Bamfield is the heart of unique outdoor and educational experiences. Between sandy, tropical-like beaches, rugged coastal hikes, rich history and marine education, there is a lot to explore in this slice of Canadian heaven. Below are 5 interesting opportunities to see Bamfield in its true beauty, learn about aquatic wildlife and get a taste of the expansive history behind this tiny coastal village. You might just feel compelled to make a change in your lifestyle and move to Bamfield!
Brady’s Beach – Noted as possibly one of the most luxurious and pristine beaches on the West Coast, Brady’s Beach is an absolute must-see when visiting Bamfield. This sandy hideaway is approximately 25 minutes down a gravel trail from the West Bamfield dock. The short hike showcases local vegetation throughout the trail and opens up to a beachcomber’s haven. Spend the day swimming, meditating with the ocean breeze or sifting through unique shells, sea glass and driftwood that have come ashore. Bring some refreshments and a picnic lunch, and be sure to always pack out what you pack in.
Bamfield Marine Sciences – Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre is a world-class research centre with a vision of ‘Life changing exploration and discovery in marine environments”. With the Barkley Sound as their oyster – no pun intended, BMSC educates visitors on the fascinating reality of marine, coastal and rainforest habitats. BMSC was first established in 1972 and with the help of several universities including UBC, UVIC, SFU, UAlberta and UCalgary. The centre organizes several marine science-related programs open to the public as well as university courses to students in the summer months. BMSC is an experience for all ages and will open up the underwater world for those who are curious.
Broken Island Kayak Tour- A kayaking tour is one of the most exciting and raw ways to indulge in the wild West Coast. There are several local businesses that offer day and multi-day expeditions around the Broken Islands where you can witness the true beauty of BC’s offshore wildlife firsthand. The waters around the Broken Group can be crystal clear and glowing with a deep and beautiful teal colour. Paired with pristine, white sandy beaches, one might think they have floated into tropical waters. A kayak expedition is one experience that any outdoor enthusiast will never forget.
Hike and Picnic at Keeha Beach – If you are looking for a bit more of an off-grid day hike with a picturesque destination, Keeha Beach is the perfect opportunity to enjoy Bamfield in its pure state. The hike is about 3.5km from the Cape Beale Trailhead – however, it can take travellers up to 3 hours depending on a variety of factors including weather, fitness level and what belongings you are carrying. The hike can be muddy so it’s best to be prepared with proper footwear and a change of attire once you reach Keeha Beach. The beach has a photo-like, sandy shoreline that is perfect to take in the sea air and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Cape Beale Lighthouse – The Cape Beale Lighthouse is a little piece of Barkley Sound History, dating back to the 1870s when construction first began. The Cape Beale Lighthouse was the first lighthouse to be built along western Vancouver Island’s shore and has an expansive light that can be seen 19 miles away. Nearly a century later in 1958, a newer tower was built and marks the entrance to the Barkley Sound. The Cape Beale Trail leads you to the lighthouse through approximately 14km out and back of moderately challenging hiking conditions. This particular trail system is open year-round and is a great route for exploring off-grid beaches, birding, backpacking and even camping.
Written by: Stephanie Wakelin