Now that summer is nearly here, it’s time for travellers to swap ski-in/ski-out spots for surf-in/surf-out stops.
If you’ve ever emerged from the Pacific feeling triumphant after catching a wave only to struggle to peel off your wetsuit in a crowded beach parking lot—your body damp and chilly, the neoprene onesie feeling like a full-body vise—you know just how uncomfortable the post-wave change can be.
Surf-in/surf-out is a luxurious way to experience a day of combers, rollers, and breaks. Tofino’s Long Beach Lodge Resort has bragging rights on this front, situated on Cox Bay beach, meaning you can trudge right to your room and fight with your oceanic fashions in comfort. It has a Surf Club Adventure Centre on-site to boot, where you can rent gear and line up lessons.
Besides surfing, the boutique lodge also offers bear- and whale-watching tours on a 12-passenger heated boat.
What may be less known about this place is that staff can also recommend nearby, beautiful hikes and even guide you on them, some accessible from right outside your door at Cox Bay. Call it hike-in/hike out.
The Vargas Cone trail is one such trail, a muddy, rootsy scramble of about 360 vertical feet.
It doesn’t take long to for epic vistas of Pacific Rim National Park to unfold: dense emerald forest of old-growth hemlock, cedar, and silver fir; wide, open ocean and white-tipped waves rolling in in endless, frothy succession; island-studded Clayoquot Sound, the ancestral home of Nuu-chah-nulth groups; and snow-capped peaks of the Vancouver Island Range.
This is not only a breathtaking hike but an efficient calorie-burner, too, taking about an hour.
Whether you’re riding waves or trekking through trees, so much fresh air makes you thirsty.
An extension of the lodge’s Great Room, the resort’s Sandbar Bistro is Tofino’s only licensed beachfront patio. Both offer an Ocean Wise après-surf menu, among others.
The lodge’s wine and craft-beer lists are entirely B.C., while its Vancouver Island gin-and-tonic program is just that: selections like Ampersand Distilling, Sheringham Distillery, Tofino Distillery, Arbutus Distillery, and Victoria Spirits take the spotlight, served with Victoria’s Phillips tonics.
Even cooler: Long Beach Lodge Resort is the only venue on Vancouver Island to carry exclusive small-batch spirits from North Vancouver’s Sons of Vancouver Distillery. Take the small craft distiller’s No. 82 Amaretto, a bourbon-barrel aged liqueur made of apricot kernels and tasting of honeycomb, caramel, orange peel, and vanilla.
The spirit stars in one of the lodge's current roster of house cocktails, the sunset-in-a-glass Amaretto Crusta.
Have a sip and you'll be sittin' on top of the world.
2 oz Sons of Vancouver No. 82 Amaretto
½ oz maraschino liqueur
½ oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao
½ oz passionfruit syrup
¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Shake ingredients with ice and double-strain.
Pour over fresh ice in a small snifter with a heavy sugar rim. Spritz with a healthy spray of angostura bitters and garnish with the rind of one whole lemon.