Have you ever seen one of those movies where a journalist visits a small town to uncover its dark underbelly of secrets + what lies beneath? You know that eery feeling you get when the music cuts to a soft yet sharp tune, and the camera slowly pans on a grey scene of the city?
That is how I felt the entire time I was in Tofino.
Slash, not really.
Slash, kind of.
No. My time in Tofino was great. I learned to surf, I explored Canada’s best beaches, and I discovered a quaint all-organic shop and food bar.
I drank some of the best coffee and kombucha I’ve ever had in my life. And I observed a very peculiar melting pot of surf-loving adrenaline seekers.
Although everyone I met in Tofino was beyond friendly, I couldn’t help shake that eery feeling.
Firstly, it was the middle of August when my heart mate and I visited, so naturally we anticipated the warmest weather of the year. But no. Instead, we were faced with daytime highs of 15 degrees, and nighttime lows of 8 degrees!
And despite the cooler temperatures, the people in Tofino are obsessed with surfing.
If I could recommend doing one thing while visiting Tofino, British Columbia, it would be to take surfing lessons.
Every surf camp we researched offered both a board and a body suit for rent. (Trust me, you’ll need the body suit).
The best place to surf in Tofino would have to be Long Beach, just a few kilometres south of Tofino’s city centre. The high tide is in the morning, and the parking lot fills up quickly. So if you’re planning a visit, go early.
By 8:00 a.m., my heart mate and I were parked, eating our morning cereal, and watching the cold waves crash. Those brave souls who ventured out into the pacific ocean did so with just their boards + suits.
The Tofino culture gives off a “surf, coffee, socialize + repeat” kind of vibe.
It was kind of like Malibu meets a city of people who are actually down to earth.
The shop owners are so sweet and inviting, and will give you any information you need on the city, sights worth seeing, and restaurants at which to dine.
During my stay, I developed a small list of cute spots I enjoyed frequenting, either for morning coffees or afternoon smoothies and snacks.
Here are the top three food bars + coffee shops to visit while in Tofino:
Green Soul Organics – https://www.tourismtofino.com/green-soul-organics
Not only are Green Soul Organics the only all-organic produce and food shop in Tofino, they also sell some of the city’s best locally brewed kombucha!
Rhino Coffee – https://www.rhinocoffeehouse.com
Similar to the age old debate of who sells Montreal’s best bagels (the answer is Faimont Bagels, obviously), overhearing locals argue over Tofino’s best brew is normal. Consensus shows a fine tie between Rhino and The Tofitian, which is why I’ve thrown both of these bean shops up on the list. I quite liked Rhino’s quaintness, as it has limited seating and a cozy log-cabin interior, and in my opinion, the meanest beans.
The Tofitian – https://www.facebook.com/tofitian/
It was a tough call between Rhino and The Tofitian, but ultimately each deserves a spot on the top coffee shop list. The Tofitian was great in it’s own way. From the smell when you first walk in, to that first sip of coffee on a (regularly) cold morning, The Tofitian was another of the city’s charming coffee shops worth a visit.
Where to stay in Tofino | The City’s Best Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts.
While Tofino is by no means a major metropolitan city with an abundance of 5 star hotels and resorts, it really is one of Canada’s hidden gems. Speckled with many inns and BnB’s, if you dig deep, you can find some charming accommodations and a handful of 5-stars.
The Wickaninnish Inn – https://www.wickinn.com
Slightly on the pricier side for a night’s stay at a hotel, I hear the Wickaninnish Inn is worth it! One of the only 5-star hotels and resorts in Tofino, and a Relais & Châteaux recognized hotel, see everything the Wickaninnish Inn offers.
The Best Western Tin Wis Resort – http://www.tinwis.com
Erase all your pre-conceived notions of the Best Western hotel chain. The star rating is technically a 3-star, but this property is a must visit. Average room rates go for about $300, and range from $150 – $450 / night, depending on the season. The space is gorgeous, with enormous wooden beams, cozy fireplaces, jacuzzis, and private two-story suites!
Bed n’ Breakfast: Tofino Trek Inn – http://www.tofinotrekinn.com
The top rated Bed and Breakfast for Tofino, British Columbia from Trip Advisor’s Top 10 List is the Tofino Trek Inn. Formally rated as a 2.0 star hotel, the Tofino Trek Inn has garnered an average guest rating of 5.0 from over 498+ reviews! My next visit to Tofino will certainly include a night’s stay here!
Ever been to Tofino?!
Share your favourite activities and sights with me in the comments below! Let me know if I missed anything, so I can hit it up the next time I visit!
Nick Joly | Inspired by Nick