern shop. Have lunch at Blue Moon or dinner at Norwoods.
Tofino Day Trip #2 – Boat trip to Hot Springs
The hot springs are a tourist favourite, especially in the summer time. It’s a 6 hour excursion with a 1.5 hour boat trip each way. While the trek is long, there is a good chance of seeing whales and bears on the trip! Consider the boat ride a whale watching tour as well :P. A local specifically told us to hold off from booking a whale watching or bear watching tour if we were planning on visiting the hot springs for this exact reason.
If your excursion doesn’t leave until mid-morning, I’d highly recommend doing Beach Yoga on Mackenzie Beach! It is usually at 9:00am. Find all the info here
Beaches in Tofino
- Long Beach: the longest beach of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve at 16km
- Cox Bay: good for surfing and watching surfing, sunsets
- Mackenzie Beach: good for sunsets, beach fires, paddle boarding, beach yoga with Tofino Yoga 9am
- Chesterman Beach: good for bike riding, beach-combing, long walks on the beach
- Tonquin Park: nice and secluded
Tofino Food/Drink Must-try list
- Beer Flight at Tofino Brewery
- Lavender truffles at Chocolate Tofino
- Oysters at Schooner
- Fish tacos from Tacofino
For a full list of the best places to eat in Tofino, check out this post.
If you are feeling adventurous, Tofino is one of the best places to learn to surf! Just be warned, the water can be a liiitttttle chilly!
My favourite surf lesson company in Tofino is Surf Sister, with lessons taught by an all female crew! They are super friendly and helpful, and can make the experience way less intimidating if you’ve never surfed before!
Where to Stay in Tofino:
- Cox Bay Resort – great for groups and has beautiful lofts, right on the beach
- Pacific Sands Resort – another dreamy resort in Cox Bay! Very romantic
- Best Western Tin Wis Resort- Don’t let the Best Western brand fool ya, almost all the rooms have stunning ocean views of Mackenzie Beach
- Ocean Village Resort Tofino – the cutest huts you ever did see!
I hope that gives you some ideas on how to spend 3 days in Tofino, BC – one of my favourite vacation spots! As always, please comment with any questions, or if I missed anything!