By: Reannan Ross, Reannan Ross Life + Travel
Tofino is an incredible kid friendly little surfing village on Vancouver Island with an excellent food scene. Though it’s a bit of a trek to get there, Canada’s only rainforest doesn’t disappoint with sprawling beaches along the pacific, incredible biodiversity and a host of things to do for families.
First thing you’ll need to do is book ahead, at least a year in advance, as it’s a popular place and reservations fill up quickly. There are lots of options for accommodation including lodges, cabins, camping, hotels, inns, resorts and Airbnb’s that include house and apartment rentals.
Opting for an apartment or house with separate bedrooms, especially with small kids, is a great way to ensure naps can be taken without having to tiptoe around and saves you from having to eat out for every meal, especially early morning breakfasts.
Staying close to or on the beach is recommended, especially to catch the Tofitian sunsets and to hear the waves crashing against the shore from your bed. Also, outdoor showers are excellent and useful for washing off sandy feet. You can definitely find properties that have them. Staying close to downtown Tofino is also convenient to have everything at your doorstep, however, it’s not a big place and there is a 7 km long paved bike path that links Cox Bay (the furthest of the 4 major beaches) to Tofino.
There are a lot of things to do with kids including getting your body moving through surf lessons with Live to Surf or renting bikes through TOF Cycles or taking a hike along 2 of the 1 km trails in the rainforest. The trails are an easy hike with boardwalks and stairs (not stroller friendly).
Going to the beach is the perfect way to spend the day. Tofino has 4 main beaches; Cox Bay, Mackenzie, Chesterman and Long Beach. The waters are cold, but wetsuits for kids and babies are readily available to purchase if you don’t already have them. They can also be rented with surf boards at Live to Surf.
Family friendly things to do in the town of Tofino, can include visiting the playground and Tuff City skatepark and taking in the Saturday market for live music, fruit, vegetables and fresh made food and browsing art by local makers. Mermaid Tales Bookshop is also a gem that has a great selection of books and also kites, frisbees, toys, puzzles and art activities for kids.
Check out one of the many galleries in Tofino including; Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art or House of Himwitsa, a Canadian Naive Art Gallery.
And definitely check out the great selection of restaurants in Tofino. From Wolf in Fog, Sobo, and Shelter located downtown Tofino to Tacofino, The Great Room at Long Beach Lodge and Wildside Grill (they have the most amazing breakfast tacos) located closer to the beaches.
If you came to Tofino to see the wildlife of west coast Canada, you can do that too. There are Whale Watching Tours, Wildlife Tours where you can see sea lions and otters and Bear Watching Tours. Everything can be booked through The Marine Adventure Centre. Keep in mind the waters of the pacific ocean can be rough for those who are prone to seasickness. The Bear Watching Tour is in the inlet so less of a rocky boat ride.
Tofino is really an excellent destination for families of all ages and a place you can visit year round in the sun or in the storm watching season.
Reannan Ross set out to create a portal for Mothers to inspire and add more wanderlust to your life, even with kids. With a background in photography and film she offers tips and tricks to document your journey. Follow her on Instagram.
Looking for more travel stories? Visit our Canadian Travel Guide for ideas across the country.
All photos by Reannan Ross.
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