Port Renfrew the next Tofino
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For more information on Port Renfrew visit www. portrenfrew. com ooking for somewhere different to hang out on vacation? How about the Pacific Marine Coastal Route, a 255-kilometre circular driving route through the wilds of southern Vancouver Island, and spending a weekend in the west coast village of Port Renfrew.
With about 200 full-time residents, Port Renfrew might just be the Tofino of tomorrow, says Ben Mycroft.
“Many take the long drive to Tofino when Port Renfrew is 40 minutes from Sooke and less than two hours from downtown Victoria, that’s 20 minutes further than the drive to Cowichan Lake,” says Mycroft, project manager for the Three Point Properties’ Wild Coast Cottages development project in Port Renfrew.
“This area has a lot to offer — in one afternoon you can be surf ing the waves, exploring the tide pools on Botanical Beach and walking among the giant trees of Avatar Grove.”
Surfers, kite boarders and paddlers already know about the village that is in a bay with big wave breaks, two paddling rivers and a diversity of beaches.
But it’s also home to some of Canada’s biggest and most spectacular trees. Avatar Grove, a section of gnarly giant old growth, has been able to attract bigtree-tourists to this one- time logging town.
Matter of fact, the grove now has its own visitor information centre, a little kiosk next to Port Renfrew’s tiny farmers’ market.
Thanks to Port Renfrew’s relative remoteness in days prior to the Coastal Route completion, the area has retained much of the signature West Coast wilderness.
The village is flanked on both sides by major national and provincial parks: to the south is the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park and the San Juan Trail, and to the north is the gateway of the world-renowned West Coast Trail in the Pacif ic Rim National Park.
And when it comes to wildlife, Port Renfrew has it all.
Avid photographers take delight in the resident eagles, black bears and elk, while anglers flock to the area for the great trout and salmon f ishing (just this year, Port Renfrew was named a national f inalist in the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town Canada competition).
“Since the completion of the paved Circle Route highway, there’s been remarkable growth in tourism and a noticeable buzz in the air around town,” said Mycroft.
“There has also been dramatic changes in who comes here and who’s opening up shop: now you’ll discover delicious restaurants and some great shops alongside the hiking trails, beaches, lakes and f ishing spots.”
Hikers explore Botanical Beach near the southwest Vancouver Island town of Port Renfrew.