The Journal

A Juice Truck Guide to Tofino

Tofino is one of those special places. Ask anyone that’s been there and they’ll tell you so. Look at any travel list and Tofino will be on the top. Bucket List, favourite list, never want to leave list. Tofino is just that… special. It’s something in the air, that wild west coast air that seems richer, cleaner, wilder than the city air we’re used to. There’s something in the wind. It’s a wind that whispers and howls stories that seduce you to explore its majestic shorelines, even on the stormiest of days. Beaches that stretch past the imagination with wind shaped trees lining the shoreline, in a seemingly eternal dance with the ebb and flow of the crashing tide. And the waves. Waves that are like a meditation, crashing and splashing, foaming and flowing, in and out and in again. A playground for surfers, for beach walkers, for bird talkers and nature stalkers. Tofino is magic.

Hop on an hour and a half ferry ride to Nanaimo from Horseshoe Bay or Tsawwassen, drive 2.5 hours from Nanaimo … maybe 3 hours if you need to take a break here and there for those that tend to get a little queasy from driving on the winding roads... and you’re there! Part of the perfection of Tofino is that it is a bit of a trek to get there, so it remains somewhat hidden, just far away enough from the masses, not over-developed and still intact with ancient forests and old growth trees. A dream for Summer travelers and an adventure for winter explorers. Tofino has something for everyone,year-round.


For such a small imprint, Tofino is packed with amazing dining options. It’s hard to go wrong as most restaurants boast, fresh, locally sourced menus. Head to the Tacofino’s original location for tacos or burritos just off of the Pacific Rim Highway. You might just stumble upon the best taco you’ve ever had. Their vegan burrito is our favourite. In the same complex, Wildside Grill also boasts a tasty menu with breakfast tacos and more. Heading into downtown Tofino, Kuma rocks some of the best ramen that you’ll find anywhere. Their space is intimate and cozy with beautiful  photography by Jeremy Koreski. The Veggie Udon is 10/10 and the Spicy Edamame has just the right spice. Further down the strip is SoBo. SoBo, which is now a brick and mortar,  started as a food truck way back in 2003 and has been a celebrated, award winning spot ever since. If you love their food as much as we do…good news. They also have a cookbook jam packed with all of their west coast fresh fare. Now the creme de la creme. Wolf in the Fog. It is worth the journey, just for a meal at Wolf in the Fog. We can’t say enough about this place. Their customer service is the best… it’s to the level that they could be writing books on how to create amazing customer experiences. And most importantly their food is amazing. Rated Best New Restaurant in En Route in 2014, their food won’t disappoint. We usually email ahead requesting a vegan meal and the chef delivers with immense creativity and flavour. Wolf in the Fog is worth the trip alone. It’s one of our favourite restaurants we’ve been to anywhere! 

Start your day next to Tacofino at our favourite Tofino coffee spot, the Tofitian. They offer Fernwood Coffee from Victoria as well as a body warming Hot Ginger Lemon drink with cayenne and Nin Jom (a Chinese herbal syrup for boosting your immunity). After you’ve battled the waves and adventured the ebb and flow on a meditation inducing beach walk, head to town for some brewery time. Tofino Brewing Co is full up with playful pups, crawling babies and salty haired surfers and perfect in it’s casual ambiance and welcoming crowd. The Kelp Stout is our favourite, but really their beer is all good. They keep it simple with crisp, fresh flavours and rotating seasonal taps. Head back to Kuma for some warm sake before crossing the street back to Wolf in the Fog. Just like their food, these guys kill it with their drink program. If you like scotch, you’re in luck, because their scotch and whiskey program is unmatched. Their cocktails mirror the natural setting with cedar infused ryes, gunpowder green teas and pine coming into the mix. To balance things out the next morning, head down to the Earth Mama Love Kitchen (located in Green Soul Organics), for some deliciously balanced plant based smoothies, cold pressed juices and potent elixirs. The Turmeric Lime Tonic is our favourite with a generous dose of turmeric, ginger, lime, lemon, honey and hemp seed oil. They also offer delicious vegan treats, and healthy soups and bowls. If you don’t want to splurge on accommodations but want to enjoy the view, head for brunch or early afternoon drinks at the Wickaninnish Inn. The Wick's Pointe Restaurant is set on the rocks, overlooking Chesterman Beach. During Winter months, this is a front row beach to some of the best storm watching out there. 

There is no shortage for beautiful beach front lodging options in Tofino. From the Wickaninnish Inn to Middle Beach Lodge and Long Beach Lodge. Our favourite is the Ocean Village Resort. Ocean Village is just that…a village of cozy, beautiful A-Frame cabins set on the idyllic MacKenzie Beach. Instagram picture perfect setting! For families, groups of friends or for a romantic getaway, the cabins, full with kitchen amenities are just steps from the centrally located beach. We like to go for the polar bear ocean plunge, but if you’re toes are too tepid for such a splash, they have an indoor pool and hot tub. Built in 1976 and renovated in 2009, the A-Frame cabins are what Canadiana dreams are made of. A big plus, Ocean Village is also dog friendly, and Tofino is where dogs dream to walk, so no need to to leave your four legged best friends at home. If you’re looking to cozy up on the quiet side of Tofino’s inlet waters and prefer a bit of privacy, check out CedarWood Cove, a wellness and recreational retreat. This quiet cabin boasts uninterrupted stunning views of the ocean, Meares Island and the Bedwall mountains. Sit back from the patio to watch nature at its best with migrating birds, beautiful eagles, lone wolves, bears, seals and tons of mudflat critters adventuring past on the bordering beach. Plus theres a wood sauna and hot tub…the perfect way to fall even further into that beach town sense of relaxation.

The surf vibes of Tofino extend their way to most of the little shops found throughout Tofino’s cozy downtown core.  Between beach walks and west coast inspired meals, it’s easy to do a lap of all of the main shops within an hour or so. Many of our favourite stops are on Campbell Street, the same street that you’ll find Wolf in the Fog. Caravan Beach Shop is a dreamy little west coast general store that feels like a well curated surf cabin. It’s packed to the brim with cozy clothes perfect for any adventurer. Books, clothes, camping and outdoor gear, candles. You’ll find everything a nature seeking, cabin loving, beach walker might need in life. Down the same street you’ll come across Mermaid Tales Bookshop. For a small space, this bookstore might have the best selection out of any book store out there. You could blindly pick any book from the shelf and confidently know it will be a great read. They have an amazing selection of Vancouver Island, West Coast, Travel and Adventure related books, some classics and some that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Still on the same street, The Eagle Aerie Gallery is amazing. Roy Henry Vickers creates beautiful contemporary First Nations artwork. Beautiful hues of colour that mimic the gradients of sunsets, sunrises, fog, and rainfall. Tucked away in a corner by SoBo, you’ll find a pleasant surprise in a little shop called Merge. Merge is a creative studio packed full of finely curated, handmade goods. Most of which are made in Tofino or BC. Lastly, while you’re in Tofino, you must stock up on Sea Wench Naturals products. From shampoos to soaps, this uniquely Clayoqout brand, sources 100% of their ingredients locally. There products are truly special. It’s not everyday you write about a shampoo…this shampoo makes washing your hair something to get excited about. It’s that good!


On your route, make a stop at Cathedral Grove at MacMillan Park on the outskirts of Nanaimo. This small loop will take you through a forrest of old growth, ancient Douglas Firs and Cedars. These giants, stand like kings and queens and it’s easy to understand how trees were worshipped, were holy and sacred. These ancient trees, are survivors, reminding us with awe, what forests once were. This site, will strike a spark to your very spirit and set the palette and the mind for the wild, natural world that awaits you in Tofino. From there, adventure is a step away in any direction. Each beach or forest walk in Tofino is full of beauty, wonder, and magic. With each step you take the medicine of just being in nature washes away any stress or anxiety or worries. This is the bliss of Tofino. Get lost and choose your own adventure. Though if you want a few of our tried and tested favourite spots, Chesterman Beach is where waves come to war. The waves come crashing in from both the East and West, divided by a peninsula, the waters separated almost as if Moses parted the tides himself. When the tide comes in, this peninsula gives way to an eternal clash of waves from every which way. We never make a Tofino trip without stopping at Chesterman. A walk for meditation, get lost in the cosmic rhythm of the tide at Long Beach located between the Wickaninnish Inn and Ucluelet. Long Beach is the largest and longest beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Give yourself a couple of hours to walk the entirety of this beach and spend some time watching the surfers riding the ice cold, west coast waters. Mackenzie Beach, located in front of the beautiful Ocean Village Resort is a hidden gem. It’s smaller and the perfect place for a campfire under the stars. For those brave enough to bare the cool water, this is also our favourite spot for a polar bear dip. From Meares Island to Half Moon Bay and the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, adventure awaits in every direction. But you’re on island time, so don’t stress it, rather slow your step and make the most of whatever path you find yourself on during your days in Tofino.


Tofino is a place you come back to time after time. It’s magic stays with you, even when you’re far from it’s calming shores. You’re mind never fully leaves, until you make your eventual return for another visit. Many people come for a visit, and they just stay. If you strike a conversation with any local, their story usually starts that way. Tofino, is a land of wild beauty, natural and awe inspiring. Just writing this, we’re already imagining the next time we set foot on it’s magical shores.