In one of Canada’s most beautiful oceanfront regions, this funky Vancouver Island town has great beach camping.
On the west coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino is known for its long, sandy beaches backed by dense rainforest. Popular with surfers, this Pacific coast community has great wooded hiking trails, as well as creative restaurants, craft breweries, and cozy bakery-cafes to enjoy when you head back indoors. Opt for luxury in-town glamping in the waterfront dome tents at Wild Pod, or choose from a number of campgrounds along the ocean beaches south of town. Tofino is also a short drive or bike ride from camping spots at the scenic Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Several beachfront Tofino campgrounds cater to surfers, including Surf Grove at Cox Bay, and most, like Long Beach Campground and Bella Pacifica Campground at MacKenzie Beach, are handy to the surf and sand. At family-friendly Crystal Cove Beach Resort, you can choose between cabins and RV sites. MacKenzie Beach Resort has cabins, RV sites, and tent camping, and they’ll even rent you a vintage airstream. Most Tofino campgrounds offer tent sites as well as fully serviced RV hookups, flush toilets, showers, and free wifi.
Located between Tofino and Ucluelet, this oceanfront British Columbia park has a striking rainforest setting on the Pacific Ocean. The park’s main sector, known as the Long Beach Unit, includes the Green Point Campground, where campers can choose from oTENTik platform tents, RV sites, and tent camping. The park manages several remote isles in the Broken Islands Group, with backcountry campsites accessible by kayak or boat, and the West Coast Trail, a multi-day backpacking route.
Forty kilometres south of Tofino, this waterfront town has a more local vibe, along with hidden coves, forested trails, and various camping options, from Ucluelet Campground in town to the First Nations-owned Wya Point Resort, with luxury cabins, large yurts, and RV camping overlooking the water.
Many visitors day-trip by boat from Tofino to this rustic island hot spring in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, but if you’re comfortable overnighting in a wilderness setting, pack a tent (as well as food, water, rain gear, and a bathing suit) and enjoy the quiet. Most Tofino outfitters can arrange boat transportation to the island.
While you can camp year-round in Tofino, the busy season runs from late May through mid-October, when the weather is warm and relatively dry. To avoid crowds, come midweek if you can and avoid Canadian holiday weekends, particularly Victoria Day (May), Canada Day (July), British Columbia Day (August), Labour Day (September), and Thanksgiving (October). The rainiest months are November through February, although you should be ready for drizzle any time in Tofino’s temperate rainforest climate.