October 07, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
Find more information about Tofino - Hiking
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My family decided that this year we wanted to stay for a few nights on Vargas Island, and rather than put it off, as we do so many camping trips, we managed to pack-up and find a boat ride to our destination beach for a wonderful camping trip.
The first thing that is important to remember if you are thinking about this adventure is to either:
1. Get to Tofino early (leaving Nanaimo at 7 AM or earlier) so that you have plenty of time for the boat ride out there
2. Find some accommodations in Tofino for the first night well in advance so that you are not stuck in the village with no where to stay (accommodations are famously booked in the summer months in Tofino
The second thing that I recommend for this trip is to line up a boat ride in advance (if you are not bringing your own marine transportation (I imagine kayaking would take at least 4 hours, but I'm not sure).
Next, I recommend doing a bit of planning about where you'd like to camp on Vargas Island. There are a ton of long sandy beaches on the island that you can see on Google Maps (satellite view). Apparently some of these beaches are private, so it may be best to stick to the provincial park area of the island (you can find a good map of the provincial park as well as other helpful information on BC Parks website).
Once you known where to go and have your marine transportation figured out, you're ready to go!
We decided to camp in the corner of Ahous Bay, which is one of the bigger, more protected sandy beaches on the island. We had a fantastic time, with exceptional weather. The biggest highlight for my kids was beachcombing (there are a ton of sand dollars, as well as many washed-up buoys and other flotsam).
We went despite the wolf warnings. According to the park officials, this was not a good idea, but we didn't know it at the time. Apparently there have been quite a few "close calls" with wolves and campers, and the prevailing thought is that the wolves are too habituated to humans and may be dangerous. After knowing this information, next time I'll definitely check around to see if there are wolf warnings before I go.
The ocean is not warm enough for a long swim, but you can certainly jump in and exhilarate in the feeling (our kids sure did).
Oh - and don't forget that it's important to arrange specific transportation for the way back. We are lucky in that we have our own boat (a small inflatable Zodiac), but I imagine folks have been stuck out there without a ride home now and again!
All in all, I would say that this is one of the easiest remote beach camping experiences that you can have in BC - you're close to Tofino (very civilized) yet feel completely isolated from the world on your own sandy beach heaven. Quite a trip.