When contemplating the options for a dog-friendly vacation destination, one fundamental requirement immediately jumps to my mind—the beach, a kingdom in which Dog is free to divulge in his deepest desires: swimming, digging, running, chasing, rolling in dead stuff. It was thus that I found myself headed for Tofino, BC with two adventurous dogs and a boyfriend in tow. Our ultimate destination was the Wickaninnish Inn, a Relais and Chateau property situated on the western edge of Vancouver Island in beautiful Tofino, BC, which in turn sits at the proverbial end of the road with an expanse of ocean stretching all the way to Japan at its shore.
The Wickaninnish, or “the Wick” as it is referred to locally, springs seemingly organically from the wild landscape that surrounds it. The property features two buildings, the Wick at the Pointe and the Wick at the Beach. The Wick at the Pointe is perfect for those interested in romantic stargazing and incredible storm watching. If you’re more of a beach bunny, the Wick at the Beach offers direct access to Chesterman beach through the Driftwood lounge, along with breathtaking views of the ocean and sand. It also boasts indoor dogs-welcome areas, like the library where you can ensconce yourself with Rex, a great book, and an even better scotch.
Upon arrival, your dogs will be met with a genuine greeting from the valet who will already know their names and will be glad to help your pack get settled. Although you might be in a hurry to abandon your luggage and head straight for the beach, take a moment to appreciate the incredible views and cozy amenities for both human and canine in each pet-friendly room. The Wick Inn’s “Ruffin It” package provides a comfy dog bed and a basket full of doggie necessities, including dishes, towels, baggies, treats, a Chuck-It, and of course, a copy of Modern Dog. One thing you won’t find, however, is any lingering trace of pet tenants past, since each room is thoroughly steam cleaned after check out, which makes the $40/night pet charge well worth it.
Once you’ve arranged the room to Fido’s liking, grab your pooch and the Chuck-It and head off to Chesterman beach, regarded by locals as Tofino’s most incredible span of waves, sand, and surf. Despite the cold water, surfers dot the water; head in to town to rent a board for an hourly or daily rate. There are a variety of outfits offering gear (wetsuits necessary) and lessons, like Surf Sisters. Spot them by their pink gear and pink VW van. The smooth, hard-packed sand makes Chesterman the ideal beach for dogs since it allows them to roam carefree without worry of sharp rocks or debris. On your way back from the beach, you’ll find a dog-wash station complete with shower, towels, and eco-friendly dog bags to ensure the shore remains barefoot friendly.
When the rumbling of your empty stomach finally overpowers the crashing waves, head in to enjoy an incredible meal at the Pointe Inn restaurant. Since Fido isn’t welcome in the dining room (one of the only areas dogs aren’t allowed), you’ll have to leave him behind, but fear not! The Wick Inn offers dog-sitting on request, should you not wish to leave Rexy all by his lonesome. But if he’s tuckered, just tuck him in. Dogs can be left unattended in the rooms, provided their kenneled (kennels provided should you need one.)
Rates start from $300 per night during Winter/Storm season, see wickinn.com for more details.