by Danica Jeffery
Photo courtesy of The Ancient Cedars Spa at the Wickaninnish Inn
With winter weather teasing its way into the weeks and months ahead, it’s easy to seek solace close to home (on the couch). But why not embrace the seasonal shift and seek out quality rest and relaxation at Canada’s West Coast waterpark in Tofino, BC?
Not just for summertime fun, Tofino (located on the northwestern side of Vancouver Island in British Columbia) is a year-round hot spot for travel and offers plenty of different ways to unwind. Come fall and winter, it doubles as the perfect place for finding a slice of peace and quite while you take in some stunning coastal storms.
Getting there, visitors have a few choice modes of transportation year-round, depending on how much time you’ve got to spare. BC Ferries is a great option for those traveling by car with direct service from Vancouver to the island. You’ll be privy to a stunning drive that weaves its way through the coastal rainforest and Cathedral Grove (old growth Douglas Fir and Cedar trees). Keep travel time to a minimum and fly Orca Air from Vancouver International Airport’s South Terminal and land a mere 45 minutes later at Long Beach Airport.
Tofino features plenty of options when it comes to accommodations, we suggest you check out (and into) one of the below resorts on your trip.
Photo Courtesy of Pacific Sands Beach Resort
Pacific Sands Beach Resort is located about 10 minutes drive from Tofino’s town, so convenience is key. This oceanfront resort overlooks Cox Bay, on the edge of the Pacific Rim National Park. Choose from redone standalone beach houses (great for larger groups and families), lodge suites, or couple up and get cozy in either the beachfront or lighthouse suites. Each space has its own kitchen, gas fireplace, and patio with some bathrooms featuring Jacuzzi tubs and walk in showers. Whatever the setting, you’ll feel completely at home.
If you’re after a slightly more luxurious stay head to the Wickaninnish Inn for total indulgence complete with rooms featuring soaker tubs, fireplaces, heated floors, and a rustic atmosphere that oozes coastal charm. The Inn features two buildings, ‘At-the-Pointe’ and ‘On-the-Beach’ which have been designed to complement each other and guarantees you’ll have an authentic island stay. If you’ve got a larger brood in-tow, make yourself at home at their Chesterman Beach Loft (with full kitchen) and prepare to unwind.
While in Tofino for a little wellness-inspired action, pop by one of the local surf shops and book a board and lesson. There are a handful of reputable ones that we recommend (all of which offer appropriate wetsuit gear to keep you toasty in the cooler Pacific waters). Check out Surf Sister and Bruhwiler Surf School for starters and get ready to learn all the surf basics that will have you riding in no time with private or group lessons available.
After you’ve worked for your waves, head to The Ancient Cedars Spa at the Wickaninnish Inn for some serious spoiling. Kick back and let the spa staff take you on a journey to total relaxation and rejuvenation with one of their signature services (try the Hishuk Ish Awakening Treatment that uses techniques gleaned from traditional cleansing ceremonies of the West Coast’s indigenous people) and ease back into the day with a Pacific Sea Salt Glow exfoliation and Hydrotherapy Soak.
After you’ve indulged in the spa, go indulge in some local bites at the award-winning Wolf in the Fog restaurant where you’ll feast on Tofitian-style cuisine featuring house made bread and pastry, freshly caught seafood and fine foraged ingredients (like Chanterelle mushrooms).
Get back into the flow of things and wind down your stay by catching a class at Coastal Bliss Yoga, or explore the outdoors by foot or on bike as you cruise the shoreline and take in the majestic coastal scene.
You’ll leave Tofino with a renewed sense of calm and a greater feeling of centeredness and connectedness you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere. It’s just that special a place to visit!
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