Tofino’s for the Dogs

Dogs and Tofino, a super dog friendly place to surf and be in nature
Tofino’s for the Dogs
The destination for dog-loving thrill-seekers, surfers and nature lovers


In the not-too-distant past, tourists visited Tofino only during the summer months – until a few people brainstormed how they could extend the season. They came up with stormwatching. Now thrill-seekers, surfers and nature lovers book dog-friendly rooms with ocean views year-round, hopeful for inclement weather with crashing waves and surging sea. Bring your dog to Tofino and check out these places & ideas for a great vacation!

Swimming and Frolicking

Tofino might be one of the most dog-friendly locations to be found. Rain or shine, stormy or calm, dogs are bonkers for this little seaside town. Who doesn’t love the soft, hard-packed sand beneath their paws; sea breeze in their fur; chasing the waves and rolling in seaweed? The beach is dog ‘s ultimate vacay. Maybe your pooch prefers freshwater beaches. About forty minutes outside of Tofino, Kennedy Lake is great! The park provides day-use areas and some areas for off-leash fun, such as the lake. 


Hiking in Tofino's beautiful nature

If not raining buckets, take a forest walk. If you want to learn more about Tofino’s great outdoors , the First Nations people can take you on a gentle walk with Liam Ogle of Long Beach Nature Tours. All trails within the Pacific Rim Provincial Park will require your dog to be on a leash. 

Tofino Botanical Gardens comprises 12 acres of unique gardens, ponds, art installations and a historic homestead.  In the town of Tofino, the Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre exhibits include a First Nations canoe while the Eagle Aerie Gallery displays works by Roy Henry Vickers. And when the tide is out you can beachcomb for sea treasures—but always be aware of rogue waves. Gaze seaward where 125 ships and countless sailors went to their watery graves. 


Kayaking and Whale Watching

Unfortunately you can’t pop your pup into a lifejacket and bring her along whale watching or kayaking. But a few companies, such as Jamie’s Whaling Station and Paddle West Kayaking supply dog kennels so you don’t have to leave your dog in your hotel room.


Check out Tofino's tasty eateries

Once all the fresh air works up your appetite, the Hatch Waterfront Pub is decent. When Wolf in the Fog opened its doors, Tofino became a foodie destination.  Its menu changes with the seasons but cedar-infused rye sour is a cocktail menu staple and if the potato-crusted oyster were taken off the menu there would be mutiny. If it’s beer you’re after, the Tofino Brewing Company has a new taproom and for a taste of Tofino, try a kelp stout. 


Sleepover, with your dog!

As for accommodations, you’re spoilt for choice during low season. At Pacific Sands Beach Resort you and your pooch can sleepover in style. Opt for the Paws Care Package. Upon arrival, you and your fur baby have a choice of beachfront and ocean view accommodations; gourmet dog treats; a copy of Modern Dog Magazine; custom Pacific Sands dog leash; unlimited DVD movies and popcorn; and 1 percent of proceeds are donated to the SPCA.  All the tastefully furnished, spacious suites have fully-equipped kitchens.


Wild Animal Awareness

Check out recent sightings and warnings – bears, cougars and wolves have been a problem for dogs in the past. Crucial for dog safety is knowing what to do if you have an encounter and where you shouldn’t be.  A recent suspected wolf attack occurred on Chesterman Beach. Keep your pets on leash early mornings –don’t let them loose doing their business and never let them wander. 


Getting There

From Victoria or Nanaimo (depending upon which BC Ferry you take). From Nanaimo, the three-hour drive is beautiful. Pull into Coombs to see the goats on the roof and pick up groceries, and brake at Cathedral Grove to view the old growth trees. The road is a winding, narrow mountain highway in sections, and winter tires are required by law from mid-fall through early spring.


Add a comment

Dog of the Week!

Meet: Bidoo