Vancouver Island road trip connects you to #IndigenousCoastBC


Northwest Coast, Turtle Island – Who wants in on a road trip that will change your life?! Get your reconciliACTION engine rolling and buckle up for a West Coast bonanza of coastal connections going back thousands of years that will advance your view on life. 

If you’ve followed ZenSeekers for a while, you’ve caught #IndigenousCoastBC. Well, here is a suggested itinerary that’ll take you back to move forward in a big way.

A Vancouver Island #IndigenousCoastBC road trip 

From Vancouver, a ferry to Vancouver Island starts your adventure, which you can begin on either end of the Indigenous Coast experience. 

For this itinerary, we'll start at Tin Wis Resort (near Tofino) on the northern end, but you can just as easily reverse the trip and start in Bamfield.  

WATCH how your #IndigenousCoastBC road trip unfolds

Watch #IndigenousCoastBC: The Coastal Route on YouTube.

Here's a day-by-day breakdown to start building your trip.

Day 1: Vancouver to Tin Wis Resort

Catch BC Ferries to Nanaimo—don’t chance it, make a reservation—and from Nanaimo to the oceanfront Tin Wis Resort, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (Tofino).

Photo: Mike Dandurand
A view of the tin wis coastline, where you'll stay beachside (just outside Tofino, on Tla-o-qui-aht homelands).

An alternate/more budget friendly option is booking a new cabin at Tsawaak RV Resort & Campground. Either way you are within a minute walking to Tin Wis/Mackenzie Beach.

PRO TIP: give yourself a minimum of two nights in Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation/Tofino.

Day 2: Tla-o-qiu-aht led ocean tour  

On your first full day at tin wis, head out on the water with a legend, Moses Martin, one of the reasons National Geographic came calling in summer 2023, resulting in a seven-page spread on the work he and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation alongside Ahousaht First Nation citizens did to protect and preserve one of the worlds’ most cherished, sacred ancient gardens

Experience one of Martin’s Clayoquot Wild whale watching tours and come back better.

Photo: Sunseta Media
Moses Martin, one of the leaders of the movement to protect ancient rainforest on Vancouver Island.

Dinner from Lil’ Ronnie’s Beachside BBQ 
Grab take out and eat it on the beach for sunset (the ribs are ridiculous), right next to Tin Wis Resort & Tsawaak Cabins a five min beach walk away.

Day 3: Beach, surf and cultural connections 

Time it so you can participate with the Tribal Park Guardians, Surfrider and Tourism Tofino in one of their community beach clean ups (keep a pulse on Tourism Tofino’s events page for when) 

Lunch at Wildside Grill 
Fish tacos just as good as Tacofino, minus what could be a two-hour wait.

Photo: Sunseta Media
Paddle the calm waters, on the calm beach from which tin wis takes its name.

Check in with Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Allies for a guided tour of the BIG BOYS, on Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s Big Tree Trail on Meares Island.  

Get there via Paddle West Kayaking or Tofino Sea Kayaking, the trip to Meares by kayak is a 45-minute paddle.  

Dinner from Gary’s Kitchen 
Excellent Chinese food. Grab another take out dinner and head for to the beach for sunset! It's so good here, it's worth a repeat.

OR are you lucky enough to be booking in between May 24 and end of June? 

Come FEAST wit Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation via their naa’uu dinner and cultural experience.

naaʔuu gives guests the opportunity to complete immerse in Tla-o-qui-aht culture for a three-hour evening of food, dance, song, art and storytelling.

Spend three hours being bathed in Tla-o-qui-aht dance, song, history and feast to fill up on what it means to enjoy Tla-o-qui-aht foods. Space is limited for this Friday and Saturday one month run, so we recommend locking in this road trip in now, with a ticket buy.

Join the movement

After so many grounded experiences on Tla-o-qui-aht land, if you find yourself feeling passionate about protecting this ecosystem too, you'll want to check out how the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation continues its work to preserve this special place. 

Be sure to take the survey and show your support by April 10.

Day 4 & 5: your secret island retreat

Drive Tofino to Toquaht Nation’s Secret Beach Campground – for a two-night stay.

Picture this as your personal coastal basecamp:

Photo: Sunseta Media
A view of Secret Beach's camping platforms which overlook the ocean.

For your day to explore, book in with Odyssey adventures out of Ucluelet who offer Broken Group Island/Barclay Sound kayak tours & will bring the boats with a guide to you. 

Secret Beach has one of the sic’ist kayak launches on the coast…and new this year will be fish fry’s in their skookum oceanside cookhouse. You'll want to linger on these experiences, in this exotic coastal escape.

Day 6: visit Huu-ay-aht ancestral lands 

Drive Secret Beach Campground and Kayak Launch to Bamfield, Huu-ay-aht First Nation. 

Enjoy the chip-sealed road to Bamfield from Port Alberni, a serious upgrade from the car shredding logging road of the past.

Photo: Jaiden George
Feel the sand between your toes on a beach day at Pachena Bay.

If camping is your jam, Pachena Bay Campground (adjacent to the beach above) will not disappoint, the sandy beach you are attached too is right out of a movie. 

Better with a roof over your head? Hacas Inn connects you to the core of Bamfield with walking access to catch the water taxi to West Bamfield (yes, its only boat access to the other half of this funky oceanside town).

Beach day for the books at either Pachena Bay or in West Bamfield, source out Brady’s Beach. Easy to gear up on beach snacks or wobbly pops as there are a few stores in town who will fix you right up.  

Day 7: West Coast to East Coast

On your way back to reality drive Bamfield back to Nanaimo with a stop to explore Port Alberni's burgeoning foodie scene, where you'll find three breweries and a brand new distillery, all with tasty fixins.

Need more inspiration? 

Watch for 2024’s edition of #IndigenousCoastBC where we welcome to the mix outlined above, new experiences including: 

  • Tiickin E-bikes (did you know there is now a sweet bike trail that connects Tofino to Ucluelet?) 
  • nitinaht Campground (wind surf & kiter’s paradise) 
  • Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation’s Kwa’lalis Lodge, who in 2025 will be offering cultural experiences in their new long house. 

Let us know what you discover, feature #IndigenousCoastBC in your social media posts, and you might just become part of the movement allowing our Indigenous past to fuel our future. 

Visit ZenSeeker’s #IndigenousCoastBC hub to score all the goods.

#IndigenousCoastBC map: use this Google Map to guide your coastal route trip—from your phone, just click the map for directions, or use this link to send this map to your phone

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