We respectfully acknowledge the unceded traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples and the traditional keepers of their land. We want to say thank you for allowing us to live, work, and play on your lands.

A beautiful drive across Vancouver Island, Tofino offers an unforgettable birdwatching adventure. Set against the backdrop of diverse coastal ecosystems, including oceanfronts, estuaries, marshlands, and dense forests, Tofino serves as an oasis for birding enthusiasts. With its prime location along the Pacific coastline, this region presents a rich array of birding hotspots and opportunities to observe both local and migratory species.

Enhancing the birding experience, Tofino boasts sought-after dining options, galleries, independently-owned businesses, and exceptional nature watching opportunities that exemplify Tofino’s charm. 

This guide leads you through Tofino’s unique coastal enclaves, unveiling its hidden gems. From the serene shoreline habitats to immersive forest trails, each moment is an opportunity to forge a connection with the marvels of nature.

Embracing Tofino’s west coast lifestyle, you’ll find ample chances to relax, rejuvenate, and immerse yourself in the spellbinding beauty that characterizes this gem on the edge of Canada.

Spring birding in Tofino

Spring in Tofino marks the return of migratory birds and a vibrant spectacle for birdwatchers. Keep an eye out for the elegant Marbled Murrelets and Common Murres dotting the coastal waters. Listen to the melodious songs of the Orange-crowned Warblers in the lush vegetation. Along the shorelines, watch for the Western Sandpiper foraging on rocky beaches. Tofino’s diverse coastal landscapes offer numerous opportunities to witness incredible wildlife.

Summer birding in Tofino

Summer birdwatching in Tofino is a lively experience. The warm season brings a flurry of activity to the stunning coastal region. Look for the striking Black Oystercatchers and their bright red bills along the rocky shores. Listen for the harsh calls of Stellar’s Jays echoing through the rainforests. Keep an eye out for the majestic Ospreys soaring overhead and the agile Belted Kingfishers diving for fish. Tofino’s rich birdlife promises exciting encounters with these and other species amid the picturesque summer landscapes.

Fall birding in Tofino

Fall in Tofino offers exceptional birdwatching as migratory birds stopover in this coastal haven. Keep your binoculars ready to spot Pacific Loons and Red-throated Loons on water bodies. Scan the shorelines for Black Turnstones and agile Surfbirds foraging along the rocky coast. Listen for the calls of the Pacific Wren in the lush vegetation. Tofino’s diverse landscapes make it an exciting destination for bird enthusiasts during the fall season.

Winter birding in Tofino

Winter birdwatching in Tofino, British Columbia, presents a unique coastal experience. While some birds have migrated south, the region still attracts hardy species. Keep an eye out for the majestic Bald Eagles perched along the shorelines and in the treetops. Watch for the striking Surf Scoters and Barrow’s Goldeneyes bobbing in the cold waters. Listen for the haunting calls of the Common Loons echoing across the pristine coastline. Tofino’s rugged beauty offers a perfect backdrop for observing these and other winter birds.

Where the Power of the Pacific Comes to Rest...

Shorebird flock - Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino and Raincoast Education Society
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    First Street Public Dock
    First Street, Campbell St Dock, 750, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    A popular place to survey the Tofino Harbour, this large public dock can yield some good sightings, particularly during a low-tide when sandbars emerge from the swirling Pacific. Grab your binoculars or spotting scope and a warm beverage from one of the nearby cafés and make your way to this bustling birding hotspot to hopefully encounter some of the 113 species recorded in the area. You’ll be sharing space with people and vehicles in this scenic hub.

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    Tonquin Trail
    Tofino, BC

    Accessed from a trailhead just a short walk from the town centre, this 3km trail spans coastal rainforest, secret beaches and boardwalk viewing platforms. Whether you choose to make the 6km round trip all the way to Middle Beach, or simply take a leisurely walk to the viewpoint and nearby Tonquin Beach, you are guaranteed some exceptional surroundings on this rugged trail. Despite being close to town, civilization falls away quickly as you navigate the coastal rainforest and hikers should be well prepared for remote conditions. Bird sightings can include a number of songbirds alongside seabirds such as the Red-necked Grebe and Pigeon Guillemot and even the occasional Woodpeckers have been spotted along the trails.

Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino and Hotel Zed Tofino
Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino and Hotel Zed Tofino
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    Common Loaf Bake Shop
    180 First St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    A visit to Tofino’s original whole foods bake shop is an immersion in the culture of this remarkable town with a side of delicious baked goods. Whether you decide to grab a burrito from their breakfast menu, pick up a sandwich for lunch or indulge in one of their delightful gluten free desserts, just make sure you bring cash!

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    Shed Tofino
    461 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Tofino’s go to spot for casual dining, their expansive patio and creative menu has made them a community staple. Kick back with friends over a delicious craft beer and enjoy the atmosphere in the heart of Tofino.

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    Wolf in the Fog
    150 Fourth St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Experience the best of west coast cuisine with a visit to the exceptional Wolf in the Fog. Featuring locally sourced and hand foraged ingredients alongside inspired cocktails and rustic ambiance, Wolf in the Fog offers a memorable experience that’s meant to be shared. Reservations are recommended. 

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    Shelter Restaurant
    634 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    A longtime local staple, Shelter offers a casual coastal environment with elevated cuisine. Their legendary surf bowls are the perfect accompaniment to a classic west coast adventure while their extensive menu ensures everyone’s appetites are accounted for.

Sanderlings at Long Beach - Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino
Tofino Wildlife Management Area - Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino and Raincoast Education Society
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    House of Himwitsa
    300 Main St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    A First Nations owned business specializing in locally crafted Indigenous art and gifts including hand carved masks, sculptures, bentwood boxes, hand engraved silver & gold jewellery, indigenous designed clothing & gifts.

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    Roy Henry Vickers Gallery
    350 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    This stunning traditional Northwest Coast longhouse has a carved and painted cedar plank exterior and is a recognizable Tofino landmark. Inside discover Roy’s artwork of paintings, original prints, calendars, art cards, and reproductions hanging on hand adzed cedar walls among totem poles and carvings. Open free to the public year round, visitors will find a number of prints and reproductions are available for purchase in the gift shop. 

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    Tofino Sea Kayaking
    320 Main St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Drop by Tofino Sea Kayaking to book your kayak rental or an expertly guided tour and be sure to grab a coffee at their cafe with postcard inlet views and peruse their well-stocked store while you are there. Offering an excellent selection of books about the areas natural history alongside locally sourced products and high quality outdoor gear, whether you are looking to paddle or not, a visit is well worth the time.

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    Storm Light Outfitters
    390 Main St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Specializing in quality gear to enhance your outdoor adventures, the knowledgeable team at Storm Light Outfitters will ensure you have everything you need to get out and enjoy the coast.

Abundant Inlets and Endless Sandy Beaches

As you make your way south from the tip of the Esowista Peninsula and the vibrant community of Tofino, the real majesty of this remarkable location begins to unfold. Take time to survey the extensive mudflats from purpose built platforms or stroll kilometres of world-class sandy beaches before cozying up for a memorable meal at one of many exceptional dining establishments.

Kayaking the Tofino Inlet - Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino/Sander Jain
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    Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area
    Sharp Rd, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Established in 1997 to conserve critical wildlife habitats, the Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area comprises one of the top ten most critical wetland areas for migratory birds on Canada’s West Coast. Designated as an Important Bird Area, the nutrient rich inlet environment offers shelter from harsh coastal storms for over wintering waterfowl as well as long-haul migrants who may hunker down in the area. This fascinating eco-system is best viewed on foot or by kayak, and precautions to avoid habitat degradation and disturbing of wildlife should be taken. For the adventurous, another access point to the mudflats lies at the end of the Yellow Gate Trail, a 1.7km trail through the forest that can be muddy; hikers should prepare accordingly.

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    Rainforest to Inlet Trail - Hotel Zed
    1258 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Offering another vantage points over the exceptional Tofino Mudlfats, a large viewing platform offers an accessible and comfortable option for those wishing to soak in the sights of this productive ecosystem. Stop in at the Roar Coffee + Shop (located in the Hotel Zed) for refreshments before proceeding to the trail that takes you to their purpose built deck featuring comfortable chairs and unforgettable views.

Bird Sanctuary viewing platform, Hotel Zed - Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino and Hotel Zed Tofino
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    Chesterman Beach
    Tofino, BC

    One of Tofino’s most famous beaches, the 2.7km long beach features a stunning sandbar dividing the northern and southern sections that is walkable during the low tide. A favourite for surfers and beach-combers alike, this popular beach is also important to migrating populations of Western Sandpipers, particularly in the spring.

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    Cox Bay Beach

    Home to many of Tofino’s surf competitions, the conditions at Cox Bay make for consistently challenging surf conditions and you are likely to see some skilled surfers honing their craft on the waves. The North end is worth a visit at low tide, for the tidepools and caves provide an exciting plethora of marine life to be spotted. Shorebirds are known to spend time along these rocky outcrops, and seabirds are often sighted amongst the surf.

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    MacKenzie Beach
    Hellesen Dr, Tofino, BC

    Sheltered from the majority of the offshore winds by large tidal rocks, MacKenzie Beach is popular with paddle boarders and families for it’s calmer waters and gentlest of waves. The sandy shoreline makes it a popular stopping off point for shorebirds and the tide-pools at the beaches southern point provide feeding opportunities for hungry migrants. With 159 species observed in the area, this birding hotspot can prove rewarding, particularly if you are willing to visit during off-peak times.

MacKenzie Beach - Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino
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    Tofitian Cafe
    1180 BC-4, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    A long-standing cultural hub, Tofitian is the go to for locals and visitors alike. Drop into their cozy cafe for a quality handcrafted beverage, fresh homemade baked goods and some merch featuring their iconic ‘End of the Road’ artwork.

Tofino Shorebird Festival - Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino and Raincoast Education Society
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    The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn
    500 Osprey Ln, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Located in an unparalleled waterfront rotunda with panoramic views of the coastline, The Pointe Restaurant provides an aspirational fine dining experience. Whether you choose to visit for their renowned breakfast offerings, or indulge in a luxurious evening meal you will not be disappointed. Head to their website to learn more about their offerings and required dress code.

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    Long Beach Lodge Resort
    1441 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Offering stunning views from their impressive Great Room, Long Beach Lodge offers award-winning cuisine with a focus on local and sustainable products. Visit for a memorable brunch, relaxed midday meal or refined dinner at their welcoming west coast restaurant.

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    1258 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Offering a full suite of dining options from breakfast until late, this restaurant delivers exceptional cuisine in a modern, nautical setting. Their menu features fresh local seafood and expertly grilled dishes prepared over fire in their open kitchen.

Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino and Hotel Zed Tofino
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    Picnic Charcuterie
    700 Industrial Way, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    This women-led delicatessen has been a favourite of the Tofino community for nearly a decade. Call ahead to order one of their sumptuous charcuterie platters for an unforgettable beach picnic or stop by for house cured meats and carefully selected cheeses to build your own board.

 Visitor Centre
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    Tofino Visitor Centre
    1426 BC-4, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Stop in at the Tourism Tofino visitor centre to meet the friendly and informed Visitor Centre Counsellors who will ensure you get the most out of your trip. Open year round, their well equipped centre offers washrooms, free Wi-Fi and a collection of locally made gift items.

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    Hotel Zed
    1258 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Renowned for their quirky retro styling, Hotel Zed pairs the best of the past with the modern comforts of the present. More than just a place to get a great night’s sleep, Hotel Zed offers a platform overlooking the Tofino Mudflats Birding Sanctuary alongside numerous exciting details to uncover.

    Book Now
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    Pacific Sands Beach Resort
    1421 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Located on one of Tofino’s most renowned beaches, Pacific Sands Beach resort offers stunning views and unparalleled access to the popular Cox Bay Beach. Their expansive resort offers a variety of accommodation options, from hot tub suites to beachfront townhouses all with fully equipped kitchens, perfect for families and independent travelers.

    Book Now
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    Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort
    1119 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

    Located on the peaceful and scenic Mackenzie Beach, Best Western’s Tin Wis resort is owned and operated by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. Their well-appointed rooms feature first nations art, incredible ocean views and all the amenities you need for an unforgettable stay.

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Exploring the Wild West Coast

From rocky windswept bluffs to towering coastal rainforests, the west coast of Vancouver Island is world famous for it’s stunning scenery, charismatic wildlife and tight-knit communities. Continue your exploration of this iconic region by spending time wandering the beaches and trails of the Pacific Rim National Park, or venture out on an exciting adventure to a remote seabird colony.

Image courtesy of Tourism Tofino
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    Pacific Rim National Park Reserve - Long Beach Unit

    Pacific Rim National Park lies just south of the community of Tofino, covering kilometres of sandy beaches, unspoiled temperate rainforests and adventures for all levels of explorer. For bird watchers, the variation in habitat, from windswept rocky bluffs to sheltered rainforest allows for a wide variety of species to utilize the area year round. The park also offers camping and interpretive programming, including Bird Walks departing from the Kwisitis Visitor Centre in the summer months. Visitors should note that a Park Entry Pass is required for access to all beaches and trails within the Pacific Rim National Park. If you prefer to benefit from the intimate local knowledge of professional guides, Long Beach Nature Tours offer 3-hour birdwatching tours in the park.

    Book Now
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    Cleland Island Ecological Reserve
    Alberni-Clayoquot, BC

    This remote Island Ecological Reserve was established to protect breeding populations of many seabirds, and to support research and educational opportunities. Since access is strictly prohibited unless by permit, visitors hoping to observe the thousands of seabirds who nest here each year are required to do some from the safety of a boat. Tofino Whale Centre offers tours with an experienced guide for those hoping to spot charismatic seabird species such as the Tufted Puffin, Cassin’s Auklet and Leach’s Storm-Petrels. This 2.5 hour tour requires advanced planning and is weather dependent.

    Book Now

Learn more about Conservation and Events happening in Tofino

Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks

Tofino is located on the Traditional Unceded Homeland of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. Tribal parks upholds the ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ Nation’s relationships and responsibilities within the web of life that exists here – and uses these teachings to guide, balance, and inform newcomers’ influences.

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Tofino Shorebird Festival

Each spring, scores of shorebirds pass through the Tofino area during their annual migration north along the Pacific Flyway. The Tofino Shorebird Festival (typically held at the end of April) celebrates this annual marvel with a variety of community events and educational opportunities.

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Raincoast Education Society

The hosts of the Annual Tofino Shorebird Festival, Raincoast Education Society are renowned for their ecological education opportunities. Visit their calendar to find out about conservation and nature focused programming that may be available during your trip.

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