by Courtney Elko
Located less than five minutes from town, Pacific Sands is situated directly on Cox Bay Beach in Tofino. This beachfront resort offers gorgeous ocean views, surf lessons and rentals onsite, movie nights and a kids camp in the summer months, and awesome storm watching in the winter from cozy multi-bedroom suites and beach houses that overlook the Pacific Ocean. There is direct beach access and a newly constructed surf pavilion to store boards and gear and shower off before entering your industrial-like, modern-style suites. The resort is pet friendly, there are free yoga sessions, bike rentals onsite and a small, separate (but onsite) surfside grill restaurant serving up classic beach fare. With complimentary Wi-Fi, beach toys and a DVD movie library available, the kids won’t get bored here at all. Pacific Sands Beach Resort is a perfect beachfront resort for families seeking a Tofino getaway with all the amenities (including surf amenities) at your fingertips.
Our Editor Loves
- Fire pits and movie nights
- Surf lessons and bike rentals onsite
- Beachfront and summer kids camp
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
All of the beach houses and suites feature complimentary Wi-Fi and fully equipped kitchens. Cribs are available upon request.
There are 22 beach houses with excellent beach and ocean views and one- to three-bedrooms. They all feature a fully equipped kitchen with a full size refrigerator, 12-foot ceilings and large windows, a fireplace, a living room with flat screen television and DVD player, dining table, an outdoor deck and BBQ, washer and dryer and soaker tubs in the bathroom. The beach houses can sleep between two and eight people comfortably. All of the beach houses offer direct beach access as well. The beach houses also come equipped with rain jackets and rain boots (in kid size too if you let the staff know) in order to be best prepared for storm season in the winter.
The spacious suites vary in size from a studio up to three-bedroom suites, and can accommodate between two and eight people comfortably. The suites, most of which offer at least a partial ocean view, feature a fully equipped kitchen with a full size refrigerator, large windows, a fireplace, a living room with flat screen television and DVD player, small dining area, and an outdoor patio or balcony. Some of the suites feature a hot tube outside, others are situated near the surf pavilion, which is great for surf gear storage.
My wife and I honeymooned at Pacific Sands in Sept 1994 and so decided to return for our 25 wedding anniversary the weekend of Sept 14. We typically make it back to the Tofino area once every 5 years or so and have stayed in a variety of places, even at the Wick when it first opened, but this the first time since '94 we've come back to Pacific Sands. Here's 5 things I learned with our recent stay:
1) Ownership has clearly invested significantly in the property and it is three times better what it was back then. So many amenities have been added and it is so clean and well maintained. We stayed in the Lodge with an updated 2nd floor suite including well stocked kitchenette and hot tub on the patio. The second you walk in the door you see the beach from your bright suite...an 'aha moment' that is hard to replicate...and you know you have made the right call spending the extra $$. Be sure to get the hot tub, and try to avoid the ground level suites in the Lodge as everyone can see in when they walk by.
2) I note several reviewers have called for a restaurant on-property. This is a personal opinion but in my view, I don't require another restaurant in the Tofino area to spend $300-$400 on dinner. I know some people don't want to cook on holiday, but I learned there are two gas bbq's overlooking the beach and I never saw a wait during a quasi summer weekend. The Grill kiosk beside reception had good food at a reasonable price and helped fill the gap in our grocery planning when needed. BTW it opens at 9am for breakfast so being an early bird I had to wait but the coffee they include at the reception area to tide me over one morning was very good.
3) The staff, from reception to housekeeping to ground crew, were very friendly and welcoming. We had a couple of requests and were always cheerfully received.
4) This is a great place to stay, but the star of the show is still the beach. The surf lessons were booming, we witnessed two wedding parties and an actual wedding on the beach, and some sort of photography class with accompanying student models. Ignore the forecast; one day the forecast was 100% heavy rain but we still got a few hours of break late in the day to enjoy; the second day's forecast was cloudy with a chance of thundershowers and it turned out sunny from morning until 5pm until the clouds hit. Keep expectations low and you'll never be disappointed!
5) Many people may already know this, but the government is spending over $50 million to build a bike path from Tofino to Ucluelet. We had to stop a few times for construction crews but quickly observed that this path is going to be incredible, linking most of Pacific Rim Park's trails, beaches, and points of interest by bike ('multi use path'). It isn't going to be ready until 2022, and they are rightfully being very accommodating of First Nation and environmental concerns so expect further delays. But if you thought a vacation here was expensive now, just wait until this trail is fully functional. Maybe get a visit in before and then after?
Regardless of timing, we won't be waiting another 25 years to return to Pacific Sands.
Exceptional staff, exceptional resort! The beach is amazing and the rooms are wonderful. They have thought of every last detail, right down to the rain jackets. The resort is very well kept and they have gone above and beyond to make sure that their guests are happy.
It is all about getting outdoors at Pacific Sands (and really in most of Tofino) so unplug and get outside when staying here.
The resort offers direct beach access to Cox Bay Beach, which is an extremely wide, sandy beach. This beach is a popular surf beach as well and is open to the public. The ocean waters stay a bit chilly here (about 50 degrees) most of the year but that doesn’t stop folks from surfing with a wet suit. Families can go for a long beach walk here, fly a kite, look for whales in the ocean or watch the waves roar during storm season in the winter months. Beach toys and boogie boards are available for guests to use as well.
Families looking to learn how to surf or perfect skills can schedule lessons at the onsite surf shop. Surf Sisters Surf School (not associated with the resort) is situated directly onsite, steps away from the beach and suites, and offers rentals and lessons. The school and surf shack also offers board and gear storage, outdoor showers and a large deck with fire pits in the summer months, perfect for talking about the epic waves you caught that day. The surf shack is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, March through October. But surfing in general takes place year round here.
Bikes, helmets and more are ready to be rented right onsite. Biking is the most convenient way to get into town from the resort. Rentals can be half day or full day, and are available from May through October.
In the summer months, kids will love this free, daily kids camp that runs from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in July and August. The supervised camp has kids exploring the rainforest, learning survival skills, discovering bugs, playing whale games, tracking animals and much more. Camp is recommended for children ages 5 to 12 but children under 5 are welcome when accompanied by an adult.
Board games, a large DVD movie library, popcorn and coffee are available for guests to use and enjoy in the Guest Services area. Outdoor movie nights also take place throughout the summer months.
While this small restaurant/cafe is technically not associated with the resort, it is located smack in the middle of the resort. Surfside Grill offers classic beach food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Things like fish and chips, fish tacos and burgers are a few of the menu items. There is plenty of outdoor seating and fire pits, perfect for roasting S’mores.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complementary Wi-Fi can be found throughout the property.
- Pet Friendly
Dogs are very welcome to stay at this beach resort for a one-time fee. Dog dishes, treats, and pet towels are also provided. There is a pet washing station near the beach as well.
Complimentary parking is available.
Babysitting services are available for an additional hourly cost, just contact the resort staff 24-hours in advance. There is a two-hour minimum.
Coin-operated laundry facilities are available to guests.
- Groceries and Pantry
A small grocery area has the essentials available for purchase in the Guest Services area. There is also a pantry for any specific kitchen tools (ie a waffle maker) that you might not find in your fully equipped kitchen.
The Best Time to Visit
The summer months from about June through September are the busiest times at Pacific Sands Resort, but really its busy almost year round at this resort. Storm season from October through April is also busy but December and January are generally more quiet.
Tofino is located on Vancouver Island, which offers no bridges from the mainland. So a ferry is needed to reach the island by vehicle. Vehicle ferries from Vancouver to Vancouver Island take about two hours and it is then about a three hour drive to Tofino. A small number of flights to the small Tofino airport are also available and there are a limited number of rental cars available at the airport.
The resort itself is easily walkable. The beach is not far from any location on the resort. Town is about a five minute drive away and a free resort shuttle will take guests into town in the summer months. Biking and walking are the most popular and convenient ways to get around Tofino but a vehicle is also nice to have. However, parking can be at a premium in town.
Free yoga sessions take place several times a week in the mornings. But space is limited, so make sure to sign up early.