Wellness Travel: Balance in British Coumbia's Tofino

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Before arriving to British Columbia, I must admit that I knew very little about Tofino and now I can’t get it out of my head. From the lush landscape and seemingly never-ending shorelines to a culinary scene rooted in organic fare, Tofino is kind of the definition of wellness. Whether you’re searching for a serene environment to channel your creative side or eager to learn a new craft, here are 5 therapeutic ways to tour Tofino.

Yoga and Meditation

One thing that surprised me about Long Beach Lodge Resort is how close it is to the waterfront. I’ve stayed at oceanfront resorts before but I’ve never been so close that I could hear the waves crashing when the sliding door to my balcony was slightly ajar. It created such serene environment that I slipped right into our wellness retreat. Michele Shorter of The Shorter Approach led our group through guided yoga/Pilates classes, meditations and even an outdoor bootcamp on the beach. She’ll likely be running more of these programs in the future but regardless of whether you sign up or not, you can practice as many poses on the beach as you please.

Surfing

Tofino is considered the best place to surf in cold water in North America and that’s a pretty big deal. In fact, Tofino is considered Canada’s surf capital. Because the water temperature is cold year-round, surfing has become a regular pastime. That said, it’s essential that you wear a wetsuit and some booties to stay warm. I’d say there’s a fair mix of locals and students in the waters. Since it’s off-season for the resort, the water wasn’t very crowded and only a few surfers took the plunge. Even though I didn’t take a class myself, the lodge does offer lessons for beginners and intermediate levels as well as rental gear for more experienced surfers.

5 Therapeutic Ways to Tour Tofino

Chocolate

Maybe it’s wishful thinking but I think that chocolate has some serious healing qualities, don’t you? At least, that’s definitely true at Chocolate Tofino. This local joint makes chocolate and gelato daily and there must be magic in their recipes because people (myself included) keep coming back for more. Considering how popular they are with locals, I decided to swing by their shop in person. I sampled a few flavors of gelato (salted caramel was my favorite!) and a fair share of bite-sized chocolates. Some of their flavor combinations are quite interesting, like their Wildflower Honey Ganache and their Organic Lavender Truffle.

Chocolate Tofino

Shopping

Normally I wouldn’t include retail therapy in a wellness guide but for Tofino, it’s a must. There are two main shopping hubs: one along Pacific Rim Highway and those slightly further away in downtown Tofino. One of my favorite little shops downtown was Caravan Beach Shop. They sell an array of vintage items and unique souvenirs that would make great gifts for friends back home. If you’re on the hunt for a good book, head into Mermaid Tales Bookshop for inspiration. Surfing is a major part of the local culture here — from chocolate bars in the shape of surfboards to boutiques adorned with vibrant blue paint, the ocean is the heartbeat.

shopping guide to Tofino

Sun and Storms

Tofino is the only destination that I know of that attracts people hoping to watch a winter storm. I always thought visits were planned around good weather but Tofino has become famous for its lively storms. Unfortunately…or maybe fortunately, we didn’t watch any storms. Personally, I enjoyed the sunshine and kept my fingers crossed that it stayed that way. My guess is that it’s beautiful here rain or shine because just look at that sunset. So many colors! If you do visit Long Beach, you’ll notice that rooms are equipped for any and all weather conditions. There’s a cozy fireplace inside the room and in the closet are rain jackets, rain boots and umbrellas.

storm watching in Tofino

Where do you go to relax and rejuvenate? Tell me in the comments below!

This post is in collaboration with Tartan and Destination BC. Long Beach Lodge Resort hosted me during my stay. All opinions are my own.

Megan McDonough
Megan Eileen McDonough is writer, blogger and social media specialist based in New York City. She also runs Bohemian Trails, a lifestyle blog designed for the savvy and stylish traveler. Bohemian Trails aims to feature must-see places around the world, covering everything from revamped neighborhoods and vibrant street art to innovative tech hubs and everything in between. Her cultural escapades have taken her to Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Megan is also a freelance writer and social media specialist based in New York City. She contributes to various online and print publications in the travel and fashion industries and is an international correspondent for both Jetsetter and Northstar Travel Media.
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