Ideas to help you create great family memories – or relive a few of your own.
There’s still plenty of time left this summer for an affordable family beach getaway. And you can skip the hassle of plane tickets, long lines and overpriced theme parks. Instead, hit the road for Blaine and Birch Bay, where you’ll create great family memories – or relive a few of your own.
Here are 10 ways to feel like a kid again on your summer vacation.
Get sand in your shorts
Explore miles of sandy beach and swim in Puget Sound’s warmest waters at the charming coastal town Birch Bay. The options for family fun are as endless as a summer day. Dig for clams. Build sand castles. Go beachcombing. Explore sea life at low tide. With miles of unobstructed shoreline, this beach is the perfect spot for kite-flying, catch and kickball, too.
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Ride a historic ferry
Every summer weekend, the historic 1944 Plover ferry welcomes families aboard for the scenic 20-minute trip between Blaine Harbor and Semiahmoo Spit. Step back in time as this 20-passenger vessel – the state’s oldest foot passenger ferry – plies the waters, offering stellar views of Canada’s Gulf Islands, the Coast Mountains, the Salish Sea and glistening Mount Baker. Kids can even steer the ferry and earn a captain’s certificate.
Get sticky with cotton candy
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Birch Bay’s renowned C Shop, offering everything from homemade cotton candy, caramel and marshmallows to dozens of flavors of Jelly Bellies. Watch as candy makers cook up your favorite treats on antique equipment. This family-run business also boasts a café and pizzeria, where all baked goods are made in a 1916 Edison Electric brick oven.
Play with all the beach toys
What’s a day at the beach without few extras to boost the fun factor? In Birch Bay, you can rent everything from bikes and paddleboards to kayaks and multiperson surreys to transport the whole gang along the beachfront. In the market for some higher-octane road adventures? Buckle up at the nearby Go-Kart track, where you’ll relive the original thrill of the road as you race around in circles.
Take some tee time
Tee off with the family for a challenging (but not impossible) game of miniature golf at Birch Bay Borderland’s 18-hole manicured mini-golf course. Grownup golfers will want to tee off at two top Washington courses nearby, the Arnold Palmer-designed Semiahmoo Golf Club (public on odd days) and the beautiful Loomis Trail Golf Club (public on even days) rated No. 7 and No. 5 in the state respectively by Golfweek.
Whisk down a waterslide
At Birch Bay Waterslides, there are a million ways to get wet on a hot summer day. The action centers on four big shooter-style slides, while the nearby River Ride offers fun-seekers a more gentle glide. The real risk-takers make a beeline for the corkscrewing tubular Black Slides. There’s also a large kiddie pool on the grounds, complete with three gently sloping slides. Not to be missed: the large serpentine hot tub, with room for dozens of water-lovers.
Join in a family-fun event
Community events bring people together for old-fashioned fun. Here’s what’s coming up.
Aug. 11-12: Relive the ’50s and the ’60s during Birch Bay Rollback Days with cool cars, live rock ‘n’ roll, arts, crafts, food and more.
Aug. 25: Head to downtown Blaine for a Public Works Roadeo with truckloads of fun for kids of all ages.
Aug. 26: Watch a movie under the stars at Summer Fun in the Park in Blaine Marine Park.
Sept. 2-4: Enjoy the last long weekend of summer with fun and sun at Discover Birch Bay Days with lots of family fun activities.
Sept. 2-3: Witness native canoes arriving in Blaine and experience an authentic potlatch celebration.
Visit Peace Arch State Park
Stand under the 67-foot tall Peach Arch, with each foot in a different country as you straddle the border that separates the U.S. and Canada. The world’s first monument to peace, this 40-acre park is filled with formal gardens and offers picnic tables and grassy areas perfect for a relaxing break. Through October 1, check out the annual sculpture exhibition that graces the grounds.
Frolic with the whales at Blaine Marine Park
Kids will love exploring the nautical-themed playground and life-size orca sculptures that enliven this tranquil park. With unobstructed views across Boundary Bay, it’s the ideal place to take in a summer sunset as you stroll to Blaine’s public pier. This park is also a major stopover for migrating birds, with thousands of species visiting annually.
Relax in a seaside resort or a cozy beach cabin
From rustic cottages to convenient condos to the top-rated Semiahmoo Resort, Blaine and Birch Bay offer a full range of family-friendly lodging options. Whether you’re looking for a heated pool, a water view, or convenient beach access, there’s a little something for everyone in the friendly northwest corner of the state.