An exercised dog is a happy dog so Tofino must be one of the happiest places on earth. The beaches and trails rebalance the mind and body, meeting the needs of a water obsessed Retriever, a trail hogging Terrier, or a beach dawdling Dachshund. There are so many things to enjoy with your canine companion here, and our recent trip to the tip of the Esowista Peninsula brought us to Cox Bay.
At almost 1.5 kilometers long, it’s the perfect dog walk length, with open ocean on one side and thick rain forest on the other. Soaking wet labs can bounce through the waves retrieving sticks while scent hounds can run along the piles or driftwood and all you have to do is walk right down the middle checking out the sand dollars.
The sand is smooth and packed nice and hard so that ball will skirf (new made up word, don’t use it in Scrabble unless you have a fantastic poker face) down the beach for an endless amount of time, giving your ball loving dog a run of ages.
Have a surf hound? Cox Bay is one of the most popular surfing spots in Canada and dogs are not left to pine at home. You will often see a content canine stretched out on the beach at the water’s edge, watching their human play in the ocean and then jumping on them with the warmest of greetings when they return. And they need it, surfing the Pacific at this spot is chilly but boy it looks like fun!
As well as the beach, there are rocks to climb and explore for star fish and other creatures living in the inter-tidal zone. There is a short but very rewarding trail out to Sunset Point with handy benches to stop and soak in the, you guessed it, sunset. And during the day the wave watching here after a storm is magnificent. The photo below was taken at a very safe distance, all a trick of perspective and a longer lens.While exploring the rocks, be careful of anything too slippery or too barnacled for your dog.
Photo opportunities are at their best in Tofino and what a fantastic place to get some great shots of your pooch, no matter your skill or what camera you have brought with you. I’ve included photos from both my iPhone and Canon DSLR in this post.
No matter the camera, make sure to check it out after you come back from the beach, as that Pacific sand gets everywhere. Let it dry and then brush it off or use a blower. Don’t let it stop you from going out and getting some great pics, just be aware of it. And if it’s a cool morning and your lens is fogged up after coming back from snapping your dog running during the Tofino sunrise, all your camera needs is to set be down outside of it’s case in your warm, dry room and will clear right up. Best piece of camera advice? Don’t drop your camera in the ocean, it sucks.
A note on shore birds. They live here because it rocks, but it doesn’t rock to be chased. If you have an inquisitive dog keep them away from the birdies.
This is the ‘wet coast’ so be prepared for rain in the winter months. That’s why I love Tofino, it’s beautiful in the rain so even if the forecast is a wet one, it doesn’t stop anyone from getting outside with their dogs. Storm season is incredible here, big crashing waves and watching the surfers while throwing a ball over and over again. Bring rain boots if you want to walk along the water edge or good waterproof walking shoes for beach walking. Soles with a good grip keep you upright if you are exploring the rocks. A raincoat is a must if rain is in the forecast and the lodges at the beach supply them if you forget yours or you are packing light. And if you have a short haired dog, they may appreciate having one on as well.
The resorts at the north end of the beach supply a plenitude of bio-degradable poop bags, so jam some in your pockets if you forget to bring them on your walk.
There are lovely accommodations right by the beach and there are many lodges, motels and airbnb places throughout the peninsula. (Stay tuned for an up coming post on staying at Pacific Sands Beach Resort). If you aren’t staying right at Cox Bay you can walk, bike or drive over to one of the two public parking lots. One is located across the highway from the tourism information center, and there is a second lot and entrance at the end of Maltby Road. There are handy restrooms located at access points.
Pull on those boots, grab your dog and hit that glorious beach….Check out these links to get you started on your doggy trip to Tofino and Cox bay!