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I'm wondering what this sea creature is that I found washed up on McKenzie beach in Tofino, Vancouver Island? It wasn't dried up or anything. I've seen hundreds before but I cant find anywhere on the internet what they are!
Tofino Bound: Vancouver Island’s Boast On The Coast
There’s something about Tofino that gets under your skin in a good way. And you don’t come back the same person as you left. That’s not lofty, esoteric claim. It’s the absolute truth.
It’s not a big place, less than 1.900 year-round residents, but it has managed to carve out a unique niche in a crowded market where destinations are desperately fighting for tourist dollars. And it’s done it by just being itself. It’s rustically beautiful, with not a single condo tower to be found. It’s remote enough and handy enough via quick flights from Vancouver or Victoria. And it has attracted businesses that are welcoming to tourists, but don’t specifically cater to them.
Tofino is much like the guy totally at ease with going to a wedding reception wearing jeans and a sports jacket. It’s laidback and chill, free-of-attitude kind of spot where there’s no pressure to do anything other than to have a good time. And on that count, it truly delivers.
Located on the southern tip of Clayoquot Sound and the Pacific side, it’s not surprising that Tofino is an ocean playground. The waves are good and consistent which attract surfers to its waters. Surfers here are just the tourists. The locals here live to surf and surf to live. Many head out for a couple of hours even before their workday begin. These days, though, it’s all about paddle surfing. It’s the hottest new sport on the planet right now and you’ve got to try it here.
Before you embarrass yourself in front of fellow surfers or paddle boarders and beachcombers, do yourself a favour and sign up for some lessons. Your ego will thank you. Tofino Paddle Surf takes students to a quiet, calm bay where you can fall off your board in relative seclusion. Once you’re sure-footed and can get vertical for a sustained amount of time, you venture farther out to tackle some waves.
Speaking of waves, there are some rockin’ ones come late fall and winter. The surf kicks up along with the wind for some truly spectacular, moody and brooding scenery. The Tofino travel folks are rather brilliant. They’ve turned storm watching into a second peak tourism season. Hotels with great views fill up with nature lovers, photographers and never-leave-your-room type couples. To see nature unleash her full fury is a wild, woolly and wonderful experience.
Eat to the beat
In Tofino, you don’t eat in a restaurant: you dine. There’s a big difference. Because of its relaxed pace, don’t expect to squat, gobble and go. Just chill and plan on spending on evening sipping and supping. A long-time favourite of locals and tourists is SoBo. It started out as a food truck by the side of the road. (Long before food trucks were cool.) It served things like wickedly good fish tacos and polenta fries. Now it has a brick and mortar location in town that features a kicked up menu showcasing local products, everything from crab to wild prawns and organic vegetables. Chef Lisa Ahier (a transplant via Texas and author of the new SoBo Cookbook) isn’t shy about her spicing. Flavours are fresh, bold and delicious. On your must-try list include: Key lime pie and the SoBo Margarita that is so potent a maximum of two drinks will be served per patron.
Shelter is one of those restaurants where you can say, “Everything is good” and mean it. Chef Matty Kane does an amazing job with letting the flavours of his ingredients shine through every dish. When you have some of the best produce, meat, seafood and cheese right in your backyard, it’s the right thing to do. Don’t mess with them. Let them be as they are. Very Zen. Natch, the seafood is the star of the menu. Mussels. Local. Halibut. Local. Crab, oysters, salmon. Local times three. Carnivores are equally happy with lamb sirloin, a classic steak and frites, or a rotund juicy burger.
And, as a side note, Kane is also one of many people you’ll meet in Tofino who came for a vacation, fell in love and then moved there for good. Just be forewarned. It could happen to you, too.
For dessert, teeny tiny Chocolate Tofino is the place for sweet treats. Kim and Cam Shaw make chocolate that will ruin you for life. It’s unlikely you’ll have any ever again that is as fresh and beautifully nuanced with things like blackberries. Don’t leave without a cone of lavender honey ice cream in hand, or a chocolate bear, filled with miniature chocolate fish and sea creatures – a couple of their signature not-to-be-missed items. And yes, Kim and Cam came to Tofino for a holiday and ended up coming back to live and work. See a trend here?
There are plenty of hotels scattered along the beach around Tofino. One of the favourites is the all-suite Pacific Sands Beach Resort (pacificsands.com), located on the edge of the spectacular Pacific Rim National Park. It’s the best of all worlds. It’s luxurious, yet casual, and contemporary, yet cozy. The suites are amenity packed, from well-stocked kitchens, fireplaces, hot tubs, soaking tubs with a view, and balconies. It feels more like staying at a fabulous friend’s cottage than a hotel.
When you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to cook, just phone up the food & beverage folks and ask them to deliver a continental breakfast to your door, or grab gourmet frozen entrées from guest services to throw into the oven. Sheer perfection!
The best tactic for your stay? Book a beach house for you and a gaggle of friends. A two-bedroom one, for example, sleeps six people comfortably and costs $430 a night and up during winter storm season, less than $75 per person. The beach is at your doorstep. If it was any closer, you’d be IN the water! Use this as your hub for whale watching, beach combing, s’more making, cycling (bikes for rent on-site) and spa time next door at the Ancient Cedars Spa (at the Wickaninnish Inn).
Just one more warning…. When chatting to the staff and how much they love working at the resort and in Tofino, you’ll already be plotting your return. It really is that amazing.
Where to find tide pools in Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC
Every tide pool we saw in Tofino, BC on Vancouver Island’s west coast was more amazing than the last. After a while, we stopped exclaiming about it and learned to expect to be stunned by the intertidal beauty of this area. Where to find the best tide pools in Tofino? Below are our top picks:
1. MacKenzie Beach: Just a few miles south of Tofino, MacKenzie Beach stretches widely in low tide, allowing visitors to explore not only the rocky coastline at the south end, but several small islands that are not accessible in high tide. Start down near Ocean Village turn left for the rocky outcroppings. While we visited this beach, Calvin decided to try to count 100 sea stars: he stopped at over 300! In addition, you’ll find sea anemomes and lots of crabs and small fish. Most amazing (to us) were the abundance of ghost shrimp just under the sand in low tide. You can identify their burrows by the tiny ‘volcano’ shaped holes in the wet sand. If you dig, you’ll uncover one, but be warned: they’re squirmy, big, and a bit scary!
2. Chesterman Beach: Even more impressive than MacKenzie Beach, Chesterman Beach is larger, wilder, and features an amazing fissure in the rock where families can walk through in low tide. In the center of the Chesterman Beach is a private island it’s permissible to walk to it and on it, but respect the private property signs on each end. We found it fun to reach this island, but the best tide pools are on the south side of the main beach, where the rocks reveal massive sea anemones and other intertidal wildlife. (At this beach, Calvin’s sea star count rose to over 600!) Go through the rock fissure and climb over the larger rocks with muscles and barnacles, and check in the large pools for crabs and hermit crabs. We even found a rare sunflower sea star, known as the biggest predator of the intertidal pool area. The colors and size of the tidal pool inhabitants on Chesterman are truly jaw-dropping. If you only visit one tidal pool area in Tofino, make it this one!
3. Lismer Beach: Lismer Beach is located next to more well-known Wickaninnish Beach (famous for its surfing and sand dunes), and is accessible by South Beach Trail (1.5 km round trip). Kids will love the chorus of ‘music’ the many pebbles on the beach make in the rolling surf, but caution should be exerted: only attempt the tide pools along the bluffs at extreme low tide. The trailhead is located near Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s visitor’s center (a must-do): at the center, turn south.
Note: be sure to plan your visits to tide pools during low tide. Tidal information is available in the local paper, at every visitor center in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and from any local.
About the author
AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.
What is this? I found it in tofino, Vancouver island - Biology
What makes Tofino, British Columbia such a unique spot on Vancouver Island is that it's an especially vibrant community that's also really secluded from everything else. A drive from Victoria to Tofino is about 4.5 hours, for example, and the winding road to the western coast of the Island is pretty memorable in its own right.
Tofino is known for surfing, and the town is populated with cool little surf shops, restaurants, and a great local brewery. The vibe here is relaxed for the most part, although in the right conditions the beaches are full of both newbie and seasoned surfers. The scenery really sells the experience. I couldn't think of a more appropriate setting to showcase some of the incredible coastal views found on Vancouver Island. There's something special about Tofino.
This beach on Wickaninnish Bay marks the southern end of Long Beach within the Pacific Rim National Park. It is located just above the 49th parallel between Portland Point and Quisitis Point and used to be known as Long Bay. The beach is named after Chief Wickaninnish who ruled with great power over the Clayoquot Sound in the 1700’s. The authentic rugged west coast feel of this particular beach has made it a favorite getaway for more than a couple Hollywood stars. Because of its location at the southern end of the 16 km stretch of Long Beach this beach collects flotsam, jetsam and driftwood unlike any other on the Island and is therefore known to be the favorite beach amongst beach explorers in the area. The Wickaninnish Beach is located within the Pacific Rim National Park and is also home to the area’s best gathering of dunes which serve as a giant playground for the young and old alike. These dunes and various forms of wildlife are located on the north side of the beach.
Explore The Beaches – Tofino’s Biggest Attraction
The biggest attraction in Tofino is by far it’s array of beaches. Whether it be watching the surfers from the lounge at Long Beach Lodge or chilling with friends by a bonfire on Mackenzie Beach as the sun sets, each beach in Tofino offers something unique.
A morning walk on the beach is equally enjoyed with a coffee in hand, soaking in the fresh ocean air to help wake yourself up and get ready for a fun filled day ahead.
We spent most evenings throwing a frisbee around and generally enjoying the relaxing sound of the waves before heading back to our campsite each night. If there is one thing you can do at any of Tofino’s beaches, it’s simply relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Chesterman Beach was my favourite – the softest sand ever!
Vancouver Island’s Secret Mega Celebrity Retreat — Your Guide to Tofino’s Charms
The Wickaninnish Inn, a Relais & Chateaux, property in Tofino, British Columbia.
An aerial view of the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino.
The author pauses in a stroll on the beach for a photo. (Photo by Shafik Rifaat)
T OFINO, British Columbia — If you want the scoop on which celebrities are seeking solitude in this charming oceanfront village on Vancouver Island, check with the fishing guides. On our recent excursion with three different guides, we not only scored a haul of salmon, rock fish and ling cod, but we also garnered the skinny on where Lady Gaga bunked during a recent quest for R&R and on the starry lineup of visitors.
Lady Gaga’s retreat was, according to the fishing guide on our second day out, the home of the owner of the Wickaninnish Inn. The spacious dwelling perched on a solitary outcropping is flanked by water on three sides with floor-to-ceiling windows for perfect views of the sea and the sunset, an ideal retreat for solitude seekers.
When we checked with the inn for confirmation, the fellow at the desk responded that the hotel does not reveal information about its guests. So we took that as a yes.
The allure of Tofino extends from the ruggedly beautiful coastline to the neighboring islands wrapped in old-growth cedar forests, from the temperate climate to the myriad outdoor diversions. Tops for die hards is surfing in the chilling waters. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regularly books an oceanfront retreat south of the village and can be found a few weeks each summer surfing along with a wet-suited security detail. Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor, has been known to take a break from filming in Vancouver to ride the waves in Tofino.
Neil Patrick Harris, according to another guide, is a Tofino regular and Sarah McLaughlin, Canadian singer and founder of the Lilith Fair music fest, has a home here and is part owner in a local restaurant. Jack Black, Uma Thurman, and Alanis Morissette are among Tofino fans. And our third guide informed us that when Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds wed Scarlett Johansson, they said their vows at the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, a Relais & Chateaux luxury glamp-ing resort tucked into the neighboring Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Area. (That duo has since divorced and Reynolds is today married to Gossip Girl Blake Lively.)
Seaplanes come and go throughout the day in Tofino. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)
While fishing is the activity of choice when we visit Tofino, the diversions are ample. Whale watching tours, bear viewing tours, sea kayaking, hiking, adventures to the Hot Springs Cove and visits to the lush Tofino Botanical Garden. Add the nine-hole championship golf course, the Long Beach, which is surrounded by the ancient rainforest of the Pacific Rim National Park.
Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, Vancouver Island
Hi, I'm Georgette, a writer and artist based in Connecticut and Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. I'm also Johnny Jet’s sister. Whether skiing in the mountains, snorkeling in the tropics, or exploring historical cities. Check out my animal portraits at georgettepaintings.com.
Vancouver Island’s Tofino is the place to enjoy nature, surf, kayak, see marine mammals, and get spoiled by the best restaurants.
Georgie Jet and the big tree
As is the Relais & Chateaux Wickaninnish Inn with its Ancient Cedars Spa. To me it’s California laid-back, from its friendly staff to the earth tones in the décor of the rooms. Natural cedar carvings by Pacific coast artist Henry Nolla are prominent on the large doors and enhance both the beach resort and the adjacent Pointe property, while the beach property sits on the expansive Chesterman Beach. The original Wickaninnish Inn was located on nearby Wickaninnish Beach.
I stayed at the Pointe overlooking the islands and rocks. I loved my room (214), which had everything I could ever need: a gas wood stove, soft-colored furnishings and a private balcony (all rooms have one) where I sat at night with a Hudson Bay blanket on my lap listening to the waves, the tree frogs and watching the very slow sunset. It didn’t get dark until 11 pm.
I was so glad I was there for two days, but wished it was longer. I would have been happy with nothing on my schedule—the property is that special. Walking endless Chesterman Beach for literally hours, visiting the carving shed where Pacific coast tribal artist Feather George creates, or having dinner in the fantastic Pointe Restaurant would be enough for anyone. But Tofino has so much to offer and see. And I was encouraged to go on a guided kayak tour with Tofino Sea Kayaking to the old growth forests on Meares Island. I was so glad I did, as the experience is now one of the most memorable of my life!
Balcony at room 214 at “the Wick”
Jamie’s Whaling Station in downtown Tofino also takes visitors out to see the wild marine life in small boats. I took their excursion to the hot springs, which included wildlife spotting. The ride in the 14-person motorboat went through Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, where we saw rare puffins, other sea birds and sea otters right away! Next our handsome Captain “Benj” spotted whales! We were treated to a display of three immense gray whales diving and displaying their magnificent tails. The sight was thrilling and unexpected but we couldn’t stay long, as we were headed to Maquinna Park, named after an ancient warrior from the Nuu-chah-nulth group of indigenous people who was hailed for killing an entire ship of invading Europeans.
The nearly 10,000 original people were almost wiped out by the invaders and their diseases, but the remaining Nuu-chah-nulth (which encompasses all of the Vancouver Island tribes) are keeping their culture and traditions alive and strong as is evident in the modern carvings and land finally being granted back to them. (As I wrote in my last article, I stayed at the native-owned Wya Point Resort in nearby Ucluelet before Tofino.)
Room 214 at Wickaninnish Inn
On this slightly drizzling but mild day, I walked the boardwalk at Maquinna Park for half an hour delighting in the intensely green old-growth forest, listening to birdsong and taking pictures of the incredible trees. At the end of the boardwalk are the natural hot springs embedded in a small section of rocks next to the tumultuous sea. Soaking in the natural hot springs in a small space with fellow travelers was fun. A highlight of this trip was Deogie, a local native dog that is part wolf who swims across the bay to get attention (and food) from the hot springs visitors.
The next day was gorgeous, and I walked the wide and peaceful Chesterman Beach before driving 15 minutes to Tofino Sea Kayaking in “downtown” Tofino. I joined a group of seven, led by our guide Liam McNeil, who energetically educated us in the area, the sport and all the gear required (life jacket, drip skirt, Wellington boots, and rain pants and jacket if needed, which are all included in the $79 fee for a four-hour tour). On this sun-shining day, we all blissfully paddled for 45 minutes. I was in the front of a two-person kayak, spotting Dall’s porpoises along the way.
When we arrived at Meares Island we pulled our boats onto the sand and headed for another boardwalk that meandered through the old-growth forest (which is really old some of the cedars and spruces are 2000-years-old!). I felt like I was in a sacred place and found out that these trees produce so much carbon that it feels easier to breath here. One tree was so massive that our entire group climbed inside of it! Another cedar tree had a chunk removed a few hundred years ago by the aboriginal people who harvested pieces in a gentle way that does not harm the tree. Today, they still weave cedar strips into hats and baskets.
We could have happily stayed all day at Meares Island, but on the way back, the wind picked up and it was a bit harder—took a little longer—but Liam knew that, as he kept us entertained with folklore, spreading his knowledge of the local flora and fauna. As we paddled close to where we had started, an immense sea lion swam alongside one of the kayaks—almost the length of the boat! It was a bit disconcerting because he gave us this strangely intense look, but I think he was being playful!
Back on the the quiet streets of Tofino, I soaked in the relaxed vibe and talked to European tourists. The artsy town grows from 2,000 to 10,000 in the summer. I was there in May, the shoulder season and a great time to go. At this time, it was easy to get into the popular restaurants like Sobo (Sophisticated Bohemian) where I met chef and creator Lisa Ahier and tasted some of her delectable treats. Lisa knows all of her suppliers and everything is locally sourced, like the fresh salmon in my imaginative salmon taco filled with kiwi, pineapple and chipotle and the unusually large broiled Pacific oyster with her special sauce. Her organic greens are grown by an 85-year-old Tofitian.
Another night I went to the cozy Spotted Bear, which offers fresh and local food (seems to be the theme in Tofino) in a French-style bistro. For lunch, the food truck Tacofino is the place to get killer fish tacos. The blend of Mexican with freshly caught fish makes Tacofino a must-stop. Eating outside on a community picnic table with surfers and tourists is great too, and their chocolate-cayenne Diablo cookies are the best! I’m also hearing great things about a new restaurant which wasn’t open when I was there: Wolf in the Fog. I visited the Eagle Aerie Gallery, where First Nation artist Roy Vickers exhibits Vancouver Island’s nature-inspired screen prints.
Back home at the Wickaninnish Inn, I had an epic culinary moment as part of the Feast of Tofino (which happens every May) at The Pointe restaurant. The feast is all about the abundant seafood found in the local waters, and each week a different catch is featured. I was lucky to be there during Spot Prawn Week.
The warm wood open interior of The Pointe has a 240-degree view of the islands. The small-portioned meals and excellent friendly service made the evening special. I started with raw Black Pearl BC oysters, then grilled Spot Prawn Escabebe paired with a Riesling from BC winery La Frenz next was Lingcod and Spot Prawns paired with a Blue Mountain Reserve. Because it was such a beautiful night we had dessert (really eye candy as it was decorated with edible violas), which was Chamomile Granite with poached rhubarb, outside on the deck overlooking the beach.
Chamomile Granite at The Pointe
Back in room 214 the large bathtub with a view of the islands through the glass window was inviting. The soothing green slate bathroom floor and counter are the color of the Pacific Ocean, and I left my sliding glass door open so I could hear the waves crashing. Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” was playing on the Bose stereo. The “wood” fireplace was blazing. I was content.
The next morning I used the Wick’s bicycle to ride under the tall ancient trees and had a soy latte at the Driftwood Café made by handsome Australian barista Jax, before heading to the nearby airport. I had one more stop to make before heading out on an Orca Airways plane to Vancouver: Incinerator Rock on Long Beach. Here, I saw a young surfer woman putting on her wetsuit and I spotted the spray of distant humpback whales. The surfer told me how lucky she is to live in Tofino, and I felt fortunate to have visited—and to know I’ll soon be back.
You NEED to stay at these two beaches in Tofino
Photo: Spencer Watson
Despite what you might think, winter on Vancouver Island can be much warmer than the mainland, which means you don’t have to wait until the summertime to hit the beach. In fact, your beach getaway is just a ferry ride or quick flight away.
So what are we doing soaking in the city when we could be relaxing in the sand? There are waves to ride and tide pools to explore!
With so many beaches to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start, but when it comes to beach-life in Tofino, Cox Bay and MacKenzie Beach are an absolute must.
Cox Bay Beach
Photo: Jeremy Koreski, courtesy Tourism Tofino
Home to some of Tofino’s toughest surf competitions, Cox Bay Beach offers consistent waves, incredible tidepools and enough natural wildlife to keep you entertained for hours. This is the perfect beach to play and chill out.
Arguably the best part of Cox Bay is the surf. This is where the island’s seasoned surfers can be found, so even if you’re not ready to hit the waves, you’ll have plenty of fun watching the pros do their thing.
Pacific Sands Beach Resort
If you’re looking for a place to wind down after an epic day in the sand, be sure to check out Pacific Sands Beach Resort. Located beachfront on spectacular Cox Bay, Pacific Sands Beach Resort sits on the edge of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and is a short scenic drive from Long Beach as well as Tofino’s seaside village centre.
Family-friendly accommodations range from studios to three bedroom Beach Houses, all with fully-equipped kitchens and cozy fireplaces - and those incredible views. Additional amenities include panoramic outdoor decks, relaxing hot tubs, onsite surf lessons onsite surf lessons with Surf Sister Surf School, social BBQ areas and more—all steps from the beach.
Photo: Pacific Sands Resort Facebook
With Pacific Sands as your hub for year-round activities, experience the wonder of spring/summer whale watching, winter storm watching, and beachcombing. Breathe in intoxicating ocean air and witness the calm of towering old-growth rainforests with Pacific Sands as a comfortable homebase for enjoying not only Tofino, but also all things Vancouver Island.
Sheltered from the wind by large tidal rocks, this beach is known for its calm waters and gentle waves, making it perfect for both families and individuals seeking Vancouver Island’s signature tranquility.
Activities at MacKenzie Beach include stand-up paddle boarding, skimboarding, and exploring the Beach’s rocky tidal zone at its most southern point. MacKenzie Beach also has an entrance ramp, facilitating beach access for everyone in your family or friend group.
Crystal Cove Beach Resort
Photo: Crystal Cove Beach Resort Facebook
For almost 40 years, Crystal Cove Beach Resort has been the go-to destination for those craving an authentic experience of the West Coast wild.
Situated right on MacKenzie Beach, Crystal Cove offers genuine log cabins and first-class amenities located right on the water. Recently ranked the #2 Hotel in Canada for Families, the resort is a known destination for those who “prefer to rough it in style”. “Roughing it” is a bit of stretch, as your stay includes access to private hot tubs, oceanfront views an artisan coffee bar, even an adventure playground for kids.
Photo Credit: crystalcove.ca
Crystal Cove Beach Resort also provides year-round RV camping located minutes from MacKenzie Beach. Sites each have 30 amp power, water hook ups as well as picnic tables, fire pits, wireless Internet and complimentary coffee. With amenities like this, we’ll “rough it” anytime on MacKenzie Beach.
Ready for the beach? For more information visit tourismtofino.com
You can also connect with Tourism Tofino on Facebook , Twitter , or Instagram
Getting to Hot Springs Cove
As mentioned above, Maquinna Marine Provincial Park is only accessible by sea or sky. There are several tour companies out of Tofino who will get you to and from Hot Springs Cove via boat (in a little over an hour) and/or float-plane (in approximately 20 minutes).
The great thing about the Hot Spring tours is that you get everything you would normally see on a whale watching or bear tour, but with the added bonus of the hot springs. It is not uncommon to see whales, otters, harbour seals, sea lions, or bears while on route to and from Maquinna Marine Provincial Park.
Be forewarned, the hot springs is a popular tour. I had heard through the grape-vine that once all the tour boats arrive the pools can get quite crowded. I was on a mission to get photos of the hot springs without a group of people in the way, so we decided to take a sea plane with Atleo Air in the morning. Our plan worked out great! When we arrived there were only two other couples, so we had a pool entirely to ourselves. It is also worth mentioning, the sea-plane ride offers a different vantage point, and we saw the most spectacular coastal scenery while flying.
On the way back we enjoyed a scenic 1.5 hour boat ride via Ocean Outfitters. The very informative tour guide stopped at several points along the way to allow us to photograph otters and bears.
A view from the float plane
No matter how you arrive at Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, you must walk along the 2 km board walk to get to the hot springs. This 20 – 30 minute walk (one way) consists of many stairs, so it may not be suitable for everyone. As well, while getting into the hot spring pools you must maneuver around large and small rocks (that can be very sharp and slippery), so it is advised to bring a pair of suitable sandals or water shoes.
The walk to the hot springs is part of the adventure, and provides an equal amount of photo opportunities as the pools do. The boardwalk itself offers a unique historic and artistic feel to the journey with hundreds of names of visiting groups and people, as well as boats, carved into the planks along the journey.
Something to note: the hot springs are located at the very end of the boardwalk. If you see a boardwalk in front of you, you have not yet reached your destination.
How to Avoid the Crowds
As mentioned, the hot springs can get very busy. This is especially true during the summer months. To truly enjoy this location, follow in our foot steps and get there before the boats do with a float plane ride, or consider staying overnight. There is a private campground, operated by the Hesquiaht First Nation, located just north of the government dock, as well as a vessel moored across from the dock, which operates as a bed and breakfast.
Contact the Hesquiaht First Nation
Phone: (250) 670-1100
Innchanter Bed & Breakfast
Located across from the Hot Springs trail head. They offer complimentary kayaks to get to and from the government dock.
Most of the tour companies allow ample time (several hours) at the hot springs, so take advantage of your time by exploring the area around you. If you are looking for a secluded place to enjoy a picnic lunch, follow the path left of Hot Springs Cove. Just below the wooden change rooms to your left, you will see a small trail that leads to some great coves with some fantastic views. We climbed along the shoreline to the top of the rocks and found the perfect spot to have our lunch. It was just us, the crashing surf, a vast blue sky, and a few soaring birds.
Items to Bring
- bathing suits
- good walking shoes
- sandals or water shoes for the hot springs
- food and water
- There are open-pit toilets available at both the start of the trail, as well as near the end near the hot springs.
- There are three wooden change rooms available for use.
- Camping or open fires are not allowed in the hot springs area or at the southern part of Openit Peninsula in the park. Use the private campground mentioned above.
- Dogs are not permitted on the boardwalk or in and around the pools.
- Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the park.
- Glass containers are not permitted in and around the pools.
- Soap, shampoo and other cleaning materials are not permitted in or near the pools.
- There is no nudity allowed. Visitors must wear appropriate bathing apparel.
Have you adventured to Hot Springs Cove? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.