Tofino Last 2 weeks of Aug.
So the family and I are doing some camping at the Nat'l Park last two weeks of Aug. (Bringing along sister in law and her husband, not foodies but at least adventurous eaters).
Other than the “bring a big supply of your own water if their are shortages”, we are looking for food, and adventure recs for the area, outside of lying on the beach reading a book.
Please know that we have kids ranging from 5-7 in the group so most things will have to be kid friendly (they are adventurous eaters as well) but we will have the chance to be kid free one night so one recommendation for a great meal is also appreciated.
eat in ucluelet - less expensive, pretentious and whistler-esque than tofino, still has the small town flavour. The exception is a cafe in tofino at the end of the strip in an old house (sorry can't think of the name but you'll see it) they have beautiful baked good and nice coffee.
if you want to go for at least one nice dinner, the boat basin restaurant in ucluelet it fabulous, they only let in kids early, so you will probably want to confirm that is still the case and make reservations.
if you can - get some fresh seafood and cook yourself - that's the best part of being there. I realize might be tricky if you're camping but....
the wild pacific trail in ucluelet is finished now and nice - a bit quieter than the trails in the park
I would suggest you go to the Tofino Chamber of Commerce web-site to check out various outdoor activities. Of course there is whale watching and bear watching with the latter usually being the early part of the day. There is a retired National Park warden/officer who I understand takes people on pre-arranged trips which are supposed to be very fun and informative.
Even though you are camping, I have found the concierges at the Wickaninnish Inn to be very helfpful with suggestions.
The Green Point campground within the park had a lecture/movie theatre but it has been years since we have been out at the time of year when it is open. They offered some interesting movies accompanied by local rangers who provided more information.
There is the interpretative centre adjacent to the restaurant at Wickaninnish Beach which certainly worth a visit. Again, it has been years and years since we have been inside it as it is usually closed for the season when we are there.
The Wild West trail in Ucluelet offers stunning vistas and great waves. The look-outs at the Amphitrite [sp?] Light House outside of Ucluelet are certainly worth a visit even on a stormy ...perhaps that should be...particularly on a stormy day.
We did the trip up to Hot Springs Cove a number of years ago. It was a nice sail with some limited whale watching included. Then there is a trek through the woods to the hot springs. Glad I did it the one time. Likely would not do it again. May be a lot busier for you being in peak season whereas we travel out there after Thanksgiving in October.
We also took the shuttle out to Meares Highland to do the trail around the island. Beautiful area. Huge, impressive cedars. But be warned, lots and lots of mud. Mind you, you are in a rain forest after all.
Just walking along the various beaches, checking out the tidal pools can be great for the kids and adults.
Hope the weather/water situation works out. Locals in Tofino apparently go through annual water shortages and look at the highly publicized ban/shut down last year as more of "local political theatre" vis-a-vis competing ideas on the water supply issue.
There are many dining options in Tofino. I would recommend:
1) Lunch at the Pointe Restaurant in the Wickaninnish Inn;
-more affordable - breathtaking views of Chesterman Beach regardless of weather;
-excellent wine list;
-friendly, good service;
-I would also say this would be the spot to go on your "splurge evening" if time permits - make reservations early as the Inn will be fully booked and the front desk is big on encouraging the guests to make reservations to eat there;
-at least in August the days will be longer whereas when we are out there in October/November the sun is setting early;
-new chef from Mission Hill Winery has taken over from Andrew Springett - have not heard any reviews thus far.
2) Same for the dining room at the Long Beach Lodge Resort
-have had decent food here but not as impressed as that which I had at the Pointe
-different views and rolling surf onto Cox Bay;
- the "infamous" catering truck which prompted "howls of righteous indignation" from restauranters in eastern Canada when En Route ranked it as one of the best new "restaurants" in Canada;
- it has moved from its original location to that which was formerly occupied by Cafe Pamplona in the Botanical Gardens just outside the townsite;
- now you can go inside if you like and have some wine;
- Lisa Aheir's [sp?] "killer fish tacos" are excellent even if you are like me and are part of 50% of the world who loathes cilantro;
-just as you get into Tofino in what formerly was occupied by the Crab House or Crab Shack;
-dinner only - only have gone there the one time and enjoyed it;
-have not been back because we usually have access to a full kitchen and when on holidays I do not begrudge cooking as much as after a day in the office - plus, can drink as much wine as I want without being concerned about driving;
5) Tough City Sushi
-in Tofino - combined with an Inn - run by one of the true "characters" in the village;
6) Raincoast Cafe
-again in Tofino as part of the building occupied by an artist's gallery/gift shop, whale watching enterprise, clothing store etc.
-consistently good - lots of offerings with a south east Asian influence;
7) Boat Basin at the Tea Lauca [sp?] resort of Seaplane Pilot Rd in Ucluelet
-going strictly off the recommendations of others as have not been there - the one time we tried it was lunch and they were only open for dinner - hours may be different during the peak season when you are there
For more casual fare you can pick up food at the many coffee shops and bakeries in Tofino. There is Cruz Azul or something like that off the alley near the bank in Tofino.
I enjoy the pizza from Surfside Pizza. Delivery only along with a number of daily specials.
With the kids in tow the restaurant at the Weight West out on stilts into the water with its great view of eagles and mountains might be good when you are interested in fish and chips or burgers and the like.
Another pizza alternative in Pasticerria Conradi [sp?] across the street from the liquor store and Gary's Chinese restaurant just off the main street in Tofino. Good thin crust pizza and salads. Lots of lovely pastries and baked goods. Owner used to be the pastry chef at the Wick.
Breaker's Deli offers a number of options to take home or have a picnic.
The same at the little grocery store outside of town where there is an internet cafe, chocolate shop, spa and surprise, surprise a surfing store. It is just before or after, depending upon your direction, the turn off the highway toward Lynn Rd and Chesterman Beach where the Wick is.
Well that should give you a start. Love the area. Wish I was going but will have to content myself with living vicariously through others like yourself...at least until the Fall.
Let us know what you find. Given the booming development in the region I expect there will be more dining and entertainment possibilities which of course is good and bad and could be debated endlessly.
Love Sobo - order the Ploenta Fries!
Shelter - eaten there a couple of times and loved it.
Usually I buy fresh crab and cook it myself.
Also there are numerous surf schools. Always fun if you have never surfed. And they can supply you with everything you need, or you can get body boards or any kind of thing for the ocean.