For the May long weekend here in British Columbia Robyn and I, along with some friends, headed over to Tofino (western side of Vancouver Island) to do some camping at Bella Pacifica Campground.I had booked 3 nights at their campsite which is situated next to MacKenzie Beach and is about 5 minutes outside Tofino. Communications between campsite staff and I was a bit of an ordeal but once we got there I was able to straighten things out with our reservation. They don’t answer emails and voice messages in a relatively timely fashion; in fact they seemed to be about 1 to 2 weeks behind.
Tofino is a small town on a peninsula on the western coast of Vancouver Island. It is about 3 hours from Nanaimo or 5 hours from Victoria. I would say Tofino is best known for Long Beach; a northwest coast surfers’ paradise. Granted the water is really cold, and the weather isn’t always sunny you can always see surfers in their wetsuits trying to catch a wave.
Very popular for surfing, Long Beach offers 10 Km of sandy beaches and decent sized waves. While we were there it seemed that people of varying experiences were enjoying themselves in the cold waves of the Pacific Ocean. Long Beach is also part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Though one thing we did notice is that you can only buy parking by the day and after reading the sign on our way out it looked as if we were supposed to pay for parking PER person. At $7.80 per person, per day I am sure it would quickly add up. But then how would they know how many people were with your car? Perhaps we just read the sign wrong. It did say Per Adult/Per Day, and then you could purchase multiple days. The machines also did not accept cash, so make sure you bring a credit card.
We went with Bella Pacifica Campground because Green Point was booked solid. Bella Pacifica is about a 5 minute drive from downtown Tofino and is situated on MacKenzie Beach. The beach itself is quite nice and the tide goes out quite far.There are also some other resorts/lodges along the beach but during our stay it was not busy.Surfing seemed to be impossible as there are small little islands off the shore which stops waves from developing properly unlike Long Beach.
The beaches around Tofino are quite beautiful and are worth seeing, even if it is raining. I would like to go back to Tofino and either stay at the Green Point campsite or even stay at a cabin on the ocean. Sitting outside in a hot tub while watching the waves roll in would be something I would look at doing. The drive to Tofino can be pretty nice as well and offer you many photo opportunities with rivers, lakes and mountains as backdrops. If you’re looking for a new camp ground and like the ocean I do recommend checking out the campsites along the west coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino.
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