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San Juan Island
I-5, Exits 266/270
Low tides and lots of fun await in this seaside town.
Birch Bay is a popular destination for vacationing families, with a wide variety of attractions for anyone seeking a relaxing getaway. Its laid-back vibe, warm, sandy beaches and popular waterslide park make Birch Bay the ideal place to create cherished memories.
At the beach, kids will delight in building sandcastles, digging for clams or playing in the shallow waves. Chat and soak up the sun, or go for a stroll along the bay. Be sure to bring binoculars – Birch Bay is a natural sanctuary for an array of local wildlife.
Birch Bay is a great place to explore, and you’ll naturally end up at the one-of-a-kind C Shop on Alderson Road. “C” stands for candy and rhymes with sea, but there’s also a café and pizza shop in the building. Indulge in a huge variety of gourmet sweets to suit every taste, much of it made in house using artisanal methods on antique equipment. On a hot day, an ice cream cone from The C Shop hits the spot.
A short drive south from the village is Birch Bay State Park. With popular campsites and one of the most productive shellfish flats in the state, the park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve is a little further down the road. This off the beaten path preserve contains a lush forest and a rocky beach. Birdcalls give way to the sound of waves crashing as you near the shore, and you emerge onto a wide beach with tons of driftwood, ocean-carved boulders and washed-up buoys to explore. To get there, follow Birch Bay Drive south to the stop sign at Grandview Road. Take a right, then follow the road around a bend to the left and the park will be on your left soon after.
Back in town, equip your adventure on land or sea at Paddle and Pedal Adventures. Kayaks, boats, bikes and scooters are available for rent by the hour or the day. If you want to try an exciting new way to get around, rent an ElliptiGO. These outdoor elliptical bicycles combine the best of running, bicycling and the elliptical trainer for a nimble, graceful form of locomotion.
Don’t miss the waterslide park on the corner of Harborview Road and Birch Bay-Lynden Road. An annual summer favorite, the slides attract over 60,000 guests each year for a reason: sliding down these high-speed, winding slides is irresistible fun. It’s also affordable, at under $20 per person for the entire day.
For more info, visit birchbaychamber.com.
WALK ON WATER (KIND OF): Birch Bay has the largest tidal flat in the state. At low tide, miles of walkable flats are exposed, inviting frolickers to play. The water is perfect for swimmers to take a splash.
GET OUT THERE: Dig clams, fly a kite, take a stroll, watch for birds, build a sandcastle or soak in the sun on the tide flats.
Hit the waves for wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing and kite boarding.
GRAB A PADDLE: The bay lends itself to sailing, kayaking and other water sports, and rentals are available at Paddle and Pedal Adventures in town.
LEARN A LITTLE: Birch Bay State Park offers concerts and interpretive programs all summer long at their Wildlife Theater. To find a schedule, visit parks.wa.gov.