Pacific Rim National Park

Pacific Rim National Park sees its fair share of visitors on an annual basis, and it's not hard to understand why. Known for its beauty and its diversity, this park on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island offers up sandy beaches, lush forests, picturesque sights, and so much more. Rocky coasts add to the scenic allure, and there is even a small collection of islands to explore. As is true of the terrain, the list of activities that can be enjoyed at Pacific Rim National Park is varied. Visitors can also choose from a variety of lodging options, and getting to the area has never been easier.

Pacific Rim National Park was established in 1971 and is divided into three main units. Each of these units has its own appeal, and should you have the time, they are all worth exploring. Hiking enthusiasts will find bliss while exploring the West Coast Trail Unit. This 46-mile-long trail is considered to be among the world's greatest hiking trails, and this has a lot to do with its diversity. You can hike along beaches on portions of the trail, and dipping into the old-growth forests reveals a completely different atmosphere. Caves and waterfalls can be found along the trail, and you're likely to come across a healthy amount of wildlife as well. You might even get the chance to do some whale watching off the coastal portions if you're lucky. Whale watching tours are among the various tours that can be arranged at Pacific Rim National Park, and whale watching in general is one of the best things to do in British Columbia. Spring, summer, and fall are the prime whale watching seasons.

The Long Beach Unit of Pacific Rim National Park is where beach-loving visitors might end up spending most of their time. This is especially true if surfing is an activity that figures prominently on the itinerary. Long Beach gets big waves on a regular basis, and there are numerous businesses in the area that cater to surfers of all levels. The Long Beach Unit actually offers a collection of beaches, and for those who are also interested in Pacific Rim National Park hiking trails, a variety of them can be accessed from the sandy stretches. The area villages of Tofino and Ucluelet are also within easy reach of the beaches. In fact, Long Beach proper extends from one village to the other.

Rounding out the units of Pacific Rim National Park is the Broken Group Islands Unit. This archipelago in Barkley Sound boasts more than 100 islands and rock formations and can only be reached by boat. Once visitors arrive, kayaking and canoeing will be among the activities of choice in the Broken Group Islands Unit. Diving is also a popular activity, thanks largely in part to the calm waters, the interesting shipwrecks, and the teeming reefs. Guided tours that can see you diving, kayaking, or canoeing in the Broken Group Islands archipelago are easy to arrange, and if you wish to stay overnight, relatively simple camping areas are available.

Should your idea of Pacific Rim National Park lodging include something more substantial than a campsite, there are other options. The Tofino hotels are numerous, and include the more upscale accommodations. Ucluelet is not to be overlooked, however, especially if you are interested in a charming bed and breakfast or a resort with cabin rentals. Ucluelet lodging is cheaper than Tofino lodging on the whole, so you might start your Pacific Rim National Park lodging search in Ucluelet if the budget is tight. As for camping enthusiasts, all of the park's units have campsites of some kind. There's also the Bella Pacifica Resort & Campground, which offers more than 150 campsites to go with its ample facilities and amenities. You can find the Bella Pacifica Resort & Campground along the Pacific Rim Highway just two miles south of Tofino.

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