Ucluelet

Ucluelet, which in the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations language means "people with a safe landing place," along with the towns of Bamfield and Tofino, serves the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Ucluelet is quieter than Tofino and has a less sophisticated ambience. Despite a growing number of crafts shops, restaurants, and B&Bs, it's still more of a fishing village than an ecotourism retreat, although Black Rock Resort competes with Tofino's upscale dining-and-lodging market.

Like in Tofino, whale-watching is an important draw as are the winter storms. Ucluelet is the regional base for fishing and for kayaking in the Broken Group Islands, part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Various charter companies take boats to greet the 20,000 gray whales that pass close to Ucluelet on their migration to the Bering Sea every March and April.

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