Port Renfrew

Are you wondering what to do in Port Renfrew? One of the very best ways to take home lasting memories of your visit to the Pacific gateway marina of Port Renfrew is to book yourself a fishing charter. British Columbia is renowned the world over for its outstanding fishing. You can land delicious salmon or halibut for some of the tastiest eating you’ll ever have. And it’s all the sweeter when you’ve caught it yourself!

Two hours west of Victoria, BC, lies Port Renfrew, achingly beautiful all year round, and consisting of a small community of friendly, happy people. If you love the sea, beaches, rugged trails and a dash of adventure, you’ll feel right at home.

Fabulous Beaches

Botanical Beach has tidal pools rich with many varieties of marine plant and animal life, including brightly-coloured starfish, mussels and sea cucumbers, as well as sea anemones. You’ll also find periwinkle and chitons. It’s a great place to explore, and an area of scientific interest that’s been used for research by several universities. This includes the University of Minnesota, which in 1901 created the first marine research facility established in the Pacific Northwest.

There is parking and visitor information plus picnic areas at Botanical Beach. It’s a popular area and some concern exists over the impact of humans on the ecosystem. For this reason, visitors are asked not to disturb or collect living organisms, plants or shells from the tide pools. Taking photographs is fine, though, and make equally good souvenirs.

The Port Renfrew Pub

Don’t miss a chance to visit the Port Renfrew pub. Right on the waterfront by the dock, it’s also a restaurant and has spectacular views. Beer lovers will find plenty of choice from the 10-tap draught system, and if you can tear your eyes off the view, there is a flat screen TV and a pool table in this nautically charming setting.

There’s plenty to do in Port Renfrew in the evenings too, with live music some nights in the Port Renfrew pub. Even on quieter evenings, though, there’s always good food with plenty of bounty from the sea ranging from cod and chips to seafood chowder, as well as pork and chicken dishes.

Juan de Fuca Marine Trail

Botanical Beach is the NW start of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Extending over 47km of wilderness, it finishes up at China Beach, 35km west of Sooke, snaking along the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island. It normally takes around four to six days to hike the trail from start to finish with camping along the way (a backcountry camping fee is charged) or you can take a day hike and just do part of the trail. There is no need for a reservation, which is required for the West Coast Trail.

The West Coast Trail

If you like wild, remote coastal areas, exploring the West Coast Trail is a fine thing to do in Port Renfrew. The trail follows a former telegraph route, which at one time linked Victoria with Cape Beale near Bamfield, and used to be the safety route used by shipwreck survivors. It will take you through forests filled with hemlock and spruce trees, across suspension bridges over rivers, and along cliffs and beaches. Built in 1907, it extends over 75km and is part of the Pacific Rim National Park.

Camping in Port Renfrew adds to the adventure, either at one of the main campsites or one of the numerous smaller campsites along the trail. It is a rugged trail, demanding a high level of fitness and skill to complete, but you can also explore just part of it for a short hike. It’s best to consult a map of Port Renfrew BC, and a good idea to carry a map of the trail along with you. Remember to get your reservation before you set off.