The Lost Resort. Open Year-Round for Family
By Jack Kintner
The fastest growing area in Whatcom County, Birch Bay’s claim to fame is a large tide flat of sand several square miles in size that bares itself at low tide, and as the water creeps back in over the hot sand it warms to bath water temperatures in the summer. It has one of the largest heron nesting areas in the state, a large state park at one end and outstanding birding throughout the year. Especially for seabirds and shorebirds (depending upon where they rest at night), it’s classed by the Audubon Society as one of 50 Important Birding Areas (IBA's) in Washington State, along with nearby Blaine’s Drayton Harbor.
The area is a popular unincorporated summer tourist destination that’s rapidly becoming a “real” town. Attractions and activities include a sand castle contest in the summer and a well-patronized Polar Bear Swim every New Years Day. There’s a small golf course in town and two more championship courses, one in nearby Blaine designed by Arnold Palmer, just minutes away.
It’s home to about 4,500 year-round residents, and in the summer population swells to over 12,000 people, with Birch Bay State Park recording over a million individual visits each year. Recreational activities include the refurbished Birch Bay Water Slides, a Miniature World Family Fun Center, Surrey Bike Rentals, Birch Bay Discovery Days every July and TrendWest Resort (and the future Sandcastles Resort, due to be finished in 2005) at Birch Bay.
Interestingly, it’s not only one of the first places Europeans visited in the county, beginning with a stop-over by George Vancouver well over two centuries ago, what they did here sounds quite familiar: Vancouver gave his men an unheard of two weeks off while his ship bobbed at anchor a mile or so offshore to make spruce beer and recover from the scurvy that ravaged some of his crew. Today, going to the beach to relax with a brew is a time-honored tradition.
abound year-round at Birch Bay, there is plenty to do for
kids and thrill-seekers of all ages:
Bay Discovery Days
- Kite Flying
- Wind Surfing
- Skim Boarding
- Bike Riding
- Horse Back
- Birch Bay
State Park, great
for volleyball, picnics...
- Fine Dining
and Other Great Tastes Year-round!
- Polar Bear
Swim - (seasonal - January 1st)
- Ride the Historic Plover Foot
Passenger Ferry (seasonal - May-Sept)
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5831 Salish Rd.
Blaine, WA 98230