Trip 231 - September 1, 2021 (Wednesday)

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Visit

Near Tofino BC Canada

Page 1 of 4 - Florencia Bay Beach

Location: The middle of the West Coast of Vancouver Island, by Highway 4, near the town of Tofino.

Liked (Florencia Bay Beach): Beach and ocean views, meeting a whimbrel (a shorebird).

Of Note (Florencia Bay Beach): Limited parking (about 30 spots). Also, RVs and trailers not allowed. Tsunami hazard zone, parking pass required, beware of rip currents in the ocean - no lifeguards on duty at the Park.

Related Website: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve - Official Website.

Vancouver Island Backroad Mapbook (9th edition) Park Coordinates: Page 15 (Kennedy Lake) A7, Page 14 (Tofino) G7-G6-F6-E6.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve occupies a huge area on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. One part of the Park is a famous multi-day West Coast Trail located near Bamfield. Today we have visited another part, which is a series of beaches, popular with surfers, located by Highway 4 near the town of Tofino.

Highway 4 starts on the East coast of Vancouver Island near Parksville, goes through Port Alberni (the last town with major stores and services), then reaches tiny Tofino 2 hours and 120 kilometers later.

Surfing is the main activity in this part of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, as the few trails that exist here are quite short. The best hike in this part of British Columbia - Wild Pacific Trail - is actually about 30 kilometers away near Ucluelet.

If you plan on camping in a vehicle, note that wild camping opportunities are few near the Park, and overnight parking is not allowed on any of the lots. Also, a parking pass is required, which is good until 4 PM the next day, and is sold at every parking lot, as well as Pacific Rim Visitor Centre where Highway 4 makes a right turn to head towards Tofino, and a left turn leads to Ucluelet.

There are many different attractions in this part of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and today we have visited four beaches:

Page 1  - Florencia Bay Beach - this page.

Page 2 - Wickininnish Beach - same turnoff from Highway 4 as Florencia Bay Beach, then a split.

Page 3 - Combers Beach - long access from the parking lot, no surfers make it there.

Page 4 - Long Beach - most popular with surfers and visitors, with a famous Lovekin Rock in the ocean.

1. Here is a photo of the map of this part of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. We have indicated as follows: yellow square on top - Tofino, bottom - Ucluelet.  White square close to Ucluelet - highway split (by Pacific Rim Visitor Centre), where Highway 4 makes a right turn and heads to Tofino. Red squares - the beaches we have visited today - Florence Bay, then Wickininnish, then Combers, and, finally, Long Beach.

2. Here is that "white square" spot - Highway 4 split, with Pacific Rim Visitor Centre on the right side (you can buy a parking pass at the ticket machine outside, or at any parking lot).

3. Making a right turn towards Tofino to stay on Highway 4.

4. Now driving West on Highway 4 towards Tofino.

5-6. About 5 km from the Visitor Centre, make a left turn towards Florencia Bay Beach and Wickininnish Beach.

7. Access road after the turn. It's about 3 km from here to both parking lots - the road splits at some point.

8. A neat feature on the side of the access road is this electronic sign with three constantly changing messages: the ocean is cold, beware of rip currents, and the wave hazard is...(whatever it is). The wave hazard was moderate during our trip.

9. Here is a sign to Florencia Bay Beach.

10. Entering the parking area. It's very tight there. RVs not allowed, and bringing a trailer is not a good idea either.

11. After the gate, there is this neat, albeit narrow road for a few hundred meters.

12. Here is Florencia Bay Beach parking area, good for about 30 vehicles.

13. Warning messages are placed at each beach access in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

14. It's about 330 meters from the parking area to Florencia Bay Beach.

15-16. 50 meters from the parking area is Nuu-chah-nulth trailhead to Wickininnish Beach, should you wish to walk there (or from there), as opposed to driving. The photo of the map also shows the access road split, where a left turn leads to Florencia Bay Beach, and going straight leads to Wickininnish Beach.

17. Shortly thereafter, there is an observation platform.

18. In the morning, there was nothing to see due to fog, but here is a neat view from the platform once the fog was gone.

19. Continuing towards the beach past the observation platform.

20-21. A long staircase starts about 290 meters from the parking lot.

22. 60 meters later, we are at Florencia Bay Beach. This is a morning photo, with lots of fog.

23. Not much to see in fog, but sure feels neat to walk on an almost deserted beach with fog all around.

Here is our video of Florencia Bay Beach in fog.

24. When we returned in the afternoon, the fog was gone, and the beach looked much better.

25. Not nearly as many surfers (or people in general) here as at Long Beach.

26. Surfer talk.

27-28. We have found a whimbrel (a shorebird) hanging out at Florencia Bay Beach.

Here is our video of the Whimbrel and Florencia Bay Beach.

More videos are on our YouTube Channel.

27. We proceeded West for a few kilometers to the end of the beach.

28-30. There is a rugged shoreline in that area.

We then headed to Wickininnish Beach, and our trip report Continues on Page 2.

<--- Tofino BC Visit Page 2    Wickininnish Beach --->

 -> 231 Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Visit Page 1 of 4 - Florence Bay Beach.