Sometimes it rains and rains!!!!
Love at first sight. I immediately bought the annual pass.
Pacific Rim Park on the extreme left coast of Canada, is a fantastic area, where you can keep yourself busy whale watching, kayaking, fishing, surfing (here the surf is very active and sometimes dangerous) beach-combing, or just lying around on the beach and working on your tan. There are many places to camp in this park, but call ahead to make sure you get a site. Nothing like getting it in your head that you are going to spend a week or so here camping, and find out all the spots are booked solid. There are just two towns out this way, Ucluelet and Tofino, both offer some attractions.
From Vancouver you can also hop on a flight into Nanaimo Harbour, its fast and fun.
Perhaps it's the hike. Perhaps it's the not-so-obvious trailhead. This lovely cove is not as crowded as Wickaninnish or Combers' Beach. A few rock-islands on the beach create habitat for crabs and starfish, making things more interesting.
While beachcombing at the Cove, I was joined by a couple of deer from nearby forest. In the past I had only seen deer in the mountains, and I was surprised how comfortable they were with the waves. They walked in the shallow water and chewed on seaweed. They were probably attracted by the salt content in the water that's not easily available in the forest.
The biggest attraction in Long Beach is of course the beach itself. And the best way to enjoy the beach is to simply spend some time there. In the summer this is the spot to surf. In the winter this is where you watch huge waves crashing on rocks. For me, some quiet time to myself with nothing but the sound of ocean is soothing.
A good portion of the beach is easily accessible by car. A few steps from the parking lot your feet are already on the sand (e.g. Wichaninnish Beach, Combers' Beach). Others require some hiking through the rainforest (e.g. Schooner Cove).
Before you start exploring, stop by the Wichaninnish Centre to acquire parking permit and trail map. The Centre has a theater and nice exhibiiton. Upstairs there's a restaurant with beach view. Then, walk down to Wichaninnish Beach to get your first taste of Pacific Rim National Park.
People do swim here dispite the temperature of the water.
You have to wear a wet suit . Hypothermia is a real danger.
Long Beach is said to be the best surfing spot in Canada. I was told there's a Canadian pop song called "Surfing in Tofino" -- not sure if it's true. Anyways, I did see quite a few surfers -- more long boarders than short boarders, which may have to do with the waves here. The beach was far less crowded than southern California where I live, so surfers didn't have to cut through 3 fellow surfers to catch 1 wave, which is nice.