If you love to camp and have not been to the West Coast of Vancouver Island this trip needs to be your next outdoor adventure. Vancouver Island is easily accessible from Bellingham.
Make early ferry reservations and take the BC ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point/Nanaimo. http://www.bcferries.com/res/ . Plan to have breakfast on the ferry and keep an eye out for whales and other marine life during your two hour crossing.
Stop at the MacMillan Cathedral Grove on your way to the Long Beach peninsula and walk through the type of forest that transforms you into a dark world that makes you feel tiny. Next stop is Port Alberni where you can pick up any supplies that you have forgotten to pack before continuing your trip to the coast. Farther down the road to the coast you can eat a picnic lunch at the Taylor River Rest Area. It is a nice stop with clean restrooms and a river next to the picnic tables. Feel like doing some cliff jumping or swimming in a giant river pool? Stop a few miles farther toward the coast at a spot marked as “cliff diving” on Google Maps.
When you reach the Long Beach Peninsula information center you are almost at your destination. You can turn left and explore the fishing town of Ucluelet or turn right and continue on to the surfing town of Tofino.
Camping in Ucluelet
If you are ready for wild beach camping with pit toilets and outdoor showers make reservations at Mussel Beach Campground. The road in is six miles of washboard dirt but the reward at the end of the road is your own beach fire, great kayak access and a beautiful view of the broken group islands. Be sure to bring your own water!
Hiking in Ucluelet
Plan to spend an hour or two hiking out to Amphrite Lighthouse and walking along some of the Wild Pacific Trail http://www.wildpacifictrail.com/. Take photos of the ocean between wind shaped trees and look for stairs down to hidden driftwood-covered beaches.
Eating in Ucluelet
If you are tired of camp food be sure to make a reservation for Norwoods Restaurant. Their menu item “A Taste of the West Coast” offers a gourmet approach to great West Coast seafood. http://www.norwoods.ca/ If you are an Oyster fan be sure to reserve a table at Raven Lady Oyster Forte. http://ravenlady.ca/ You will not be disappointed.
Bob and Maureen
About Chuckanut Westfalies
Having spent many years camping, backpacking, climbing and skiing all around the world, we have finally found our ideal mode of travel and we want to share it with others. Check out these fantastic totally Refurbished Westfalias and head out in the PNW! ChuckanutWestfalias.com