A Remote Floating Sauna Is Opening in One of Canada's Most Spectacular Nature Reserves

Nature and wellness lovers have another reason to visit British Columbia in Canada.

Black woman in a floating sauna at Tofino Resort + Marina
Photo: Jill Salter/Courtesy of Tofino Resort + Marina

Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island has long attracted wildlife enthusiasts keen on seeing Canada's Big Five: whales, bears, sea lions, sea otters, and bald eagles. Now, Tofino Resort + Marina wants you to experience its biodiverse waterways in an even more awe-inspiring fashion: from a remote floating sauna surrounded by one of British Columbia's most scenic landscapes. And yes, even the journey to get there is part of the adventure.

A boat pulling a floating sauna in remote waters of Canada at Tofino Resort + Marina
Marcus Paladino/Courtesy of Tofino Resort + Marina

Launching this February, the new West Coast Floating Sauna Experience will take you 25 minutes by boat from Tofino Resort + Marina's on-site Marine Adventure Centre to a protected pocket on the territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. Along the way, it's not uncommon to spot black bears foraging on the shoreline and baby sea otters playing in the inlet, turning the ride into a coastal safari.

The jaw-dropping views continue when you arrive at the cedar sauna, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, built-in hammocks, and an outdoor fireplace. Alternate between plunging into the salty waters of the Pacific Ocean and sauna bathing, a practice linked to a slew of health benefits, including improved circulatory, cardiovascular, and immune functions. Then, take a stand-up paddleboard to explore the pristine location handpicked for its natural beauty.

"We wanted to create an opportunity to bring the feeling of remoteness within reach for our guests," says Christopher Fehr, general manager of Tofino Resort + Marina. "With the support and partnership of the Indigenous community, we found the perfect spot to anchor this incredible wellness offering, opening up our wild backyard to those who seek it."

Black woman jumping into the water at Tofino Resort + Marina
Jill Salter/Courtesy of Tofino Resort + Marina

While the floating sauna sits in a truly off-the-grid location with no cell service or Wi-Fi, guests will be provided with a radio to reach the Adventure Centre and their guide. The guide and captain will remain on the boat nearby (which has a restroom) and tend to the sauna and the fire before and throughout the experience.

To protect the natural surroundings, Tofino Resort + Marina opted to heat the sauna with the Harvia Legend GreenFlame, a cleaner wood-burning fire chamber. All guests contribute one percent of their total bill to the Tribal Parks Alliance, which goes directly to support the work of the area's First Nations communities.

Man casting cage for catching seafood from a boat at Tofino Resort + Marina
Jill Salter/Courtesy of Tofino Resort + Marina

The six-hour adventure starts at $800 CAD (about $630), plus tax for four guests, and is available to book year-round via the Marine Adventure Centre. Trips run in all weather conditions, including during Tofino's famed storm-watching season (October through March), while spring and summer are optimal for whale watching.

The town of Tofino is accessible via a scenic five-hour road trip from Vancouver or a breathtaking one-hour seaplane flight with Harbour Air, which lands at the resort's docks. With the 63-room property boasting a range of therapeutic nature experiences — from yoga classes by the ocean to fat biking along smooth sand beaches — there are plenty of other ways to savor the great outdoors. Even its restaurant, 1909 Kitchen, features ingredients sourced and foraged from Tofino's oceans, shore, and temperate rain forest.

Table spread of freshly caught seafood at Tofino Resort + Marina
Leila Kwok/Courtesy of Tofino Resort + Marina

Those looking to satiate their post-sauna hunger can preorder a picnic lunch at the time of booking. But you'll want to save some room for the ultimate seafood lover's add-on: the option to retrieve crab or prawn traps on the way back to the dock and enjoy a fresh crab cooked for dinner by the talented chefs at 1909 Kitchen — the only Cook Your Catch experience in town. At $49 CAD (about $38) per person, it's an accessible way to get a taste of Tofino's famous crabbing culture, even if you have zero netting skills. In the spirit of letting your stresses melt away, all you have to do is come with an appetite for adventure and float along for the ride.

Julia Eskins is a Toronto-based writer and editor who covers travel, design, arts and culture, wellness, and the outdoors. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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