December 8, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Vacation Rental at Outer Shores Lodge

We’ve put together this blog post covering everything you need know about vacation rental at Outer Shores Lodge.

Thanks to mild year-round temperatures, Bamfield is an incredible place to visit and explore at any time of year, including the fall and winter. It was one of the many qualities that Scott and I recognized early on when we were considering establishing Outer Shores Lodge. And, given its unique location, design, and quality of construction, the lodge itself provides an idyllic, year-round, west coast retreat. It provides a completely private and, honestly, magical venue where small groups of family, friends, and colleagues can connect and recharge. In fact, we can safely say that there is no other private oceanfront vacation rental along the entire west coast of Canada that compares to Outer Shores Lodge in terms of its size, location, and available activities, amenities, and experiences. We invite you to come see for yourself!

As we continue to fine tune our operations at Outer Shores Lodge and further develop our activities and offerings, we’re excited to offer our new Fall & Winter Vacation Rentals. Our Vacation Rentals offer all the comforts, amenities, and adventures of our lodge available as private, unstaffed, and self-catered vacation rentals, from October through mid April. And because Bamfield and Outer Shores Lodge are new to many people, we wanted to dedicate this comprehensive blog post to describing what this experience, and associated logistics, would be like for your group of family and friends. Here we go!

Where is Bamfield? How do we get there?

Bamfield is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It’s located approximately 30 km southeast of Ucluelet, on the southern shore of Barkley Sound. Instead of taking Highway 4 from Port Alberni, as you would if you’ve ever visited Tofino or Ucluelet (101 km), Bamfield is most primarily reached via the Bamfield Road from Port Alberni (90 km). 

Alternatively, there is a driving route to Bamfield through the Cowichan Valley via Youbou or Lake Cowichan. However, it’s poorly marked and rough, so we don’t recommend it. The Bamfield Road Improvement Project was recently completed, meaning that the drive between Port Alberni and Bamfield is now suitable for most vehicles and takes ~90 mins, tops. This said, the road is still used by industrial logging trucks, and there are numerous one-lane bridges, so one needs to stick to the speed limit of 60 km/hr, and use caution at all times. You’ll also need to keep an eye out for wildlife. This includes black bears, deer, and elk. And you should be aware that higher sections of the road can be icy or snowy during peak winter months.

Another great way to get to Bamfield is by taking the passenger and cargo-carrying ferry, MV Frances Barkley, which provides a scenic three- to four-hour cruise from Port Alberni each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Please visit Lady Rose Marine Services for more information ( 

Whichever route you travel to Bamfield, it’s important to know and acknowledge that you’ll be visiting the Traditional Territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations (

Vacation Rental Group Size and Accommodation

The main lodge has 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, and a total of 16 beds, depending on configurations. There are six king-sized beds (one in each bedroom). These locally crafted custom beds were designed to be easily split into two beds, giving a total of 12 twin-XL beds in our six rooms. In addition, our “Family Room” also has four elegantly crafted ship-like “berths” built into one wall. These are really fun sleeping spaces, loved by children and grown-ups alike. And so, that gives you a total 16 sleeping spaces in the main lodge. For larger groups, there are also two adjacent cabins that can comfortably accommodate up to another eight people. Please inquire for more details about these.

Dates, Duration, and Availability

Given the time it takes to get to the west coast of Vancouver Island, whether it’s Bamfield, Ucluelet, or Tofino, a minimum of three nights really makes the most sense. A three-day stay gives you two full days to rest, play, explore, and connect. We imagine that for most groups this will mean arriving on Thursday or Friday and leaving on Sunday or Monday. However, mid-week visits are certainly available too. At the moment, we don’t have an online calendar showing our current availability, so we ask that you please contact us by phone, text, or email to discuss dates and make your reservation.

What do we need to bring? Are there restaurants in Bamfield? Can we buy groceries in Bamfield?

Mostly what you are going to need is your personal clothing and gear, and your food and beverages. There is a small seasonal cafe/restaurant on Bamfield’s West Side called the Bamfield Wreckage (, but it has limited operating hours during the fall and winter. Or, you can order pizza from the nearby general store (Bamfield Mercantile But this largely means that you’ll need to bring most of your groceries with you and self-cater (unless you’d like to hire a private chef to cater your stay, which we can help to arrange for you). And while Bamfield Mercantile does offer a good selection of the essential groceries, including dry goods, fresh produce, and dairy, as well as beer, wine, and spirits (including an excellent selection of scotch), you’ll probably want to bring the majority of your groceries with you. We recommend stopping at the Quality Foods or Save-On-Foods in Port Alberni, for example. Note too, that you can pre-order online and simply pick up your order on your way to Bamfield, or you can have it shipped to Bamfield aboard the MV Frances Barkley, and we can help you with this too.

What’s the difference between “East” and “West” Bamfield. Where do we park? How do we get to West Bamfield?

The community of Bamfield is spread along, or close to, the east and west sides of a long and narrow inlet called Bamfield Inlet. East Bamfield is accessible by road. West Bamfield, however, is functionally located on an island and only accessible by all kinds of watercraft, including two excellent water taxis services. Outer Shores Lodge is located in West Bamfield.

If you take the ferry from Port Alberni, you’ll disembark at the West side dock, just a few minutes from the lodge.

If you drive, then after arriving and parking on the East side, you’ll need to have one of the water taxis take you across to the West side, which takes ~10 minutes (keep an eye  out for seabirds, seals, and sea lions along the way!). Depending on the time of year, free and paid parking are available close to the East Bamfield dock. Please note that EV chargers are not yet available in Bamfield.

Once we arrive at the West Bamfield dock, how do we get to the lodge?

Whether you arrive by water taxi or ferry, you will be greeted by an Outer Shores Lodge host/caretaker who will transport your luggage and supplies from the dock to the lodge using our Kabuta side-by-side (travel time ~2 mins). Many of our guests choose to walk this very short distance past the Bamfield Canadian Coast Guard Lifeboat Station and through our magical forest path to the lodge. Your host will give you an orientation of the lodge and facilities, and be on-call in the event that you need help with anything whatsoever during your stay.

Begin Your Vacation!

That’s it, you’ve arrived! Pour yourself a glass of wine and break out the snacks. Settle into your cozy accommodations. Check out the beach. Take in the view from the Lookout Bluff. Break out the board games. Enjoy a soak in the outdoor hot tub or indoor steam shower. Prepare a delicious family-style meal. Bask in the silence!

Assuming that we’re self-catering, what’s the kitchen like and what equipment is available?

Our kitchen is a real point of pride for us. It’s big, beautiful, and very well equipped. Its features and equipment include a six-burner propane range with side-by-side ovens; commercial dishwasher, food processor, mixer, Instapot, water barrel, 2 bar fridges, 3 full size fridges, large walk-in pantry, coffee grinder, brewer and thermoses, toaster, and an excellent selection of beautiful flatware, dinner ware, glasses, mugs, etc. Oh, and the ocean facing dining room easily seats 18 people.

Please note that it’s also possible to hire a private chef for your stay, and we can help with that.

What amenities can we enjoy at the lodge?

The ocean-facing great room is the natural hang out space, with cushioned window benches, versatile couches and coffee/games tables, as well as the large stone fireplace. The great room is open to the dining area, and where there’s also a 60” flat screen if you decide to settle in for movie night with popcorn and bevies. A large sidebar area is also here, equipped with all the glasses and mugs you’ll ever need, kettle, glass water barrel, and bar fridge, and serves as the perfect spot for food and beverages. You’ll also find a library, board games, and a 100+ year old player piano, which is surprisingly fun! 

French doors separate the great room and dining area from the kitchen, and located off of the kitchen (or via the stairway to upstairs) is a large secondary hang-out area/games room, complete with couches, dart board, and billiards table.

Weather, Rain Gear, and Outdoor Equipment

Thanks to the warm, north-flowing California Current, year-round temperatures are surprisingly mild on the west coast of Vancouver Island; however, when fall and winter low pressure systems approach Vancouver Island from the southwest and collide with the Vancouver Island Mountain Range, the result is impressive rainfall events that typically accumulate upwards of 3 meters/year…wow! It’s these mild temperatures and high rainfall that supports the coastal temperate rainforest ecosystems and ancient old-growth forests that Vancouver Island is famous for. 

And so, when visiting Bamfield in the fall and winter, you should expect rain, and rather than retreat from it, we encourage you to celebrate it and the forests, salmon, bears, and the myriad of wildlife and cultural traditions it supports. And to help you with this, you’ll find a large selection of rubber boots and Helly Hansen rain gear, as well as umbrellas, available to you at the lodge, and which live the warm and dry full basement.

Other equipment outdoor equipment that is available for modest additional costs (and accompanying rental agreement and waivers), include wetsuits and snorkelling gear, sea kayaks, and SUPs. Please inquire for details.

Outdoor Activities and Experiences

For those of you who may be concerned that a lodge stay may not be active enough for you, we are happy to put that concern to rest. In fact, we suspect that you’ll find that you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do while you’re here, this time! 

Here’re a few highlights/recommendations for you.

  1. Stroll along West Bamfield’s historic boardwalk (~1 km), while learning about Bamfield’s history and meeting local residents. Check out the general store (Bamfield Mercantile, the Bamfield Wreckage (, and nearby Brady’s Gallery (
  1. Walk to Brady’s Beach (~20 mins from lodge), and enjoy its iconic rock stacks, white-sand, seashells, and tide pools brimming with colourful marine life.
  1. Visit the ancient Huu-ay-aht Village and Fortress of Kiix?in ( Although public tours are only available between May and September, private tours of this incredible cultural site can be coordinated.
  1. Go beach combing or surfing at Pachena Bay (~3 km drive from Bamfield at the start of the West Coast Trail). This southwest-facing open coast bay is great for both storm watching and playing in the surf!
  1. Visit the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (, and learn a bit about what goes on at Canada’s premiere marine research and education facility.
  1. Hike out to the “BlowHole” from Brady’s Beach and delight as ocean swells are squeezed into a small cave with a hole through the top, resulting in impressive whale spout-like geysers!
  1. Hike the East-West Connector Trail around the head of Bamfield Inlet, and which takes you through a beautiful stand of old-growth rainforest.
  1. Hike to Keah Beach (~1.5 hours each way, within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve), and enjoy walking through old-growth rainforest before arriving at this stunning outer coast beach.
  1. Go snorkelling/free-diving from the lodge. The islets, surge channels, and marine life immediately in front of the lodge are truly world-class. Keep an eye out for a wide array of colourful reef fishes, giant Pacific octopus (if you’re lucky!) and other invertebrates, kelp forests, and softly swaying seaweeds.
  1. Go on a self-guided sea kayaking tour in the protected waters of Bamfield or Grappler Inlets and enjoy coastal wildlife viewing, including bears, seals, sea lions, river otters, mink, bald eagles, ravens, kingfishers, Steller’s jays, and sea birds (westerns grebes, common murres, buffleheads, mergansers, and more).
  1. Start your day with a yoga session in the great room, outside on the front lawn, or up on the Lookout. There are lots of yoga mats available at the lodge!
  1. Interested in wildlife or landscape photography? Slip out the front door early with your camera to watch the world come alive, and see what or who catches your eye/lens.
  1. Experience a west coast fall or winter storm from the comfort of the lodge, the Lookout Bluff, or nearby Brady’s Beach. Feel the blast of warm wind and rain, and the pulsing ocean swells, that accompany the arrival of a true west coast storm.
  1. Take in a classic west coast sunset as the sun sinks in the horizon directly in front of the lodge, from the lodge, Lookout Bluff, or outdoor hot tub!
  1. Feel the natural silence that envelops you here on the west coast, with just the ever-present pulse of the ocean and distant groan of an offshore whistle buoy to calm you.

I think you get the picture. There truly is something for everyone here in Bamfield and at Outer Shores Lodge, and any mix of activity, restfulness, learning, and relaxation.

Returning Home

When it comes time to leave Outer Shores Lodge and return home, however you’ve spent your time, we know that you’ll leave feeling rested, restored, and looking forward to the next time you come again.

In the meantime, your host will help you back to the West dock to meet your water taxi to the East Side, to begin your journey home. Or if you’re departing on the MV Frances Barkley, you’ll simply settle in for a leisurely cruise down Alberni Inlet back to Port Alberni.

Thanks for joining us!

Share it


Navigate Posts

Inquiry Form