Ultimate Guide To The Best Camping In Tofino
The town of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island is a dream destination for paddlers, outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Embrace the outdoors and stay at a Tofino campground when you visit this world-class vacation destination. There are many options for camping in Tofino, whether you’re looking for an oceanfront campsite for your tent, campervan or RV; a family-friendly campground with great amenities; a base camp location for kayak tours; or wilderness camping for a kayak trip. Or, if you desire something more luxurious, check out glamping in Tofino.
The drive on Highway 4 from Nanaimo to Tofino takes about three hours, with many stunning views along the way. It makes for a perfect long weekend or weeklong vacation from Vancouver. But the best is yet to come: At the Pacific coast you’ll find endless beaches, wilderness islands and old-growth trees—as well as great Tofino camping and services like kayak outfitters, outdoor shops and excellent casual and upscale dining. Located about 45 minutes south of Tofino, the town of Ucluelet is a quieter, up-and-coming tourist hub; camping in Ucluelet is a great option for those looking for a bit less traffic.
[This article is part of our 9 Adventurous Things To Do In Tofino series. Read more to experience all the best of this West Coast playground.]
Best Campgrounds in Tofino
Be sure to bring your kayak or SUP, or reserve a rental kayak or paddleboard for these great paddler-friendly Tofino campsites. You’ll love the easy access to world-class paddling destinations and quiet vibes of these places to camp.
Green Point Campground
The only campground in Pacific Rim National Park is located midway between Tofino and Ucluelet on Highway 4, with sheltered, private drive-in campsites located a short distance from spectacular Long Beach on the Pacific Ocean. There are 94 drive-in sites open to tent camping and RVs. Book one of 20 walk-in sites if you’re looking for a more primitive camping experience. The campground is open from March to October and makes an excellent base camp for paddlers looking to explore the wild Pacific coast. Reservations are recommended.
Surf Junction Campground
This fun and quirky campground 35 km from Tofino is popular among surfers, located a five-minute drive from Long Beach and the famous waves of Pacific Rim National Park. Seventy-five campsites with picnic tables and fire pits are set in the forest. RV hookups are available. No camping gear? No problem—this Tofino campground offers tent and sleeping bag rentals. There are washrooms and showers, as well as a sauna and hot tub for relaxing and soaking after a day at the beach. The campground also offers surfboard and wetsuit rentals and beginner instruction, as well as basic supplies. Reserve your Long Beach campsite online.
The Ucluelet Campground is off the beaten track, providing peace and quiet along with good access to a sheltered harbour for kayaking and paddleboarding. The campground features 125 sites for tents and RVs, with electrical hookups available. Premium semi-private forest sites are also available for the ultimate in seclusion. This picturesque campground is replete with ocean and mountain vistas, ranking it among the most beautiful places to camp in the Tofino area. Check availability and reserve your campsite online.
Family Camping in Tofino
All of the above campgrounds provide worthy accommodations for adventurous families, but the fun attractions at these next two places make them the best for family camping in Tofino.
Long Beach Golf Course and Campground
This rainforest campground near Tofino includes close encounters with nature, easy access to great paddling destinations and fantastic golf—a sweeping 36-hole course for enthusiasts and an 18-hole mini-course for kids. There are 76 tent campsites and six electrical RV sites available, with a popular Tofino Mexican food restaurant located on site. Book your campsite online.
Crystal Cove Beach Resort
This great family campground offers resort-style cabin accommodations and RV camping for a more luxurious experience. The resort has 10 fully equipped RV camping trailers available for rent, with space for the entire family. The campground is located steps from the quiet waters of MacKenzie Beach, which offers great kayaking, standup paddleboarding and swimming. Sixty sites are available for RVs, all equipped with 30-amp electrical hookups, free WiFi and hot showers. Advanced reservations are available.
Beach Camping in Tofino
Most visitors come to Tofino for the beaches. If you too love sea and sand (what paddler doesn’t?) here’s a preview of the best beach campsites in Tofino.
This private campground is located within minutes of Tofino on Vancouver Island’s Pacific coast. Many of the 187 sites are located next to MacKenzie Beach, which offers sheltered conditions for kayaking and standup paddleboarding. Reservations are recommended.
Wya Point Campground
Wya Point is a private beach campground near Ucluelet, with accommodations ranging from tent campsites to RV spots, yurts and luxury cabins. Fourteen yurts are located right next to a secluded beach, providing a great Tofino glamping option with several sizes available. Wya Point is dog-friendly and provides surf lessons, whale-watching tours and more. WiFi, showers and flush toilets are available. Book online.
Kayak Camping Tofino
Tofino is the starting point for some of the best kayaking on Vancouver Island. Here’s a sample of the many great kayak campsites located near Tofino on the spectacular Pacific Ocean coast.
Lone Cone Campground
You can take a water taxi from Tofino to this unique campground on Meares Island, or paddle there yourself (best for kayakers with an understanding of tides and currents). With no vehicle access, expect plenty of solitude in the 25-site campground (several campsites are pre-equipped with tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mattresses. The campground also has a hostel with private rooms and dorm accommodations. Lone Cone is a great campground for adventure travellers, with sandy beaches and hiking trails. Book your site online.
A favorite of intermediate-level sea kayakers, this island in Clayoquot Sound is located only a short paddle from Tofino and offers a great introduction to wild camping. A large beach is available for free camping, just be sure to pack out your waste and be respectful of wildlife.
If you’re looking for a more glamorous camping experience, you’ll find several fantastic options for luxury camping in Tofino.
Mussel Beach Private Getaway
This luxurious oceanfront camping spot is located in Ucluelet. Mussel Beach offers a wilderness glamping experience, with five unique seaside huts available for rent. Paddlers, you can practically launch from your cabin door and explore the coastline of Barkley Sound. The campground is quiet, located eight km from Highway 4. With limited availability you’re best to reserve your glamping hut in advance online.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort’s luxury camping accommodations are nestled in deep green forests with views of the Pacific Ocean. Deluxe canvas tents feature king-size beds, bathrooms and showers, with options available to sleep from four to eight guests. This Tofino glamping resort offers kayaking, standup paddleboarding and many more guided adventures in the spectacular UNESCO-designated Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve. Check availability and make a reservation online.
Stay in a unique geodesic dome at WILDPOD Glamping, located in Tofino. Six oceanfront domes are available for your luxury camping experience. Fall asleep to the sound of the tide and wake up refreshed, ready for adventure in one of Vancouver Island’s greatest outdoor destinations.
Free Camping in Tofino
Free camping is rare in the Tofino area and that’s not a bad thing—you’re far better off enjoying the comforts and services of a designated campground. Paddlers have it lucky. Along with the Tofino kayak campsite at Vargas Island, skilled kayakers able to plan for the tides and currents can access a free campsite on Meares Island. Be sure to practice minimal impact camping and leave the site clean for future visitors.
Tofino kayakers will find a medium-sized campsite on the north side of Meares Island at Ritchie Bay. This free, sandy beach campsite has access to fresh water; be sure to treat the water before drinking.
There’s a free campsite on the north side of Kennedy Lake, accessible by vehicles by way of Kennedy Lake Road. The eight-km gravel road heads northeast from Highway 4, just south of Tofino. There are no services, but paddlers can launch from the beach camping area onto a large freshwater lake.
RV Camping and Campervans in Tofino
Tofino is an iconic road trip destination, with plenty of options for campervan and RV camping when you arrive. Here’s a taste of the best RV camping in Tofino.
Surf Grove is located just south of Tofino, near the renowned waves and sand beach of Cox Bay. The campground features 130 RV and campervan sites with 30-amp electrical service. There’s water, sewer service and a sani-dump for longer term stays. No RV? No problem! Twenty Surf Grove campsites come fully equipped with rental RVs. In case the name didn’t give it away, Surf Grove is a great place to learn to ride ocean waves. Special camping and instruction packages are available, and there’s an on-site surf shack for rentals. Book online for your RV campsite.
Wild Pacific Camp
Wild Pacific Camp caters to RVs exclusively. Located close to Ucluelet, this intimate campground boasts six full-service RV sites surrounded by nature, including towering rainforest trees and Pacific Ocean views. The campground maintains a kayak and SUP launch on Spring Cove and provides access to several great hiking trails. What’s more, it’s only a 20-minute walk to Ucluelet. View a map of the campground online.
Where to Buy Camping Gear in Tofino
Need camping gear? Vancouver Island is home to well-equipped camping retailers in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River. Check in with the knowledgeable and friendly staff at these local outfitters if you’re shopping for gear closer to Tofino.
Storm Light Outfitters
Your local source of camping gear is Storm Light Outfitters (390 Main St, 250-725-3342). This small Tofino shop is big on service and local knowledge, with camping gear and apparel from some of the best outdoor brands—a good choice if you forgot a few items or need an entire camping kit.
Tofino Paddler’s Inn
Check out the small retail shop at the Tofino Paddler’s Inn (320 Main St, 250-725-4222) if you’re looking for kayak and standup paddleboard gear and accessories. Operating in conjunction with Tofino Sea Kayaking, you’ll find all the guide-recommended gear for your Tofino kayak camping trip.
Immerse yourself in wild nature on a Tofino camping trip. | Photo courtesy of: Destination BC // Ben Giesbrecht
Published at Thu, 18 Mar 2021 20:49:58 +0000