Storm Watching

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Big wave in Tofino (Photo: Mark Hobson/Wickaninnish Inn)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on March 24, 2010. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: adventure travel, Antarctica, Cannon Beach, Christine Sarkis, Colorado, Costa Rica, destination, Gold Beach, Hawaii Volcanoes Natl Pk, Montserrat, Mount Washington, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Republic of Congo, Tampa, Texas, Tofino, Venezuela, Washington.

Crashing 30-foot waves, driving rain, and cold wind. Doesn't sound like much of a vacation. Unless you're in Tofino, a small town on the west shore of Vancouver Island. From November to March each year, people make the trek to brave the beaches or hole up in oceanfront hotels to enjoy the spectacle in comfort. Storms are all the more memorable for the occasional breaks in the weather when the sun streams in through the clouds before the rain begins again.

Plenty of storm watchers don waterproof gear and take to the beaches to experience the storms first-hand. But if you want to view storm action from inside, the best option is to stay in one of the ocean-facing rooms at a hotel or B&B along North or South Chesterman Beach, McKenzie Beach, or Cox Bay. The Tofino Tourism website has a list of properties in these areas, many offering storm watching amenities or specials. For instance, the Wickaninnish Inn provides raingear in every guest room and was designed to offer clear views of the ocean, while the MacKenzie Beach Resort has discounted winter storm watching rates.


More Storm Watching

The Pacific Northwest is prime storm watching territory, and many towns along the Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia coast promote the winter activity. Gold Beach and Cannon Beach, Oregon, and Washington's Olympic Peninsula are among the other popular storm watching destinations.

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