Surfers wanting to hit the water should head south of town to Live To Surf (1180 Pacific Rim Hwy., 250/725-4464). The shop rents surfboards for $25 per day and wetsuits for $20, and offers lessons for $75 for two people. The staff will also tell you where the best surf can be found, and if there’s no surf, they’ll tell you how good it was last week. Surf Sister (625 Campbell St., 250/725-4456 or 877/724-7873) is Canada’s only all-women surf school.
Whale-watching is one of the most popular activities in town, and companies search out whales to watch them cruise up the coast, diving, surfacing, and spouting. Each spring around 20,000 Pacific gray whales migrate between Baja  and Alaska , passing through the waters off Tofino  between March and May. Most of them continue north, but some stay in local waters through summer.
Their feeding grounds are north of Tofino within Maquinna Marine Park. On the whale-watching trips, you’ll likely spy other marinelife as well; look for sea lions and puffins sunning themselves on offshore rocks, dolphins and harbor seals frolicking in the bays and inlets, and majestic bald eagles gracefully swooping around in the sky or perching in the treetops.
Trips depart mid-February–October and generally last 2–3 hours. Expect to pay about $80–90 per person. Most of the whale-watching companies offer a combination trip that includes a soothing soak at Hotsprings Cove.
For details, contact:
606 Campbell St.
250/725-3919 or 800/667-9913
71 Wharf St.
250/725-3330 or 800/666-9833
411 Campbell St.
250/725-2132 or 888/474-2288
Exploring the waters around Tofino  by sea kayak has become increasingly popular in recent years. Tofino Sea Kayaking Company (320 Main St., 250/725-4222, www.tofino-kayaking.com ) has designed tours to meet the demand and that suit all levels of experience. Excursions range from a 2.5-hour harbor paddle ($59 per person) to an extended trip to a remote lodge on Vargas Island (three days for $780 per person).
The company’s experienced staff will also help adventurous, independent paddlers plan an itinerary—many camping areas are within a one-day paddle of Tofino. Single kayak rentals are $52 for one day or $44 per day for two or more days. Double kayaks are $88 and $78, respectively.