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San Juan Island
Hwy 99, Exit 2A & 10
West coast living at its ultimate.
When it’s raining in Vancouver, you can almost bet it will be sunny in White Rock. Like the rest of the waterside communities, White Rock benefits from being located under the blue hole. Summer winds coming from the Pacific flow up the western flanks of the Olympic mountains and descend into Puget Sound, pushing the clouds up against the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges.
As a consequence, you can expect to see lots of people strolling the seaside promenade, walking out the famous 1,500-foot-long pier or sitting on the patio at one of the many restaurants lining the shore.
White Rock is either your first stop north of the border or your last stop before the Peace Arch border crossing. Its name comes from the nearly 500-ton boulder sitting on the shore south of the town’s famed pier. The story goes that the stone was thrown across the Strait of Georgia by a young Indian chief who chose the spot where it landed to build a home for him and his new wife.
There are acres of broad sandy beaches for sunbathing, swimming, kayaking or windsurfing. You’ll find families fishing for crab and couples taking romantic sunset walks with ice cream cones from one of the kiosks on Marine Drive. Marine Drive itself is jammed with shops, nightspots and great restaurants. If fish and chips isn’t your thing, try some fresh Dungeness crab with melted butter. Sidewalk dining and people watching is serious sport here.
The summer is also a busy time for special events and festivals. Tour de White Rock is an exciting bicycle race that runs July 12–14 and includes hill climbs and traditional road races.
The uptown area is where you’ll find shopping centers, more restaurants and services of all kinds. If you like golf, you’ll love White Rock. There are 15 golf courses and five golf ranges within 20 minutes of downtown.
On the southern end of Crescent Beach, just north of town, is Crescent Rock Beach, a 6.5 km.-long rugged strip of shoreline that is utilized by naturists and nudists for sunbathing and skinny-dipping. According to Wikipedia, the city of Surrey refuses to endorse its clothing-optional use but the RCMP have acknowledged that nudity that is out of sight from the marine parks at Crescent Beach and White Rock is legal under Canadian case law.
If you are coming to White Rock by boat, Canada Border Services can clear your entry from the U.S. at the pier. Call 24 hours, 604/531-7581 or 888/226-7277.
For more info, visit whiterockchamber.com and inwhiterock.com.
BY THE LIGHT OF THE SAVORY MOON: Launch a kayak and go for a full moon paddle on or around June 23, July 22, August 20 or September 19.
SPOT THE BIRDS: The marsh and eelgrass beds at Blackie Spit Nature Reserve are an important stopping place for nearly 200 species of birds while the sandbars provide resting spots for harbor seals and their babies.