Are you wondering is Ucluelet worth visiting? I can help you out!
I have been to Ucluelet and live a ferry ride from Vancouver Island. I can help you discover all the things to do in Ucluelet and the reasons for visiting.
Ucluelet is a quaint town on the West side of Vancouver Island. It is not far away from its sister town, Tofino. Many people love to travel to Tofino but sometimes forget about Ucluelet.
Here are things to do in Ucluelet and the reason why this beautiful town is worth visiting.
Is Ucluelet Worth Visiting
So, to answer your question, is Ucluelet worth visiting? Yes!
Ucluelet offers a unique opportunity to experience the untamed, wild side of Vancouver Island, with its rugged coastlines and untouched natural beauty. Missing it means forgoing a chance to explore a less crowded, more authentic coastal destination.
Its proximity to Pacific Rim and National Park Reserve grants access to pristine beaches and lush rainforests.
Adventure seekers will find many activities, including kayaking, surfing, and fishing. The tranquil atmosphere and friendly community make it a great place to relax and connect with nature. Ucluelet’s vibrant arts scene and opportunities for storm-watching during the winter months add to its appeal.
11 Things To Do In Ucluelet
Here are some things to do while you are visiting Ucluelet.
The first thing on the list of things to do in Ucluelet is camping! Ucluelet is all about being beautiful and quiet, surrounded by nature.
Surf Junction Campground is popular if you plan to camp while in Ucluelet. Or if you have an RV, Wild Pacific Camp is another excellent location to go camping.
2. Amphitrite Point Lighthouse Or Lighthouse Loop
One of the most popular things to do in Ucluelet is the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse or Lighthouse Loop. An easy 2.9-kilometre (1.8-mile) loop will take about forty-five minutes to an hour to complete.
It was a great trail; my boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were a lot of lookout points along the trails, and there was access to a couple of small beaches.
The loop is stroller, wheelchair, and dog (must be on leash) friendly.
There are two parking lots. The first lot you encounter is where you can start at the beginning of the trail. If you drive further down the road, the second parking lot will take you directly to the Lighthouse.
Unfortunately, they closed off access to walking up to the Lighthouse while we were there. However, if you happen to be there when it is open, check it out!
3. Wickaninnish Beach
One of the many things to do in Ucluelet is to check out Wickaninnish Beach. While Wickaninnish Beach is the tail end of Long Beach (which is closer to Tofino), the access point to get to the beach is closer to Ucluelet.
More intermediate-level surfers tend to head towards Wickaninnish Beach. Locals are more known to be drawn to Wickaninnish as it seems to be their favourite spot.
If you plan to surf here, surfing in the rain at Wickaninnish Beach seems to hit that sweet spot of the best time to surf.
4. Shorepine Bog Trail
Suppose you want to walk around briefly; head to the Shorepine Bog Trail. It is a beautiful boardwalk loop that is great for kids and will only take 10 minutes to complete.
5. Nuu-Chah-Nuulth And South Beach Trail
The Nuu-Chah-Nuulth trail is not usually busy. However, it is still an easy trail to do. It takes about an hour and 45 minutes to complete, leading to a beach at the end.
Sometimes, the trail is muddy, and some parts of the boardwalk are slippery, so be prepared if you are going the day after rain or a rainy day.
6. Florencia Bay
Not in the mood for a hike? That’s okay! Right beside the Nuu-Chah-Nuulth And South Beach Trail, there is Florencia Bay.
The trail is easy and flat; however, there are steep stairs toward the end. Be aware that wildlife is known around the area and on the beach. Surfers and paddleboarders are almost always in the water.
Florencia Bay is also well-known as the best spot for star-gazing a night. Do remember to bring flashlights and be prepared for wildlife encounters.
7. Ucluelet Aquarium
The Ucluelet Aquarium is Canada’s first collect-and-release aquarium. And because it is a collect-and-release aquarium, the residents on display frequently change. However, their main focus is on local fish and invertebrate species.
A small building yet an excellent place to take the kids to learn about marine life. The aquarium is open from March 1st until November 30th, every day of the season, from 10 AM to 4:30 PM (the last entry is 4 PM).
There are no reservations; it is a first-come, first-serve base for entry.
Fun Fact: All the marine animals on display at the Ucluelet Aquarium are released back into their habitats after the season is over.
8. Ancient Cedar Loop Trail
The Ancient Cedar Loop Trail is another short hike trail about a kilometre long. Along the hike, you will encounter massive cedar trees.
If you decide to do a longer hike, the trail eventually links up with the Wild Pacific Trail and Rocky Bluffs.
9. Big Beach
Big Beach is a beautiful beach to explore in Ucluelet. During low tide, you can flip over rocks to find tiny crabs underneath, small tidal pools and potentially other sea creatures.
When you enter the beach, they display an eagle’s wingspan picture to compare your wingspan and information on eagles.
Also, a tree stump is known as The Tree of Life, with information since the 1200s!
10. Whale Watching
During certain months of the year, You can expect to find different species of whales migrating and feeding off the coast of Vancouver Island. Ucluelet happens to be one of the locations to spot some of these whales.
You are probably wondering, is whale watching worth it on Vancouver Island? Before you go, there are things to know and what type of whales you will encounter on your tour.
Jamie’s Whaling Station
Enjoy whale watching with knowledgeable skippers from Jamie’s Whaling Station. They have whale-watching tours and hot spring, bear, kayaking and water taxi tours.
Hello Nature Adventure Tours
Hello Nature Adventure Tours offers different tours, such as whale watching, kayaking, and hiking. In addition, they have multiple lengths of time for their tours, from three-day excursions to half days.
11. Trying Local Food
After all the activities, you probably worked up an appetite. Check out the many local restaurants and coffee shops in Ucluelet. Sometimes the best restaurants are the ones you discover by accident.
Barkey Cafe is on a corner spot of Peninsula Road. We popped into the cafe, waiting for our check-in time.
It is a great little spot with friendly staff; I ordered a hot chocolate (my go-to pick-me-up).
When Is The Best Time To Visit Ucluelet
So, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, September, October, and November would be the best time to visit Ucluelet. And because it is a slower season option for Airbnb, hotels and ferry costs tend to be lower than average.
March, April, and May will be the next options. We went in April, and the weather was cloudy or sunny, with few tourists. However, because it is right before peak season, more places are beginning to open up, which means more places to explore. As a result, prices fluctuate during those three months.
Of course, the summer will be the busiest time in Ucluelet as it will be the high tourist season, so prices and hotels will all go up.
How To Get To Ucluelet From Vancouver
There are two different options for you to get to Ucluelet. But you have to get to Vancouver Island first.
Ucluelet By Ferry
The best way to get to Ucluelet is to travel by ferry. However, there are no direct ferries to Ucluelet, but here are the two routes to take.
Even though there are two different BC Ferries locations on the mainland, Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver) to Nanaimo is the much more manageable and shorter route.
The ferry ride would take approximately an hour and 40 minutes. Once you have docked, the drive towards Ucluelet will be about two hours and 30 minutes through the mountains.
You could also take the ferry from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Victoria (Swartz Bay). However, a long drive will take you on a road trip through Vancouver Island, which will take approximately four hours to get to Ucluelet.
A shuttle bus is also an option if you plan on not renting or using a car. The Vancouver Island Connector can pick you up depending on which ferry terminal you choose.
However, they only travel to Ucluelet on certain days of the week, so plan ahead if you want to use the shuttle.
There’s an option to fly to Ucluelet as well. However, the flight will land at the Tofino airport, and you will have to take a bus or a taxi afterwards.
It is a more expensive way of getting to Ucluelet; however, it is another option.
Places To Stay In Ucluelet
Here are a couple of places to stay while you are visiting Ucluelet.
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort sits atop a small cliffside, offering breathtaking ocean views framed by striking black rocks. his resort is ideal for couples and families, featuring a cozy outdoor pool that everyone can relish.
Currents Restaurant provides an exceptional dining experience with its stunning ocean vistas and sunset views. However, it’s worth mentioning that the rooms at the resort do not have air conditioning.
Reef Point Cottages are in the best location, in the middle of Ucluelet. It is within walking distance of beaches and a 15-minute walk to the famous Amphitrite Point Lighthouse.
Enjoy your glamping needs with free wifi, on-site parking, and a complete kitchenette. Dogs are allowed; however, there is a fee.
Is Ucluelet Worth Visiting — FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions on is Ucluelet worth visiting.
How Do You Pronounce Ucluelet?
You-Clue-Let or Ukee, known by the locals. Ucluelet means “people of the safe harbour” in the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) indigenous language.
What Is Ucluelet Known For?
Ucluelet is a growing community known for its outdoor recreational activities and ecotourism. Historically, Ucluelet is known as a fishing village. However, they’re becoming one of the top-rated tourist destinations on Vancouver Island.
Is Ucluelet Cheaper Than Tofino?
Yes and no. Yes, because while they are only 37 minutes apart, Ucluelet’s price tends to be cheaper than Tofino’s.
On the other hand, no, because the prices will increase while booking to travel to Ucluelet during a holiday or closer to the busier months of the year.
Is Ucluelet Walkable?
Yes, Ucluelet is a walkable town with many amenities and attractions near its central area.
Conclusion: Is Ucluelet Worth Visiting
So, is Ucluelet worth visiting? Yes! Of course, Ucluelet is worth visiting!
Whether travelling with family, friends or your significant other, there are many things to do in Ucluelet by the forest or ocean. I hope this helps with planning your trip to Ucluelet.
Have a good day 🙂