Summer is singing its sweet song on the West Coast at last. Besides longer days, calmer surf (see Winter Storm Watching), and less rain, there is a surge of fresh new activities that locals and visitors alike can finally jump into.
The Tofino Public Market
Starting May Long Weekend all the way until October is the Tofino Public Market. It’s the perfect way to see Tofino like a local. You’ll also be able to get the freshest of local produce and find unique souvenirs in the form of artisan goods, one-of-a-kind clothing, handicrafts, artwork and jewelry.
When the rain stops falling, the patios and balconies start calling. For some, their houses and accommodation boast perfect decks to enjoy a warm evening’s dinner outside. For others, restaurants like Shelter, whose extensive patio seems to double the restaurant’s seating capacity, make for the perfect evening pit stop. Food tastes better outdoors, and summer dinners on the patio are an easy highlight.
It’s no secret that Tofino’s population becomes almost unsustainable during the peak summer season. The winter warriors mingle with the summer seasonals, the cafes are bustling, the beaches are busy and the streets sometimes look like a parade is going on when it’s really just the weekend. For some, it’s the worst time of the year. However, there’s never anything wrong with making a couple new friends and with so many travellers, there’s plenty to be made. Hit up the bar, a bonfire, or the beach and send out some friendly vibes – you never know who you’ll meet.
Speaking of friends – both old and new are the perfect companions for a good old-fashioned summer beach bonfire – a favourite pastime for those on the coast. Hunker down on a blanket or a piece of driftwood next to a steady blaze and you’re set for the evening. Music never hurts, nor do beer and marshmallows. As the sun sets from where you sit, the magic of summertime in Tofino truly sinks in.
The summer season lends to a fantastic natural phenomenon that late night beach-goers are almost certain to see. Due to warmer ocean temperatures and the toasty sun, plankton not only return to the coast, but light it up. As the tide rises and recedes, traces are left in the sand lighting up your footprints as you make your way towards the ocean. There, the waves curl in a flash of blue before breaking and scattering on the surface. Who knew such a small organism could be so beautiful?
No tarps necessary (almost) makes camping a prime activity on the coast in the summer. Although you usually have to book your campsite well in advance thanks to Tofino’s summer crowd, there are still a few hidden spots to pitch a tent. Even just camping in your own backyard can be a blast. For a hiking/camping adventure, test out 5040 or Triple Peak – camping lakeside after a sunny hike lends a refreshing hand to a perfect day.
Canso Bomber Plane
Speaking of hikes, there is one in particular that depends on that fair summer weather. The Canso Bomber Plane Trail is unique to Tofino, but impassable in the rainy season. However, once the weather gets towards the dry side (as dry as the Wet West Coast can be), the mud is finally passable and the plane crash site attainable. Head out knowing that you may still get muddy, but at least your boots won’t get lost in the muck. The plane itself is a sight to see.
Surfing and other Outdoor Fitness
Of course, surfing is always on the activities list for any Tofino itinerary. For beginners though, the summer is definitely the best. Good learning waves roll into the shores and colourful rashies can be seen in the shallows as visitors hop into their lessons. Farther back in the break and at a few other beaches, those who know the ropes can find clean swells and waves to satisfy any skill level.
Don’t be fooled though, surfing isn’t the only big summer activity in Tofino. Keen to get out of the gym, or to shed the winter hibernation pounds, people flock to the hiking trails, the kayaks, the SUP boards and the beaches. Many fitness classes and boot camps set up an outdoor regime and bikes flood to the pathway that cuts through Tofino. Yoga mats find the parks and everything seems to spring to life. You can even try your hand at salmon fishing! With so much nature at hand, why shouldn’t most of your fitness regime take place outdoors?
Summer on the coast extends far beyond Tofino. Don’t hesitate to take a drive to Kennedy Lake, or Virgin Falls. Ucluelet, nearby, has its own stock of summertime fun and events between the two coastal towns could fill your entire summer calendar. After the rainy season, it’s definitely time to celebrate the sun.
Salmon Eye charters is Tofino-Info’s recommended salmon fishing charter. Check them out on their website, www.salmoneye.net.
Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk