Ucluelet BC: The West Coast’s Hub for Whales and Bears

Nestled on the Ucluelet Peninsula on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Ucluelet is an easygoing place that is a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. Known as “Ukee” by the outgoing, unpretentious people that call the small town home, Ucluelet is a must-stop when traveling to BC.

Situated on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, visitors continue to fall in love with the opportunity to enjoy and explore one of the world’s most pristine coastlines. Ucluelet is a place rich in tradition and natural beauty, making it ideal for so many activities including but not limited to: whale watching, bear watching, bird watching, fishing, surfing, hiking, biking, ocean kayaking, and zip lining, or simply sitting back and soaking in the stunning sunset via cruise or on the deck.

The Ucluelet Aquarium

One of the most popular places to visit while staying in this town is the Ucluelet Aquarium. Considering the town’s close proximity to the Pacific, it is no wonder why the Aquarium is not only a favorite attraction, but a wonderfully educational experience for people of all ages.

The hands-on aquarium encourages visitors, especially kids, to meet the area’s sea creatures up close and personal at the touch tank, and the knowledgeable staff is always eager to answer questions about local sea life, including the giant octopus, sea anemones, sea urchins, and sea stars.

Bear and Whale Watching

Black bears are frequent visitors to the Ucluelet area and can oftentimes be found on the shores of the Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds near town. Especially during low tide, the bears gather on the shores in search of rock crab. There are several outfitters in Ucluelet that offer bear watching tours, either by sea kayak, canoe, zodiac, or cruiser.

Bear watching is second only to whale watching in regards to popular Ucluelet activities, and you will soon see why. Come every March and April, Ucluelet is home to the greatest whale migration on Earth.

Some years, nearly 17,000 grey whales pass en route from the winter home on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea. This journey spans roughly 22,530km (14,000mi) and is the longest migration of any creature in the world. Ucluelet’s sheltered bays make it easy to catch a glimpse of these mesmerizing creatures as they feed and get ready to continue on their journey.

Kayaking and Canoeing

Sea kayaking is one of the most popular activities in all of BC, and Ucluelet is no different. The town offers several breathtaking and safe sea kayaking opportunities around the Broken Group Islands and there are numerous outfitters that offer visitors affordable tours of the area’s exceptional wilderness. One of the most popular tours is Majestic Ocean Kayaking Company’s three-hour tour of the Ucluelet Harbour, which is also a good place to start for beginners.

Dining Options

After a long day out on the sea, bear watching, or whale watching, you will surely want to treat yourself to a delicious local meal. Even though the town itself isn’t a huge metropolis, you may be surprised by the diverse and mouth-watering dining scene. Most restaurants in Ucluelet are found on or just off of Peninsula Road, and you will find many great options for breakfast food, pizza, fresh fish, and innovative cocktails.

As you can see, Ucluelet BC has a great deal to offer for new and returning visitors alike. Be sure and check the town’s events calendar before you book your trip, as you may want to plan it around one of the many awesome festivals!

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