Hotel at a Glance: Marina West Motel
“Motel” is a bit of a misnomer for the Marina West Motel—the waterfront property is more of an eco-tourism hotel, offering adventurous excursions into nearby Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Clayoquot Sound. Marina West can arrange whale-watching tours, hot-springs or kayak trips, fishing charters, and surfing lessons (additional fees apply). After working up an appetite with a hike or a stroll on the beach, you can grab dungeness crab cakes, AAA-grade rib-eye steaks, and pulled-pork sandwiches at the onsite diner. Attached to that is Jack’s Waterfront Pub, which shares the same menu and the same panoramic views of mountains and Meares Island.
- Optional add-on: One of this Getaway’s options includes a $25 CAD dining credit at the diner or pub. On select nights at the pub, you can tap your toes to live music or take the spotlight during karaoke and open-mic sets.
- Kick back in your spacious, rustic room or suite. Queen suites with balconies have gas fireplaces, so you can enjoy views of the water and mountains or curl up by the fire on chilly evenings.
- Head into town: The motel isn’t entirely remote—Tofino is home to a handful of shops, restaurants, bars, and surf schools.
- Natural beauty: In Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, you’ll find waterfalls, caves, sea arches, and more than 100 islands. Clayoquot Sound offers roughly 650,000 acres of steep mountains and temperate rainforest.
Vancouver Island, British Columbia: Untamed Forests and Posh Urban Living
On its surface, the massive Vancouver Island looks completely undeveloped. But amid its rugged coastlines, towering mountains, and forests are several small seaside towns—including Tofino and Ucluelet—and the city of Victoria. Located at the island’s southernmost tip, British Columbia’s capital city creates a stately contrast to the rugged wilderness it was carved into. Here, you can explore beautiful castles, wander through manicured gardens, and enjoy an old-fashioned tea service. Head to the Royal BC Museum to learn about British Columbia’s history from the ice age to the present via archaeological artifacts, fossils, and mammalogy. Cap off a day in Victoria with a drink at a microbrewery or a few hands of poker at 7 Cedars Casino.
Untamed wilderness meets Victoria at its borders. More than a dozen national and provincial parks sprawl north of the city, including the enormous Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The diverse landscape ranges from rugged coast and bogs to part of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, most of which is protected by the massive Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Go whale watching off the Pacific coast, or play and kayak in the protected waves of Long Beach, a popular surfing spot. To spot a sunken ship or three, scuba-dive in the nearby Broken Group islands; the waters here are known as “the graveyard of the Pacific” for the hundreds of shipwrecks that lie below the surface. Farther inland, the West Coast Trail snakes past sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, caves, and sea arches. You can also hike into Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park from the southernmost sect of the Pacific Rim. This forest sanctuary holds some of the world’s tallest and oldest trees, with spruces that reach heights over 300 feet and gnarled cedars that are more than 1,000 years old.