Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Wed December 09 2015

Storm-Watching Is a Big Deal in British Columbia

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | December 09, 2015

Storm-Watching Is a Big Deal in British Columbia

PHOTO: Storm-watching in Tofino, British Columbia. (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

Is storm-watching the ultimate off-season travel experience? Maybe. It’s quite possibly the antithesis of the warm summer beach vacation that many seek out but, if you are from a warm, dry desert that is suffering from a drought, this may be a great way to soak up some moisture. Whatever your reason, storm-watching is a thing in British Columbia. It’s nothing short of an exhilarating way to vacation, watching the 10-foot-high waves of the roiling Pacific Ocean crash onto the rocky beaches sprinkled with driftwood.

If you visit Tofino, B.C., just north of Pacific Rim National Park, you are sure to hear about storm-watching in the winter from any number of locals. It enjoys wide popularity. Even in your hotel room, you may run across a storm kit that includes instructions for what to do in case of a power outage and containing provisions such as candles or a flashlight in case of inclement weather. All of this just builds the allure – and possibly the romance – of cozying up in front of a fire on a cold stormy night, listening to the waves crash on the rocks, watching the sea-spray in the moonlight, hearing the sound of the intermittent rain pounding on the deck and enjoying the flickering of candlelight in a darkened room.

Where to Stay

To discover this signature experience in Tofino, several resorts offer packages that are specifically geared toward storm-watching.

The Wickaninnish Inn, ideally located on Chesterman Beach, offers the Storm Watchers vacation package that includes two nights’ accommodations for two, with savings of $80 per night in the room type of the guests’ choosing; two Wickaninnish Inn oilskin hats; Pacific Reef and Shore book; Blue Mountain Wine & a local cheese Plate, breakfasts for two daily, complimentary valet parking and wireless Internet access.

Prices start at $774.50.

Pacific Sands Beach Resort located on Cox Bay, offers a Storm Watching Package that includes a guests’ choice of beachfront or oceanview accommodations, a complimentary bottle of wine, daily hot chocolate, unlimited DVDs and popcorn and provided storm-watching gear that includes a rain slicker for beach walks in the rain.

Three-night stays begin at $164 per night, double occupancy.

Step Up the Experience With Winter Surfing

If you want to take your winter storm-watching package to the next level – maybe amp it up “Point Break”-style – take a winter surf lesson. Waves are at their peak from now through March.

Surf Sister is a female-led, accredited surf school that operates lessons on both Cox Bay and Chesterman Beach and offers beginner- to advanced-level surfing lessons all winter long. Long Beach Lodge Resort has a skilled crew of surf instructors as well as facilities that include a hot pool, sauna, showers and changing rooms and eco-lodge Wya Point offers First-Nations led surf lessons that include historical insight to the traditional landscape.

If you prefer to watch from the beach, the Rip Curl Pro Tofino surfing championship hits the beach in the spring, a little after storm-watching season, May 27-29.

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