Tofino beaches are famous for their scenic beauty on Vancouver Island. Although these beaches may not have engrossing white sand and soft sand as some of the world’s most famous ones, beaches in Tofino are the most picturesque. These beaches have been the center of attraction all over British Columbia.
But do you know about the most amazing beaches in Tofino? The Pacific Ocean has some of the most adventurous beaches, which are remarkable for their low tide, sea caves, and stunning beaches that are popular spots for surf casting.
Beaches worldwide are known for their beautiful sunsets and long walks. Some of the major Tofino beaches are mentioned below:
1. Chesterman Beach
The 2.7 km long Chesterman beach is the most popular of all the Tofino beaches. This long beach forms a spectacular view with its heart shape or “M” shaped shoreline with beautifully built homes. Its unique shape makes the beach appear as two different beach breaks for surfers.
This stunning beach is facilitated with a parking lot both north and south of Chesterman beach. This long beach in Tofino provides its visitors with amazing and vivid wildlife tours with sea birds, whales, etc.
1.1. North Chesterman Beach
North Chesterman beach is on the north end of Chesterman beach, a popular beach among beginners who want to learn surfing due to the comparatively low tide here. With its better surfing schools and parking facilities, most surf shops are located at this beach; this beach is one of the best surf beaches in Tofino.
Being the closest beach to Tofino, North Chesterman beach attracts most locals and foreigners. This long beach has been equipped with bathrooms, changing rooms, and outdoor showers. However, the parking lot is small here and can only accommodate 25-30 parks.
Chesterman beach is counted among Vancouver Island’s most lively Tofino beaches; the northern beach, however, hosts fewer people than the southern end. Waves are smaller in summer, and the beach is sandier and breezier, so fewer people are here.
The north beach gives the most picturesque view with its rocky islands, soft and hard sand, and the lighthouse, which enhances the beauty of northern Chesterman. People come here to spend time with their friends or families and do activities like walking on the sandy beach, storm watching, surfing on the waves, and shooting some of the best photos with breathtaking sunset views.
1.2. South Chesterman Beach
The south end of this long beach has been one of the best surf beaches on Vancouver Island. South Chesterman beach has a bigger parking lot with parking space for around 70-75 cars and better access to the driveways.
One is likely to witness kids and young surfers who might be learning their first surfing under instructors here and many others who would be enjoying their walks. Better parking facilities and the larger size of this south end of Chesterman make it more crowded than its counterpart.
South Chesterman swells annually and is home to swamps and marsh, forming a beach break. With no hidden rocks and sandy bottom, this popular surf spot hosts many Tofino surf competitions. As this beach gets breezier, one can fly kites here as well.
2. Mackenzie Beach
Mackenzie beach is among the most photogenic Tofino beaches. This beach is a favorite spot for those who like calm waters, the open ocean, and the lush green trees surrounding the area. The serene beauty of Mackenzie beach bestows a relaxing secluded atmosphere for the visitors. Numerous resorts and camping sites make this beach as popular as all the beaches.
Mackenzie beach, sheltered by large tidal rocks, is protected from strong winds or storms, making it a safer option for beach lovers. Its calm waters are best suited for stand-up paddle boarding and skim boarding as the rocky islands break the surf.
There is an entrance ramp on this beach, facilitating beach access to all who visit here from the Pacific rim highway. The Parking lot can be found on Hellesen Road, which then takes you to the beach.
Although protected from storms with large tidal rocks, Mackenzie beach witnesses storms in the year-end months when the temperature drops. This is an appropriate place among the Tofino beaches for winter storm watching, which creates bigger tides.
3. Cox Bay Beach
Cox Bay beach is one of the most crowded surf beaches, with most Tofino surf competitions and consistent surfers. Because Bay hosts O’Neill Cold Water Classic, Rip Curl Pro, and other surfing competitions, this surf beach is another favorite spot among Tofino beaches from beginners to advanced levels. Because
Cox Bay is around a 1.5 km long beach in the shape of a crescent and faces towards the west. The shape of this beach allows most of the strong waves to break almost from all directions. Visitors can witness the most beautifully painted sky during the sunset on the west coast of Cox bay.
Despite this, a larger swell can close the beach access. Cox Bay beach resort is also suitable for winter storm watching as this beach is swelled in the winter.
Between Pacific Rim National park and Rosie bay, Cox Bay beach has Pacific Sands Beach Resort, Cox Bay Beach Resort, and Long Beach Lodge Resort. The parking lot at Cox Bay can be found closer to the Long Beach Lodge Resort.
4. Tonquin Beach
If you visit this one among Tofino beaches, follow the Tonquin beach road into the lush green rainforest trail towards Tonquin Beach, which is within walking distance from downtown Tofino. The parking lot is at the end of Tonquin beach road, and from there, the one km-long trail into the rainforest starts.
The Tonquin park road has both a dirt road section and a Boardwalk section for a hiking experience into the rainforest. The unique feature of this beach is its shoreline, made of magnificent rocks on both ends.
Watching sunrise and sunset here at the horizon can be a fantastic experience as the sky turns fiery red and white sand looks golden. This is a popular summer spot for many when the sky is clear, and the beach is swelled.
Tonquin beach is most lively during the summer when fishermen and amateurs come here at the peninsular end to catch Chinook Solomon. Another fish species Coho are caught here commonly.
Open fire is not allowed here due to the rainforest and breeze that can affect beach fires. This beach is not considered among surf beaches but is the most mystic one among the Tofino beaches.
5. Wickaninnish Beach
Another marvel of Tofino beaches, Wickaninnish beach, is situated at the southern end of the Pacific Rim National Park within Long Beach. This soft sand beach is the favorite destination for those who want to sit with giant drift logs on this long beach.
Waves here are powerful, and the weather mostly remains windy with both high and low tides. This long beach faced in the southwest direction, receiving most of the swells from the shore.
Wickaninnish beach has a large parking lot with Kwisitis Visitor Centre at the south end of the beach. Large golden dunes are perfect for beachcombing and a massive playground for all visitors.
The Kwisitis Visitor Centre is an apt place to sit and watch the sky and dunes being painted by the setting sun on the horizon. This long beach gives visitors an authentic rugged west coast feels and is thus the most uniquely scenic Tofino beach.
6. Frank Island & Middle Chesterman Beach
Frank Island and Middle Beach is a small private beach that can be accessed only by a few when there is low tide.
Frank Island is facilitated with beach pay parking that can accommodate only a few parking as it is a private island. Bathrooms and changing rooms are available at the north entrance of the beach as well as the south access points.
Lesser known and least crowded of all the beaches, Middle Chesterman, is the best place for some solitude and scenic view.
Also, check out The Best 25 Fun Facts About Dogs
7. Long Beach
Of all the Tofino beaches, the longest beach on the whole of Vancouver Island, Long Beach is located in the Pacific Rim National Park. The Rocky Headland Portland Point is the division line between Wickaninnish beach and Long beach.
With beach pay parking, facilitating beach access, and an entrance ramp, Long beach serves wonders to its visitors. Long Beach stretches over 16 km with sandy tidepools that support the vivid wildlife on the shore with all kinds of seabirds, crabs, and many more.
Low tide exposes the hidden islands, and strong waves come crashing down with boulders on the shore. The old forest here in Long Beach gives a very mystic vibe and is the most romantic place for couples.
Whales can be spotted at a distance on Long Beach. This shore can change daily due to the powerful waves smashing the shoreline. Visitors can walk north and find Schooner Cove closer to Long Beach.
This is one of the most accessible Tofino beaches as its location is closer to the Tofino Airport and can be reached from Pacific Rim Highway. Long Beach is also notorious for rip currents which can pull surfers into the sea, risking their lives.
9. Combers Beach
For exploring some beach treasures and finding some unexpected deposits, Combers beach is the best destination. The rainforest also enriches the hiking experience, even in the 10 minutes of forest trails.
When the walk through the woods is over, the rocky outcrops can be challenging to cross as it gets slippery. Although walking on these rocks can be easier when there is low tide. Strong winds and high tides are occasional here but a substantial part of the beach.
Spotting sea lions here at Combers beach is also evident to many as this beach is peaceful for sea lions to bask in the sun. Combers beach is rich with wildlife and sea creatures which can be an enthralling experience for many visitors.
The scintillating beauty of these Tofino beaches can captivate hearts with its picturesque hike through the woods and beachcombing. There are signboards on the beach that indicate spots for swimming.
9. Florencia Bay
Less known and smaller than most of the Tofino beaches, Florencia bay is a quiet and secluded beach for spending some quiet time. Giant drift logs on the 5 km long beach and the least crowded Florencia bay give an impression of a private beach.
Florencia bay is located in the Pacific Rim National Park, between the longest beach in Tofino, Long Beach, and Half Moon bay. This uniquely shaped beach with a steep shoreline, sharp cliffs, and a forest on the shore is a spectacular feature of this beach.
According to the data provided by Parks Canada, among the Tofino beaches, Florencia bay is not a suitable beach for surfing activities due to rip currents and many hidden rocks. As it remains secluded most of the time, wildlife is rich, and the forest is the protective shelter for bears, wolves, and other animals. Sea lions mark their territories as they bask in the sun in groups.
Florencia bay is a fantastic option for couples who would want a romantic secluded time away from the crow in the lap of Nature. Rich wildlife, greenery, the magnificent sky, and white sand on the beach make it a great spot to watch the dazzling sunrise and fiery sunsets of all the Tofino beaches.
10. Schooner Cove
A secluded set of beaches with engrossing white sand and protection from storms, Schooner cove is the best summer destination for beachgoers. Forest terrain and rich wildlife offer exciting and mesmerizing experiences here at Schooner Cove.
These Tofino beaches are lesser known and most secluded, bringing out the most peaceful experience to its visitors. Visitors can walk north on the beach to see whales and surf here. The calmness here allows us to hear the sound of waves smashing and seagulls crowing in the distance. Audacious sea lions can even show up face-to-face to have their territory.
Grice Bay and Kennedy Lake are some of Vancouver Island’s lesser-known beaches and surfing spots. Summer seems the best time for surfing and winter for storm watching here on these Tofino beaches.
As Pacific water gets warmer in summer and there is lesser rain in the area along with smaller waves, summer is an inviting call for ocean lovers in Tofino. With parking lots, changing rooms, and bathrooms, these Tofino beaches flaunt their beauty with pride.
Apurwa is a freelancer content creator, a student, and a civil services aspirant. For her, writing is an art which takes time to become a master piece.