It is no secret that one of Whatcom County’s most valuable resources is an abundance of places for families to hop in the water and splash around.
Though air temperatures across Western Washington don’t usually get truly warm until after Independence Day, summer is a great time to enjoy local beaches, lakes and pools.
Summer also offers more opportunities for water activities, as families take vacations and get outdoors. Here are some of Whatcom’s best places to enjoy the water.
Birch Bay Waterslides
4874 Birch Bay-Lynden Road, Blaine; 360-371-7500, birchbaywaterslides.net.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; May 27 to June 18 weekends only; June 24 to Sept. 4 open seven days per week.
The park, which opened in 1986, has seen a series of improvements and upgrades as different owners have taken over through the years, including resurfacing and recoating of the main slides in 2010. The current owners purchased the park in 2011.
Concession stand has full menu available. Families are allowed to bring homemade meals into the park. Coolers, glass bottles and alcohol are not allowed, and guests are asked to pack out what they pack in.
Private facility rentals available from 6:15 to 9 p.m. daily. Call 360-371-7500 for rates and availability.
Bellingham Golf and Country Club
3729 Meridian St., Bellingham, 360-733-3450
Hours: Swim lessons run from 7:45-11:45 a.m. and 4:45-8:15 p.m.
Swim lesson sessions run for two-week periods starting May 30 through Aug. 18. The first two sessions, from May 30 to June 10 and June 12-23, will run in the evenings from 4:45-8:15 p.m. Morning sessions start June 27.
One session includes 10 30-minute lessons that run Monday through Friday.
The club offers classes for all abilities and for ages 3 through teens.
To register or find more information, visit the club’s website at bellinghamgcc.com.
Arne Hanna Aquatic Center
1114 Potter St.,Bellingham; 360-778-7665, cob.org/services/recreation/aquatic.
Hours: 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 8:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday; 1-6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Open swims, which include access to the big pool, the diving board and half of the kid’s pool with the slide running for children who are at least 4-feet tall, run from 6:45-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7-9 p.m. Friday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2-4 p.m. and 5:15-6:30 p.m. Sunday.
The center is closed on holidays, including July 4. It will also close Aug. 13-Aug. 21 for annual maintenance.
Arne Hanna Aquatic Center offers a variety of swim lesson options for people of all ages, as well as parent/child classes for youngsters 6 months old to 3 years old.
Classes follow the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program for those 5 and older and a modified version of the program for those younger than 5.
If it’s been a year or more since your child’s last lesson or you’re simply unsure of what level they are at, you can schedule a free placement test with the center. The test should take about five minutes to complete.
Sign ups for placement tests or lessons can be done in person, by calling 360-778-7665, or online at cob.org/ezreg.
Registration for lessons is on a first-come, first-served basis.
To get the resident rate, guests must provide ID with a physical address within Bellingham city limits.
Find more pricing and a swimming schedule online at online at cob.org/services/recreation/aquatic/.
Pool rentals are available before and after facility hours.
Whatcom Family YMCA
1256 N. State St., Bellingham, 360-733-8630; 5610 Barrett Road, Ferndale, 360-380-4911 (holds swim lessons at the Super 8 Motel at Interstate 5 and Axton Road); 100 Drayton St., Lynden, 360-354-5000; 8 Barnview Court, Sudden Valley, 360-746-8444.
Hours: A full schedule of pool times, including classes, lap swim and other water sport activities is available online at whatcomymca.org.
The Whatcom Family YMCA locations offer large and small pools that are open year-round. Lessons are available throughout the day, and there are various swim teams for different age groups. Summer swim lessons also will be held at outdoor pools in Sudden Valley, Glenhaven and at the Regency Park apartments.
The Y offers a variety of swim lesson options for people of all ages, as well as parent/child classes for youngsters 6 months old to 3 years old.
Lesson levels are named for different fish and aquatic creatures, starting with pike, eel and ray/starfish and rising to flying fish/shark.
During open swim times, those under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
Cost: Fees vary based on the number of lessons, whether they are group or private, and membership status.
To schedule private swim lessons contact the aquatics departments in Bellingham, 360-733-8630, or Lynden, 360-354-5000.
Pools at the Lynden and Bellingham locations are available for youth party rentals on weekends. Along with renting a small or large pool, party hosts can also choose to rent the aquatrack — an inflatable obstacle course with a bridge, cliff, pond and slide, which is available from the Lynden Aquatics Department, 360-733-5000.
Wade King Student Recreation Center
1880 Bill McDonald Parkway, Bellingham, 360-650-4094, wwu.edu/campusrec.
The Wade King Student Recreation Center at Western Washington University offers swim lessons to the public throughout the year at its indoor pool.
Group sessions are available in six or eight-lesson groupings over six or four weeks respectively, with each lesson lasting 30 minutes.
Classes follow the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program. Children older than 3 can be enrolled in lessons without a parent; children younger than 3 can sign up for private parent-and-child classes on Saturdays.
The recreation center offers both class lessons and private lessons, which can be scheduled for a date and time that works for both the child and the instructor. To schedule a private lesson or for more information call 360-650-4094 or email email@example.com.
More resources and information for parents can be found online at wwu.edu/campusrec/swimlessons.shtml.
Bellingham Athletic Club
4191 Meridian St., Bellingham, 360-676-1800, bellinghamathleticclub.com.
Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A full schedule of pool activities is available online.
The Bellingham Athletic Club offers swim lessons for ages 6 months through adults. Lessons are available Tuesdays and Thursdays at a variety of times throughout the day.
Swim lessons at the club are named for different aquatic creatures, starting with Angelfish and rising through the ranks toward Manatee. Those who have completed the Manatee level can join the Blue Baracudas Swim Team.
The club can provide private and semi-private lessons. For more information on prices or to schedule a lesson, call the Cordata location front desk at 360-676-1800.
Started in 1968, Samish Park on Lake Samish, the first county park, features an enclosed swimming area.
Hours: Open sunrise to sunset.
For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation main office between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 360-733-2900.
Park staff can be reached at 360-733-2362.
Directions: From Interstate 5 take the North Lake Samish exit, number 246; if southbound, take a left at the stop sign, if northbound, take a right at the stop sign and cross over the freeway.
Established in 1972, Lake Padden Park includes a swimming beach.
Like most outdoor swim areas, the beach is not monitored by a lifeguard, so parents need to supervise their kids while they’re in the water.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Location: 4882 Samish Way.
For more information, contact the Bellingham Parks and Recreation main office at 360-778-7000.
Silver Lake Park
This county park is located off of Mount Baker Highway and just south of the Canadian border.
Located in the beautiful foothills of the North Cascades, the park offers swimming in a small lake.
Directions: The park is located just north of Maple Falls. From Interstate 5, take the exit to Sunset Drive (255), turn east onto Sunset Drive. Sunset turns into Mount Baker Highway. Continue past Kendall and turn left onto Silver Lake Road.
Cost: There is no fee to enter the park for the day.
Boulevard Park is located on Bellingham Bay along South State Street and Bay View Drive.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Shoreline work has created a rocky, sand and gravel beach suitable for dipping one’s toes in Bellingham Bay. By August the maximum temps for the bay’s water reach 55 degrees, so swimming is for the hearty.
Bloedel Donovan Park
2214 Electric Ave., Bellingham.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
The unsupervised swimming area at Lake Whatcom is extremely popular on hot summer days, with plenty of kids and teens jumping and splashing around as they cool off in the water.