Known for its long windswept beaches, ancient cedar forests the small fishing village of Tofino is a popular base for exploring the west coast of Vancouver Island.
There are many beaches and trails to enjoy walking from Tofino and the area also offers good birdwatching in the spring and autumn as migrating waders and seabirds pass through. Tofino is also an excellent wildlife watching hotspot with abundant blacks, whales, sea lion haul outs and a chance of spotting sea otters.
The calm waters surrounding Meares Island offer excellent black bear watching. At low tide often, several bears can be watched from stable boats as they go about their business turning rocks along the shoreline looking for crabs to eat. During September and October, the bears can also be seen at local rivers feasting on the returning salmon.
Tofino also offers excellent whale watching with a slightly longer season as Pacific grey whales pass through these waters from March onwards on their northerly migration. However, the best time to visit is from June to October when humpbacks and lingering grey whales can be seen together alongside sea lions, seals and occasional sea otters. The seas off Tofino are less sheltered than those on the East coast of Vancouver Island so can be affected by rough weather more frequently. On rare occasions wolves and orcas are also spotted on excursions from Tofino.