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Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

Mississauga, Canada
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7 posts
30 reviews
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Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

My family, girl 11, boy 13, will be visiting in late August. My wife and I have seen everything in BC before, except Vancouver Island outside of Victoria. My children have never been to BC. PRNP looks awesome to us, but I have doubts how long my children will be happy.

My question: how long to spend there?

I don't mind splurging $500 for an attraction that will excite them, or $300/nt for accomodations. But I'd loathe spending more than $1,000 and having kids want to go home after just one day.

I'm thinking they'd enjoy the beaches near Parksville better,

How long would you spend with children this age in this area? and what is the best attraction for them?

Penticton, Canada
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13,353 posts
26 reviews
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1. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

If they ride mountain bikes there is a park in Tofino that looked challenging. They can also take surfing lessons at Long Beach.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
Destination Expert
for British Columbia
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8,500 posts
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2. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

Kids would have to be supremely spoiled/jaded not to like WCVI-but only you know them that well.

Mississauga, Canada
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7 posts
30 reviews
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3. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

Sam, not sure what you mean. West Coast Vancouver Island?

In addition, is the ferry/boat from Port Alberni much different than the drive? I'm thinking of having 2 of us boat to Ucluelet while the other 2 drive, and then reverse roles on the way back to ensure we all see both trips.

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4. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

There's no way they won't enjoy a few days in Tofino and area! Meares island giant rainforest, Hot springs Cove, bears & whales, skim boarding and surfing, lots of cool stuff to tweet and Instagram! I love that you would split up and do the adventure by road and boat, great idea!

Vancouver, Canada
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26,025 posts
60 reviews
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5. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

We spent four days there when our kids were 9 & 11 and we had a great time. We didn't spend any money on excursions as it had already been an expensive trip, so we stuck to the free stuff, although we already had an annual pass for the park, so that was free to us. We got maps and walked several different trails - Wild Pacific, Rainforest loop, Radar Hill, Tonquin Beach. We visited the visitor centre at Wickannish, and we spent a full day at Long Beach throwing a frisbee, building forts with driftwood, walking the beach and watching the surfers. Tonquin beach is a good one for playing in the water, as was the cove in front of our campground (Crystal Cove) where we also had beach campfires at night. I'm perplexed how anyone could be bored in that setting.

Mississauga, Canada
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7 posts
30 reviews
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6. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

Your responses have been helpful, especially Vancouverite. Ignorance breeds fear. Knowledge overcomes it.

Vancouver, Canada
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26,025 posts
60 reviews
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7. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

My daughter was quite insistent about a full day at the beach. It had been a busy vacation with lots of running around and they both just wanted a day to play and be kids without being scheduled and organized into activities. It was cool, windy and overcast, although it did warm up in the afternoon. We sat in our deckchairs with sweaters on for a good part of the day, but it was still a great day.

We had done a whale watching trip out of Telegraph Cove earlier in the vacation, which was marvelous, and I would also try a kayaking trip. I've heard lovely things about hotsprings cove as well. Something we will return for another time. The aquarium in Uclulet was new when we were there and I don't think I was aware of it, or perhaps it wasn't quite open yet, I forget, but we missed it. We also went around the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery in Tofino. Kids didn't spend too much time, but they still had a look around and I do think that kids benefit from exposure to art and culture, although appreciation doesn't come until later.

The warnings about Tofino are fair - don't turn your back on the ocean. These are not really swimming beaches, too cold and rip tides, but they are still loads of fun. You'll have a terrific time.

Vancouver
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62 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

I can echo Vancouverite67's experience almost exactly....

Went there last year with my family; girl 14 and boy 10. We did the normal Tofino stuff, but by far the best time was at Long Beach. We all took surf lessons (highly recommended!) and had a blast - the kids couldn't wait to go back the next day. It was really good quality family time, just hanging around the beach, building stuff, chucking a frisbee around. There is good sheltered kayaking out of Ucluelet as well.

We're actually going back next week - the kids talked about the trip all year and "spending more time at the beach"....we spent 4 nights last year, this year we're going for 6.

Happy kids = good vacation.

Tofino, Canada
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29 posts
27 reviews
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9. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

Definitely lots of outdoor activities to do in Tofino and the PRNPR.

Apart from beach walking/ hanging out at the beach, the Park offers a variety of neat walks through different forest systems (definitely a fan of the bog trail!). During the summer months, Parks puts on interpretive programs that are free and great, informative fun!

Long Beach is a great place for surfing and because there is a lot of space, you don't feel like you'll run over/bump your neighbour surfer.

During low tide, the Schooner trail is worth trekking to and see the tidal life (sea stars, anemones etc).

Some of the local companies are now doing standup paddleboarding tours at Grice Bay. Such a neat place to go and tons of fun! Grey whales have been known to travel up to Grice Bay on rare occasions :)

Every Saturday until the end of September there is a public market in Tofino from 10am-2pm. A whole variety of goodies from jewellery to delicious baked goods. In the same area where the market takes place there is a skatepark which might be of interest for both 11 and 13 year old.

Happy planning!

Ucluelet
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159 posts
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10. Re: Tweens & Pacific Rim National Park (PRNP)

Don't forget the zipline, Wild Pacific Trail and the Ucluelet Aquarium, not to mention the kayaking, as well. We are pretty sure there are not too many "tweens" and "teens" that wouldn't love this area.