Tofino & Ucluelet
The surf mecca of Vancouver island is without a doubt Tofino, and there is not only surfing, it has amazing beach hiking, whale and bear watching, trips to unique islands, hot springs, kayaking, canoeing and much more. It's such a modern cozy town that for sure will give you good surfing vibes. To discover the cafes and shops you might have to ask for a map in the info center, actually the map is quite cool, they are spread all over town. Tofino has a misty magic... we love it. The only bad thing is to do most of the stuff you have to dig into your pockets. $$$ But we still had fun without breaking the bank!
There is a multi-use bike path that links up the skirts with downtown. Also there is “The Tuff city Bike Park” as the name says it's a small bike park with a lot of fun jumps.
There is a group of lovely hikes around the beach areas. We just had time to savour Tonquin trail, starting at the Community hall down to the beach and back, it's about 2.6 km round trip, quite relaxing. Ask at the info center for a map with hikes, all are pretty easy and with stunning ocean views. Also if you have the opportunity go to Hot Springs Cove, Flores/Vargas/Meares islands. And if you like gardens go to the Botanical Garden with the Darwin cafe inside.
There is so many good places to eat, take a coffee, a tea or a beer. We loved (as we can not taste every place, something that we really wish) the Cafe Kayak, because of the unique gift shop and the beautiful patio. Also the Jupiter was a great little stop, it's hidden but were sure can find it if you explore enough ;)
You have free outdoor showers at the parking of South Chesterman beach, (and probably in more), its a shower for surfers but we used it as well :) quite refreshing!
WHERE TO SLEEP?
We got our first warning here for sleeping on the street! Gratefully the guy was kind and didn't bill us ($200 fine)... Exactly at 7.30 am we were woken by a knock at the door. The cheapest camping is “Secret Beach Campground” $15-$20/night. Or ask for a campground list in the info center, they have a helpful one with prices included.
Ucluelet is the artful petite version of Tofino, less busy and more nice for making a living (in our opinion). It also has a lot of cozy cafes, shops, restaurants and not too much more. Actually pretty adorable and relaxed, as we didn't feel swamped by the touristy crowds.
Wild Pacific Trail, is a splendidly scenic and soft trail split by two sections. One 2.6km loop at the Lighthouse and the Big Beach that follows the cliff-side trail for 5.5km one way. They are still in working process to connect both of them and make a decent longer coast trail.
Before arriving in Ucluelet we stopped at Wickaninnish beach for a walk up the beach until the end, where if you bring binoculars you will see sea lions on the small island. Pretty beautiful spot full of mystery and surfers perfect for watching the sunset, it's magic.
Do not hesitate to stop at Zoe's Cafe, dam good bakery!!! It's a open wooden space where you can see how they cook and work. They have a tasty variety of bakery and homemade food. Or if you prefer just a delicious tea or smoothie stop by Thay Tea. But there is a bunch more spread by downtown that you might like too.
Another surfer free outdoor shower at Wickaninnish beach parking, fresh and wild! Lol (We are getting use to it)