Storm Watching on the West Coast of Vancouver Island

Storm Watching on the West Coast of Vancouver Island

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I like to get out of doors often. Rain or shine, I’m out there. Thankfully, Mother Nature creates a mesmerizing spectacle when she combines rain, fierce winds and the Pacific Ocean. Wild and powerful storms. They are amazing to watch and crash into the coast of BC every winter. Some of the best vantage points are on the west coast of Vancouver Island in BC’s Pacific Rim, where the action is packed between the small seaside villages of Tofino and Ucluelet, with Pacific Rim National Park in between.

On our way to Vancouver Island

On our way to Vancouver Island.

I decided to book a weekend getaway to give the “activity” of storm watching a go. The ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo allowed me just enough time to decompress from the work week and begin my island time mental adjustments. Of course, a drive across the island en route to Tofino and Ucluelet is never complete without a stop at Coombs Old Country Market to gawk at the goats of the roof. Always followed up with a walk through Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park to hug some giants.

Coombs Old Country Market

Goats on the Roof at Coombs Old Country Market.

Hugging giants in MacMillian Provincial Park

Hugging giants in MacMillan Provincial Park.

We arrived in Ucluelet just in time to check into our oceanfront room and witness the beginning of a storm system that would last all weekend. The swell was captivating, much in the way the crackling of an open fire is, having an ability to draw me in and steal my attention for hours on end.

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort perched on BC’s rugged coast.

Balcony with a view

Balcony with a view.

I could have easily just nested myself in my room at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet for my entire trip. Floor to ceiling vistas, a huge balcony to watch the crashing waves and a soaker tub with an ocean view. I really didn’t need to go anywhere. But then again, I’m an outdoors gal at heart, so each day I slipped on my rubber boots, donned the complimentary resort rain jacket and headed into the storm.

You could spend days on end exploring the rugged coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet, chasing the storms and wandering rainforest boardwalks. So while you do that, here are some other must do’s as you adventure along this magical peninsula in BC’s Pacific Rim.

1. Walk the Wild Pacific Trail

This is the ultimate storm watching trail. Rocky shorelines, dense rainforest canopies and dramatic panoramas of the Pacific Ocean are found around every bend. The vision of local resident, Oyster Jim, this 9-kilometre (6-mile) trail is worth the visit to Ucluelet alone.

Walks on the Wild Pacific Trail

Morning walks on the Wild Pacific Trail.

2. Explore the Beaches of Pacific Rim National Park

No trip would be complete without seeking out the amazing beaches this area is known for. Stroll your way along the nearly 3-ki (2-mi) Chesterman Beach, watch the professionals surf at Cox Bay, or take a boardwalk through lush rainforest to my favourite secluded spot, South Beach.

Boardwalk to South Beach

Rainforest boardwalk to South Beach.

3. Ucluelet Aquarium

Want to see a giant Pacific Octopus up close? The Ucluelet Aquarium is a glimpse into the diverse marine life of the local ecosystem. It’s a unique way to get up close and personal with the creatures of the sea—without having to jump in.

4. A Culinary Trip to Tofino

Take a day trip and follow the Pacific Rim Highway to Tofino. Along the way, treat yourself to a fish taco-off: Tacofino vs. Wildside Grill. I am still debating which one took top prize. Want to try Canada’s Best New Restaurant? Head into town for a cedar infused cocktail and a locally foraged meal at Wolf in the Fog.

5. Cosy Up: Hot Tubs & Hot (Boozy) Coco

After a day in the rain and the wind on your face, there is nothing better than getting cosy. Jump into an ocean view hot tub and follow it up with fireside lounging (boozy warm drinks included). Then drift yourself to sleep to the sound of the ocean.

View of the rugged coastline

View of the rugged coastline.

There you have it. Storm watching is officially an activity for this outdoors-inclined gal. Here is the ultimate storm watching tip—also a classic outdoor enthusiast’s favourite line—”There is no such thing as bad weather, just poorly dressed people”. So get out there. Get amongst the rain, wind and fog to experience storm watching for yourself; even if you get a little damp.


Storms, waves and water hazards can be dangerous. Make sure you use caution and adhere to all warning signs while visiting the Pacific Rim. Keep yourself save and read up on all water hazards here.

Related Blogs

Beaches, Boards & Hot Springs: A Tofino Getaway
Surf’s Up! Sightseeing & Surfing in Tofino
Instagrammer of the Week, Surfing on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, @Mason_Mashon

Leading image taken by @nathanielatakora via Instagram.