Tofino and Ucluelet

Winter Road Trip to Tofino and Ucluelet


While visiting my family in Vancouver during the winter holidays, we decided to do a short road trip to Tofino and Ucluelet. We’ve heard great things about it and how beautiful it is, so we thought we’d check it out!

Long Beach

  • Time: Winter holidays
  • Location:

We left home early and headed towards Horseshoe Bay to catch the 8:30AM ferry to Nanaimo. The ferry ride was super comfy and an hour and a half later, we got to shore and began our road trip!

BC Ferries Nanaimo Horseshoe Bay

Our first stop was Cathedral Grove, located roughly 50 minutes away from Nanaimo. I did some research beforehand and there was apparently a beautiful trail worth stopping for. The loop trail took 30 minutes to walk but it was definitely worth a stop. It was great to stretch our legs but also, we got to admire some really BIG trees that apparently were as old as 800 years old!

Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove

We drove for another 20 minutes and arrived at the next city, Port Alberni, which we stopped for lunch at the “Little Bavaria Restaurant”. It was rated #1 restaurant on Tripadvisor so we wanted to give it a try. We got 2 schnitzel meals and the homemade bratwurst…DELICIOUS! For dessert, we ate the Belgium Chocolate Pie…it was heavenly!

Little Bavaria Restaurant

Little Bavaria Restaurant Little Bavaria Restaurant Little Bavaria Restaurant

We continued on with our trip and in an hour and a half we got to Ucluelet. We were debating whether to stay in Ucluelet or Tofino but since they were only 30 minutes away from each other, it really didn’t matter so we ended up finding a nice chalet in Ucluelet so we decided to stay there. Ucluelet is a much smaller and quieter town so accommodations are cheaper there but on the other hand, there are less restaurants.

Ucluelet
It was too early to check in so we headed to the “Wild Pacific Trail: Lighthouse Loop” to do a quick hike before the sun sets. It was a short and easy route perfect for all ages and with us taking breaks ever so often, it took us roughly an hour to complete. We also stopped by the Amphitrite Lighthouse to snap some pictures.

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We headed to our 2-bedroom chalet at Waters Edge and the place was gorgeous and right by the waters. On top of it, it’s super clean!

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Ucluelet is a super small town and since it’s winter time and near New Year’s, many of the restaurants were closed so that night, we got some takeout from Harbour Pizza and brought it back to eat in our chalet.

On our second day, we passed by Zoe’s Bakery and Café for breakfast. It’s a cute little bakery with a variety of bake goods made fresh every day…definitely a must-try! We wanted to drop by the next morning but they were closed for the holidays 🙁

Zoe's Bakery & Cafe UclueletZoe's Bakery & Cafe Ucluelet

Zoe's Bakery and Cafe Ucluelet

With our tummies filled, we were ready to start our day with a beginner’s surfing lesson in Tofino! When we decided to go to Tofino, the one thing my sister was looking forward to the most was trying out surfing…and on top of that, we’ll be doing it in the middle of winter! I thought this was totally INSANE because I’m not a big fan of the cold but her persuasion got to me…so she signed us up!

One of my sister’s co-workers visited Tofino and recommended going with the Surf Sister Surf School and we were very happy we listened to her advice. They prepped us up with our wetsuits and gave us a quick lesson and off we headed to North Chesterman Beach for our actual surfing lesson. The experience was AMAZING and we had sooooo much fun! It’s definitely an activity you can’t miss when visiting Tofino since people around the world come to Tofino for surfing! To read more about this activity, check out my page on surfing in Tofino here!

Surf Sister Surf School
Surf Sister Surf School Winter surfing Tofino

After battling with the waves and our surfboards, we were exhausted and STARVING so stopped by Tacofino and Westside Grill for a late lunch. From Tacofino, we ordered 2 fish tacos, a tuna taco, and a chicken Gringa and from Westside grill, we ordered 2 pieces of fish ‘n chips (1 salmon and 1 cod). It was sooooooooo yummy! I would definitely recommend the tuna taco and fish ‘n chips…you don’t wanna miss it!

Tacofino Tofino

Tacofino Tofino
Tacofino Tofino
Wildside Grill Tacofino Tofino

For dessert, we dropped by Chocolate Tofino, a little shop which makes hand-crafts fine chocolates…we bought some for us and some for souvenirs!

Chocolate Tofino Chocolate Tofino

After our very satisfying meal, we dropped by Tofino Brewing Company to buy some beer. They have a little bar set up on the side but most people go there to pick up beer to go or to refill their jars. It’s a nice little place to drop by for a quick visit.

Tofino Brewing Company Tofino Brewing Company Tofino Brewing Company

We drove around town but there wasn’t much to see so we decided to drive back to our chalet to spend the rest of the evening.

On our third day, we wanted to be a bit more relaxing so we decided to walk along some beaches. Our first stop was the famous Long Beach…it was gorgeous! With the sun shining above us, feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces while admiring the sparkling beach, it just made me think how beautiful our world is! We also watched several surfers battling the waves.

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We went to Mackenzie Beach next…it was a much smaller but nonetheless, it was still beautiful. We watched people on stand-up paddle boards and we even saw a family setting up a barbecue for lunch on the shore.

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For lunch, we wanted to go back to Tacofino and Westside Grill because it was so yummy! We ordered 2 orders of tuna taco, fish ‘n chips, and a seafood chowder! DELICIOUS!

Tacofino Tofino

For the remaining part of our trip, we headed back to the chalet to relax and enjoy the rest of our vacation.

That pretty much sums up our road trip to Tofino and Ucluelet. I had a lot of fun spending time with family and I’m sure we’ll definitely be back again…maybe this time in the summer!

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Next Activity: Winter Surfing in Tofino

Planning your next adventure? Feel free to leave me a question!