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Ucluelet is a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It has less surf vibe than neighbouring Tofino (and no big surf beaches in town) but is a pretty spot in its own right and is close enough to Long Beach and Tofino's beaches to serve as an alternate base to explore the West Coast.

Understand[edit]

Historically, Ucluelet has been a service center for the fishing industry. With the emergence of Tofino as a tourist destination and the increasing popularity of activities like storm watching and surfing, tourism has become more important.

Climate[edit]

Ucluelet
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
See the Ucluelet 7 day forecast at Environment Canada
Imperial conversion
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

The west coast of Vancouver Island is wet and temperate, and Ucluelet is no exception. In terms of temperature, winters are mild (by Canadian standards) and summers are cool. Average daytime highs are 8°C in Jan and 19°C in July/Aug. The mild winters come at a price though — it's wet wet wet — but the Pacific storms make for some great storm watching. Summers are relatively drier (there is still 80-90 mm of rain on average in July and August) but fog will sometimes drift in in the morning and not lift until late in the day. All told, Ucluelet is a beautiful spot but not an ideal destination if you're looking for a sunny warm vacation. Be prepared for rain at any time of the year and it's probably best to always pack at least one warm item of clothing, even in summer, in case the fog rolls in.

Visitor information[edit]

  • 1 Pacific Rim Visitor Center, 2791 Pacific Rim Hwy (junction where Hwy 4 meets the Tofino-Ucluelet Highway), +1 250-726-4600. 8AM-7PM. Information and brochures on Tofino, Ucluelet and the Long Beach section of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Ucluelet is located 8 km south of the junction where Highway 4 meets the Tofino-Ucluelet Highway. It is 40 km south of Tofino (30-45 minute drive) and about 180 km west of Nanaimo (a 2.5 - 3 hour drive). Highway 4, best driven during the day, is twisty and narrow (particularly west of Port Alberni) with few passing lanes, but offers great views of lakes and mountains on the west coast. From Nanaimo, follow Highway 19 north to Parksville-Qualicum Beach and take the Highway 4 turnoff west to Port Alberni (exits 51 or 60). Travel time from Vancouver is about 5.5 hours (including ferry to Nanaimo); from Victoria, travel time is about 4.5 hours.

By bus[edit]

  • IslandLink Bus, . Operates a hub and spoke bus service with hubs in Nanaimo and Buckley Bay. Trips run non-stop from the hub to the destination area. This system works well if direct travel would run by a hub anyway, but can result in significant detours if direct travel would not pass by either hub. Using this service, the hubs connect to Campbell River, Oyster River, Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland, Bowser, Parksville, Nanaimo, Duncan, and Mill Bay, and Victoria. As of January 30, 2023, service is also available to Port Alberni, Tofino, and Ucluelet with trip frequency ranging from 3 days per week in the winter to daily in the summer.
  • 1 Tofino Bus (Vancouver Island Connector) (Stops at Murray's Groceries at 1738 Peninsula Rd). Seasonal service operating between May to October with route daily between Victoria and Tofino with stops in Langford, Duncan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville, Coombs, Port Alberni, and Ucluelet. This service provider also operates a route daily between Victoria and Campbell River. It is possible for passengers to travel between Campbell River and Tofino in a single day with a transfer at Parksville.

By plane[edit]

The nearest airport with schedule flights is 2 Tofino-Long Beach Airport (YAZ IATA), also known as Long Beach Airport (CYAZ), is located 25 kilometers northwest of Ucluelet, on the Pacific Rim Highway (Hwy 4). See Tofino for details.

By boat[edit]

In the summer you can catch the M.V. Frances Barkley from Port Alberni to Ucluelet, 4.5 hours, $30 one-way.

Get around[edit]

By taxi[edit]

By bicycle and foot[edit]

Most of the town and surrounding area can be seen by walking and hiking. A multi use bicycle and foot path travels from just south of the Highway 4 junction toward Ucluelet to near the centre of the town. The multi use path is to be extended 1.2 km by Summer 2023, up to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, where multi use paths connect to all trailheads and to the multi use path that travels to the northern end of Tofino. Until the 1.2 km multi use path extension is complete, it is possible to travel along Highway 4, which has narrow shoulders along that stretch.

See[edit]

The Ucluelet Aquarium building
  • 1 Amphitrite Point Lighthouse, end of Coast Guard Rd (head south out of town on Peninsula Rd and turn right onto Coast Guard Rd). First built in 1906, the squat red and white lighthouse has become a Ucluelet landmark. The lighthouse isn't open to visitors but you can walk up to it and take in the view. Climbing on the rocks is not advised though as the waves can be rough and sweep people off. Amphitrite Point Lighthouse (Q28375578) on Wikidata Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Wikipedia
  • 2 Big Beach, foot of Matterson Dr at Marine. Sandy beach with picnic area. Popular for beachcombing and viewing the sunset. There are tidal pools that can be explored at low tide.
  • 3 Terrace Beach, 1000 block of Peninsula Drive (parking lot and access via the interpretive trail from He-Tin-Kis park). A pretty sandy beach whose calm shores were used by the First Nations as a canoe beach. There's an interpretive trail that connects the beach to the Wild Pacific Trail and has information on the beach's history and local plants.
  • 4 Ucluelet Aquarium, 180 Main St (at the bottom of Main St on the waterfront promenade), +1 250-726-2782. 10AM-5PM. Small aquarium showcasing local marine life (exhibits vary) including starfish, anemones, octopus, rockfish and local crabs and prawns. There are also touch tanks and a gift shop. $7 (child) / $14 (adult). Ucluelet Aquarium (Q7876799) on Wikidata Ucluelet Aquarium on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

  • Pacific Rim Whale Festival. Two week festival in mid-March celebrating the annual migration of the grey whales — it's estimated that some 20,000 whales pass by each year as part of the migration from Mexico to Alaska. There are a variety of educational, culinary and cultural events for people of all ages. Events are held in various spots in Ucluelet, Tofino and Pacific Rim National Park.
  • 1 Wild Pacific Trail - Lighthouse Loop, trailhead and main parking lot on Coast Guard Rd. The 2.5 km loop that generally follows the rocky headlands along the coast with some spectacular views of the Broken Islands, Terrace Bay/Beach and Amphrite Point Lighthouse. The highlight of this trail is seeing the waves crashing upon the rocks, often creating large splashes. The trail is a little up and down but not steep (no stairs) and is well maintained. The numerous viewpoints on the trail can be good places to spot sea lions, orcas and whales, particularly during the spring migration. There are also parking lots with access to the trail at Amphitrite Lighthouse and He-Tin-Kis Park. Free.

Kayaking[edit]

Surfboard rentals and lessons[edit]

While surfing is not possible within Ucluelet, it is a popular activity at beaches in the nearby Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and in Tofino.

  • 5 Long Beach Surf Shop, 2060 Peninsula Rd, +1 250-726-2700. Rents and sells surfing gear.
  • 6 Relic Surf Shop, 1998 Peninsula Rd, +1 250-726-4421, . Rents surfing gear. Offers private, group, and family surfing lessons.
  • 7 West Coast Shapes, 2201 Pacific Rim Hwy (Just north (toward Tofino) of the Highway 4 turn off for Ucluelet), +1 778-942-0622. Rents surfing gear and electric bikes. This site also has a campground and a cafe.

Whale and bear watching[edit]

Buy[edit]

  • 1 The Den Refillery & Sustainable Goods, 14-1645 Cedar Road. Su - Su, 10:00 - 17:00. Plastic free gifts, vintage, pottery, art, sustainable travel goods, local products, and a refillery in the back of the boutique. The refillery has all plant-based, toxin-free and biodegradable products; shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, essential oils, laundry soap, hand soap.

Eat[edit]

  • 1 Barkley Cafe, 1-1620 Peninsula Rd, +1 250-726-2999. M-Sa 7AM-4PM Su 8AM-4PM. Small cozy café serving breakfast sandwiches, sandwiches, baked goods and coffee/tea. The food is tasty and service generally quick even though it's often busy. Also free Wifi. $6-9 breakfast items, $10-14 lunch items.
  • 2 The Blue Room, 1627 Peninsula Rd, +1 250-726-4464. 7AM-4PM daily. Breakfast and lunch place with fairly simple traditional food (e.g., eggs, pancakes, hash browns, burgers, sandwiches, vegetarian) done well with good-sized portions. Inside seating is small and the restaurant is popular so waiting for a seat is common. The patio outside is a good size and has some views of the harbour. Breakfast is available all day.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Ucluelet harbour
  • 1 Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, 596 Marine Dr, +1 250-726-4800, toll-free: +1-877-762-5011. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Upscale studio and one bedroom suites built on a headland overlooking the ocean and waves crashing on to the nearby rocks. Rooms include floor to ceiling windows (ocean or forest view), king size beds, gas fireplace, kitchen/kitchenette, heated bathroom floors, soaker tubs and rainshower heads. There's also a fitness center, an outdoor pool and a hot tub. Some one bedroom suites include a washer/dryer. Rates vary throughout the year and depend on view and room. Approximately $289 and up in summer and $159 and up in winter.
  • 2 Surfs Inn, 1874 Peninsula Rd, +1 250-726-4426. Lodge with dorm rooms, private room and cottages for rent. Amenities include common kitchen area, BBQ area, free Wifi and discounted surf rentals and lessons. Single bed in dorm $22-28, private room $60-75, cottage $115-260.
  • 3 Thornton Motel, 1861 Peninsula Rd, +1 250-726-7725. Motel with standard rooms (two queen or double beds), as well as some two bedroom suites. Some of the standard rooms have a kitchenette; kitchens are standard in the two bedroom suites. There is free Wifi and complementary coffee and tea. Reviewers indicate the rooms are clean but somewhat sparsely furnished. $144-193 (July/Aug), $94-154 at other times.
  • 4 Vacouver Island Vacation Rentals, 2464 Grant Ave, +1 250-244-1821. Check-in: 5PM, check-out: 10AM. 4 brand new Cabins on a large property with sauna close to the Ucluelet Inlet and a 15 min walk to Florencia Beach. $300-700 mid-June to mid-Sept, $200-500 at low season.
  • 5 Water's Edge Resort, 1971 Harbour Crescent, toll-free: +1-877-220-0227. A hotel with one and two bedroom suites on Ucluelet Harbour. Rooms include full kitchens, gas fireplace, free Wifi and private patio or balcony. $279-369 mid-June to mid-Sept, $159-299 at other times.
  • 6 West Coast Motel, 279 Hemlock St (800 metres past WELCOME sign, corner of Hemlock & Lyche), +1 250-726-7732. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Motel close to Ucluelet harbour. Amenities include fitness center, indoor pool, free Wifi, and outdoor cook shack with BBQ. $70-125, depending on time of year (summer is more expensive).

Connect[edit]

Cope[edit]

  • The nearest hospital is in Tofino.

Go next[edit]

Tofino is 30-40 minutes north on Highway 4. Along the way to Tofino is Pacific Rim National Park Reserve with surfing, beach sunbathing, hiking, camping and kayaking opportunities.

Routes through Ucluelet
TofinoPacific Rim National Park Reserve  W  E  Port AlberniParksville/Qualicum Beach


This city travel guide to Ucluelet is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.