Did you know: you can get oceanside in Port Alberni

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Seeking ocean time on Vancouver Island’s west coast? Port Alberni inlet is perfect for kiteboarding, swimming, hiking and more. #dyk #explorePortAlberni 

You could drive right past Port Alberni, as many do on their way to Tofino, and not even realize you’re passing inlet access to oceanside adventure. With a 50-kilometre long ocean inlet, this chill seaside town is a hotbed for ocean fun like kiteboarding, swimming and hiking. 

The Alberni Inlet is a true fiord formed many millennia ago, deep enough to welcome Panama-sized vessels. So, how long exactly is the Port Alberni inlet, in real terms? 

Mike Carter of the Port Alberni Port Authority explains: “when you get to the head of our inlet here in downtown Port Alberni you are closer to the east side of the island then you are to the west side of Vancouver Island.”

NOTE: Highway 4 accessing Port Alberni is open but traffic is slow as repair continues (TransBC road advisory info). Estimated time for complete re-opening is mid-July. Check DriveBC.ca for more updates.

WATCH: ocean adventures on Port Alberni Inlet 

Watch Get oceanside #explorePortAlberni on YouTube.

How to explore Port Alberni inlet 

Instead of going to the ocean, why not let the ocean come to you? Here’s a ‘how to’ on how to #explorePortAlberni’s Alberni Inlet.

1) Send it with Wind Rider Kiteboarding 

Find kiteboard instruction and rentals within the China Creek Campground about 10 mins outside of downtown Port Alberni, owned and operated by the Port Alberni Port Authority.

Photo: Melissa Renwick
Port Alberni inlet is a prime kiteboarding location, take it from experts like Kalena Nielsen.

“I can’t believe more kiteboarders don’t live here,” exclaims Kalena Nielsen a professional kiteboarding instructor, who travels the world for the wind. 

“Conditions here on the Alberni Inlet are prime, stable winds, great/easy access for take-off and landing, and a perfect campground with all the amenities you could need,” she explains. 

Coming from someone who has dedicated her life to chasing and riding the wind, Nielsen might know what she’s talking about given the global kiteboarding view she’s achieved. 

Book a spot with the campground, with over 200 camp spots or even a tiny home With Coho Cabanas

2) Dive the inlet

Not out for the kiteboarding lift? Dive the inlet then! Right at China Creek there is a wreck site, the only wreck diving that you can swim to, only 18 meters deep at its shallowest spot. This wreck was originally an illegal migrant ship, then cleaned up and sunk by the Alberni Reef Society in 2001 in order to create an artificial reef. 

3) Hike via the Alberni Inlet Trail

This three-hour-round trip hike to the summit gives you an epic view west out to the Pacific Ocean, and east into the community of Port Alberni for a view that is one of the best in BC.

Photo: Melissa Renwick
Gain epic perspective on Port Alberni inlet by hiking the Alberni Inlet Trail.

“I use AllTrails if I am not sure of the direction,” explains Peter Mugleston, president of Alberni Valley Tourism. “The first part of the trail is pretty straight forward but once you get to the logging roads there are several different routes including staying on the logging road which doesn't really add to the experience. 

"Going through the forest you will end back on the logging road which goes to the short trail that takes you to the Look-out.” 

Here's a map to help you get your bearings. The Alberni Inlet Trail was featured in some past ZenSeekers coverage, all about how to get high in Port Alberni

4) Eat your way around the Inlet 

Stops like Porto Taco next to Harbour Quay will show you the way to refuel right.

Photo: Melissa Renwick
Porto Taco hits the spot-o after some big adventures on Alberni inlet.

Delicious fresh food, patio and premier margaritas “this place makes the perfect après spot for us kiteboarders, in the sun, out of the wind and tasty tacos,” explains Wind Rider Kiteboarding founder Paul Ouellet. 

5) Stroll your way around the Inlet 

Both Harbour Quay and Victoria Quay offer walkways attached to small businesses who have treats, locally roasted coffees and retail therapy options to further your support local interests.

Did you know... #explorePortAlberni

For a fresh approach through 2023 in our multi-year #explorePortAlberni expedition, we’re serving up a #dyk series of “did you knows?” about Alberni Valley of which the City of Port Alberni makes its home within. Stay tuned to #explorePortAlberni

When you go

Book an #explorePortAlberni weekend and see what all the buzz is about. Go for a #dyk experience: take our suggestions above to make yourself the perfect weekend itinerary and let us know what you find by including #zenseekers in your posts so you might be featured! 

Where to play
Find kiteboard instruction and rentals within the China Creek Campground about 10 mins outside of downtown Port Alberni, owned and operated by the Port Alberni Port Authority.

Where to stay
Book a spot at China Creek Campground, with over 200 camp spots, or even a tiny home with Coho Cabanas, or one of the many other great hotels, B&Bs and boutique stays recommended by the Alberni Valley Tourism.

Upcoming events
Summer means it's Five Acre Shaker time—check out why this awesome August music fest should be on your list.

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