Photos and story by Alyssa Evans
Will you have friends and relatives visiting this summer? Blaine and Birch Bay offer visitors a variety of activities and places to go – here are a few of the many spots in the area to keep you busy:
Where to explore
Combined, Blaine and Birch Bay offer the public over a dozen parks to visit.
Peace Arch State Park, located at 100 A Street, sits on the border of Canada and the United States. The park features the Peace Arch Monument, which symbolizes peace between Canada and the U.S. Throughout the park, a sculpture garden and additional gardens are open to the public. Parking requires either a day pass or a Discover Pass.
Down the street from Peace Arch State Park is Blaine Marine Park, located at 272 Marine Drive. The park has public art, trails, covered birdwatching viewing stations, an outdoor amphitheater and a newer maritime-themed playground. The park stretches along the water and is accessible for fishing. Access to the Blaine Public Pier from the park requires a short walk.
Semiahmoo Park, located at 9261 Semiahmoo Parkway, has trails, art and picnic spots. The park is also good for kayaking and beachcombing. It includes the Alaska Packers Association Museum, which is free and open from 1 to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday.
Birch Bay State Park, located at 5105 Helweg Road, has both a forested area and beach access. The park allows camping, hosts several environmental education programs and features tide pools, which are popular to explore. Like Peace Arch State Park, a day pass or a Discover Pass is required for parking.
Other parks worth a visit include Lincoln Park, located at 1800 H Street; Skallman Park, located at 1190 Yew Avenue; Hughes Bayview Park, located at 951 Pearl Street; Montfort Park, located at 2300 Montfort Avenue; Point Whitehorn Marine Park, located at 6770 Koehn Road; and Dakota Creek Kayak Launch Park, located at 1300 Runge Avenue.
Lincoln and Skallman parks are both off-leash dog parks. Hughes Bayview Park offers a prime birdwatching spot for eagles and herons. A five-minute walk from Hughes Bayview Park leads to Montfort Park, which features a peaceful forested park along the waterfront, as well as trails. Point Whitehorn is a marine reserve with over 50 acres of land to explore. The kayak launch offers access to Dakota Creek and Drayton Harbor.
A skateboard park is located by the Blaine Public Library at 635 Fourth Street.
Where to play
Across from Blaine Marine Park is Blaine Harbor. The harbor is easily accessible and a nice
spot for a walk.
The historic Plover Ferry, Washington state’s oldest foot-passenger ferry, is located in the harbor. The ferry runs Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m., as well as from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The ferry goes back and forth between the harbor and Semiahmoo Resort, providing views of Drayton Harbor, White Rock, B.C. and Semiahmoo Bay. Wildlife such as eagles, herons and seals can be seen on the short ride. Riding the ferry costs $5 per adult and $1 per child.
Semiahmoo Resort is home to the Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club, designed by golfer Arnold Palmer; and the Loomis Trail Golf Club, designed by architect Graham Cooke. The resort also has a beach activity center that rents kayaks, bicycles and paddleboards.
A walk through downtown Blaine includes views of the water from several stops. Off G and H streets are two plazas that include views worth a stop, as well as public art on display.
In Birch Bay, there are several recreational activities to enjoy. Sandcastle building, kite flying, skimboarding, swimming, kayaking, crabbing and clamming are all popular activities.
More adventure awaits with a little spending money at locations in town. The Birch Bay Waterslides, which is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., offers a way to cool off from the summer heat. Just down the road from the waterslides is the Miniature World Family Fun Center, which has mini golf and go-karts. Finally, Paddle and Pedal Adventures offers surreys, bikes, kayaks and more.
Where to eat
Blaine and Birch Bay are hubs for food in north Whatcom County.
In Blaine, winding down Peace Portal Drive is the easiest way to access the majority of food options, including seafood, American, Mexican, Thai and Chinese varieties. Cafes, delis and ice cream can also be found near the drive. A handful of food trucks are located throughout town and offer Mexican and seafood options. You’ll find more places to eat on the opposite side of I-5 near H Street.
In Semiahmoo, the resort has several eateries featuring seafood and other varieties. On Fridays and Saturdays until September 2, the resort hosts a seaside barbecue from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. with live music.
A drive along Birch Bay Drive will bring you close to pizza, candy, ice cream, teriyaki, Chinese, cafes, seafood and American options. Off I-5 exit 270, there is a cafe, as well as fast food and American options.