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Explore Tide Pools at Chesterman Beach, Tofino, BC

Tofino, British Columbia

based on 4 reviews



1 miles

Elevation Gain

30 ft

Route Type



Added by Sarah Schu

Experience the awe of standing on the edge of the earth as you wander the rocks and explore coastal tide pools at Chesterman Beach in Tofino, BC.

Beyond surfing, skim boarding, biking, and hiking, there are plenty of beaches to comb and coastal tide pools to explore near Tofino BC. The best rocky coastal tide pools are between North Chesterman and South Chesterman beach just 3.6 miles south of the town of Tofino.

This area is also known as Frank Island, but you are able to access it by land, no need to cross water to reach it. I recommend visiting during the lower tides because you will be able to travel out further towards the coastline, but there is plenty to explore even if the tide is high. If the tide is coming in (getting higher) please be mindful of this so you are not trapped on a rock outcropping with no way to get back to shore. It is unlikely, but worth mentioning if you are not used to exploring these environments.

Park in Chesterman South Parking lot. There is signage from the Pacific Rim Highway, you cannot miss it. Make sure you buy and display a parking pass at the kiosk or you will get a ticket. I have seen it happen. There are bathrooms, changing rooms, and showers here too.

Walk out onto the beach and to the right where you will see trees and rocks (shown in the wide landscape photo). This is where the exploration begins as you'll start to see various crabs, shellfish, kelp, and other creatures. There are also enormous birds nests visible in the broken top coastal trees. If you're lucky you'll see some seabirds hunting and returning to their nests to feed.

I climbed around in bare feet and loved feeling the surface of the earth, but after an hour or so my soles were a little tender. Chacos or some other sturdy sandals are a good option. I would definitely stay away from flip flops, wear sneakers if you have to. The views are seriously amazing so taking a backpack with some snacks and drinks wouldn’t be a bad idea that way you can stay and enjoy even longer.

Take your time! Wander out to the coast and then if the tide is low enough, head to your left and around that outcropping. Here is where you will see thousands of giant green anemone and big purple starfish, not to mention a half dozen different kinds of shellfish, barnacles, and marine plant life. The waves crashing against the rocks are absolutely mesmerizing.

There’s not too much else you need to know in order to enjoy the pools. Be careful of slick wet rock and plant life, don’t step on anything if it seems like you are damaging it, and be mindful of the waves crashing onto the rocks while taking photos, otherwise enjoy! 

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Rock Climbing
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

Explore Tide Pools at Chesterman Beach, Tofino, BC Reviews

Make sure you come at low tide! We saw a bunch of starfish if all sizes, crabs, and all sorts of aquatic like in tide pools! We had a blast.

Tofino is one of my favorite places. Tide pools were fun to check out and the views are amazing

Super cool beach that is split into 2 sections. There is surf but it's generally much smaller than Cox Bay, which is to the south.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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