Ucluelet Big Beach

Look for wildlife in tidal pools, forests and out to sea when you visit this unspoiled beach on Vancouver Island’s west coast.

Thrill to a day of fun, adventure and excitement at Big Beach. The popular beach park is situated in large bay and is flanked by cliffs and rocky outcrops. Relax under the sun, hike through a forest and across cliffs and go wildlife spotting.

The beach has both pebbles and sand and is sheltered from the winds by the cliffs. Enjoy a stroll along the shore, where you will often see piles of driftwood that have accumulated from winter storms. Cool off in the summer by dipping your toes in the water. Swimming is not really an option, because the coastline is rocky.

Wildlife is one of the biggest draws at Big Beach. Clamber over the low tide rock pools to find shrimps, crabs and anemones. Look out across the Pacific where you can often see pods of dolphins. You may even be lucky enough to spot pilot and humpback whales that pass close to the beach during their migrations in the spring and summer.

Big Beach is one of the destinations on the Wild Pacific Trail, a 5-mile (8-kilometer) hiking trail that runs parallel to the coast and is suitable for all ages and abilities. The gradients are not steep and the route consists of boardwalk and gravel pathways. Put on your walking boots and follow the course through rainforests and along cliff edges. Tread quietly and you may catch a glimpse of deer, raccoons, owls, bald eagles and cougars. Bears have also been spotted in the area. Point your binoculars at the trees to see songbirds.

After your walk, head to the picnic shelter for something to eat. There is also a large lawn for picnics, a play area for children and washrooms.

Big Beach is about a 10-minute drive south of Ucluelet. There is a car park on the edge of the beach that is open year-round.