If you’re looking for a weekend getaway to pop the question, or romance your honey, there is no better destination than Tofino. Home to Conde Nast’s ‘Most Romantic Hideaway in North America’ for 2010 (Wickaninnish Inn), this quintessential west-coast town with eco-activities, fabulous cuisine, first-class accommodations and five-star scenery, is sure to cast that loving spell.
A unique way to experience Tofino’s majestic beauty is by taking a scenic seaplane tour with Alteao River Air. The lush rainforests, abundance of small surrounding islands, jagged shoreline cliffs and incredible turquoise waters are beyond spectacular from the air.
A more intimate option for exploring Clayoquot Sound is to pack a picnic and sea kayak through the numerous inlets and bays, which can be booked as a guided or self-guided tour through Tofino Kayaking. Surfing has become engrained in Tofino’s culture, and for the courageous couples who wish to brave the cold there are numerous surf shops offering rentals and lessons. If the icy waters are not appealing, snuggle up on a blanket and enjoy the show. To turn up the heat, visit the natural thermal Hot Springs located 26 nautical miles from Tofino. Getting to the springs is part of the magic, whether by boat, seaplane or Ocean Outfitter’s ‘Sea to Sky’ package that floats you in, and flies you out.
Tofino’s shallow seas and temperate rainforests support a plethora of wildlife, including bears, otters, and killer, hump-backed and blue whales, which could well make an appearance during a trip to the springs.
The exceptional culinary scene is yet another reason to visit this quaint surf-town that is big on fresh local seafood and mouth-watering cuisine. SoBo, defined as sophisticated bohemian, could well be the best restaurant in Tofino. House favourites are the Vancouver Island Shrimp Cake with Crab, and the beautifully flavoured Bouillabaisse, a saffron tomato based broth overflowing with locally caught seafood. For an intimate environment with seasonal and local fare, the dining room at Shelter Restaurant offers an extensive wine list and scrumptious dishes including Seafood Yellow Thai Curry and Macadamia Nut Crusted Pacific Halibut. A uniquely urban setting for a romantic dinner is found in neighbouring Ucluelet at Fetch, in the ultra-modern Black Rock Oceanfront Resort. The restaurant’s artisan-inspired menu features fresh island ingredients and locally caught salmon and shellfish; a delicious experience further enhanced by chic decor and brilliant ocean views.
Booking beachfront accommodation in Tofino is a must as there is nothing better than early morning beachcombing, with coffee in-hand. The Pacific Sands Resort deluxe oceanfront villas, with kitchens equipped to prepare gourmet meals for two, offer expansive ocean views, and are steps from the romantic boardwalk stroll to Sunset Point. If five-star beachfront accommodations with cozy home comforts are more appealing, the Long Beach Lodge, which includes a scrumptious complimentary breakfast with house-baked granola and gooey cinnamon buns, is perfect.
Perhaps the most renowned resort in Tofino is the critically acclaimed Wickaninnish Inn overlooking Chesterman Beach. If finding your Zen, in one of the most relaxing and romantic places on earth, is posing to be a problem, book a couples massage in the ocean-view Cedar Sanctuary at the resort’s spa, and it will most definitely be found.
Tofino provides year-round appeal, with spring and fall offering better pricing without having to sacrifice too much in terms of weather and available amenities. For those who don’t want to take the scenic drive, Orca Airways offers 55-minute flights from the YVR South Terminal to Tofino. Whether by car, or plane, Tofino is a pristine west-coast treasure sure to have you head over heels.