Tofino Trip with Toddler, any tips?

Aug 4th, 2005, 09:27 AM
  #1  
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Tofino Trip with Toddler, any tips?

We are travelling to Tofino next month with our two year old to get away from it all. We like nature, good food and hope to spend some relaxing time together. Other than Victoria, I have not visiting VI before (even though we grew up in the Northwest). Thank you all for the Tofino/VI posts so far which helped me choose to visit Tofino and plan our itinerary. Now I'm looking for some fine tuning and more ideas for things to do. I have excluded the bits with family that bookend the trip and have started our proposed itinerary from Bellingham:

Day 1: Drive to Vancouver from Bellingham, ferry to Naimano (from Horseshoe Bay?), drive to Tofino. We are staying five nights in a Cottage at Long Beach Lodge.

Day 2: Explore Tofino in the morning (climb Radar Hill, quick look at galleries, lunch), naptime, then beach walks in afternoon

Day 3: Explore Ucluelet in the morning, Big Beach trail or Wild West Coast trail? naptime, then rainforest walk in afternoon

Day 4: Glass Bottom boat ride to Meares Island, naptime, afternoon spa appointment for me, more beachcombing for the little one and DH

Day 5: Tofino Botanical Gardens, spa appointment for DH, splurge dinner at the Wick (with babysitter for toddler)

Day 6: travel back to Bellingham (should we go back the same way we came?)

I've seen the following restaurants recommended: Sobo, Common Loaf, Rain Coast Cafe and Blueberry Bistro in Ucluelet. Any other suggestions?

Any other travel tips or ideas are appreciated. Thanks!
POlson is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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We are travelling also to Tofino, and I was looking your itinerary and I have a quesstion, where do you hire the Glass Bottom Boat ride to Meares Island?
marthaf9 is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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I was considering Sea Trek Tours in Tofino. The website describes the Meares trip as follows "A fifteen minute Glass Bottom Boat ride will take you to Meares Island. A boardwalk through a virgin temperate rainforest will lead you to the "hanging garden tree" the largest known living red cedar in Clayoquot Sound." They also have bear and whale watching trips. We haven't contacted them yet but the website looked good. Here's the info:
455 Campbell Street
Box 1018
Tofino, British Columbia
V0R 2Z0 Canada
Tel: (250) 725-4412
Fax: (250) 725-4257
Toll Free: 1-800-811-9155
www.seatrektours.bc.ca
POlson is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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Thanks for the Tip =)

We've been in Tofino and Uclulet last year, and took the Wild West Coast trail, it's about 2 km, and there are a lot of points of views where you can sit and enjoy the view.

A good restaurant in Tofino with excellent view of the Clayoquot Sound is the Sea Shanty, it's above the first street dock, the speciality is sea food.
marthaf9 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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The highlight of our trip to Tofino was a visit to Hot Spring Cove. I don't remember the name of the island, but there are several boat operators that can take you there. We saw whales on the way. Then an easy 2 km walk along a boardwalk through the forest. The springs come out of a small crack in the rock, and the water tumbles down into a series of pools until it reaches the ocean. Like a series of hot tubs, each one cooler as you go lower down. Some type of water shoes are recommended as you are walking on sharp stones. Bring a bathing suit, and have a relaxing soak.
jec1 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 06:36 AM
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A few more questions and a change in plans.

Any suggestions for things to do on the way to Tofino? Is Cathedral Grove on the way? Would it make a good stop? Does the ferry serve food, or will we need to stop for lunch before or after the ferry trip? Any suggestions?

I've read some older posts which suggest Tsawassen as a ferry departure instead of Horseshoe Bay (to avoid drive through Vancouver). As we will be traveling from the south, I think we will change our plan to leave from Tsawassen.

POlson is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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POlson,

Two stops come to mind on the way to Tofino:

1. Cathedral Grove
2. Coombs Market

I think that Coombs comes first along the road. It's a fun kind of market where they have grass growing on the roof, and goats nonchalantly hanging out on the roof, eating it!

Cathedral Grove is a rare spot on Vancouver Island where they haven't logged. The trees are huge!

The ferries do serve food. Note that there are 2 types of ferries between Vancouver Island and the mainland: there's the older ferries and the newer ferries. You'll know immediately which ferry you're on, however, both of them serve food. There's cafeteria food, White Spot (local BC restaurant chain) food, and I recall at one time there was even a buffet! When you first board the ferry, the majority of passengers make a mad dash for the restaurants, so there might be a bit of a lineup first.

If you're travelling from the south, then it would make much more sense to travel from Tsawwassen. There will be signs on Hwy 99 pointing you to the ferry terminal. You'll be there 20 minutes after crossing the USA-Canada border, unlike Horseshoe Bay, which would take a good hour longer to get to after crossing the border.
Carmanah is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 04:34 PM
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Hi, POlson. Looks like you have a very balanced itinerary that accommodates the needs of your toddler. We were in Tofino a couple of years ago and loved every minute we were there. Definitely take the ferry from Tsawwassen. The ride will help you "transition" from work to vacation mode. We drove up from Seattle.

There is a big supermarket in Port Alberni - about half way between Naimano and Long Beach. A stop there will help break up the drive and you can pick up supplies, too, if you need them. There is a co-op market in Tofino, but after your drive, you will probably want to go directly to your cottage and avoid a trip into Tofino.

We stayed in a beach front room at the Long Beach Lodge. Breakfasts were very casual and included a tasty granola cereal and yogurt. The beach is incredible - large expanse of sand that seems to extend to the horizon. Take old sneakers or aqua socks and explore the rocky inlets at low tide for marine life. We saw sea stars of every color - pink, red, purple, and orange - and so many anemones we could barely avoid stepping on them; also a few sand dollars. You will see lots at Ucluelet, too, but not the same density. In Ucluelet, walk at least part of the Wild Pacific Coast Trail with views of the light house. BTW, there is a visitor info center at the junction where Route 4 turns north toward Tofino.

We ate at the Wick one night - our wedding anniversary - and were pleasantly surprised with a complementary dessert. In Tofino, we had a good dinner at the Rain Coast Cafe - great food, simple dining room.

Save the Hot Springs for a later trip when your child is older. This is not something I would do with a 2 year old. Hope this helps.
MIWinnie is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 09:46 PM
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Thank you all for the terrific responses.

MIWinnnie: dinner at the Wick will be for our wedding anniversary as well. Thank you for the tips and the lovely descriptions. Soon we'll be walking on the beach and I look forward to introducing my little one to the magic of sanddollars. I have many fond memories from beach walks on the Washington coast. I agree that the Hot Springs will suit us better on a later trip but that's a good enough reason for going back.

Carmanah: Thank you for your helpful responses, in particular with regards to the ferry. If all goes as planned our toddler will be doing some naptime in the car on the drives but if not we will try to stop at Cathedral Grove and/or Coombs. I understand there is a butterfly museum or some such thing in or near Coombs as well.

Thanks as well to Marthf9 (enjoy your trip) and jec1 (for providing a great excuse for a second trip).
POlson is offline  
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