Whatcom Magazine

Everyday fun: Play at Whatcom parks, watch for ferry, orcas

Malachi and Reta VanderMey ride bikes at their campsite at Birch Bay State Park in June 2013.
Malachi and Reta VanderMey ride bikes at their campsite at Birch Bay State Park in June 2013. The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham’s newest park

Newly completed improvements at Squalicum Creek Park, located between Birchwood and Columbia neighborhoods at 1001 Squalicum Way, across from West Street, are already popular with Bellingham residents. Amenities include a playground with a zip line, a skateboard feature for small children, a large picnic shelter that can be reserved, a loop trail, additional parking, a stair connection to Bay to Baker Trail, and a lighted basketball court. There’s also a fenced off-leash dog area with shelters and a designated area for shy dogs, restrooms, paved walkways, benches and picnic tables.

Details: 360-778-7000, cob.org/services/recreation/parks-trails.

Ferry watch

Welcome visitors and returning residents at Bellingham Cruise Terminal, at the foot of Harris Avenue. Kids enjoy seeing seagulls and the enormous boats docked around the pier. Bonus: You can check out the ferry and cruise schedules for your next vacation. The terminal is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Details: 360-676-2500, portofbellingham.com.

Cross the border, watch for orcas

Surrounded on three sides by water and connected to British Columbia, Point Roberts is a prime destination for orca whale-watching. The Orca Center at Lighthouse Marine Park, 811 Marine Drive, has photos, recordings, and information about the local J, K and L pods. Look for orcas from the two-story whale-watching tower.

While you’re at the park, take a walk on the beach, fish, or dig clams. Note: You must cross into B.C. to reach Point Roberts, so bring your passport.

Details: 360-945-4911, whatcomcounty.us/1956/Lighthouse-Marine-Park.

Downtown park feature salmon, native plants

Watch salmon spawn, learn about native vegetation as you meander along marked trails, or attend an entertaining event at the downtown amphitheater at Bellingham’s Maritime Heritage Park, 1600 C St. The park is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with a play area, picnic facilities, and the amphitheater available for rental. Restrooms are open only during events.

Details: 360-778-7000, cob.org/services/recreation/parks-trails/.

Birds, trails at Birch Bay State Park

Survey a wide variety of birds, including ducks, gulls, bald eagles and herons, in Terrell Creek marsh at Birch Bay State Park, 5105 Helweg Road. Bring a picnic and enjoy supper as the sun sets. Don’t forget your binoculars. There are numerous pathways, as well as picnic tables and restrooms, with camping available.

Park hours are 6:30 a.m. to dusk in summer, 8 a.m. to dusk in winter.

Details: parks.wa.gov/170/Birch-Bay.