Tofino, Vancouver Island

If you find yourself on Vancouver Island and are looking for a wonderful location to stay for a couple of nights…look no farther than Tofino on the west coast of the island.

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Cox Bay Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island

We recently made a visit here and it left me wondering why I don’t visit here more often! We travelled from the lower mainland (Vancouver area) to Nanaimo by ferry and then made the drive across the island to the west coast. Along the way there are picturesque lakes that make for pretty photo ops and an excuse to stretch your legs.

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Cameron Lake

Once you reach the west coast there is nothing left to do but relax and go for walks, wander with a camera in hand, read a book…..or surf!

We stayed fairly close to Tofino and there is certainly no lack of accommodations ranging from upscale inns to family friendly cabins and condominiums. Many of the properties have surf shops that offer lessons and gear to rent, as well as bikes to get you in and out of town.

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We came to explore the beaches and do nothing more than enjoy walking on the sand, listening to the surf, and enjoying unobstructed views of the sun setting.

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The next morning we wandered along Cox Bay Beach…

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Cox Bay Beach with Lennard Island Lighthouse

…and enjoyed a short hike on a boardwalk to Pettinger Point, which is located at the north end of the beach.

This walk provides some great peek-a-boo views of the beach, as well scenes of the rugged ocean coastline.

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After the hike we headed south to Radar Hill. This site was originally built in 1954 during the Cold War to provide an attack warning system for long range bombers. The site was never used and today all that is left are the cement foundations. The short walk to the top provides some spectacular views as you find yourself above the forest and able to see for miles.

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View looking north from the top of Radar Hill

After a short stop here we made our way to Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park. This is the longest beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island and a haven for beachcombers, swimmers and surfers.

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Long Beach looking south
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Long Beach looking north

The last place we checked out on our drive was Wickaninnish Beach. This beach has some very dangerous rip currents and so swimming and surfing are to be done with extreme caution.

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Wickaninnish Beach
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Wickaninnish Beach

There is a visitor centre located here which has informative exhibits, an outside deck area, a gift shop and a restaurant that is open during the summer months. That evening we witnessed another spectacular sunset.

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Our time on Long Beach was way too short, but we enjoyed every minute of it and can’t wait to return. On our last morning the mist provided us with another reason to stop and enjoy the scenery.

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Cox Bay Beach

If you visit the west coast of Vancouver Island remember that some areas are part of Pacific Rim National Park and so parking passes are necessary if you want to stop and enjoy some of these places. Radar Hill, Long Beach, and Wickaninnish Beach are all inside the Pacific Rim National Park and parking passes can be purchased at each of these locations.

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