Tofino and Ucluelet — Day 2 of a 5-Day Trip in Tofino
The original plan for the day was to go on a 4-hour kayaking trip with Tofino Sea Kayaking, but we were expecting a storm in the early afternoon. Not ideal for kayaking, but perfect for storm watching! A storm could make the kayaking trip treacherous, so we rescheduled for a 3-hour kayaking trip on the next day. Tofino Sea Kayaking was very helpful with rescheduling for a time that worked for us. Instead, we headed to Meares Island for a morning hike.
To start off the morning, we stopped by Tofino Coffee Roasting for coffee and tea. The coffee shop was just down the street from our Airbnb.
Afterwards, we headed to Common Loaf Bake Shop for breakfast and to grab lunch sandwiches to go. On the way to the bake shop, we passed by the Elk Cedar, which is over 800 years old! The Common Loaf Bake Shop is a cute and homey red house on the other side of downtown Tofino. It is difficult to miss. Their breakfast specialty is the breakfast pizza — choice of bacon or potato on whole wheat bread with egg and spinach. We also ordered a breakfast sandwich, which came with hashbrowns on the side.
After breakfast, we headed to Ocean Outfitters to book the water taxi to Meares Island. Meares Island can only be reached by boat. The earliest available booking was not until 11:30am, so we wandered downtown Tofino for a bit. Make sure to book at least a day in advance to get your preferred time. We headed down to the water. The sky was grey and gloomy, and we were grateful that we did not need to kayak in the rain.
We walked to the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery which opens at 10:30am. Roy Henry Vickers is an extremely talented First Nations artist. His artwork is beautiful and the gift shop is a must visit.
We headed back to the Airbnb to put on a few more layers and prepare for our trip to Meares Island. We arrived 15 minutes early for our water taxi to fill out waiver forms. After getting equipped with life jackets, we boarded the water taxi. The trip to Meares Island is quick — less than 10 minutes. In 1984, Meares Island was home to protests to discontinue logging operations on the island. These protests gained international attention and fostered major support for the environmental movement in BC. Today, Meares Island is a Tribal Park, meaning it is protected from logging. The main attraction on Meares Island is the Big Tree Trail, popular for its boardwalk and home to some of the tallest trees in BC.
The water taxi dropped us off at the trailhead and would return in two hours to pick us up again. The trail begins on the boardwalk. It was recommended to stay on the boardwalk and not complete the trail loop as the trail was very muddy. We did not listen to this advice, and yes, the trail was extremely muddy! Luckily, there were scattered chunks of wood along the trail to help bypass the mud. The tall trees were amazing to see and protected us from the rain. Some of the trees are labelled — Cedar Tree of Life, Hanging Garden, and Standing Harvest Tree.
About halfway through the trail, we arrived at the beach. Each rock on the beach houses a multitude of crabs. The beach was misty from the light rain, but offered a nice change to the towering trees. After the beach, we continued along the muddy trail back to the water taxi pickup location.
We arrived back at the water taxi late. The muddy trail really slowed us down, but was a good workout. Once back in Tofino, we headed back to the Airbnb to wash up and to have a late lunch. We shared a chicken pesto panini and a ham panini which we had ordered from the Common Loaf Bake Shop in the morning.
After lunch, we headed to Ucluelet to walk the Lighthouse Loop. Ucluelet is about a 40 minute drive from Tofino. The incoming storm was picking up. The Lighthouse Loop follows the water and offers amazing views of the tides. It is relatively flat and only takes about 35 minutes to complete.
We passed the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on the walk. The lighthouse is named after Amphitrite, Sea Goddess and wife of Poseidon. The storm got even stronger, so we quickly completed the Lighthouse Loop Trail. However, that did not stop us from getting completely soaked!
Cold and wet, we cranked the heat up in the car and headed back to our Airbnb. On the way, we stopped at Tacofino for a late afternoon snack and Chocolate Tofino for chocolates. I ordered the beef burrito, which was filled with thick slices of beef, rice, beans, cabbage, salsa, chipotle mayo, and sour cream. Delicious and very filling! Tacofino has multiple locations in the lower mainland, but the food truck in Tofino remains the original. Despite the pouring rain, there were quite a few people waiting for their food. Chocolate Tofino is in the same complex as Tacofino, so we picked up chocolate for dessert. Back at the Airbnb, we washed up (for the second time this day), then enjoyed our burritos and chocolate.
Next stop was Tofino Distillery and Tofino Brewery, which conveniently are neighbours. First was the distillery as it closes earlier than the brewery. Tofino Distillery has a 3 mini cocktail flight featuring their products. I ordered the caesar, bee’s knees, and gin and cucumber mint tonic. The caesar was my favourite and had half an ounce of the distillery’s jalapeno vodka.
We then headed to Tofino Brewery and shared a flight of beer. The spruce tree ale was my favourite. As the name indicates, it was infused with spruce. We bought a pack of beer to take home with us too.
To complete the day, we got takeout from Shed and headed back to the Airbnb for the evening. We ordered the tsunami bowl and the poke bowl. Yum!
Shed for Dinner
Complete Day 2 Itinerary
*Travel times may vary. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.
9:30am: Stop by Tofino Coffee Roasting for coffee. Go to Common Loaf Bake Shop (11 minute walk from Tofino Coffee Roasting) for breakfast. Pick up lunch for the hike.
10:30am: Wander the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery (3 minute walk from Common Loaf Bake Shop).
11:30am: Head to Meares Island on the water taxi (10 minute water taxi from Tofino). Complete the Big Tree Trail (2 hour hike). Stop at the beach on Meares Island (have lunch).
2:00pm: Head to the Lighthouse Loop in Ucluelet (40 minute drive from Tofino).
5:00pm: Stop by Tacofino for a late afternoon snack (35 minute drive from Lighthouse Loop). Pick up some chocolates from Chocolate Tofino.
6:00pm: Head to Tofino Distillery (3 minute drive from Tacofino).
7:00pm: Head to Tofino Brewery (1 minute walk from Tofino Distillery).
8:00pm: Pick up dinner from Shed (3 minute drive from Tofino Brewery).
5-Day Tofino Itinerary
Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 5-Day Tofino Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip to Tofino!