When you think of Tofino, does your mind drift to visions of sandy beaches and dazzling sunshine? Sure, it’s a gorgeous prospect, but these summertime visions fall short compared to what Tofino’s best season has to offer.
Dramatic skies, rustic accommodations, crackling fires and natural beauty so awe-inspiring, your heart might skip a beat. With smaller crowds and extraordinary activities, including private dips at Hot Springs Cove, winter in Tofino is truly an experience worth daydreaming about.
Skip the summer vacation. Here are five reasons to visit Tofino right now.
A short trip to the edge of the world
Those who have already visited know Tofino is a scenic six-hour journey from Vancouver. Wildlife sightings, ocean views and snow-capped mountaintops punctuate the ferry ride and accompanying drive to the tip of Esowista Peninsula, all of which is underscored by the distinct mist of B.C.’s winter months.
Tofino is home to just 1,876 residents year-round, offering a small-town charm that’s amplified as the area’s summertime bustle subsides. Fewer crowds enables visitors the opportunity to sink into the slower place of island living, giving them greater access to the beaches, trails, artisans, restaurants and parks.
Then again, the destination is pretty incredible…
Ask anyone where to stay in Tofino and you’re sure to hear about the Wickaninnish Inn. In operation since 1996, Wickaninnish Inn is Tofino’s premier resort and spa destination, combining the area’s rugged landscapes with the modern creature comforts great vacations are made from.
Smell the fresh salt air from your balcony and gaze into the churning ocean tides. Panoramic ocean or beach views are offered from every guest room, as well as direct access to Chesterman Beach. Wickaninnish Inn also boasts fine dining at The Pointe Restaurant, fitness facilities, a carvings shed, Ancient Cedars Spa and the best winter storm watching views in all of Vancouver Island.
Winter in Tofino is a signature Canadian experience
What makes Tofino such a fantastic storm watching hot spot? One factor is the exposed coast, with no landmass between Tofino and Japan.
Storm watching season typically runs from November through February, although it is not unusual to catch a storm in early March. Experience the gale force winds, giant swells and lashing waves from the comfort of a fireplace-warmed suite. You can also bundle up in full rain gear and rubber boats (courtesy of Wickaninnish Inn) and head out to the patio for unobstructed views of Mother Nature at work.
Once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters
After being humbled by the storms, prepare to have your breath taken away by the sight of Pacific Gray Whales. As Tofino’s original Whale Tour Company, Jamie’s Whaling Station & Adventure Centres has had the pleasure of sharing Tofino’s awe-inspiring wildlife with visitors since 1982.
The gray whale migration from Baja California begins to arrive along the west coast of Vancouver Island in early February and daily sightings continue right through to October each season. Although less frequent, whales can be spotted in the winter months on tours enroute to Hot Springs Cove. Jamie’s has earned a reputation for a sightings success rate of over 95% and also offers bear watching, kayak and canoe tours and water taxi service to surrounding islands.
You can expect more than grey skies
The weather in Tofino always holds surprises. Yes, there can be storms and icy ocean breezes, but there’s almost always unexpected bursts of sunshine well into the spring. As part of a temperate coastal rainforest, the average winter temperature generally settles around 8 degrees Celsius. Regardless of the weather, there’s always something to do. From Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, to restaurants serving plucked-out-of-the-ocean fresh seafood to the hot springs of Maquinna Provincial Park, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy Tofino rain or shine.
Ready to experience Tofino’s best season? For more information visit tourismtofino.com