Home PlayingBritish Columbia 9 Reasons Why Cox Bay is the Best Beach in Canada

9 Reasons Why Cox Bay is the Best Beach in Canada

by Adam Doolittle
cox bay best beach in canada

If you fancy yourself a bit of a beach bum, you must book yourself a trip to Tofino. The tiny village on the west coast of Vancouver Island has not only some of the best beaches in Canada but perhaps even the world. Long Beach and Chesterman Beach are both world famous beaches that we’ve enjoyed over the last handful of months. They’re long & spacious beaches surrounded by breathtaking scenery that will leave you wanting to visit regularly.

For months, we would constantly visit Long Beach and Chesterman along with the equally impressive MacKenzie Beach, which is essentially our backyard at Crystal Cove Beach Resort. Little did we know, that over the course of the many months we’ve been in Tofino that we were missing out on not only the best beach in Tofino but the best beach in Canada. That beach is Cox Bay – a beach that for some reasons we ignored until recently.

Cox Bay Clayoquot Sound Best Beach in Canada

A view of Clayoquot Sound from the top of Cox Bay.

You might be thinking, “seriously, the best beach in Canada is a beach I’ve never heard of?” Yup – it’s true. Cox Bay is the best beach in Canada in our opinion and we do know a thing or two about awesome beaches. This past summer we spent many days walking the red sand beaches of PEI, many of which could easily be the best beach in Canada, too. Growing up, I spent time at Wasaga Beach – the longest freshwater beach in Canada. Kate grew up with fantastic beaches in Long Point and Turkey Point in southwestern Ontario. Still, our recent outings to Cox Bay left us with the feeling that this is the best beach in Canada.

So what’s so great about Cox Bay anyways? Let me explain…

9 Reasons Why Cox Bay is the Best Beach in Canada

1 – Surrounding Scenery

From the public access parking lot between Long Beach Lodge and the Cox Bay Beach Resort, you have to walk about 500m along a boardwalk before you hit the beach. Upon the completion of that walk, your eyes are presented with an expansive beach surrounded by the lush temperate rain forest.

As you walk to the middle of the beach the surroundings get even more impressive. Look to the left and you’ll see a couple small tree covered mountains. Look to the right and you’ll see many of the mountains that make up Clayoquot Sound.

Cox Bay Clayoquot Sound Best Beach in Canada

The mountains of Clayoquot Sound from Cox Bay.

 

2 – Beachcombing

Sand Dollars Cox Bay Best Beach in Canada

Massive sand dollars found at Cox Bay.

Growing up, Kate loved to go beachcombing with her mother on Inglewood Beach in Florida. Kate’s passion for beachcombing has since been passed on to me. The first time I went to Cox Bay, while walking the beach with Bella I was amazed at what I saw.

With the tide out, scattered along the spacious beach were hundreds of large sand dollars. Previously, I had seen the occassional sand dollar but this sight was unreal. Because they are so fragile, a large percentage of the sand dollars were broken into pieces and sprinkled throughout the beach. Still, though, there were a lot of full intact sand dollars from end-to-end of Cox Bay.

Aside from sand dollars, the rest of Cox Bay is also covered in various shells – especially at low tide. If you love beachcombing, you’ll love Cox Bay.

3 – Sunsets That Look Like Paintings

A couple of times every week, we’re amazed at the sunsets that present themselves in Tofino. Compared to the vibrant & fierce sunsets we experienced in PEI last summer, Tofino sunsets are different. They’re much softer and often resemble a watercolour painting.

At Cox Bay, with the surrounding mountains and wide open ocean, the sunsets are the perfect way to end a day.

Cox Bay Sunset Best Beach in Canada

A soft & subtle sunset over Cox Bay.

4 – Surfing

Thousands of people flock to Tofino throughout the year to ride the best waves in Canada. While the other beaches like Long Beach and Chesterman Beach have great surfing conditions, the surf conditions at Cox Bay are a notch better. The waves are large and act as a magnet for surfers, pulling them to the ocean where they bob around like seals waiting for that perfect wave. The surfing is so good at Cox Bay that Canadian ska band the Planet Smasher wrote about it in their fun tune “Surfin’ in Tofino”. The beach scenes in the video are of Cox Bay, too.

Even if you’re not a surfer, it’s fun to park yourself on the beach for a couple of hours and watch the surfers ride and balance themselves along the huge waves.

Cox Bay Surfer Best Beach in Canada

A surfer catching a good wave on Cox Bay.

5 – Jogging/Biking

If surfing isn’t quite your thing, put on a pair of runners or hop on your bike and hit Cox Bay. The beach is about 1.5km in length making it a great spot to go for a quick run or bike ride. The sand at Cox Bay, like all Tofino beaches, is really hard and doesn’t have much give to it which makes it great for these to activities. Plus, after you work up a small sweat, if you’re brave enough, you can quickly cool down by going for a dip…or maybe just sticking your feet into the water.

6 – Lennard Island Lighthouse

If you know Kate or me, you know that we love lighthouses. Last summer, we saw over 60 different lighthouses in PEI which was a fun experience. Here in Tofino, there aren’t many lighthouses to see aside from the Lennard Island Lighthouse.

This lighthouse was opened in the early 1900’s and served mariners as they would enter Clayoquot Sound. From Cox Bay, even though it’s still in the distance, you have a great view of the Lennard Island Lighthouse.

Lennard Island Lighthouse Cox Bay Best Beach in Canada

Lennard Island Lighthouse from Cox Bay.

7 – Wildlife

Tofino is a very wild place and Cox Bay is no different. It’s easy to look up and see massive bald eagles soaring around. Also, on occasion, you may even be able to spot whales from Cox Bay. Over 20,000 grey whales migrate past the coastline of Tofino every spring which offers up wonderful opportunities to see them from shore. Humpbacks and Orcas also frequent the area through the various times of the year.

8 – Tide Pools

Sea Star Fish Cox Bay Best Beach in Canada

A common sea star clinging to the rocks of a tidal pool at Cox Bay.

At low tide, the deeper pockets of beach along the coastal parts of Cox Bay allow you to have some serious fun checking out tide pools. Within these tide pools are all sorts of wonderful marine creatures. While searching the tide pools, it’s common to find crabs, shrimp, tiny fish and more. The common highlight for us is finding sea stars. The common sea stars here are beautiful. They cling themselves to the rocks with a vicious grip. While they look soft and jelly-like, they are rough like the rocks they cling themselves to. Sometimes they can be hard to find as the purple-ish stars tend to blend in with the rocks. However, the bright orange ones are easy to find and are stunning.

9 – The View

Located at the far end of Cox Bay is a somewhat secret-ish trail. The trail is technically a part of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve but isn’t labelled or marked at all. No online hiking guides even point to this as an actual trail. After a steep 20-30 minute climb up the mountainside, you can turn around and catch one of the most beautiful views you’ll ever see.

Cox Bay Clayoquot Sound Best Beach in Canada

A panorama from the top of Cox Bay looking out towards Clayoquot Sound.

Kate and I were in awe when we got to the top of the mountain with that view presented right in front of us. It seemed surreal. We spent a good half hour at the top of the mountain just looking out to the vast space in front of us.

Cox Bay Best Beach in Canada

This one will be finding a frame soon than later.

Continuing past this vantage point, a quick five-minute hike takes you to the opposite side of the mountain which also displays a completely different but equally as stunning vantage point.

Esowista Penninsual Cox Bay Best Beach in Canada

A view of the Esowista Peninsula from the top of Cox Bay.

We’ve never experienced a beach quite like Cox Bay before and for all of the reasons above, it’s why we believe it’s the best beach in Canada. Do yourself a favour and take a trip to Tofino and discover Cox Bay and all of the other incredible beaches in the area.

 

Tell us, where is your favourite beach and why?

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20 comments

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Katie Featherstone March 13, 2017 - 12:31 am

This is a combination of elements I definitely couldn’t argue with… maybe Cox Bay is the best beach in the world?

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Adam Doolittle March 15, 2017 - 2:28 pm

…maybe, just maybe! We’re going to Hawaii next month, though. Those beaches could take the crown.

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Aleney de Winter March 13, 2017 - 3:26 pm

Oh my this is stunning. How had I not heard of it. Canada’s in our plans for 2018 and this has just gone on the must visit list

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Adam Doolittle March 15, 2017 - 2:27 pm

Definitely come to Tofino in 2018 if you can. You wont regret it. Book early though as the accomodations fill up fast here. High demand for such a small place.

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Rosie Benton March 13, 2017 - 10:26 pm

Well you’ve convinced me it’s the best beach in Canada! Looks beautiful – awesome photos. Really want to have a go at surfing, hopefully we’ll make it here one day. Thanks for sharing!

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Adam Doolittle March 15, 2017 - 2:27 pm

Thanks Rosie! We hope you can enjoy this awesome beach some day.

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Rhonda Swan March 14, 2017 - 1:24 pm

Now that looks like an unstoppable vacation site! Cheers.

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ada March 15, 2017 - 1:10 pm

All your photos from that post could be a postcards! They are wonderful ! Scenery is beautiful! I never been in Canada before and definitely havent heard about that place but now I am putting it on my bucket list! Thank you for sharing with us such a stunning place !

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Adam Doolittle March 15, 2017 - 2:21 pm

Thanks Ada, that’s very kind of you to say. Definitely visit Canada someday…so beautiful!

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Stephanie Frias March 15, 2017 - 10:13 pm

This is really neat, we would love to visit Canada one of these days. We currently live on the beach in Ecuador…and I just can’t get over how different the overall scenery and the marine life are. Our sand dollars and sea star look completely different! And of course, we rarely see a fir tree in these parts. I really enjoyed appreciating the diversity here 😀

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Adam Doolittle March 20, 2017 - 10:22 am

Oh – we would love to get to Ecuador someday to enjoy the beaches and various marine life there.

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Agness of Fit Travelling March 17, 2017 - 2:19 pm

Your pictures are stunning and this spot is breathtaking, Adam! Keep up the good work!

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Galia.Vu0107 March 17, 2017 - 8:30 pm

Cox Bay really amazing! I’ve never chanced to go there before. But Definitely some day I’ll go Cox Bay to get more experience. Love your píc also!

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Clare March 18, 2017 - 5:09 am

Wow, this place looks amazing. I would love to visit to see those views. I have never heard of it but will make a visit there next time I am in Vancouver. The view of the sound just looks breathtaking 🙂

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Adam Doolittle March 20, 2017 - 10:19 am

If you can get to Tofino when visiting Vancouver you’ll definitely be excited to see all of the amazing views that we are lucky enough to see on a regular basis.

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Sheri March 19, 2017 - 2:56 am

SO glad I got to read about this. I learned so much and about a place I never knew about. I will be saving this post. A friend is heading over to Canada in two months, I love the view of the surrounding mountains.

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Ariane March 19, 2017 - 3:07 am

Cox Bay looks really really beautiful ! I would love to go beach combing to this spot (always something I really liked to do :-)) And I can already Imagining myself sitting at the beach and looking at one of those drop dead gorgeaous sunsets… Sometimes you come along locations like this one, where you feel at home immediately and can’t forget about. I could feel this through your post, so thanks a lot for letting me in on this!

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Adam Doolittle March 20, 2017 - 10:18 am

Ariane, thanks for reading our post! You would definitely love beachcombing here. It’s so incredible to see the sand dollars and various shells all over the place.

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Anna March 20, 2017 - 1:19 am

I used to live in Vancouver and made it to Tofino once, it really is a spectacular place. I’m not sure I’d ever have enough courage to go surfing there though… the waters might be a tad bit too cold for my liking haha!

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Adam Doolittle March 20, 2017 - 10:14 am

The water is definitely too cold for most people, myself included. The surfers deck themselves out with thick wetsuits to keep warm though. They say it works but I’m not sure I believe them.

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