Travelling to Tofino by Road

Reaching Vancouver Island – and Tofino – by vehicle from the British Columbia mainland can be done in three ways:

  1. Aboard daily scheduled trips with Tofino Bus,
  2. Custom shuttle with Pacific Rim Navigators, or
  3. By driving your own or a rented vehicle.

If driving, you’ll first need to take a BC Ferries ferry to Nanaimo from one of two points near Vancouver.
There are two routes:

Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay:
The Horseshoe Bay terminal is just north of Vancouver and this ferry route takes just under 2 hours, arriving at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay.

Tsawwassen – Duke Point:
The Tsawwassen terminal is south of the city, closer to the USA border.  This ferry route takes approximately 2.5 hours, arriving at the Duke Point terminal, about 15 minutes south of Nanaimo.

Click here for more information on BC Ferries.

Driving from Nanaimo to Tofino (applies to both arrival points):

  • Travel north on Highway 19 for 43 km (26 miles),
  • Take Exit 60 onto Highway 4 ( also known as the Pacific Rim Highway ) heading west for 156 km (97 miles). You will drive through spectacular Cathedral Grove, historic Port Alberni (drive straight downhill and turn right at the junction), and on the winding road around Sproat and Kennedy Lakes. You will also drive through scenic Sutton Pass, at an altitude of 250m (850 feet) – where we especially recommend heeding to the speed limit. Travel westward until you come to the junction between Tofino and Ucluelet.
  • Turn right at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and drive north towards Tofino for 28 km (17 miles). You will drive right through the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.  Take a break and get your first view of the ocean at the Incinerator Rock parking lot at Long Beach (watch for the green sign signaling the turnoff), or continue toward Tofino.
  • Once you exit the Park, pass the Long Beach Lodge Resort and Cox Bay Beach Resort. Look for our Info Centre on the right side of the road and stop in to say hello!
  • Your overall travel time from Nanaimo to Tofino will range between 2.5 and 3 hours.  Safe travels.

Driving from Comox Valley Airport to Tofino:

  • Turn right at the airport entrance onto Knight Road.
  • Turn right at the intersection onto Military Row (drive approximately 2 kms / 1.25 miles).
  • At the next stop sign, turn left onto Ryan Road.
  • Continue on Ryan Road (past Home Depot and drive down the hill), watching for signs indicating Nanaimo.
  • Turn left just past the Superstore complex, following the road to the 17th St bridge, where you will turn right.
  • While on the bridge, get into the left hand turning lanes.
  • Turn left onto Cliffe Avenue, and continue to follow signage that will direct you to turn right onto the 29th St connector.
  • After turning right onto the connector, continue until you see signs that direct you to Highway 19 southbound toward Nanaimo.
  • Once on Highway 19 South, watch for signs pointing you to Highway 4 West toward Port Alberni/Pacific Rim National Park Reserve/Tofino, and exit in this direction.
  • Once on Highway 4, you will drive through spectacular Cathedral Grove, historic Port Alberni (drive straight downhill and turn right at the junction), and around Sproat and Kennedy Lakes. You will also drive through scenic Sutton Pass, at an altitude of 250m (850 feet) – where we especially recommend heeding to the speed limit. Travel westward until you come to the junction between Tofino and Ucluelet.
  • Turn right at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and drive north towards Tofino for 28 km (17 miles). You will drive right through the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.  Take a break and get your first view of the ocean at the Incinerator Rock parking lot at Long Beach (watch for the green sign signaling the turnoff), or continue toward Tofino.
  • Once you exit the Park, pass the Long Beach Lodge Resort and Cox Bay Beach Resort.  Look for our Info Centre on the right side of the road and stop in to say hello!
  • Your overall travel time from the Comox Valley Airport to Tofino will be approximately 3 hours.  Safe travels!

Courtesy of Tourism Tofino.