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The Outer Limits

Philip Newton

Photo: Philip Newton

BRITISH COLUMBIA: THE FACTS

GETTING THERE

In summer, daily charter flights are scheduled to Tofino's airport from Vancouver, Seattle, and Victoria. Flying saves time, but the three-hour drive from Nanaimo (following a ferry crossing from Vancouver) cuts through some spectacular forests.

LODGES

Roots Lodge at Reef Point 310 Seabridge Way, Ucluelet; 888/594-7333 or 250/726-2700, fax 250/726-2701; rooms $77-283.

Middle Beach Lodge 400 Mackenzie Beach Rd., Tofino; 250/725-2900, fax 250/725-2901; doubles from $67, cabins from $110, both including breakfast.

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort Quait Bay, Clayoquot Sound; 888/333-5405 or 250/726-8235, fax 250/726-8558; lodge rooms from Rooms $245 per person, Outpost camp from $449 per person, meals and water transfers included.

Wickaninnish Inn Osprey Lane at Chesterman Beach, Tofino; 800/333-4604 or 250/725-3100, fax 250/725-3110; doubles from $165.

Shahowis Resort Tzartus Island, Barkley Sound; 250/388-6515, fax (in Seattle) 253/833-0342; doubles from $270, including meals and boat transfer from Bamfield.

RESTAURANTS

Common Loaf Bake Shop 180 First St., Tofino; 250/725-3915; lunch for two $10. The hearty muffins and salads served here attract local hippies.

Coffee Pod 151 Campbell St., Tofino; 250/725-4246; lunch for two $8. Sandwiches and coffee drinks any way you like them.

Raincoast Café 120 Fourth St., Suite 101, Tofino; 250/725-2215; dinner for two $40. Asian-inspired and vegetarian food in a minimalist setting.

Schooner Restaurant 311 Campbell St., Tofino; 250/725-3444; dinner for two $45. Reserve your table—the surf-and-turf menu packs the house every night.

Crab Bar 601 Campbell St., Tofino; 250/725-3733; dinner for two $32. Get a crab fix at this local favorite.

Wickaninnish Restaurant 1 Wick Rd., at the Wickaninnish Information Centre in Pacific Rim National Park; 250/726-7706; dinner for two $40. Not to be confused with the inn of the same name. Try the black bear martini (vodka, grape juice, blackberry liqueur) and a plate of house-smoked maple salmon.

OUTFITTERS

Tofino Sea Kayaking Co. 320 Main St., Tofino; 250/725-4222; day trips from $28 per person. Choose from sunrise and sunset paddles, or multi-day excursions to Vargas Island, with overnights in a rustic lodge or at a campsite on the beach. Don't leave without checking out the in-house Wildside Booksellers.

Inner Rhythm Surf Camp 2490 Pacific Rim Hwy., about two miles north of Ucluelet; 250/726-2211; surf classes from $44, including all gear. Daily surfing classes cover the basics of beach safety, paddling, and wave etiquette while getting beginners on their feet.

Undersea Dive Charters 380 Main St., Tofino; 250/725-2755; snorkeling from $69, diving from $109, including all gear. Trips to Clayoquot and Barkley sounds access some of the most varied underwater life in North America, from starfish to giant octopuses.

ESSENTIAL SIGHT

Explore the rain forests and beaches of Pacific Rim National Park (call 250/726-4212 for information). Don't miss the park's Shorepine Bog Trail, a 30-minute walk through the "weird woods," where centuries-old shore pine trees look like giant broccoli stalks.

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