Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Beach bummin’ and Bare footin’ in B.C. Canada

Surfers, ocean waves, sandy beaches, blue skies, high hotel prices – sounds pretty much like Hawaii, doesn’t it?

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What it hadn’t sounded like – until last week’s road trip to British Columbia’s Vancouver Island – was, Canada!  If you’ve followed along on Facebook or Tuesday’s Travel post, you know we headed north on a whim last week; our last chance  to squeeze in a summer road trip. 

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Long Beach, British Columbia

Tofino, on the island’s West Coast mid-section was our ultimate destination; one that is a great place to watch the churning Pacific Ocean surf attack the coastline during winter storms.  Having never been here before, we assumed September was mid- to low- season, hoped for reasonable hotel prices and prepared for unsettled weather. 

PicMonkey Collage
Monday to the left and Tuesday to the right
Those who live in the Pacific Northwest know ‘what a difference a day makes', and that was certainly illustrated during our brief visit. The photos on the left were taken Monday afternoon and those on the right on Tuesday.

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Long Beach, just a few miles south of Tofino is the largest and longest beach in the island’s Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.


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The beach surface

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The beach surface was a mixture of fine sand pebbles and hard pack (photos above) – and felt much like walking on a cobbled-street.

This portion of the Reserve with its scattered campgrounds and picnic areas, spans the forest and coast on Wickanninish Bay between the small towns of Tofino (toe-fin-oh) and Ucluelet (U-clue-let or Ukee, for short). It is one of the most popular surfing locations in Canada.

While Long Beach required a user’s fee for everyone on the beach, (self-service,‘credit/debit card only’ machines were in the parking lot and security officers checked vehicle’s dashboards for the permits), we almost preferred no-cost MacKenzie Beach, a bit further north, on which our resort was located. You can probably tell why from the photos below. . .

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MacKenzie Beach, Vancouver Island

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Sunset MacKenzie Beach, Vancouver Island

For those who have images of the Pacific Northwest being mountains and towering fir trees – don’t despair.  Come back next Thursday when we’ll take you across Vancouver Island on the Pacific Rim Highway and later this month we'll take you on a tour of the resort where we stayed.

If You Go:


Map picture


The push pins show MacKenzie Beach (near Tofino, where we stayed) and Long Beach, which is within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Hotel prices:  Mid-September hotel prices were so high, they took our breath away.  Most hotels had “No Vacancy” signs on display and we stopped at two resorts to inquire about rooms: one quoted $399CAD for a room overlooking the parking lot behind the hotel away from the water and another offered a partial view room at $420 and $460CAD for a beach view.  By the time we got to a Best Western and were quoted – at first – $299CAD a night, it sounded, downright cheap! There’ll be more on where we ended up in a future post.

VancouverIs2013 265Pacific Rim National Park Reserve user fees and other information about the reserve can be found at: http://www.longbeachmaps.com/parks.html

That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday. Head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more travels around the world! On Friday check out The Tablescraper's Oh, The Places I have been"

‘Hang Ten!’ as they say in the surfing world and see you soon. . .

25 comments:

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    1. I appreciate your visits and comments. Happy weekend ahead~

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  2. Hi Jackie and Joel,

    WOW! Tofino is such a refreshing surprise to me! Love the pics of the 'cobblestone' sandy 'street'! Have never seen anything like it, and I've been to a beach or two here on this Mediterranean island! Thanks for showing me how AMAZING my beloved Canada is! I miss it!

    xo
    Poppy

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    1. It was a surprise to us as well, Poppy. We do love beaches - especially those you have on that island where you live! Canada is a very beautiful country with some of the friendliest people we've ever met in our travels (much like the Greek welcomes we've received).

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  3. Wow, so beautiful. Love the shots of the empty beach and the cobble stone surface. I've never seen that before. Beaches have their own personality.

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    1. This was the first time I've ever seen or walked on such a beach surface, pretty strange but most interesting. You are right about the personality!

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  4. that looks like a fun beach to take a nice long walk and enjoy the views, but i'm sure the water must be freezing cold!

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    1. There were a few brave souls who went in without wet suits but they didn't stay long; the serious paddle boarders and surfers all had the suits on.

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  5. An EXCELLENT late summer getaway. :)

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    1. It certainly turned out to be exactly that! Thanks for stopping by today Bob!

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  6. I cannot imagine a Best Western charging that much. This must be quite a beautiful and popular place for the hotels to be able to charge so much. I especially liked your close up photo of the cobbled beach surface.

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    1. Well, it is beautiful and seems extremely popular, but our next visit will have to be in off-season (stormy, cold) when the rates return from the 'out of this world' category.

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  7. What a stunning beach for walking! Your shots are gorgeous, Jackie. Tofino is on the top of my list, the next time I am in Canada. Not sure where I'd stay, with those hotel prices. I guess I'll have to get used to tenting, again...haha.

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    1. Start looking for hotel deals now, Nancie, as it was simply amazing the prices they were charging!

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  8. Hello! We have some synchronicity with our Travel Photo Thursday photos... chilly places looking tropical. I've heard such a lot about Vancouver Island but hadn't seen many photos. It's definitely on the To Go list. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. One of my favorite things about TPThursday is how from thousands of miles away, two or three of us will hit on virtually the same topic, focus or whatever without even trying! Thanks for stopping by today. We are on countdown to Sydney and can hardly wait to hop aboard that ship that will take us there!

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  9. Jackie, I had mentioned in a previous post of your's my immense love and fond memory of Vancouver Island. We stayed at Ucluelet in a charter "ship" and went deep sea fishing. And it was the first time I learned the B.C "eh" word. I drove my step father nuts the rest of the trip saying that :)

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    1. So, you also like that word that Joel has picked up, eh? I was amazed at all the fishing boats that surround those 'harbors', well, 'harbours', eh?

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  10. Replies
    1. It certainly was. . .somehow places like that make the world a far more spectacular and less complicated place.

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  11. Wonderful beach shots, the sand patterns are so well captured.

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    1. Thanks for visiting today - hope to see you again as a regular here!

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  12. From our mailbox comes this comment from Paula, a regular at TravelnWrite: "We were on our sailboat in BC last week and were shocked at the moorage rate at the Sidney marina. $1.50 a foot! Multiply that by 65 feet and I say forget it! We also heard from some fellow sailors that the marina in Ganges was charging even more - $1.85 a foot." She added that the $1.50 is similar to that charged at Washington State's Roche Harbor, and even though high, it would be cheaper than the hotel prices we experienced.

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  13. What an unexpected gem in the Pacific NW! You're right, this is not how I would have pictured this part of Vancouver Island in Sept. It looks so beautiful and tropical. I love the beach shots you captured but especially that beach surface. I'm adding this to a possible Vancouver trip.

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  14. Must admit, barefoot and beachbumming aren't the first things that come to mind when I think of British Columbia. Gorgeous beaches there.

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