This article was published on October 2nd, 2022
Tofino is the ultimate wet and wild getaway guaranteed to please all your senses. This small coastal town just west of Vancouver is well known among locals as one of the most beautiful places in Canada. It’s nestled tightly within the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations territory.
The natural beauty of Tofino comes from its raw, untamed nature and proximity to a variety of wildlife. You’ll feast your eyes on the natural beauty and breathtaking expanse of the UNESCO Clayoquot biosphere region, a treasure trove of profound diversity and environmental culture.
It is just as much about getting back to nature as it is about watching whales breach, listening to whale songs, spotting bald eagles, and watching marine animals frolic in the waves.
Tofino offers visitors a wide range of activities – from whale-watching cruises and sunset fishing charters to hiking trails, sea kayaking excursions, hot springs, beach bonfires, fresh seafood restaurants and more. Combine that with LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations and an opening and welcoming community, and you’ve got the ultimate getaway.
Here’s exactly how to plan an unrivalled getaway to Tofino, British Columbia.
Surf the seas with inclusivity
Even if you’ve never touched a surfboard, the idea of surfing resonates with most people. It might be one of the most challenging sports but also exhilarating and liberating. The feeling of being weightless as waves crash beneath you and your board…
Think about how many people you know that love to spend their time on the beach. May would love the opportunity to learn how to surf the beautiful waves.
Surf Sisters is a Tofino-based surfing company with over 30 years of combined experience in providing surfing lessons to eager surfers. With a staff of passionate instructors and unparalleled facilities, you’ll have everything you need to be a certified pro in no time.
From beginner classes to private lessons, they’ve got you covered with diverse offerings from Beginner to Intermediate levels. No matter your skill level, they’ll help you progress faster than ever.
Surf Sisters rallies for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. Every month, Surf Sisters organizes a surf gathering for the LGBTQ+ community, where members come together in Tofino to enjoy a fun, safe, and welcoming surf session.
Catch a Glimpse of nature’s beauty and see the largest mammals on Earth in action
With its picturesque natural landmarks, dense forests and abundant wildlife, Tofino is an ideal spot for spotting marine life. The best way to see transient Orcas and Pacific grey whales in the wild is on a whale watching tour.
Whale watching is a perfect activity to see these magnificent marine mammals in their natural habitat. West Coast Aquatic offers curated whale-watching tours with a difference. Passengers will get up-close and personal experiences with the whales in their custom-built double-decker boats, providing unobstructed views to capture photos and videos of your whale encounters.
There are also opportunities to see other marine wildlife including steller sea lions, California sea lions, harbour porpoise, seals, sea otters, bald eagles, and tufted puffins.
Take a refreshing travel break at Englishman River Falls
Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is located west of Parksville, British Columbia, about 20 minutes from Naniamo, where you take BC Ferries to Vancouver Island, on your way to Tofino. Here you will find two fantastic waterfalls cascading along a deep canyon in the lush, old and second growth forests.
Englishman River Falls has several trails and pathways through the forests, and including two bridges that cross the river, providing fantastic views of the falls.
The upper falls is the larger waterfall, that flows down a deep, narrow canyon towards the lower falls that has a deep, clear pool, perfect for swimming and jumping into the water.
This stop is about a 10-minute detour on the way to/from the BC Ferries terminal in Naniamo and is a refreshing stop along your journey.
Stop for a selfie at the Hole in the Wall, a hidden gem created by nature
Port Alberni’s Hole in the Wall is becoming more popular as a tourist attraction. It’s located just outside of Port Alberni, and it’s a fantastic quick rest stop if you’re on your way to or from Tofino. It’s a must stop-and-see! It is becoming a popular spot for taking great photos and fantastic content for your social feeds. On the other hand, there are no signs to guide you to the correct spot, so you might not realize you are there.
It’s on private land owned by Mosaic Forest Management and is not an official attraction or park. Look for Coombs Country Candy Store, as the trailhead is located across the highway. It’s a short 10-minute walk down an uneven trail. There are a couple of signs along the way, and you can use Google Maps to guide you.
Once there, you can cross the creek in the summer to get a closer look at the Hole in the Wall. Depending on water levels at different times of the year, you can either wade through the shallow water or balance on the exposed rocks to stay dry. You can climb up into the Hole with a good grip on your shoes. The rocks are slippery, so be careful if you choose to do this.
Indulge your palette and eat local at ROAR
ROAR is one of the most awesome restaurant experiences in Tofino. With a curated list of wines, craft beers, and spirts from British Columbia, you will find something that suits your taste.
The menu features fresh, locally sourced seafood, meats, and vegetables, creating a wide variety of dinner options. There are even great options for vegans and for people with special dietary requirements.
It’s all served up on an incredible wood fire grill that char-grills to perfection. Almost every entre is made to perfection on this incredible beast. It’s a sensory dining experience that will have you grinning from ear-to-ear.
Feel welcome in a place that cares about you, no matter your orientation.
With all that Tofino has to offer, you’d be crazy not to want to experience it all. We know that feeling welcome is a huge part of gay travel. HomoCulture recommends hotels that will provide superior service and make you feel safe, comfortable, and welcome.
As the best LGBTQ-friendly hotel in Tofino, Hotel Zed Tofino is as unique as you are. The bold, funky, retro style property offers the simple modern convinces that today’s queer travels love.
The property is about a 10-minute walk from the beach, has an in-house restaurant, and has a private trail and boardwalk just 60 seconds away from the most calming bird sanctuary overlooking the Tofino inlet. Guests can also access the nearby trails for hiking or biking.
The hotel’s staff will be happy to assist with any requests and are dedicated to making every stay an enjoyable experience.
Get to Tofino on BC ferries
For 60 years, BC Ferries has provided safe and efficient travel to their customers. BC Ferries operates 39 ferries, moving more than 22 million passengers and 8 million vehicles annually. Connecting coastal communities, BC Ferries is one of the most spectacular ways to experience travel to Vancouver Island from the BC mainland.
The crossing takes approximately two hours from Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) to Departure Bay (Nanaimo). It offers spectacular views of Greater Vancouver while crossing the Salish Sea and up-close, picture-perfect views of the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast. You might be lucky enough even to catch an Orca or humpback whale!
The fleet of ferries servicing Vancouver – Nanaimo crossing offer onboard restaurants, a gift shop, and open-air deck space. Reservations are recommended.
Learn more and book your reservation on BC Ferries today. www.bcferries.com