Travelling Mindfully In Tofino: How To Live Like A Local

Photo courtesy of Destination BC/Graeme Owsianski

The secret’s out: Tofino‘s beauty is awe-inspiring. A powerful Pacific Ocean smashes into a peninsula of long, sandy beaches, while a backdrop of a dense coastal rainforest decorates towering mountain peaks. It’s an extremely fragile environment and protecting this ecosystem is intrinsic to Tofino’s culture, both past and present: the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations have been the stewards of these lands and waters since time immemorial.

Tofitians know that protecting the place they call home means making conscious choices. So on your next trip to Tofino, cherish this place as the locals do.


Ride Instead Of Drive

You could say that relaxed is the prevailing state of mind in Tofino. Notice the change of pace the moment your feet hit the sand. Get into the spirit by renting a cruiser bike from a local shop, Tofino Bike Co. or TOF Cycles Co., and head for the beach. Cruise along the hard-packed sand, and let the ocean air blow through your hair. Just make sure you go at low tide for a smooth ride. Hold onto those bikes; they are a great way to get around town and ride from beach to beach. (You can follow the MUP, short for Multi-Use Pathway, all along the Pacific Rim Highway from Cox Bay Beach to the village core.) Just watch your carbon footprint dip down as you peddle!

Join A Community Clean Up

Did you know that Tofino is situated within the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Region? These rainforest and intertidal ecosystems depend on a healthy ocean, clean air, and protected forests. Those who live here try to live sustainably to keep the area thriving for centuries to come. Joining a beach clean-up event is a fun way for beach lovers of all ages to give back to the ocean. Check Surfrider Pacific Rim for local events or do your part by picking up any garbage you see.


Opt For Reusable Products

Avoid creating extra waste by opting to use reusable mugs, bottles, and dinnerware to reduce single-use plastics and waste. It’s easy to find stylish reusable products in town that make for great souvenirs when you return home. On June 8, 2019, World Oceans Day, Tofino is officially banning plastic checkout bags and straws.


Sip Local

And because they’re so strongly linked to their communities, small businesses often encourage civic participation and incentives—like donations to local nonprofits. Luckily for visitors, Tofino is all about small, local, independent businesses.

Begin and end your day with the local brew. Grab a coffee from one of the hot spots in town, Tofino Coffee Roasting Company, Rhino Coffee House, or Tofitian. All offer up the kind of ambiance that makes you want to stay for a while. exploring the village, wildlife viewing, surfing and SUP, kayaking, hiking, or relaxing is complete, a natural progression is to the village taproom. Tofino Brewing Co. offers up a warm, modern space on Industrial Way to wind down (or wind up) the day. Non-beer drinkers are welcome too, with cider and kombucha available on tap. Looking for something with a bit more kick? The new kid on the block is Tofino Distillery, making hand-crafted vodka, gin, and absinthe.

Treasure Hunt

Tofino has always been home to a thriving creative community, embracing life on the edge of old-growth forests and the ocean. Picking up a local work of art means taking home a unique reminder of your trip and supporting the local community. Check out the Tofino Market, every Saturday from mid-May to October, where artists sell their handmade creations, including woodwork, jewelry, treats and more. Stroll around and pop into galleries, shops, and restaurants, each full of art inspired by this place. For a WOW piece that truly captures the spirit of this Pacific Northwest village, seek out the stunning photographs of local adventure photographers, Jeremy Koreski and Kyler Vos.


Heed to Mother Nature

Life in Tofino is centered around the varying rhythms of nature. The beach is the main playground here and there are certain rules when playing near, in, and on the Pacific Ocean. Being CoastSmart, is the thing to do, following a set of principles to keep everyone safe. Make sure to check for high and low tides when planning beach outings, stay at arm’s length from children, and use extreme caution when exploring tidal rocks and pools – powerful riptides can exist in these areas. And above all, take the time to discover this coast like no other.

Treading lightly is the thing to do in this extraordinary place, on the western edge of Vancouver Island.