Vancouver Island, Canada

Most winter activities are a little chilly. Whether you go skiing, snowmobiling, or snowshoeing, you may end up with pink cheeks and frozen fingertips. But there’s one Pacific Northwest event for which you can stay warm and toasty: winter storm watching. Storms roll across the Pacific Ocean and batter the rugged coastline. Surfers rush into the powerful waves. It’s an amazing spectacle that showcases nature’s raw power.

Photo: The Wickaninnish Inn
Photo: The Wickaninnish Inn

Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim National Park gets pounded by these storms. This makes the Wickaninnish Inn, in nearby Tofino, an ideal viewing location. Grab a pair of binoculars, a cup of tea, and a seat by the huge windows in the inn’s Lookout Library. Cozy up to the fireplace, put your shoes in the boot dryer, and sip hot chocolate in the Driftwood Cafe. Or ride out the storm with a glass of single-malt scotch at On the Rocks.

Photo: The Wickaninnish Inn
Photo: The Wickaninnish Inn

There are plenty of quiet corners around the rustically elegant inn. But you don’t even need to leave your room to be pampered. With gas fireplaces, soaking tubs, and heated bathroom floors, it’s easy to forget how damp it is outside. But with driftwood furniture, hand-carved doorways, and the seemingly endless Pacific, you’ll never mistake your location.

By the time the storm ends, you’ll be ready to explore Chesterman Beach and breathe in the salt air. Sunset kayaking, anyone?

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