Chesterman Beach

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Chesterman Beach: Tofino's Local Hangout

When asked, “What’s a good beach to go for a walk on?” most local’s immediate reaction is here. Chesterman Beach is split into two sections by Frank Island: North and South Chesterman. We will start you walking at the North Chesterman Beach parking lot.

After walking a very short trail from the parking lot through massive Sitka spruce trees (Picea sitchensis), you’ll arrive at the beach. Look to your right (north) and you’ll see two buildings belonging to the Wickaninnish Inn. Here you’ll find a relatively unknown and welcome treat: Driftwood Café, a small coffee and sandwich joint located in the bottom of the Wickaninnish Inn. The public is welcome to walk right in off the beach for a very good coffee, lunch or snack. This is a great opportunity to take in the grandeur of one of North America’s most prestigious hotels.

When you’re back on the north end of the beach, look straight at a low or medium tide and you’ll see a group of large rocks on the beach that are fun to explore. Now start walking to the left (south) and you’ll be gazing at Frank Island. This ‘island’ is actually a tombolo – it is only isolated from land at high tides. Tide-be-willing you should take the time to explore the tide pools and rock crevices around its outer edges. Please respect the private property boundary rope and signs – above the high tide line is private land with occupied cabins.

South Chesterman Beach

A boy plays with his boogie board on South Chesterman Beach. Rosie Bay is in the background.

From Frank Island continue south along South Chesterman Beach. The beach ends at a rocky outcrop separating Chesterman Beach from Rosie Bay. At an extremely low tide you can access Rosie Bay and some really fun tidal caves – unfortunately a tide this low is rare, but check your tide chart to see if you can time the trip appropriately. Please respect that above the high tide line at Rosie Bay is private land with residences: only hike over to Rosie Bay when it is accessible via the low tide route. Now retrace your steps along the beach to the parking lot at North Chesterman.

Location of Chesterman Beach

  • Head south out of town, watch for the “Beaches Grocery” shopping complex.
  • Just after Beaches Grocery you’ll see Lynn Road on your right (4.3 km from the Post Office).
  • Turn right on Lynn Road.
  • After 300 meters the road T’s and there is a parking lot straight ahead – park here.

Find Mussels at the Beach!

That's right. Head down to the very southern edge of South Chesterman Beach at low tide and follow the rocks to find California and blue mussels. Remember to get your fishing license and check for red tide before you harvest your seafood, but other than that, it's a free seafood meal!


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