Hotel at a Glance: Big Fish Lodge
Just a sandy beach separates Big Fish Lodge from the sparkling inlet of Port San Juan, right on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Each of the lodge's six guest rooms has excellent views of the inlet and old-growth forests beyond, but the crown jewel of the lodge is its great room: floor-to-ceiling windows look out to the scenery, which you can see from overstuffed couches.
- Surf's up: Now is a great time to surf in Port Renfrew, thanks to large waves brought on by winter storms. Just don't forget your 5mm wetsuit!
- A commercial-sized kitchen is available for guest use; the owners can also prepare guests a traditional West-Coast dinner.
- Get some fresh air: The lodge has a large patio with picnic table and grill and an outdoor fire pit near the beach.
- Indoor activities: billiards, board games, and a small library
Port Renfrew, British Columbia: Abundance of Natural Beauty on Vancouver Island
Locals call Port Renfrew the "Jewel of the West Coast." Situated on the southwestern part of Vancouver Island, the town overlooks the inlet of Port San Juan and old-growth forests filled with giant Red Creek fir and San Juan Sitka spruce trees. The inlet is an excellent place to fish from June to October—it's not uncommon to catch a 100-pound halibut or 50-pound salmon. Even when winter comes, people are happy to stroll along the sandy beachfront. Surfing is a popular pastime all year long, with winter storms bringing particularly big waves.
Port Renfrew also serves as the trailhead for the rigorous West Coast Trail. Not for amateurs, this challenging hiking trail wends 45 miles north along the coast to the town of Bamfield. If you're looking for something a little more casual, there are shorter trails in nearby Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Juan de Fuca Provincial Park that run along the coastline and through old-growth forests.