Ucluelet (Ukee) is a small village on the West side of Vancouver Island along the Pacific Ocean in the area known as Clayoquot Sound and on Tla-o-qui-aht tribal territory. The area boasts of temperate rainforests that meet the ocean and is home to an abundance of wildlife and marine life, making it a great place to visit to experience nature.
In this post, we share tips and information to enjoy a long weekend in Ukee!
As mentioned in our Pros and Cons: Tofino vs. Ucluelet post, it is not easy to get to Ukee and so you need to plan in advance. We also don’t recommend just showing up expecting to find a campground or place to stay last minute because it gets sold out during much of the summer.
Where to Stay:
There are campgrounds, Airbnbs, bed and breakfasts, resorts, and vacation rentals in Ukee for various price points but you should expect to pay about $200 a night unless you’re camping. We don’t camp and prefer boutique and luxury hotels so here are our top picks.
- Affordable Low-Key Luxury – 378 Marine Drive (Airbnb):
Located about a 10 minute walk from town and nestled between Big Beach and Little Beach, 378 Marine Drive Guest House is has 3 rooms located on the lower floor of the house the owners live in. Each room is equipped with a view of the water, a fireplace, comfortable bed with a Logan and Cove mattress, a soaker tub and shower, and a small kitchenette (dishes, sink, toaster, microwave).
The property also has a shred fire pit and hot tub for guests to use. We also appreciated the small touches; a selection of books to read in the room, the delicious granola, coffee, and breakfast treats delivered in the morning around 08:00 in a tiffin.
- Canadian Hospitality – A Snug Harbour Inn:
A Snug Harbour Inn is one of Canada’s top 10 rated bed and breakfasts and located about 10 minutes from town. Nancy and Fabian are outstanding inn keepers who make sure your stay in comfortable and also help you to enjoy the local area. We enjoyed fires on the private beach, warming up in the hot tub, and breakfasts delivered to our room each morning in wine crates (the scrambled eggs with local smoked salmon were the best scrambled eggs we’ve ever had.We stayed in the Sawadee room due to its large and private patio with an amazing view and the bathroom with a large bathtub by a fireplace; it did not disappoint at all! We spent many hours sitting on our Adirondack chairs outside just enjoying the view and calm that surrounds us. A Snug Harbour Inn is an adults only property and some rooms are pet-friendly.
- A Full-Service Resort: Black Rock Ocean Front Resort:
The Black Rock Ocean Front Resort is a 132 room ocean front resort located 10 minutes away from town and right at the Wild Pacific Trail head. The Black Rock is pretty stunning as it is built into the rock and to fit the natural landscape. Some things about the Black Rock do make it a luxury resort and other things not so much.
We absolutely loved our first stay because our room had an amazing view but our second stay not so much because they more or less gave us one of the worst rooms in the hotel despite booking the same category as last time (make sure to be aware of what you are booking and confirm to avoid disappointment).
We loved the bathroom; not only do you have a nice soaker tub with a view of the fireplace and the ocean (depending which room you get) but the shower is amazing and holds in the steam to warm up when you get cold. Their toiletries are also quite nice and we appreciate they are from a Canadian company.
The kitchenette with a convection oven was perfect to reheat takeout and make some basic meals in in the room and so if this is important to you, the Black Rock is a good choice.
And some of the negatives that we feel take away from it being a luxury resort. The bed was weird too; we found ourselves rolling out towards the edge due to how the mattress dipped. Due to COVID, the hot tub and gym were not available nor was the breakfast restaurant. We understand the challenges in getting staff due to the last minute changes in travel recommendations but other resorts found a way to offer amenities. We also found the staff to be hit and miss depending who you encountered; some people made you feel valued and other people not so much.
What to Do:
Being in Ukee is about experiencing nature and so we spent most of our time going for drives and hikes.
- The Wild Pacific Trail: This is one of our favorite hikes due to the stunning scenery! It is such a well maintained trail that showcases the forest and marine life along the coast. Overall, the trail is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels but some parts are more difficult than others.
- The Ucluelet Aquarium: The Ucluelet is a catch and release aquarium that showcases the marine life in the area and helps you to learn about it. It is a pretty small place but very fun and a must-do.
- Halfmoon Bay Trail: We recommend packing a picnic to enjoy on the secluded beach this 1 km or so trail through a rainforest leads you to.
- Mount Ozzard Hike: This is a 12.1 kilometre hike with 660 metre elevation gain that gives you a nice view of the area.
- Visit Tofino: It is about a 30 minute drive to Tofino and the nearby beaches. Make sure to visit the beaches, check out Tofino Brewing, and have some food from The Shed!
- Tours/Activities: There a number of tours available, like whale watching, bear watching, kayaking, fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, etc.
Where to Eat:
Ukee is a small town but there are lots of great places to eat here and we haven’t had the chance to try them all yet but here are some of our favorites.
- Ucuelet Brewing:This local brewery has great beer, amazing views, and tasty food too (we recommend the pretzel). They also have beer to go and fill growlers.
- Raven Lady Food Truck: Raven Lady has a great menu featuring seafood. Our favorites are the cod accra, tuna tar tar and the cod burger with fries.
- Zoe’s Bakery: Zoe’s Bakery has amazing pastries and their carrot cake is to die for! It is worth the wait for sure.
- Abbodanza Pizza: Abbodanza means plenty and you will find plenty of good pizza here! It is quite eclectic so don’t expect run of the mill pizza here. We do recommend calling your order in as they sell out or you can end up waiting 1.5 hours during busy times for a pizza.
- Frankie’s Resto-Bar: It is hard to find good fries and poutine in British Columbia, but this is the place to get the good stuff!
- Ukee Dogs: Another eclectic place that is super fun with good food and beer. We enjoyed a hot dog and beer on the patio as we laughed about their sandwich board sign that said something like “3.5 stars: the food is decent but the guys is a real tosser!”.
- Pluvio Restaurant and Rooms: We have not had the chance to eat at Pluvio but it is on our list. Tasting menus range from $75-$150 per person and reservations are required.
- Jiggers Fish and Chips: You can get cod or halibut fish and chips here as well as other fast-food.
- Heartwood Kitchen Outfitter: This is a good place to get eggs benedict for brunch.
- YaYu Café and Restaurant: They do a really good golden mylk latte here as well as vegetarian and vegan food.
- Foggy Bean Café: Because cold and foggy days require lots of coffee and it’s really good at the Foggy Bean!
There is enough to do and see in Ukee for a long weekend or to make it your home base to explore Clayoquot Sound. Don’t forget to pack very warm clothing and layer up because the weather is quite unpredictable and even in the peak of summer, temperatures can drop down to 10 Degrees Celsius.
Have you been to Ukee? Do you have any other places to stay, activities, and places to eat to recommend?