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Clayoquot Island, British Columbia / Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge

Idyllically sited at the point where the Bedwell River spills out into a fjord on the Pacific, this tented eco-safari enclave has every conceivable home comfort.

Stepping off the seaplane or boat that make this neck of the woods accessible, intrepid nature lovers both big and small are faced with luxurious tents hidden between coniferous trees. A complete makeover by Australian brand Baillie Lodges has meant Clayoquot has taken on a more easy-going sophistication. Each of the 25 tents crowned with king-size beds and fine-tuned with crisp linens and bespoke furnishings from local designers. Dining has also had an overhaul, with executive chef, Asher Blackford, and his team serving up dishes inspired by the surrounding multicultural community; with the finest cuts of locally-raised meats and fresh seafood leading a cast of newly foraged and responsibly harvested ingredients sourced by the team and served at the Cookhouse.

One thing that remains unchanged, however, are the surroundings and while the wilderness offers up a boat load of photo opportunities, it also offers limitless activities. Horseback riding, hiking with a First Nations escort, and whale and bear watching make for a slightly slower pace, while elsewhere, adrenaline-fueled kayaking, zip lining and deep sea fishing make the list. Each activity is tailored to interests and abilities by dedicated Activities Directors, meaning while one grown-up chooses a bespoke heli-hike and another to wildlife track, the littler of the crew can take up rock climbing or try their hands at canoeing. Either way, the 600 acres of outpost paradise will become a familiar face courtesy of the expert guides keen to share their local knowledge of the flora and fauna. The estuary fronting the camp is also a true marine playground teeming with wildlife. Salmon and steelhead are among the prevalent catches in the local river system while the shoreline sees brown bears waiting in the wings, and further out to sea – grey whales, porpoises and seals. And when the day is almost at an end, the Healing Grounds Spa fixed between ocean and forest greets with open arms (and outdoor Jacuzzis), or tales are swapped with fellow guests in the games or library tents.

Travel notes:

  • 25 tents either with en-suite or private bathroom tent next door
  • Clayoquot is extremely family focused, welcoming children of 6 years and above
  • For even more adventure, a night can be spent at the Cloud Camp – a canopied hideaway 4,500 ft above sea level on a lake straddling Ursus Mountain and only accessed by helicopter
  • While the restaurant ingredients are sourced locally, so are those in the spa, where treatments harness the properties of pacific seaweed and glacial clay
  • A sum from all stays is used to fund conservation projects in the area
  • Carrier tip: it’s hard not to fall in love with this place, so we recommend to book early as it’s in high demand, especially in September before the bears hibernate

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When to visit Canada

British Columbia’s coastal areas enjoy mild temperatures year round, with long sunny days in summer and cooler evenings in spring and autumn. Inland, the winters are cold and snowy. Alberta is Canada’s sunniest province with warm summers and mild springs. Snow in the Rockies is expected from November to March. Central Canada and the Provinces of Québec and Ontario offer year-round possibilities from the perfect winter wonderland to hot and sunny summers.

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