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Getting into and out of tofino

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Springfield...
posts: 19
Getting into and out of tofino

I'm headed to Seattle in June into July for 14 nights. My must see is ONP, my wife's must see is mt rainier. With those two destinations, is tofino out of the question? If I could get a ferry directly to tofino from port Angeles, Or seattle to tofino, it may work. Flying isn't an option because of price.

Can I get that ferry service? Some websites suggest I can.

11 replies to this topic
Vancouver-by-the-Sea
Destination Expert
for British Columbia
posts: 5,416
1. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

No ferry to anywhere on WCVI.

And if price is a concern Tofino has the most expensive hotel rooms in the country.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 13,858
reviews: 37
2. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

Depends how much driving you want to do. The ferry from Port Angeles drops you in Victoria, then you have a 5 hr drive to Tofino, so its doable in a day's travel. I would think you'd need to allow an absolute minimum of four days to travel up to Tofino, visit the area, and then travel back to the USA. Here's the route I'd recommend:

http://goo.gl/maps/ekYWW

Google maps that at 20 hours of driving time total (touring in each destination extra, esp around ONP), which I don't think is too much for a 14 day itinerary.

Seattle - 2 days

ONP - 3 days

Pacific Rim - 2 days

Rainier - 1 day

traveling days - 3 or 4

That still leaves you with a couple of extra days to add where you'd like. All quite doable, IMO.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 30,121
reviews: 37
3. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

I would look at chunking Seattle and Rainier together. It's about 2 hours to drive one way, so a day trip would be possible, but maybe you want to overnight there. So...

4-5 nights for that chunk.

3 nights ONP,

Then the Coho ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria harbour, 1 hour in advance of sailing, Customs in PA, Customs in Victoria, 90 minutes sailing to Victoria, 5 hours to Tofino. That's a long day and you might not want to be driving the last section of Hwy 4 if you are tired, but manageable when you know in advance. Maybe ....

1 night Nanaimo or Parksville. Next morning 3 hours drive to Tofino.

3 nights Tofino

1 night Victoria

WA State Ferry from Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA and on to Seattle. 40 minutes drive from Victoria, 60-90 min in advance for US Customs pre-clearance, 2.5 hours ferry ride, 1.5 hours + any congestion Anacortes to Seattle.

1 night Seattle, before you fly out. You would be wise not to travel on the same day you fly out.

Springfield...
posts: 19
4. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

Thank you to everyone that contributed. It feels as though tofino will have to wait. I'm sure it is impressive, but I don't want to spend too much of our valuable time on the road/water.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 13,858
reviews: 37
5. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

So much to see around here. I'm always in favour of less time spent racing around from place to place and more time just seeing the area you are in, so good call.

Springfield...
posts: 19
6. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

Vancouverite67,

This, by far, has been the most challenging trip to plan. Weather, driving time, destinations, and flight times from the east coast are a lot to juggle. So, I think I will stick with KISS...Keep it simple stupid. You are correct, slow down and enjoy the sights. In your opinion, will the weather on the west side of NCNP be fair to stay and hike in? If we stay and hike the eastern side (drier and warmer), near mazama, I am adding a lot of driving time. Or should we explore San Juans instead of NCNP?

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 13,858
reviews: 37
7. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

Its really quite astonishing how much the climate changes as you cross the coast mountains, and yes, its much much drier and warmer on the eastern side. However, typically late June and early July is usually starting to warm up nicely and the weather tends to be drier by then, so staying on the coast side should be fine.

I'm not clear where you would stay and explore however. There's not too many bases from which to operate on this side of NCNP (and I'm not really an expert in this area, although I really love the drive through Ross Lake to Winthrop). I don't have my head around the rest of your itinerary, and I don't have any first hand experience with the SJI, but I do like Whidbey Island and the Port Townsend area.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 5,903
reviews: 5
8. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

Let me ask you this. Why is ONP your must-see destination? if you really want to get the most out of ONP, you will need to hike, and you will need more than 3 nights. ONP is not a park that rewards drive-bys. It has an unusual layout that forces visitors to spend a lot of time driving outside the park through rather bland, uninteresting scenery. It is also a huge park, so it takes time just to get from one park destination to the other. If you want to spend time at the park's most beautiful attractions such as Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, the Pacific beaches, Sol Duc Falls, the Hoh Rain Forest, and the Quinault Rain Forest, you will need to allocate at least five nights to ONP. What I am getting at here is to warn you not to shortchange ONP in order to add a lot of other destinations. It's actually better to skip ONP entirely than to rush through it. You would be bound to be disappointed and to wonder what all the fuss was about. I have seen it happen to visitors, and it's a shame.

Tofino is wonderful, but it takes a full day to get there from virtually anywhere you would be likely to be. If you want to enjoy Vancouver Island, an extraordinary destination, make it the centerpiece of your trip. Don't try to combine it with too many other far flung destinations.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 30,121
reviews: 37
9. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

Well said, kaleberg.

Springfield...
posts: 19
10. Re: Getting into and out of tofino

We have 14 nights, with one in seatac. With what kalebrrg said, three stops seems to be plenty. 5 nights in ONP, 3 in ncnp (west side) and 3 in Rainier. We don't want to explore Seattle. We plan on spending a day on the way from seatac to ncnp. Does anyone have an opinion as to where or how we should spend our extra nights. Add time in which park?

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