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people are always searching for their next escape.

Seat sales.
Round the world tickets.
Backpacking through SE Asia.
Gap years in Australia...
But what about staying here

By the time I was 24 I had travelled, lived and worked in over 30 countries. I was a professional at hopping on any flight I could to get away; I needed to explore, but staying in Canada didn't seem "adventurous" enough for me.  I thought adventure could only be satisfied in foreign experiences on the other side of the world.

In my early 20's I was offered a short term contract for a travel company based in Vancouver. I had never been to Vancouver but thought "What the heck? It's only three months...just another trip and a new experience."

Long story short, it's been three years and I haven't looked back since. I absolutely fell in love with this city. Over the course of these years I was going through a lot of change, including transitioning out of the travel industry. It was SO hard to not have the option of travelling all of the time so I started packing my evenings and weekends with any adventure I could find in and around Vancouver.

Once I started exploring British Columbia, I realized how much I had skipped out on. I couldn't believe how incredible my own country was and couldn't help but wonder why I had never opted to explore my own backyard.

While I'm lucky to have seen and experienced so much traveling the world - this is my home..and I've set out with one mission:

Show people that they don't have to go far to travel.

So here it is: #TheStayCationSeries. My goal is to travel around Canada to showcase what our home is all about while supporting local, sustainable tourism and leaving you with a detailed blog on how you can re-create the trip for yourself.

So...are you in this with me, or what?  Part one starts below.  Enjoy!

- Ally 


Tofino, British columbia

Sprawled out across the peninsula of Clayoquot Sound, this tiny town is located on the west shores of Vancouver Island, BC.

Tofino has a population of less than 2000 residents and is a great spot to visit year round.  It's known for it's winter swells and storm watching, Canadian surfing, ancient rainforest, a stunning national park and a ton of inlets, islands and beaches to explore.

I chose Tofino to kick off the series because it holds a special place in my heart. Before moving to Vancouver, I had spent a weekend and and was mind blown that places like this existed in Canada. It was my first taste of the west coast and I try to make it out there any chance that I get.


- Year round travel
- Summer months very busy
- Winter months great for surf and storm watching



- Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo + approx 3 hour drive across HWY 4.
- By air [more info here...]
- Tofino Bus [more info here...]
- Tofino Ride Share [more info here...]




I ran up the stairs to find James already on the second balcony soaking in the views. The bedroom was big and bright, taking up the entire second floor.

Floor to ceiling windows to the right of our bed, a built-in fireplace at the foot of our bed, and to the left (*pinch me*) were steps leading up to a soaker tub and the door to the bathroom.

At night we slept with the windows open and fireplace on. It was amazing to cuddle up to the crisp fall breeze hitting our sheets and falling asleep to the crashing of the waves on the shore below us.

This was our home for four days and I'm still trying to figure out how to make it my home forever.

Pacific Sands Resort

I've been to Tofino a few times and it's safe to stay that this has hands down been the best spot I've stayed at.

Our experience started off on a great when we made our way over to the front desk to check in. The staff were exceptionally friendly and down to earth, giving us a quick run down of the property and even offering us a morning free yoga class to start our trip off we some zen. It was clear from the aesthetic of the main cabin that our room was going to be nice.


I walked up to the front door and swiped my room key to unlock the doors to what seemed like paradise: a bright + modern, two storey beachfront house.  Downstairs was equipped with a brand new kitchen, living room, fireplace, balcony and laundry room. I caught myself standing there with my mouth wide open and jaw on the floor before I realized I hadn't even been upstairs.


about pacific sands resort

"Located beach front on spectacular Cox Bay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Pacific Sands Beach Resort has been the Vancouver Island Resort destination of choice for returning families, couples and outdoor enthusiasts for decades.

The west coast is known for its natural beauty and this Vancouver Island resort is no exception with unforgettable front-row seats to nature's greatest waterpark. From towering old-growth forests to the crashing waves of the mighty Pacific Ocean, everyday is an adventure here."


room amenities


  • Fully-equipped kitchen: fridge, stove and oven, microwave, flatware, silverware, glassware, pots, pans, cooking utensils, toaster, coffee maker, dish soap, wash cloths, dish-towels
  • Local Tofino Coffee Company Organic Coffee
  • Gas fireplace
  • Patio or balcony
  • LG Flatscreen TV & DVD player
  • Simmons Beautyrest Elite Pillow Top & Serta Pillow Top beds
  • Hair dryer
  • All-natural, locally produced, plant-based body and hair-care amenities by Sea Wench
  • Rain slickers


All amenities listed above, PLUS:

  • Open dining area
  • Gas fireplace in living room & master bedroom
  • 2nd balcony
  • LG flatscreen TV & DVD player in master & 2nd bedroom
  • iPod docking station
  • View soaker tub for two 
  • Super soft bath robes
  • Make-up mirror
  • Extra hair dryer
  • Washer & dryer

Do everything, one thing or nothing at all.
anything still sets you up for A perfect trip.

That's what I love about Tofino. You can set out to have a weekend to shut off and unwind, pack it with adventure or have a bit of both in the mix. There is literally no wrong answer. But you know how I roll, and shutting off still means climbing something, running to somewhere or sailing off anywhere.  Here are some of the adventures that you should put on your radar once you're there!


Hot Springs Cove + Scenic flight

If you're anything like me and want to do all of the things, all of the time; this is the excursion for you. This trip with Ocean Outfitters covers an ocean safari over to the hot springs, and gives you an (optional) scenic flight back.

Start the morning by checking in at Ocean Outfitters, located right downtown. Be sure to arrive 30 minutes early to check in and enjoy their coffee bar and lounge.  If there's any gear that you've forgotten, you can pick it up in their shop.

Your excursion will start with an unbelievably scenic boat ride over to the hot springs. Your guide talks to you about the area and is constantly on the lookout for whales and other wildlife!  We were lucky to spot two grey whales just before we got to the hot springs.  (OMG!) 

At the time of booking, you'll have the option of choosing a covered boat or a Zodiac experience.  Both are great, but we opted the covered boat for comfort as there is an outdoor viewing deck at the back that you have access to!

You're dropped off, given a few hours to hike in and enjoy the hot springs and meet back at the dock to return to Tofino.  We chose to upgrade the experience, taking the scenic flight back.  Your day is totally customizable to your needs and interests, the staff on hand will tailor a day that best suits you.

If hot springs aren't your thing, you can opt soley for a whale watch, bear watch or scenic flight.  I recommended doing at least one of these experiences while you're there!


surf lesson

I feel like you can't go to Tofino and NOT try surfing.  Whether you're an absolute beginner or an experienced surfer, this place has something for everyone.

We booked in a private lesson at Surf Sister. It was a huge perk (and easy convenience) that they had a surf shack right on-site at the Pacific Sands. The morning was absolutely effortless. The staff were amazing, providing us  with everything we needed, and the instructor was great!

We got on-sand lesson that taught us about the ocean - how waves work, safety, and the basics of popping up on our boards before we went into the ocean for a few hours. 

These lessons are catered to your level, or if you don't need one, pop in to rent your gear for the weekend.


catching sunset is a must

Some of the most mind blowing sunsets that I've ever witnessed have been in Tofino.  The skies can be dramatic over the endless horizon and reflections on the beach from the moving tides.

Out front of our room at the Pacific Sands, we had direct access to the Sunset Point trail.  This is one of my favourite spots to catch sunset from.  You can hike out and up onto the rocks, or stay below at the tide pools for cool reflection shots.

Other great spots are Long Beach or even just really soaking it in with a sunset surf or paddle!



  • Pacific Rim National Park
  • Hike the Cox Bay Lookout
  • Hike Lone Cone
  • Bikes! A fit, fun and eco-friendly way of exploring!

From fine dining to burrito shacks, Tofino is filled with tons of good eats.

One of my favourite things about staying at the Pacific Sands Resort was having our own kitchen for the comfort of home cooking. We stocked up at the grocery store in town and cooked most of our meals to try to stay healthy on the road. But what good is any vacation without treating yourself to not only meals out, but unique and delicious dining experiences?

Moral of the story: feel better about yourself by eating kale all day and then go to eat at all of these places for dinner.

Hashtag Balance.


shelter restaurant

If you went to Tofino and didn't go to Shelter, did you really even go to Tofino?

Confession:  we ate here two nights in a row because it's just so.damn.good.

So in short, seek Shelter. You'll enjoy fresh farm to table meals prepared by passionate locals at one of the best environments in Tofino.



The OG taco truck that started at the back of a surf shack parking lot.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that their crispy chicken burrito wasn't one of my favourite pleasures in life.

This spot can get quite busy at times (esp. in the summer), so don't head out hangry and enjoy the wait. It's worth it!



Good people, local craft beers and a menu inspired by Japanese-style comfort food.  Do yourself a favour and drop by this local neighbourhood spot.

The ramen is to-die-for.

photo by Kuma Tofino


don't head out with the wrong gear.

There's nothing worse than heading out on an adventure and not having the proper gear.   Here's a packing list of everything I brought on the trip. Each item on the list links to the item online for your easy purchase!



  • Filson Medium Field Duffle (Pictured above)
    This duffle is hands down one of my favourites. The quality is great, the space is unreal and I get compliments on it wherever I go.  This is my go-to weekender bag!
  • Arc'teryx Granville Day Pack
    A reliable day pack with comfortable straps and waterproof.  It's a great city bag too, so I get A LOT of use out of it.
  • Peak Design Everyday 30L Camera Backpack
    For a number of years, I was holding off on buying a proper camera bag - this was becoming problematic.  This bag is comfortable, convenient, keeps my gear organized and became a favourite pack...very quickly.


come out on top

  • Arc'teryx BETA SV Jacket
    Before you get on my case about the price of this jacket, I get it...BUT I also know what it's like to spend more money on multiple jackets that don't work or don't hold up.  You'll buy this jacket once and never need another. It's GoreTex Pro, which will keep you dry, comfortable and warm on those nasty days.
  • Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody
    I used to complain about being cold until I had this. If you don't have a down jacket, do yourself a favour and invest in one.  This also fits so well underneath my BETA SV jacket on cold, wet days in the backcountry.
  • Patagonia Houdini Full Zip Jacket
    For those days where the wind just doesn't let up.  This jacket is SUPER lightweight, packs really well and is great all your climbing, trail running, and backpacking adventures. Note: this is weather resistant, but not waterproof! 
  • Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew
    This has honestly been my go to top for years. Travel, workouts, adventures - you name it.  This seamless top gets all of the love, year round.  



  • SPY Sunglasses
    #SeeHappy is the truest campaign I've ever come across. Everything always looks 100% better with SPY glasses, and protecting your eyes is a must.  Do yourself a favour, stop wearing fakes!

    Fav style: LOMA w/ Happy Lens.


love at first tight


Can You Kick it?


technincally speaking



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Watching this idea come to life has been so rewarding. My goal from this series was to inspire a staycation adventure of your own.  The purpose of this blog was to give you tips on where to stay and what to do, allowing you to recreate the trip for yourself.

Thank you to the official sponsors of the Tofino trip and the launch of the series. It was great to work with brands that stand for something cool and that want to be involved with local creators like myself.

If you have questions, contact me.
If you loved the blog, please share it.

Happy travels,



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