Seaplanes and Long Beach in Tofino, Vancouver Island

After a couple days on the mainland, we went on to my most anticipated excursion of our trip in British Columbia. Throughout my years living in BC, I had not had the opportunity to visit the west coast of Vancouver Island, so this was finally my chance.

Flying on the seaplane

Tofino is a small town of approximately 2000 permanent residents, located about a five hour drive from Vancouver. If travelling by car, the trip involves a drive to the BC Ferries terminal in Horseshoe Bay; a two hour ferry ride to Nanaimo on the southeastern coast of Vancouver Island; and then a further 2.5 hour drive across the island into Tofino. Because we were on a tighter schedule, we splurged on a flight via the Harbour Air seaplane that departs from Vancouver Harbour and takes about an hour to reach the main town, landing at the docks beside Tofino Resort + Marina, where we stayed for one night.

The seaplane ride was actually a highlight of our trip. The planes have only 10 passenger seats, and they take off and land directly in the water.

It was a little nerve-racking to be on such a small plane, but it was incredible seeing the overhead views of the BC coast.

Fish ‘n chips and a long walk on the beach

Once we landed in Tofino, we were off in search of lunch. We received rave reviews about Big Daddy’s Fish Fry so went there for their locally caught halibut fish and chips. These were the best fish and chips I’ve ever had, next to what I had in London.

Next on the itinerary was a visit to the famous Long Beach. Located between the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet, within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Long Beach is literally the longest beach on Vancouver Island. It spans over 16 kilometres, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and old growth forest.

To get here without a car, we caught a taxi via Tofino’s version of Uber — Whistle. The fare was quite high, about $50 one way for a 16 kilometre trip, but we had no other good transportation options at our disposal. There is a multi-use cycling trail that starts from the main town, but currently only extends as far as Cox Bay Beach, about mid-way along the route toward Long Beach. The remainder of the trip takes you on the Pacific Rim Highway, which I would not recommend biking unless you are a confident and experienced cyclist.

Once we reached the beach, we took a nice long walk across about half of it.

The sand here is packed densely, so it is not really a beach for lounging around. A popular activity here is actually biking right on the sand!

And of course, it’s a top surfing destination.

It took us over two hours to explore about half the beach, and then we headed back to town for dinner. Despite its small size, Tofino has a number of great dining options. We enjoyed dinner at Shelter, where we had the tuna tataki and seafood curry. Would recommend.

Unfortunately, Mr. Chuckles ended up quite sick later on this night, maybe with a bout of food poisoning. We suspect the cause to be the greasy fish and chips from lunch, although I was totally fine. The culprit remains a mystery to this day…

20 responses to “Seaplanes and Long Beach in Tofino, Vancouver Island”

  1. How incredible to see it all from such a vantage! Beautiful pictures all around.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So beautiful! Love being surrounded by nature and the views from the seaplane are spectacular!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that seaplane ride was really cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That a bummer for Mr. Chuckles. Food poisoning/getting sick stinks any time, but on vacation – that’s the worst. I don’t like small planes either, but at least it’s comforting to know that it’s designed to land on water, should an emergency arise. That’s quite a journey to get there – I’d splash out for the seaplane option, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Food poisoning is the worst, but at least his stomach settled by the time we left or it could’ve been a disastrous flight.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had no idea that Vancouver Island is five hours from Vancouver proper: given its name, I’d assume it’d be closer! 😅 All the same, it’s a great, natural site to spend the day at, and the small plane to get over there is quite the thrill!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The east coast of the island is just a couple hours away but getting across it to the west coast takes a few more hours. It’s a big island!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Another great post, Jess. I think I would’ve been a little nervous on the sea plane too, but the views look like an amazing trade off! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The views were amazing. Thanks for reading again!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Taking a seaplane sounds like an adventurous way to get to Tofino. The views from up in the air look beautiful. That’s unfortunate about the food poisoning.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] of the outdoor activities we did were not fully dog-friendly. She definitely would have hated that seaplane ride to Tofino. If you do want to travel with dogs to BC, I recommend having a car and arrangements […]

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  8. Yet another lovely post! Soaring above the scenic city of Vancouver, enjoying a bird’s eye view of its picturesque harbour and nearby mountain peaks while travelling towards Vancouver Island on a seaplane sounds like a proper adventure! I am glad to hear that you finally had a chance to fulfil your dream! Aiva 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes this was my favourite part of the trip. Thanks again for reading Aiva!

      Like

  9. I love a sea plane, and Tofino just looks incredible – I so hope to get there soon. Food poisoning is always the worst when travelling, it’s so hard to enjoy things when you’re feeling rough and constantly in need of the rest room!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. the sea plane would make me nervous! but looks like a lot of fun too! Good to see you sharing more adventures at long last!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, so nice to finally resume travel!

      Like

  11. thanks for the beautiful photography of an area i was very familiar with as a teenager on
    vancouver island. i am from the comox valley area originally but only lived off and on for
    most of my childhood spent in europe. much has changed there as it is now a very popular
    tourist destination but then was very wild and known mostly to island residents. i am 68 years old now and have not been on the island since i was 20 years old. to see it through your eyes
    and experiences is a thrill for me. such a beautiful place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you found my blog and enjoyed the photos! Vancouver Island is a beautiful place and has such a calming atmosphere.

      Like

  12. […] had many good seafood and sushi eats while in Vancouver, and a delectable meal of fish and chips in Tofino (although we suspect that this was the culprit for Mr. Chuckles’ food […]

    Like

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