Five places to swim for free in Whatcom County
Bellingham city spray parks are a popular way for kids to cool off in hot weather.
Wading pools had been fixtures at Fairhaven Park since 1916 and at Cornwall Park since 1938, according to Bellingham historian Aaron Joy’s 1999 history of Bellingham parks. But the pools were renovated to spray parks in 2004. The parks also remove drowning hazards and reduce the risk of water-borne bacterial contamination of wading pools.
The surface of the spray parks is textured to help prevent slips and pressure-washed to keep it moss-free. They are accessible to people in wheelchairs. Parents should take care to watch their kids, as there are no lifeguards.
The spray nozzles are people-activated, so they are on when someone is there to use them. Cornwall Park has 19 spray nozzles, including ones that use water to create domes, daddy long legs, a tunnel and a column of water, and Fairhaven Park has 24 nozzles with similar features. The spray parks use fresh, potable water.
Both spray parks are open from 1-7 p.m. daily from June 15 through Sept. 15. The parks are open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Details: 360-778-7000, cob.org/services/recreation/parks-trails/Pages/fairhaven-park.aspx.
Getting there: Fairhaven Park is at 107 Chuckanut Drive in the South neighborhood. It’s served by the Whatcom Transportation Authority bus No. 105, Fairhaven-Downtown.
Details: 360-778-7000, cob.org/services/recreation/parks-trails/Pages/cornwall-park.aspx.
Getting there: There are three entrances to Cornwall Park; two off Meridian Street and one at the north end of Cornwall Avenue. Use the entrance on Meridian at the traffic light at Squalicum Parkway to access the north picnic shelter, playground and spray park. Use the entrance on Meridian just south of the light at Squalicum Parkway to access the tennis courts, ballfields and disc golf course. Use the entrance at the north end of Cornwall to access the south picnic shelter, playground and horseshoe pits.
It’s served by the Whatcom Transportation Authority buses Nos. 4 (Birchwood and Meridian) and 15 (Meridian at Victor).