Feeling the winter Pacific Northwest blues? Well, it’s time to shake off that rainy season fog and enjoy some fabulous winter activities. The coastal beaches, mountains and islands of the Pacific Coast are some of the best places to explore and have fun— yes, even in the winter. So grab your whole family and pick an adventure below that’s fun for everyone!
1. Mountain Bike & Hike on Orcas Island
Even in winter, the quaint towns and stunning state parks of the San Juan Islands make fantastic destinations for day and weekend adventures. Check out Moran State Park on Orcas Island, where (only in the winter) you can mountain bike the wide, weaving trails through an old-growth cedar forest. If hiking is more your speed, the four-mile trail around Mountain Lake is a tranquil way to spend a morning.
2. Bring the kids sledding at Mount Baker
Looking for a kid-friendly winter snow adventure that doesn’t break the bank? Make the drive up to Mount Baker for some epic sledding in fresh powder. Take Mount Baker Highway towards Mt. Baker Ski Area and, the higher you climb, the more places there are to play in the snow! One of the most popular sledding destinations is at Picture Lake. A spectacular spot to see mountain reflections in the summer, it turns into a haven for kiddos in the winter months. And don’t forget to end the day with a well-deserved cup of hot chocolate (or two) at the ski area lodge.
3. Enjoy winter storms on San Juan Island
Aside from the stunning historic lighthouse, a key characteristic of Lime Kiln Point State Park is the jagged rocky coastline which, in the winter, features large, high-spraying waves. Enjoy an incredible view of winter weather against the backdrop of the Haro Strait or take a walk through the beautiful surrounding woodlands. The park is widely considered to be a world-class whale watching spot, so make sure to keep your eyes on the horizon for a chance to see a beautiful southern …
We’ve been a bit quiet over here at Waterside Magazine and for good reason! 2020 put a damper on many of our travel plans — from epic international trips to stateside family excursions. Though 2021 looks like it will be a bit more promising, there are still many travel advisories and gathering requirements we should all be wary of before heading off on our explorations close to home.
Though almost all of our coastal communities remain open to visitors, the safest action to take during COVID-19 is to avoid non-essential travel. That being said, planning local excursions can help support businesses and assist the ailing economies of our favorite small towns.
To support this mission, we’ve compiled resources from all our Waterside communities, so you can feel confident and informed when booking your COVID-19 compliant local excursions.
** After you book, make sure to continue to stay informed and up-to-date about statewide mandates as well as the specifications of each locale.
The border between Canada and the U.S. remains closed for non-essential travelers as of January 18, 2021. For Canadians looking to travel local, B.C. has issued a travel advisory asking residents to avoid any travel for social or recreational purposes until February 5 at the earliest.
Richmond, B.C.: The city has a page on their website devoted to connecting their residents with restaurant listings and adventures in their own backyard. You can also check out their informative FAQs page for clarity on how they are currently navigating COVID-19 restrictions.
Tsawwassen & Ladner, B.C.: Delta’s current campaign is “Explore Delta... Later” and their COVID-19 webpage is devoted to resources for locals. Check out their blog to learn more about tourism in Delta and to begin planning your trip for when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
White Rock & Surrey, B.C.: White Rock’s pier, promenade and beach …
Warm and sunny seasons may pass by quickly in the Pacific Northwest, but you can count on the towns along the coast for a good sunset any day of the week. Characterized by an unparalleled view of the San Juan Islands and glimpses of Point Roberts and Victoria Island, you can watch the sun dip behind Bellingham Bay from a host of stunning beaches, hills and parks.
It wasn’t easy, but we’ve narrowed down our top spots to witness this beautiful daily ritual — just make sure to check the forecast for clouds or rain showers before you go!
1. Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park is a local favorite, situated along the Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway that many consider Washington state’s Big Sur. Distinguished by towering old-growth forests, with hikes, trails, and camping for the whole family, Larrabee is our top recommendation for any new-to-Bellingham tourists. And with more than 8,000 feet of coastline, there are infinite amazing sunset-watching spots, so you’ll easily find a favorite.
One of our top picks is Clayton Beach, a long, sandy stretch located at the southern tip of the park (though technically this beach is located in Bow). The walk to the beach from the Lost Lake parking lot takes 10-15 minutes and is not wheelchair accessible. It winds through the forest on a well-loved trail, with a slight decline as you walk over railroad tracks to the beach. We love Clayton for its stunning rock-formations and sandy beach, plus it’s also a quieter alternative to popular places such as Boulevard Park which are often overcrowded.
2. Clark’s Point
You won’t find Clark’s Point on many blog posts like this, but this hidden gem is beloved by residents of Fairhaven. Located deep in the Edgemoor Neighborhood, visitors will travel along many suburban roads to find a sign for West Clark Viewpoint. A short trail leads to a small clearing upon a rocky cliff. Visitors can enjoy watching birds and …
Travel plans across the U.S. and the world have been canceled or postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Predicting the future of this pandemic is difficult, which makes rescheduling trips tricky. This is no reason to let travel plans go completely, but rather make adaptable plans with extra free time now that can be implemented when safe and possible.
With a Stay at Home Order in effect in Washington state, people are mostly working from home, doing home improvement projects, gardening and binge watching favorite shows.
If you’re finding yourself with more free time, take a few minutes or an hour to research a vacation close to home. Although many community events have been canceled, there are still many outdoor activities like hiking, biking, climbing, exploring and camping. Washington is full of idyllic forests, beaches, lakes, rivers and mountains that can still be explored while implementing current social distancing rules and will be fully reopening when possible. When the Stay at Home order is lifted, why not have a weekend trip already planned and ready to be implemented at a moment’s notice? When cabin fever starts setting in, why not fantasize about and plan that first real trip out of the house when it is safe to do so? All the wonderful gems in our Waterside communities will be waiting for you.
Use Watersidenw.com to research the possibilities in each of our coastal communities.
For a limited time, Amtrak is offering a buy one get one free promotion. Tickets must be purchased between today, January 7 and Sunday, January 12, and customers can take advantage of this offer on select routes in both coach and sleeping accommodations. Offer is valid for travel from Saturday, February 1 and Friday, June 12 except for blackout dates of April 10, April 13 and May 22–25. Use discount code (V605) when purchasing your ticket at Amtrak.com. Take this opportunity to check out some of our beautiful Waterside communities this spring!