My love affair with Long Beach and the west side of Vancouver Island began more than 40 years ago, in the days when ‘The Wick’ was still called The Wickaninnish Inn, and when it was still located on the beach whose name it bears, not Chesterman’s Beach. Tofino was a tiny village of 400, perched in the mist on the edge of the rainforest, home to draft dodgers, surfers, free spirits and a handful of businesses. Access to the west coast in those days was via a precipitous logging road that was enough, in spots, to take 10 years off anyone’s life.
The establishment of Pacific Rim National Park in 1970 gradually changed all that; upwards of one million people now visit the area annually. There is a twisty-but-paved road that winds along massive Kennedy Lake. Tofino, while still pretty funky, has definitely gone upscale, as have the accommodations for visitors that come from all over the world. Happily many of the newer hotels and resorts have played to the west coast sensibility and offer warm, welcoming environments that echo their spectacular surroundings.
When we were looking for a brief winter get-away recently we settled on Long Beach Lodge Resort. The resort offers a mix of waterfront lodge rooms and rainforest cottages. The cottages are located just steps from the lodge building, restaurant, lounge and most importantly, the stunning long crescent that is Cox Bay beach.
We were travelling with friends from Saskatchewan and our dogs, so opted for a cottage (they also have dog-friendly rooms available in the lodge). It turned out to be a great decision – there was more than enough room for all of us in the two-bedroom/two bath cottage, which exudes west coast ambiance. The bedrooms were spacious and charming, the fully-equipped kitchen served us well, and the cozy living area, complete with fireplace offered a level of comfort and relaxation for everyone, humans and dogs alike. There was a private hot tub in the back patio area as well.
The lodge is meticulous when it comes to addressing every comfort for their guests, both homo sapien and canine. Wet weather gear hangs just inside the door, and feed and water bowls, blankets and dog towels are supplied. While service in every respect is very efficient it is also extremely relaxed, welcoming and friendly.
Cox Bay is one of the safest, loveliest beaches I have ever had the pleasure of running my dogs on. We were there during the winter months, and the hard-packed sand and crashing surf provided a perfect, relaxing environment (despite the rain). We also spent a lot of time in the large welcoming great room at the lodge, where we could storm-watch and observe the surfing activity while staying warm and dry. The restaurant at the lodge offers a very high level of cuisine and service – enough so that anyone just wanting to hole up in one place for a few days and not go anywhere could be perfectly content.
Would we go back again? In a heartbeat – thumbs up on this one!
The Long Beach Lodge Resort is located on Cox Bay at 1441 Pacific Rim Highway, a few minutes south of Tofino.
The lodge’s website can be found at:
GPS co-ordinates are: Lat. 49.10468248338097 Long. -125.87263584136963
N 49 06.281 W 125 52.358