Winter Day Trips from Port Alberni

Posted by on Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at 9:38am.

Port Alberni, the heart of Vancouver Island,  is situated in a unique spot… right in the middle of the action!

We’re just a short drive to surfing in Tofino, hiking in the mountains, shopping in Victoria, and much more.

Despite the Island’s mild climate, winter is still packed full of fun, and there is no better start point than Port Alberni! Here are a few of our favourite winter day trips from Port Alberni.

Winter Sports at Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Less than two hours from Port Alberni, Mount Washington is the Island’s ski resort. This year has been a great year for snow, so head up and try your hand at skiing, snowboarding or tubing at Mount Washington’s family tube park! If you’re not an experienced skier, Mount Washington offers a variety of lessons for kids and adults. And, if skiing is not your sport, rent snowshoes or Nordic skis and explore the beautiful old growth forests of Strathcona Provincial Park right from the parking lot of Mount Washington!

For prices and bookings, head over to Mount Washington’s website here.

Photo via Times Colonist

Bike from Coombs to Parksville

A quick trip from Port Alberni, Coombs is a beautiful, quiet town to explore. The rail trail is a 7km unique hiking and biking trail that takes you from Coombs to Parksville. This new trail opened to the public in December 2016 and was finalized with signage in 2017. Thanks to our mild weather year-round, we can typically enjoy this every season of the year!

If you’re planning to go to Coombs in the spring or summer, check out the iconic Coombs Old Country Market, which started as a fruit stand next to the highway in 1973. The Coombs Market is home to the famous goats on the roof and is the perfect spot to stop for lunch after a bike or hike.

Storm Watching in Tofin0

There is no better place to experience the wild West Coast than Tofino. In the winter, Tofino is well known for its dramatic skies and impressive swell. Surf, eat or take part in the new winter trend, storm watching. With no landmass between Tofino and Japan, Tofino offers the best storm watching in Canada. The wind builds up over a distance, giving us waves that roll in at up to 20 feet in height!

Some of the best places to storm watch in Tofino are Chesterman Beach, Mackenzie Beach and Cox Bay Beach. Or, take in the storm inside at Long Beach Lodge Resort or on the deck of the Kwisitis Visitor Centre overlooking the large bay of Wickaninnish Beach.

Before you take a crack at storm watching, Tourism Tofino recommends the following safety tips:

  • Dress for safety (sturdy gumboots, a waterproof jacket and even rain pants).

  • Check the tide -  it can rise fast, going right up to the foreshore. Water has incredible force, and this is how those giant pieces of driftwood end up strewn across the beach.

  • Avoid standing on tidal rocks

Here are some photos taken by Randi at Mackenzie Beach during a recent storm-watching trip!

Nothing like a cold, local brew from Tofino Brewing Company after a storm-watching day! There are some great, local options to check out - just be sure to have a designated driver on hand or accommodations for the night. 

Although we touched on three day trips in this post, there are many more! Port Alberni is a perfect home base to explore all of Vancouver Island with ease and enough time to head back home to Port!

Comment and share with us your favourite go-to day trips from Port Alberni - we'd love to hear them! 

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