There really isn’t anything quite like walking along a beach, especially at sunset. I have managed to do it in a variety of places during my travels but I’ve never expected to have an opportunity to do so in my home country. Sure, Canada has three different coast lines but for some reason, I never associate them with beaches. My brain thinks we’re too far north, maybe. But on a trip out to Vancouver Island in western Canada, I quickly learned otherwise. Who knew Canada has beaches! Well, many people know. But I certainly didn’t expect the beautiful beaches I ended up visiting while on Vancouver Island.

One beach I particularly loved for spectacular sunsets was Long Beach, near the city of Tofino. It is located within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, a huge national park (511 km² of land and ocean). This beach is often mentioned in articles that list the best places within Canada to watch a sunset – and so it should be. The views of the sunset here are just stunning with fantastic colours.

What Long Beach has going for it is its length. Yes, that’s right – the name Long really isn’t all that creative since it reflects what it looks like! Having a long expanse of beach makes it great for walking and providing that landscape view of the sunset. I spent quite a while, walking up the beach, looking for pretty stones and chasing birds who were a bit camera shy. There weren’t many people here – enough to make me feel safe but not so many that it took away from the peacefulness. The annoying thing about sunsets, I find, is that they are over so quickly! But I guess that is part of what make them so beautiful – a lesson in fully living a moment before it escapes from your grasp.

Many of the beaches along the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island have great surfing and you can often see people paddling out or wiping out. Long Beach is no exception but because of tidal rocks not far from shore (or on shore, depending on the tides) and strong rip-currents, you may not want to go into the water here unless you know what you’re doing. But if the tide is low, go check out Incinerator Rock, a really big tidal rock. If you have good shoes, try climbing it for a higher view of your surroundings!

Tip: If you are looking for a smaller beach in which to surf, check out Cox Bay. Also great place to learn the art of surfing!