Whether you’re a sea lover or a land lover, Ucluelet offers access to incredible outdoor amenities.
Photo Credit: Hello Nature Adventure Tours
Sea lovers have their pick of lake, ocean and beach activities.
The largest body of fresh water on Vancouver Island, Kennedy Lake, is within 20 minutes of Ucluelet. Swimmers, canoers, paddleboarders, and boaters frequent the lake and enjoy its warm summer temperatures.
Swim Beach, a sandy beach located within Kennedy Lake Provincial Park, is ideal for family outings, picnics and swimming. Kennedy Lake Provincial Park also offers a public boat launch for adventures on and around the lake.
Wildlife frequent the area and water conditions can change rapidly, so appropriate precautions must be taken.
Ucluelet is a launching point for kayakers of all abilities.
The Ucluelet Harbour is ideal for shorter paddles. The Harbour features relatively calm waters, spectacular scenery, and the opportunity to view wildlife feeding in the intertidal zone.
The Broken Group Islands, part of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, offers world class kayaking and camping. The 90 islets that comprise the Broken Group Islands shelter local waters from the summer’s prevailing north-westerly winds. The islets are also home to spectacular sandy beaches, ideal camping, and incredible First Nations cultural artifacts. Most kayakers skip the difficult open ocean paddle between the Broken Island Group and the Ucluelet Harbour by hiring a water taxi and guide, or launching from locations within Barkley Sound.
Ucluelet is known for exceptional saltwater angling. Ucluelet’s nutrient rich waters attract Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, halibut, lingcod and other groundfish. Local anglers have plenty of options when it comes to fishing spots. Anglers frequent locations just outside the harbour, in Barkley Sound and offshore.
Local conditions change rapidly so for the best experience use an experienced local angler or guide. Remember to check regulations and obtain a fishing license before departing. For more information about angling opportunities contact a local charter operator.
Each summer, mariners heading north or south arrive in Ucluelet’s natural deep water harbour. Some dock at one of Ucluelet’s many private and public moorage options for a night, and others stay longer. Many mariners spend time exploring the area around the Broken Island Group and Barkley Sound on their way to or from Ucluelet. Every second year Van Isle 360 participants stop in Ucluelet en route to circumnavigating Vancouver Island.
Other mariners arrive in Ucluelet by truck and launch their vessels at one of Ucluelet’s several public or private boat launches. They use Ucluelet as a home base for daytrips to nearby sites or to open ocean areas.
Whale watching companies operate out of the Ucluelet Harbour between March and October. For more information about whale watching contact one of Ucluelet’s whale watching companies.
Local weather conditions can be a challenge for even the most experienced mariner. For more nautical information contact the Ucluelet Harbour Master.
Surfing, Kiteboarding, and Windsurfing
Ucluelet’s closest surf beach is 15 minutes away in the Long Beach Unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Long Beach and Wickaninnish Beach offer miles of consistent beach breaks, which are rarely flat or exceptional.
Although locals surf year-round, summer months tend to be more suitable for beginners. The water temperature can be cold in the winter (8.3°C) and warmer in the summer (13.9°C). Wetsuits are necessary all year round.
Beaches in the Long Beach Division of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are frequented by experienced kiteboarders and windsurfers. South-easterly winds prevail in the winter and north-westerly winds prevail in the summer.
There are no life or surf guards on the beaches, but there are bathrooms with changing and shower facilities.
Ocean conditions change rapidly and there are strong local currents. Be cautious, take a lesson, and be Coast Smart. For more information about surfing opportunities contact a local surf shop or surf school.
Land lovers have their pick of trails, parks and outdoor sports facilities.
Wild Pacific Trail
Located in the District of Ucluelet, the Wild Pacific Trail offers a user friendly 9.4 km trail system. It features dramatic ocean views, old growth forest, beach access, a lighthouse, artist loops, and perfectly positioned benches to view the awe inspiring scenery. Users enjoy guided walks, hiking, running, storm watching, and searching the horizon for passing wildlife.
For more information about Ucluelet’s unique trail system visit WildPacificTrail.com.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Trails
The south end of the Long Beach Unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a 5-minute drive from Ucluelet. The Long Beach Unit features a variety of coastal and forested trails that meander through pristine beaches, ancient bogs, and lush coastal rainforests.
The multi-use path is a paved trail that runs from the north end of Ucluelet to Highway 4. Users enjoy walking, riding or rolling to their destination along the path.
Once complete the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee) multi-use pathway will pick up where the current path ends. It will link destinations in the Long Beach Unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve to the communities of Ucluelet, Esowista, Ty-Histanis and Tofino.
Ucluelet is the perfect place to experience the raw power of the Pacific Northwest’s winter storms. Pack your rain gear and head out to the Wild Pacific Trail or watch the storms from the comfort of your home or accommodation.
Be cautious, stay off the rocks and be Coast Smart. Winter storms can cause storm surges that are unpredictable and dangerous.
Parks, Beaches and Harbour Facilities
The District of Ucluelet offers several child-friendly parks with picnic benches, playground equipment, public gardens, and covered areas. Ucluelet also offers several sandy and rocky beaches that are perfect for beach fires, picnics, and paddle boarding.
Ucluelet’s harbour facilities are well established. A public boat launch is available at the bottom of Seaplane Base Road.
The Ucluelet Skatepark on Matterson Drive offers a bowl, whoop-de-doos, and street section. Each year skaters from all over the province converge on Ucluelet to compete in the Ucluelet Salmon Slam Bowl Jam Competition.
Ucluelet offers several facilities that are used for baseball, soccer, track, and dog walking. There is a volleyball court and BMX track located on Matterson Drive.
Head to the library, Ucluelet Community Centre, Pool, Gym, or the Ucluelet Aquarium.
Gym and Pool
Residents and visitors workout and swim at the West Coast Fitness Centre which offers members access to a pool, sauna and fully equipped gym. Residents and visitors also enjoy fitness programming offered at the local fitness studio, Ucluelet Community Centre Fitness Studio and Ucluelet Secondary School Gym.
For more information about local indoor recreational programming, check out the District of Ucluelet Parks & Recreation Activity Guide.
Located in the heart of Ucluelet, the Ucluelet Aquarium is Canada’s first catch-and-release aquarium. It features locally collected marine life in closed and touch tanks. The Aquarium offers educational programming for children and adults of all ages.
Community Centre and Library
The Ucluelet Community Centre features a fitness studio, youth room, main hall, food safe kitchen, arts and crafts room and several activity rooms. This warm and welcoming space is the home to several groups and activities. Check the District of Ucluelet Parks & Recreation Activity Guide for more information about local programming.
The Ucluelet Community Centre is also the home of the West Coast Community Resource Society and Ucluelet and Area Child Care Centre.
Ucluelet hosts recreational activities at the Ucluelet Athletic Hall, the Sea Plane Base Recreation Hall and Ucluelet Secondary School. During the winter months, youth use the Sea Plane Base to skateboard and play roller hockey. The Junior Rangers, Scouts and Guides use the Ucluelet Athletics Hall and indoor soccer and volleyball are played at the Ucluelet Secondary School Gym.
A branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library is located in the Ucluelet Community Centre. It offers regular hours, a breadth of literature and the ability to order books from libraries throughout British Columbia.
Food and Beverage
One of the joys of living in Ucluelet is the food and beverage on offer. Ucluelet’s food and beverage proprietors have you covered whether you’re after a quick bite, great coffee, three course meal, or world-class spirits.