Top 5 Places to Stop Between Vancouver and Tofino

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There is so much to see en route from Vancouver to Tofino that it can be hard to know where to plan your stops. We asked our knowledgeable Facebook fans to make some suggestions, and the following are their top recommendations:

5. Parksville

View of a beach low tide at sunset.

The tide goes way out at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. Photo:@tighnamara via Instagram

Parksville, on Vancouver Island‘s east coast, is our fans’ number five pick. The quiet community has spectacular beaches, including kid-friendly Parksville Beach. Along with tons of sand, this beach is home to a huge adventure playground with a water spray park to keep little ones cool. Also visit Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, with its vast beaches, exposed by a tide that recedes almost 1 km (0.6 mi) into the Strait of Georgia.

4. Englishman River Falls

An old bridge crosses over a stunning waterfall in a rocky landscape.

Fantastic view of the falls. Photo: @rkmemory via Instagram

In at number four is Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, located off Highway 4 between Qualicum Beach and Tofino, with its two powerful waterfalls. Whether you visit for a few hours or camp here overnight, be sure to hike through the lush old-growth trees to unforgettable views of the falls. Below the lower waterfall is a deep, clear pool – a popular swimming hole in the summer and salmon spawning viewing spot in the fall.

3. Port Alberni

A vintage train sits on a lawn in front of a wood cabin.

McLean Mill National Historic Site in Port Alberni. Photo:@toadhollowphoto via Instagram

Number three goes to the central Vancouver Island community of Port Alberni, located along Highway 4. While you’re here, our fans’ don’t miss suggestions include the McLean Mill National Historic Site, which you can visit via steamtrain; and Stamp Falls, where, in the fall, you can see thousands of salmon making their way toward their spawning grounds, as well as black bears who come for an easy meal.

2. Cathedral Grove

A man stands in a forest, next to an impossibly tall tree.

Dwarfed by the giant trees of Cathedral Grove. Photo: @vancitywild via Instagram

MacMillan Provincial Park‘s Cathedral Grove comes in at number two. Located off Highway 4, between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni, it’s one of the most accessible places in BC to view ancient stands of Douglas fir trees, some as many as 800 years old. Don’t forget the obligatory photo of someone in your group trying to wrap their arms around a massive tree trunk.

1. Coombs

A goat walks through tall green grass under a blue sky.

One of the friendly locals. Photo: @sab.brunette via Instagram

And our fans’ favourite stop between Vancouver and Tofino is the iconic Old Country Market in Coombs. This eclectic market carries a wide range of imported gifts, as well as an assortment of foodstuffs. There is a bakery, a deli counter, an ice cream parlour, and Italian and Mexican restaurants on-site. But the market’s most notable feature is the sod-covered roof that is home to resident pygmy goats. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Did we miss one of your favourite places to stop between Vancouver and Tofino? Share in the comments below.