This spring, we booked a two-night stay at the Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet, British Columbia on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We had friends visiting us from Montreal and Edmonton, and we decided to head over to the west coast for some time together.
This was my first time staying here, even though I’ve driven past it dozens of times over the years. We usually stay at the Black Rock Resort, but with a party of five adults, an infant, and a dog, we thought it would be more judicious to stay here instead of booking multiple rooms.
Let’s have a look at our experience.
Terrace Beach Resort Ucluelet – Booking
In a group chat, we all did separate research and then narrowed down options for our weekend.
We came across Terrace Beach Resort as an option, as it could accommodate our party of five and it was pet friendly. We also liked the idea of doing some self-catering to save on expenses for the weekend.
Our two-night stay in the Sea Star Cabin cost $1,128, which was split between five adults at $225.60 each. It’s hard to come by affordable accommodation in this part of the world, and we decided that this was an entirely reasonable amount to pay.
We booked directly through the Terrace Beach Resort website, as it wound up being cheaper than booking on AirBnB by about $250.
While I could have booked it on a TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card or any other card where I could use points as a statement credit to offset the cost, I was working on the minimum spend for an HSBC World Elite Mastercard and charged it on that instead.
Terrace Beach Resort Ucluelet – Location
Terrace Beach Resort is unsurprisingly located on Terrace Beach, on the outskirts of Ucluelet. It’s conveniently situated a short drive from the town’s amenities, while offering access to the beach, a hiking trail, and stunning views.
For our purposes, the location was excellent. Our cabin was positioned for sunset views from the upper patio each evening, so we didn’t have to go anywhere to enjoy the show.
Footsteps from the resort is He-Tin-Kis Park, which is a small park that connects to the Wild Pacific Trail. The resort also sits right on Terrace Beach, where you can do easy beach walks in the morning or beachcombing for sea glass.
The Wild Pacific Trail is one of my favourite parts of staying in Ucluelet. The Lighthouse Loop trail, an easy 4.5 km trail that offers stunning views of the Broken Islands in the Pacific Rim National Park, connects directly to He-Tin-Kis Park.
There are numerous benches to storm watch in the winter or to enjoy a stunning sunset, gazing into the Pacific Ocean. I’d recommend grabbing a blanket, a picnic basket, and maybe even a cleansing ale while you find a private spot to rest just off the trail.
The town of Ucluelet is a short drive away. It’s possible to walk there, too, just keep an eye and ear out for some of the wildlife that’s known to frequent this part of the peninsula.
The entrance to Pacific Rim National Park is around 15 minutes from the resort, and Tofino is about a 45 minute drive away.
We spent a lot of time at our cabin, as we had an infant with us, and came equipped to be more or less self-contained. We found the location to be perfect for our needs — close enough to amenities and restaurants for take-out, but far enough away to enjoy a quiet experience by the ocean.
Terrace Beach Resort Ucluelet – Check-in
Our friends arrived ahead of us on a Friday afternoon, as my wife and I had to wrap up our day jobs before making the easy two and a half hour drive to Ucluelet from our home in Courtenay.
As we found out, Terrace Beach Resort is less of a resort and more a collection of vacation rentals. There is no check-in desk or staff ready to greet you. Rather, you are given a door code in advance of your stay, and you just show up and help yourself to your room.
The main part of the resort is set up as rooms in a large, stilted building, with a number of separate cabins on a separate walkway. Lugging our gear was a bit of a chore, as our cabin was a bit of a walk from the parking lot, but it just took a few trips.
Our friends greeted us at the door, and we headed in to scope out our surroundings.
Terrace Beach Resort Ucluelet – Sea Star Cabin
The Sea Star Cabin is a cozy, three-level cabin equipped with everything you’d need for a self-contained stay.
As you enter, you walk through the compact kitchen, which is equipped with a refrigerator, stove with oven, washing machine, microwave, sink, and coffee machine. The cupboards are stocked with plates, bowls, knives, wine glasses, a toaster, and pretty much anything else you’d need for a weekend.
As per tradition on road trips, I brought my countertop espresso machine, as it offers a superior start to the day over a percolator.
Immediately to the left of the entrance is the main bathroom offering a simple setup of a vanity, toilet, and shower. Even with five people rotating through in the morning, we found the hot water supply, as well as the water pressure, to be entirely sufficient for our needs.
Just outside of the kitchen is a staircase to the lower bedroom, the dining area, and the living area.
The dining area is small and has a compact table for four nestled in the corner, underneath a interesting picture of shipwrecks off the west coast of Vancouver Island and some Indigenous artwork.
Next to the lower staircase and near the dining area is a small island with a knife block, cutting board, pots, pans, and other utensils. There’s also a vacuum, should you need to clean up any wine glasses knocked over by a wagging dog tail like we did.
The living area has a couch, two lounge chairs, a television, a coffee table, and a faux fireplace. The couch turns into a bed at night, which I wound up sharing with my older dog who wasn’t keen on staircases.
The upper patio is accessed by a door from the living area. On the patio are two Adirondack chairs and a hot tub. The view from the hot tub and patio was spectacular, and we spent a lot of time out here throughout our stay.
Heading back inside, another staircase from the living leads to the upper level.
There is an open-air bathtub that overlooks the patio, but we all opted for time in the hot tub rather than the bathtub.
The upper bedroom is simple, with a bed flanked by two lamps on nightstands, and a small television, chair, and dresser on the opposing wall.
Connected to the upper bathroom is a small half-bathroom, with a toilet and a sink.
The bedroom on the lower level, which is accessed by a steep staircase, also has a simple set-up, with a bed, dresser, television, and access to a separate patio.
On the lower patio are two more Adirondack chairs and a coffee table. My wife and I enjoyed a morning cappuccino out here as the rest of the group was stirring.
There is a barbecue next to the front door, which we used to cook some delicious local ling cod during our stay.
Our group had mixed feelings about the set-up of the cabin.
The Sea Star Cabin was very well equipped with everything needed to enjoy a self-catered stay with friends for a weekend. The hot tub and private patio were excellent, and we spent a lot of time enjoying the views, relaxing, and catching up with each other.
Without any doors to separate spaces, though, we found that we were always being mindful of each other. Our friends had an eight-month-old with them, which was lovely, but they wound up heading into town when he woke up early, so as to let the others rest up for a while longer.
Had there been doors, I imagine they would have felt more comfortable starting their day at the cabin. None of us minded revolving around the little guy’s circadian rhythms, but after our stay, we all agreed that having some separate spaces would have been ideal.
The set up of this space would probably be well-suited for a family with older kids or maybe for groups of two or four.
As we self-catered for most meals, I don’t have anything to say about the breakfast or food offerings available at the resort, since there aren’t any. We made breakfast and dinner twice, and then enjoyed lunch at some local establishments.
I barely made it through a gigantic burrito from West Coast Salty Buns in Ucluelet on one day, and enjoyed a trio of tacos from the Wildside Grill in the Live to Surf Compound close to Tofino, as Tacofino’s line was over an hour long.
Terrace Beach Resort Ucluelet – Nearby Activities
During our stay, I had the opportunity to share some of my favourite parts of Ucluelet and the West Coast with our friends who hadn’t visited before.
As I mentioned above, the Wild Pacific Trail is directly accessible from the resort. Casually walking the Lighthouse Loop is a great way to enjoy spectacular views, and is neither strenuous nor incredibly busy.
The rest of the Wild Pacific Trail is accessible by following the sidewalk along Peninsula Road and then heading in towards the Black Rock Resort, where the main trail resumes.
I can’t say enough about how incredibly beautiful the trail is. It cuts through the coastal rainforest for roughly 8km, offering numerous access points to secluded beaches and scenic viewpoints.
Its equally as beautiful in the summer as it is during the stormy winter season, when massive waves pound against the jet-black rocky shore. Just come prepared with the right clothing for the forecast, and allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy.
Aside from frequenting some of my favourite local businesses, including the Ucluelet Brewing Company, the Ucluelet Aquarium, and Zoe’s Bakery and Café, we spent our time in and around the Pacific Rim National Park.
The Pacific Rim National Park is actually split into two parts: one runs between Ucluelet and Tofino, and the other covers the Broken Islands and the West Coast Trail.
Between Ucluelet and Tofino, there are numerous beautiful beaches and some short hiking trails. The recently-completed ʔapsčiik t̓ašii multi-use trail, which stretches around 25km through the national park, is a great opportunity to bike, run, or hike through the park.
My personal favourite beach within the park is Halfmoon Bay, which is closer to Ucluelet and accessed by an aging, steep staircase.
Florencia Bay, Wickaninnish Beach, and Long Beach are the most popular beaches for surfing within the national park, and there are several public beaches closer to Tofino where it’s also possible to surf.
We enjoyed a long stroll on Wickaninnish Beach and Long Beach, listening to the surf crash against the sandy shore and watching local surfers play in the waves.
The Rainforest Loops are also worth a visit, as you’ll circle around the lush coastal rainforest and see some gigantic trees.
Lastly, there are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, both on land and on the water. We didn’t partake in any guided excursions on this trip, but I am fortunate to have spent plenty of time on the water with friends over the years.
If you’re into ocean fishing, Ucluelet is one of the best spots on Vancouver Island to catch salmon, halibut, ling cod, and other fish.
The Terrace Beach Resort is a nice location to enjoy some of the pristine wilderness on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The sunset views over Terrace Beach are certainly memorable, too.
Our cabin was spacious and well-equipped for a weekend of self-catering. Having a private hot tub on the patio facing the ocean was certainly the highlight of our stay.
The only gripe we had was the lack of doors to separate spaces within the cabin. Without separate spaces, this particular cabin is well-suited to families with older children or smaller groups of adults.
I’d consider staying here again, especially as the cost split between our group made the weekend more affordable.