Trip Report: Family Fun in Tofino

Old Jul 21st, 2007, 10:41 PM
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Trip Report: Family Fun in Tofino

We spent 4 nights in Tofino in mid-July. We are a family of four � we have two teens. This was part of a Pacific Northwest Roadtrip, which started in Seattle. After Tofino, we headed to Victoria and then to Orcas Island.

I was so grateful to those who gave me such great tips on the area, that I feel compelled to write a short report, hoping it will be of help to others. Tofino doesn't usually get much of a write-up in guide books, and i know it's not that easy to find a lot of information. Since the trip takes place in two countries (and two different forums), I thought i'd just post a separate report for each area.

I'm starting with Tofino because it was the highlight of our trip. It was as gorgeous as everyone said it would be!

This was no easy task. But thanks to NWWanderer and others, I had all the details I needed. We left Seattle at 7am and drove across the Canadian border to Twassassen (only a 5 minute wait at the border!). We stopped for gas, Starbucks, and still made in plenty of time for our 10:30 ferry, reservation in hand and Bonine in our bellies. (I�m happy to report that Bonine worked perfectly without drowsiness on all of our ferries and other boat excursions!) After the long (but beautiful) drive from Nanaimo across Vancouver Island, we arrived in Tofino by 3:30.

We stayed in the Garden Cottage at the Chesterman Beach B&B. The location is gorgeous, and the cottage has a very updated, charming décor and is very private. It is very cozy. That said, it was quite cramped for 2 adults and 2 teens. (We had our own bedroom, and our son slept on a futon and our daughter on the couch.) Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. It was great to have a kitchen and a lovely outdoor garden and be so close to the beach. Lynda, the innkeeper, was very helpful and friendly, and made amazing oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies. (She even shared the recipe!)

I did walk through their other two suites. The Ocean Breeze suite would have been much more comfortable for the four of us, having two bedrooms and two living areas. It is beautiful. The Lookout Suite is also very charming, and also very cozy � more like a romantic hotel room, really, with a great view.

It really is not to believed. I could not get enough of walking and walking and walking. All of kinds of amazing things washed up on the shore every morning: crabs, mussels, driftwood, and more sea shells than I�ve ever seen in my life. During low tide, if you walk to southern end, there are sea caves, as well as tidepools with hundreds of purple and orange sea stars and even more green sea anemones. I could not stop taking pictures. It was just so gorgeous. The sand, the ocean, the waves, the sky....

I worried and worried about the possibility of rain and cold weather putting a damper on our plans. (We�re from southern California.) The day we arrived it was 90 degrees � the hottest day anyone who lived there could remember! We still couldn�t swim, but we certainly could put on our bathing suits and have fun on the beach, getting hot enough to WADE into the water. The rest of our days had intermittent showers and sunshine. The temperature ranged from 65 to 70, which was perfect for hiking and kayaking.

We did some grocery shopping and had breakfast in our cottage every morning.
For lunch we ordered sandwiches that we took along as picnics from BREAKERS and an Italian place I can�t remember the name of just up the street from the COMMON LOAF BAKERY. Both places were very good.

We ate out three nights:
SOBO � This place was very good. It gets a lot of hype. We each had a starter and entrée, and some were fabulous (crab cake) and some were just very good (fish taco).

LONG BEACH LODGE � Funny, our appetizers were outstanding, but our entrees were not that good. The fish was overcooked (and I heard someone at the next table actually complain about the same thing to the waiter).

DOCKSIDE PUB � we got fantastic fish (halibut) and chips here!! (actually we had to get take-out, since no minors are allowed. My husband and I enjoyed a drink and the view while we waited for the food, though!)

Unfortunately, we never made it to the Raincoast Café or the Schooner or the Wick.
On our last night we barbequed our own freshly-caught Coho Salmon!

Next: TOFINO ADVENTURES� activities we enjoyed in the area
dina4 is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 12:35 AM
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Thanks for writing. I can't wait to read the rest of the report.
April is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 05:00 AM
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I've been thinking about a family vacation in Tofino and the Pacific Northwest for years now. Looking forward to the rest of your report.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Dina - great report and I am so happy the Bonine worked for you. Looking forward to the next chapter of your adventures.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Yea, I'm so glad you had a great time in Tofino. Looking forward to reading the rest of the report.
NWWanderer is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Yes, the bonine was amazing. We used to take dramamine and still get sea sick, as well as drowsy and groggy! Thanks so much for that tip!

Here's a bit more....

Fun things we did in Tofino.

Day 1:
We arrived in the late afternoon, and, like I said earlier, we just hung out on the beach our first afternoon. It was so warm and beautiful. The beach is very sandy and very conducive to whiffle ball (sp?) and football, so the kids and my husband had a great time playing, while I sat on a beach chair doing crosswords and soaking it all in.

We had booked a 4 hour kayak trip to Meares Island through Tofino Kayak.
The kayaking was easy, and we were thrilled to have a skirt to cover our legs. We had only kayaked in warmer water and were weary of all the splashing. The kayak trip was really nicewe saw some seals and bald eagles as we paddled around small islands. We stopped at Meares Island and took a walk through the rain forest to see ancient cedar trees. Had our lunch there, too. Overall, it was a really great experience.

Afterwards, we went home, relaxed, and got ready for dinner.

After picking up sandwiches, we headed to Pacific Rim National Park. We did the hike to Schooner Cove. The walk through the rainforest was beautiful even more beautiful than Meares Island, I thought. Then we got to the beach and headed north so we could have it all to ourselves. We picnicked and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery.

Afterwards, we dropped the boys off at Long Beach Golf Course, and my daughter and I went into Tofino to have an afternoon treat and check out the shops. There were some cute places, but it was all very much surf shops or art galleries. We still had a great time, but I dont recall buying anything.

That night, we got take-out fish and chips and ate outside on our private patio. We also got some logs and built a campfire on the beach. The inn has nice wooden chairs and tables, so we brought down cards and backgammon and watched the sun go down. It was the kind of evening that you wish could have lasted forever. We took another walk, as well.

This is what I really love about traveling with my family: uninterrupted and quality together time.

Our best day was to come our first ever fishing trip!!!
(will try to finish tonight)
dina4 is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 07:30 PM
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This was the highlight of our trip! We booked a fishing expedition with Jacks Saltwater Fly Charters and had a blast!
It was just us and Jack, who is a GREAT guy. Friendly, nice, and fun.
Our 2 fishing licenses allowed us to catch 4 fish. (you need to purchase those ahead of time) So we kept 4 Coho Salmon and released the others we caught. Honestly, I thought a fishing trip would be a bit boring, but it was a lot of fun. It was really exciting, as well as really fun and beautiful to be out on the water. The kids caught more fish than us, which they loved.
We went out in the sunshine (shorts and tee shirts) and came home in a cold, overcast drizzle. Actually, we were FREEZING! Luckily, Jack had four bright orange warm suits not sure what to call them, but theyre like those one-piece snow outfits that zip up the front that toddlers wear.
We barbequed one of the salmon for dinner that night, and took the other three to a packing company that filets and ships them home for you.
I highly recommend this activity.

The next day we packed up and took of early for Victoria.
We stopped at Coombs Country Market Wow! And not just the goats on the roof, but all the gourmet foods inside! We loved it. Had breakfast there, too.

(We were in Victoria by noon. Ill do a little separate trip report for Victoria. We were only there for about 36 hours.)

Tofino was the highlight of our trip. It is truly a spectacular beautiful place.
dina4 is offline  
Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 07:56 PM
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Have so enjoyed reading this, dina4. Delighted to hear that you had a great time. Also nice to know that you still have that smoked salmon to look forward to.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 09:42 PM
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Thanks, Judy. Especially for all your tips and help when i was planning.

dina4 is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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Thanks for the link to your report! Sounds like you enjoyed Tofino as much as we did! Loved Chesterman Beach. glorious sunsets, and all.

My trip report is on the US Forum, WA. Very short, as the first detailed report went to the black hole of Fodor's.

I'll check your WA post too. How I wish I was planning Italy too!
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Old Aug 7th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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dayle, i cannot find your trip report!
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