My name is Jessica and I am a Relationship Developer for our travel startup, Pilot! This is my first blog post (so be nice, lol). Working at a travel start up, I am always inspired to be spontaneous and to keep exploring. I hope that after reading this blog about my crazy trip to Tofino, you feel inspired to try something new or go on an exciting adventure.
Last week my friends and I decided to take a spontaneous weekend trip to Tofino, British Columbia. The trip was anything but planned - which is what made it so fun! Spontaneous trips are wonderful because the most amazing things can happen when you have no expectations.
Here’s how my weekend went down...
Pilot on the Ferry
I woke up to my friend from Vancouver Island, blowing up my phone because he wanted my roommate and me to come camping in Tofino. Next thing I know, we are catching the 9 PM ferry later that evening- which we turned into a Happy Hour of course! My sister dropped me and the roomie off at the Tsawassen ferry terminal, where we walked on with our cooler for the weekend. The cooler had 2 camping mugs and pre-mixed margaritas, innovative or crazy? I’ll let you decide! FYI BC Ferries attendees saw us and thought it was hilarious - they are the MVPs.
After our Ferry Margs, we went on the hunt for our 2 guy friends and their van. When we walked off the ferry, the first thing I saw was a van with a massive surfing mural painted on the side and I said to my roommate “Imagine if that was our van, how crazy!”
She just looked at me and smiled. Next thing I know, our two friends hopped out the back and yelled, “SURPRISE!!!”
I ran up to the van, gave the boys a hug, and took a look at our home for the weekend. Here’s the kicker: I spent Friday-Monday in a decked out Van that my friend bought 10 days prior, in which he then fully installed a bed, couch, and twinkle lights. It was awesome.
Camping in Tofino: Van Edition
We started our journey of camping in Tofino early the next morning. We woke up to insane rain that was not going away and was supposed to stay the whole weekend, but that’s Tofino for you! So always pack lots of rain gear and multiple pairs of pants.
There were some awesome sights along the way to Tofino. We stopped at Sproat Lake right off the highway and the well-known cliffs and waterfalls about 50km outside of Tofino. FYI - the Pacific Rim Highway is NOT for the faint of heart. Though arguably one of the most beautiful drives ever, at parts the road narrows to where only one car can fit (sketchy!).
When we finally rolled up to Tofino, the first thing we did was got a bite to eat at... TACOFINO. This is the original location, where you can order tacos and burritos out of a truck. It’s unreal - with vegan options too! I recommend the fried fish taco (also really good in a burrito, I tried both).
After stuffing our faces we headed to our first destination, Chesterman Beach, where we went storm watching with a couple of drinks. The waves were insane; we were all soaked to the bone but had an absolute blast. PRO TIP: we bought plastic bags from the grocery store and wore them over our clothes (we then used them for our garbage for the weekend) - I made a wonderful halter top and skirt combo.
After our crazy day at the beach, we were cold and wanted to get warm in the van. We bundled up with towels and played cards until it got dark. We then turned on the fun twinkle lights, listened to music, and ordered takeout from Lil’ Ronnies Backyard BBQ. (another unreal Tofino treat). We stayed the night at the beach parking lot (WOULD NOT RECOMMEND) but left at 6 AM to make sure we didn’t get ticketed - which the bylaw officers were rolling up just as we were heading out!
We slept like babies and woke up to rain hitting the van windows- not bad for 4 people in a queen-sized bed! We were super close apparently, lol. It was then straight to town for coffee and breakfast sandwiches from Shed - which was amazing!
Funny enough, if you plan on camping in Tofino, there is free wi-fi in the town centre! I had a Zoom call meeting for Pilot and my roomie had to answer some emails, but we got it done from the comfort of our van. Meanwhile, the guys decided to buy wetsuits and surfboards since Tofino was not renting due to COVID-19. They came back 2 short-boards and wetsuits in hand, smiles wide. It was beach time!
Surf, Explore, Eat...Repeat
Right as we rolled up to Chesterman Beach again, the sun decided to come out. I spent the afternoon walking the beach and exploring the trails while the boys hit the surf for the first time. It was rough and they had a tough time with the currents that Tofino is known for. They still had lots of fun though.
We took a break from the beach and hit Tacofino...again. A couple of tacos and Kombucha bottles later, and it was hike time. There was a nice trail hike that we hit up at Cox Beach, it goes nameless but we found it on an app called AllTrails that shows you the closest hikes/trails to you, a description, and some reviews.
Sunsets and Stars
We then started a beach fire under the stars at Cox Beach, which you are allowed fires until 11 pm. It was the highlight of the Tofino trip for me, especially since there were shooting stars. PRO TIP: You aren’t allowed to use the wood on the beach, so be respectful and buy some logs from a gas station. That's what we did and lots of other people were doing it too.
It was then time for bed. We drove to the waste yard since there were no open campsites and camped in the van here. It sounds gross, but we parked in a gravel patch on the way to it where we saw other vans doing the same sneaky thing as us - there was no smell, it was quiet, and we could sleep soundly.
The next morning we woke up and headed into town for our last round of breakfast - this time at Rhino Coffee. They have unreal donuts and breakfast sandwiches. Try the sugar-coated donut. PRO TIP: Get them to heat it up!
This was followed by one last stop at Chesterman South Beach, where the boys got a few more hours of surf in, while the roomie and I took ourselves on another beach adventure, looking at houses, climbing rocks, and taking in the surprise sunshine.
And just like that, it was time for one last Tacofino trip, and then homebound!
It was a sunny drive home, where we got full views of the breathtaking mountains and lakes.
We said goodbye to the boys and made our way back to the mainland. Upon reflecting on this weekend, I am very grateful for the joy that travelling and spontaneous experiences can bring. I had no expectations and said yes on a whim. A lot of things are crazy in the world right now, but as long as you are safe and taking caution, I believe there are many adventures to be had, and fun things to be done :)
We Want To Hear From You!
My trip to Tofino, British Columbia was truly amazing and I would have definitely missed out on this experience if I hadn’t said yes to an unexpected opportunity!
Are you a spontaneous travel connoisseur or do you love to plan things months in advance? What was the last spontaneous trip you said yes to?
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