Explore Tide Pools at Chesterman Beach, Tofino, BC

1 miles 30 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

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! 

Read More


Rock Climbing
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Super cool beach

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.

Nearby Adventures

  • Sunset at Chesterman Beach

    Just minutes from downtown Tofino, Chesterman Beach is a great spot to catch the sunset, go for a run, or just walk down the beach towards Frank Island. The parking lot is just seconds from the beach.Head to the right and scramble on the rocks to ...

    0.25 miles

  • Sunset at Mackenzie Beach

    Grab a loved one, your family, or your closest friends and head to Tofino for the weekend.You can stay at Bella Pacifica Campground, right near the beach at the end of Mackenzie Beach Road, and enjoy the beach while camping in the west coast rainf...

  • Take a Stroll at Mackenzie Beach

    Head out to Mackenzie beach in Tofino. The easiest way to access it is through the Makenzie Beach Resort or surrounding campgrounds.  It is roughly a mile long beach depending upon the tide. Sometimes live music is played on the beach, usually in ...

  • Photograph Sunset Point in Tofino

    You can park at the public beach parking at Cox Bay Beach Resort and make your way out on to the beach. Once you are on the beach, head north until you get to the "Sunset Point" trail sign. The trail walks through the woods for ~100m until you joi...