There are definitely times when you want to escape for the weekend, stay close to home but feel like you are miles away, recharging from the world. Lucky for me, we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world so there are at minimum a handful of local spots to escape to like Whistler, Victoria or the Gulf Islands to name a few. But if you’re willing to go a little further you’ll be pleasantly rewarded with white sandy beaches, ancient rainforests, crystal lakes and the most impressive sunrises/sunsets.
We headed to the charming, seaside village of Tofio over the weekend as first timers, but fell in love quick. We stayed at the gorgeous Pacific Sands Beach Resort in Cox Bay and made it a family trip, brining Xavi (stayed in their Oceanside Suites) since the resort is pet-friendly.
When we go on these types of little getaways we go with a few things in mind:
- relatively easy travel
- nice accommodation & grounds (ie; comfy bed, clean, comfortable)
- good food scene
- good location (ie; close to beach/town or wherever we are planning to be)
Basically we want to relax and let our days unfold at the resort but also want to have the option to venture out to explore if we felt like going out.
Pacific sands Beach Resort is as ‘beachfront’ as you can get. It’s tucked away in old growth forests but sits on the edge of Pacific Rim National Park close to Long Beach and overlooks a huge stretch of (the whitest, sandiest) beach that is visible from most suites. Once we got our bearings and explored the grounds a bit we realized that we should have booked at least one more day. Everything you need is on the resort, and if it’s not it’s only a short drive down the road to Tofino.
Here’s a short recap of our weekend and what we did (and a list of what we want to do next time):
Caught the AM ferry to Nanaimo from Vancouver (Tsawwassen Terminal) then drove the 2.5 hours to Tofino. Not going to lie, I wasn’t thrilled about the additional time from the ferry to the resort but going in October has it’s perks. You literally drive through old growth forests and right now the weather is stunning and the leaves are all changing colours. We tried to share video on Stories but it honestly didn’t come close to how it looked IRL. That being said, there is only one Hwy in and out of Tofino and the winding road can be a little tricky at times with stretches that zig zag quite a bit. Take your time, which you’ll want to do anyway because the drive through is so stunning.
Once you come off the ferry, you pass through Coombs on the way to Tofino and since Roberto had never been (what?!) we had to make the stop. Whether you’ve been before or not, it’s 100% worth the stop. They’ve actually done quite of bit of updates, (not to the farm markets -goats on the roof – but to the rest of the outdoor market) but since we were anxious to get driving we only visited the farm market. Next time I think we will grab some things to make dinner in the suite for a night or two, they have so much amazing pastas and cheeses and olives!
We arrived to a warm welcome with a gorgeous charcuterie plate from Picnic Charcuterie and wine from the team at Pacific Sands Resort. Watched the sunset from our balcony then took Xavi down to the beach for a nightcap under the stars.
Our morning started with a sunrise coffee on the beach. It was so foggy you couldn’t see a thing but then around 8:30 the fog lifted to the clearest blue skies, it was incredible. That beach is ridic!
We were pleasantly surprised by Rhino Coffee House with a second round of coffee and donuts. We tested out their three most popular donuts and were blown away. Will be back for breakfast next time.
It’s been a bucket list dream of mine to go on a helicopter tour, so this weekend I surprised my husband with a ride over Tofino with Alteo Air. There is NOTHING like getting a birds eye view of the coast by helicopter. Its unlike anything I’ve ever done. The water was so clear you could clearly see salmon and the seals chasing them. I saved these Stories in my highlights in case you missed it. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience and something I would absolutely love to do again.
Our adrenaline must have been pumping because once we got back to the resort we wanted to do something chill, so we grabbed some beers and snacks and brought Xavi down to sit and lookout over the ocean.
Since it was our last night here, we decided it was appropriate to take a stroll down Sunset trail. Sunset trail is a sunset boardwalk stroll at the resort that takes you to Pettinger Point. We kind of stumbled across it by accident but decided to do it and so glad we did because it takes you out to the prettiest beach access. Perfect spot to bring a picnic next time.
By this time we were in full relaxation mode, so we ended up opting to pick up some wood-fired pizzas from Neapolitan Pizzeria Basic Goodness. And yes, it was so good. To cap off the night, we were pleasantly surprised with fireworks from our balcony!
Since we had a ferry to catch (and the drive prior) we decided to get up early again and take our coffee to the beach to start the day and then head out since we weren’t entirely sure how long we would need to make our ferry.Next time I think we would plan to come for three or four days.
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT PACIFIC SANDS BEACH RESORT:
Location: you can’t beat beachfront, but the feel of the resort was so peaceful and tranquil. Being just outside Tofino and in Cox Bay makes the resort feel very private, but it’s also nice to only be a short drive down the road into town.
Seaside Yoga: guests are invited to complimentary yoga Saturdays & Thursdays in the Surf Shack.
Surfside Grill: we had planned on making it here for a bite on Saturday after our helicopter tour but we didn’t get back to the resort until around 3 and thought we’d hold off until dinner. Bad choice bc this place looked so good, serving up freshly caught fish + chips, fish tacos, burgers & other classic beach food favourites.
Internet: I hate when hotels tack on a data ‘rate’ charge. Thankfully Pacific Sands is not one of those resorts, complimentary high speed Telus Optik is available resort wide.
Coffee + Groceries: complimentary coffee, tea & a hot cocoa bar is available at Guest Services, as well as kitchen staples like milk and frozen pizza. Most if not all resort suites come with a full kitchen so eating in is always an option.
Gourmet Pantry: the resorts in-suite kitchens have all the basics, but if you need a baking dish for your family’s favourite casserole, or a waffle maker for brunch, check out the Gourmet Pantry for kitchen gadgets, bakeware and appliances you can borrow during your stay. Ask in Guest Services. They’ve thought of everything.
Movie night-in: popcorn & an impressive selection of 500+ old & new movies are available to borrow during your stay.
Fire pits: it’s the perfect time of year to pull up some hot cocoa and sit around under the stars by the fire. The resort has a whole area sectioned off for seating and fire pits.
What we tried:
Rhino Coffee House
Basic Goodness Pizzeria
On my list for next time:
Sushi Bar (at The Inn at Tough City)
Tofino Coffee Roasting Company
This trip would not have been possible if not for the lovely team at Tourism Tofino and Pacific Sands Resort, thank you for your hospitality! We will definitely be back.
This post was in partnership with Tourism Tofino & Pacific Sands Beach Resort. As always, all opinions are my own.