Jutting off Vancouver Island's western coast, Tofino has long been a destination for cold water surfers and a summer getaway for Seattleites looking for a rustic vibe. The drive to the town is long but easy – six hours, including a ferry ride, from the border – while the journey to Hot Springs Cove is short but tricky. Located along the Sidney Inlet, the geothermal zone is only accessible by sea-plane and boat. Fortunately, sea-planes are common in the corner of Canada and the views justify the added expense of a day trip with one of the many excellent local outfitters. An affordable and exciting option for anyone looking to make the journey is to hop one of the boats operated by West Coast Aquatic Safaris and look for whales on the way to the series of rain-fed, thermally-heated pools. Relax in the pools, which vary widely in temperature, before winging back to civilization.
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