In my opinion, Tofino, British Columbia, is one of the best places to go for a family vacation! Located on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino offers family friendly adventure from sunrise to sunset. With its pristine beaches, dense forests, and vibrant local culture, there is something for everyone. In this guide, we will explore some of my favorite family-friendly beaches such as Tonquin, Chesterman, Mackenzie Beach , and Long Beach. I will also share some of my favorite family-friendly restaurants and other adventures!
Best Time to Visit Tofino for a family vacation
Choosing the right time to visit Tofino depends on your preferences and the experiences you are looking for. My family and I have been in every season and we always have a wonderful time!
- Summer (June to August): Ideal for beach activities and surfing, but expect larger crowds. Book accommodations and activities in advance. Prices can be a lot higher.
- Fall (September to November): Enjoy milder temperatures, changing colors, and fewer crowds. Perfect for hiking and wildlife viewing. Early fall is one of our favorite times to visit!
- Winter (December to February): Storm-watching season offers a unique experience. Accommodations may provide special storm-watching packages.
- Spring (March to May): Witness blooming wildflowers, emerging wildlife, and fewer crowds. Great for nature walks and birdwatching.
The Best Family-friendly Beaches in Tofino
Below are some of our favorite beaches to visit in Tofino for a family vacation.
Nestled between rocky cliffs, Tonquin Beach welcomes visitors with its intimate coves and breathtaking scenery. Explore tide pools teeming with marine life and hike the Tonquin Trail for panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. This is our favorite beach to take our kids to during our family vacations in Tofino, but be sure to pay attention to the tide schedule!
Stretching for miles along the coastline, Chesterman Beach is a surfer’s paradise and a haven for sunset strolls. This beach is perfect for beach picnics, building sandcastles, and exploring tide pools at low tide.
This beach is popular for families as it is sheltered from the wind by large tidal rocks producing calm waters and smaller waves. It is great for paddle boarding, exploring tide pools, building sand castles, and picnics!
As the longest sandy beach on Vancouver Island, Long Beach is stunning and pristine. Explore Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, watch the sunset, play in the waves, or build sand castles with your little ones!
Family-Friendly Tofino Activities
Tofino offers a myriad of activities catering to different interests:
- Beach Exploration: Spend your days exploring the diverse beaches – from the intimate coves of Tonquin Beach to the vast shores of Long Beach. Collect seashells, build sandcastles, or explore the tide pools for sea creatures!
- Surfing: Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, Tofino’s beaches offer fantastic waves. Enroll in surf lessons or rent equipment for an exhilarating experience. We haven’t surfed in Tofino ourselves, but surf lessons for both kids and adults are available through schools like Tofino Surf School or Surf Sisters!
- Wildlife Watching: Join whale watching tours to witness majestic whales, sea lions, and other marine life. Tofino is also home to various bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. We took our kids on a tour with Jamie’s Whale Watching and had an amazing time! We saw gray whales, sea lions, a puffin, and so much more!
- Hiking and Nature Trails: Explore the trails in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve for a closer look at the coastal rainforest. The Tonquin Trail and other pathways offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Lighthouse Loop in Ucluelet is a great trail for kids as it is flat and has beautiful views the entire way. Walk for as long or as little as you like!
- Ucluelet Aquarium: The Ucluelet Aquarium is a collect-and-release aquarium and the water in the tanks is provided via flow-through system directly from the Ocean. They showcase local sea urchins, rockfish, sea cucumbers, crabs, jellyfish, sculpins, and perch but the displays are always changing! They are open March 1st-November 30th. This is a must-visit every time we go.
- Family Photos at the beach: Why not capture these memories to look back on for years to come? There are so many beautiful locations to get your family photos done in Tofino. Whether it is a foggy Tofino morning, or a beautiful beach sunset, the scenery is incredible. Expecting a little one? What better place to get your maternity photos taken than the beautiful landscapes of Tofino! Want to learn more? Reach out today to learn about travel schedule, packages and travel fees! If I am already in the area, travel fees are waived! Want to learn more on how to prepare for your family photography session? Check out my blog post here!
The Best Places for a Tofino Family Vacation-Accommodation Options
Tofino offers a variety of family-friendly accommodation options:
- Beachfront Resorts: Luxurious stays with stunning ocean views, spa facilities, and on-site dining. Perfect for those seeking a touch of extravagance.
- Cozy Cabins and Cottages: Rustic accommodations nestled in the woods, offering seclusion and proximity to Tofino’s attractions.
- Boutique Inns: Charming inns capturing Tofino’s unique character, providing personalized service and an intimate atmosphere.
- Campgrounds: Immerse yourself in nature with campgrounds, some right on the beach, offering an authentic outdoor experience.
- Vacation Rentals: Rent a home or condo for a home-away-from-home experience, ideal for families or larger groups.
Many accommodations are family friendly, but we have definitely found our favorites! One of our favorite family-friendly resorts is Ocean Village Resorts. It is located right off MacKenzie Beach and is the perfect, cozy and comfortable getaway!
The majority of family vacations to Tofino have been spent camping. Our absolute favorite campground can be difficult to book, but is located right on Long Beach National Park Reserve. Green Point Campground reservations open up in January every year, so you definitely want to plan ahead! It is the only campground located on Long beach so it is private and tranquil and offers large, private sites. It is definitely worth checking out!
Tofino’s Family Friendly Restaurants and Food Trucks
Another reason why Tofino is one of the best places for a family trip is the amazing food and family-friendly restaurants! Below are a list of my favorites:
Rhino coffee is a staple in Tofino and offers delicious coffee and treats. They have great take and go breakfast and lunch options which are great to grab on your way to one of the many beautiful beaches close by. The kids will love the large selection of tasty donuts, and there are even gluten friendly options!
Tofino’s iconic Tacofino is a must-stop location for any trip to Tofino. Offering a taste of Mexico on the west coast, they serve a variety of delicious options that you can enjoy in their outdoor courtyard or as you watch your little ones explore the beach! Be sure to go early as the lineups can be quite long at times!
For a farm-to-table dining experience, venture to Shed, where the focus is on showcasing the best of local ingredients. Shed’s menu features sustainable seafood options and a diverse range of dishes. The friendly staff and great kids menu makes it one of our favorite places to take the kids for dinner.
If you are willing to make the drive to Ucluelet, you don’t want to skip Flacas Tacos. This food truck is one of our absolute favorite spots for mexican food in the area. They press and grill up your tortillas right in front of you and offer delicious fresh hibiscus iced tea! You can enjoy your food right at the picnic tables located just outside, making it the perfect place to take rambunctious kiddos!
For a taste of the Pacific, make your way to Ukee Poke. This eatery specializes in the art of poke bowls, offering a refreshing and healthy dining option. Customize your bowl with a variety of fresh ingredients, including sustainably sourced seafood. The store can be a bit tight when it’s busy, but it is definitely worth the trip! They also have a beautiful outdoor patio where you can enjoy your fresh Poke!
By carefully selecting the time of your visit, choosing accommodation that aligns with your preferences, and participating in a variety of activities, you can tailor your Tofino experience to create lasting memories.
Chocolate Tofino is a great place to get delicious gelato! There is an outdoor seating area amidst a few restaurants that makes it the perfect spot to grab a treat with kids!
Tofino is a fantastic place to go for your next family vacation. From miles of beaches to explore with your family, to a variety of activities and delicious, you will never run out of ways to entertain your little ones. Be sure to plan ahead to get the best availability and deals on accommodations, especially in the summer months! And don’t forget to reach out and capture those family memories for a lifetime!
Angela K Photography
My name is Angela and I am a family, maternity, newborn, and personal branding photographer based out of BC, Canada. I love to capture authentic stories and genuine emotion that families can treasure for years to come!
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