Every five years or so, I’ll visit Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. There is so much to do and see — beaches, walks, wildlife, whale watching, photography, resorts, and food — that I never have enough time. For this visit, I had booked a room at a resort about six weeks in advance of the March date. There was a little nervousness among those in our group, because we had no idea how the weather would be. Some people visit the area between the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet to storm watch, however, pleasant sunshine is more suited to my particular taste. Our group was very lucky. For two days we had glorious, early spring sunshine, and an experience to remember.
From the Horseshoe Bay terminal in North Vancouver, we took a BC Ferry, to Nanaimo on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The ferry trip takes about 1:40. This is from the ferry looking back to the mainland.
From the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo, we drove north on Highway 19 before taking Highway 4 to the west coast. The drive to Long Beach is about 175 kilometers (108 miles) and takes up to 3.5 hours.
When we reached the coastal highway, our first stop was at Wickaninnish Beach which is part of the Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park. The Long Beach Unit is composed of 22 kilometers of coastline which includes beaches, coves, and bays. The main beaches are easily accessible. You can park your car and almost immediately step foot on one the beaches. You may choose to hike one of the local trails, or just relax for the day. Another popular activity is whale watching, and charters are available in Tofino and Ucluelet.
The name Wickaninnish is prominent in this area. Wickaninnish was a chief of the Tla-o-qui-aht people of Clayoquot Sound, and played an important role during the late 18th century when the Europeans arrived to the area on ships. Not only is the beach named after him, but so are the Parks Canada interpretive center, an island, a bay, and resorts including the renowned Wickaninnish Inn. Today, the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are composed of 14 nations. The name Nuu-chah-nulth means, “all along the mountains and sea,” and you can visit their official website for more information.
Wickaninnish Beach looking toward Combers Beach with Long Beach proper in the distance. These three beaches are the most popular area of the Long Beach Unit. For some reason, I didn’t take any photos of the Parks Canada interpretive center but it was right behind me.
Just north of Long Beach itself is Radar Hill, named for the radar installation that was situated there during World War II. Access is by a short drive from the highway or by a hiking trail. This is the view of Clayoquot Sound.
This is from Incinerator Rock on the west end of Long Beach proper looking toward Schooner Cove.
A friend of mine on Incinerator Rock, looking toward the sea.
One of my favorite photos. I don’t remember ever seeing a cloud reflection on the beach before. Looking toward toward Combers Beach with Wickaninnish Beach in the distance.
My friend enjoying herself on this beautiful spring day.
Our group stayed at the Ocean Village Resort, just south of Tofino. The resort sits at the edge of MacKenzie Beach which, although not part of the Long Beach Unit or in the National Park, was itself, very pleasant and peaceful. It’s also easily accessed for non-guests of the resort.
The resort in the evening. For disclosure, I wasn’t compensated by the resort, and it was well before I started blogging anyway. The resort was comfortable and reasonably priced (and I like this photo).
One last look at Long Beach. We were so lucky to visit at such a lovely time.
I hope you enjoyed this post, as I continue to blog from locations around my home province of British Columbia.
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