Birch Bay State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Surrounded by dramatic views of the Cascade Mountains and the Canadian Gulf Islands, Birch Bay State Park is the ultimate outdoor playground. The park, located just 10 miles south of Blaine, Washington, rests near the Canadian border and offers over two miles of secluded beachfront, which is perfect for relaxation and water sports. Birch Bay State Park is home to a natural game sanctuary, and it shares its shoreline with the saltwater of Birch Bay and the freshwater of Terrell Creek. Because of all of the water, there are endless options for waterside recreation here all year. Once you’ve set up your RV camp, go windsurfing, boating or fishing in the bay, hunt for crabs and clams at low tide, or hike the surrounding trails. The Terrell Creek Marsh is rare because it rolls two different water sources into the inlet, and this combination marks one of only a few remaining fresh and saltwater estuaries in the northern Puget Sound. People who are interested in the habitats of water animals should walk along the interpretive trail because the trail is ideal for immersing yourself in the birdlife and wildlife. Birch Bay State Park’s campground is perfect for an RV holiday with spacious sites, picnic areas, and even a boat ramp for launching your own watercraft. So whether you're driving a campervan, or hauling a trailer, you'll find plenty of space to park and plenty to keep you busy during your stay. In the summer, the days are comfortable and warm, while winters are cold and wet. Whatever time of year you visit, you can play a round of basketball, attend an environmental education program, or set off to explore the surrounding areas, such as the border town of Blaine or the university town of Bellingham.

RV Rentals in Birch Bay State Park

Transportation in Birch Bay State Park

Driving

Birch Bay State Park is easily accessible and well signposted, located approximately 10 miles off the I-5 South. Winter weather and icy roads can often put a chink in travel plans, so be sure to check to local road conditions before heading out. Once within the park, there are no driving restrictions for RVs or other rigs, so you won’t have any trouble getting around. You can park your RV or campervan in the day area and enjoy the picnic facilities during daylight hours, or otherwise at the campsite if you’re staying overnight. Once you’ve parked your RV, hiking and biking are easy ways to get around the park without having to deconstruct your camp, and a boat launching pad makes boating another great option to explore the park’s shoreline from the water.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Birch Bay State Park

Campsites in Birch Bay State Park

Reservations camping

Main Campground

There are 147 standard campsites, and 20 partial hook up utility sites for RVs and trailers in the forested camping area. Each campsite has electricity, a picnic table, and a fire pit. There is access to drinking water, eight restrooms with hot showers (including ADA), and an RV dump station. The maximum site length for the RV campsites is 60 feet, but these larger spots are limited, so make sure you reserve your site early. The park is open year-round for camping and day-use, but some campsites may be partially closed in winter. Campsites are reservable from May to September, after which they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need to recharge your batteries, the use of an electric generator between 8 AM and 9 PM is permitted. Leashed pets are welcome.

Lynden / Bellingham KOA

Lynden/Bellingham KOA offers campers so much to do that you might want to stay an extra day, or even two. Nestled near towering Mount Baker and Birch Bay State Park, you’ll be lulled by Lynden’s windmills and enjoy some history lessons at the Pioneer Museum, exploring the area’s Dutch heritage. There are three fishing ponds surrounded by gorgeous weeping willows, and picnic spots and walking trails throughout the grounds. Take a tour of the ponds via paddleboat, or putt through a game of mini-golf. The seasonal pool is crystal clear and extremely inviting. There is an arcade room as well as other fun activities like a Mardi Gras celebration, s’ mores parties, barbecues, Western Days, and more. Lynden/Bellingham KOA has been featured in both Sunset Magazine and Trailer Life. Rigs up to 45 feet can stay in the convenient pull-through sites. On-site amenities include Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, full RV hookups, and 50-amp service.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Primitive Group Camp

There also is a primitive group camp available at Birch Bay State Park that accommodates up to 40 guests as well as two group camps with five standard campsites in each. Restrooms are available with flush toilets and hot showers. The park is pet-friendly, and open year-round for camping and day-use. During the winter, some campsites may be winterized. Campsites are reservable from May to September, after which they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Campers may run their electric generators between the hours of 8 AM to 9 PM.

Seasonal activities in Birch Bay State Park

In-Season

Beach Combing

The beach along Birch Bay is perfect for a little beachcombing—walk along the bay at high tide, or on the beach collecting unique shells and admiring the incredible marine life, from crabs to oysters, that lie scattered along the sands at low tide. Bring the buckets, shovels, and a license along in the camper to dig for these treasures. Birch Bay State Park is known for its ecological diversity because it has both saltwater and freshwater access in one location.

Boating

As Birch Bay State Park conveniently has a boating ramp on-site, you can bring your personal watercraft along on the RV vacation and enjoy water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing in the summer months—just a few steps from your campsite. The sunsets from the water are phenomenal. A day-use area means you can enjoy boating at the park and use the picnic spot on the edge of Birch Bay even if you’re not staying overnight.

Water sports

A variety of summer water sports can be enjoyed at Birch Bay State Park. When the weather is good, visitors can swim, canoe, and kayak along the beautiful blue waters of Birch Bay or Terrell Creek. The fun doesn’t stop when the wind is blowing either as windsurfing, sailing, and kite surfing are popular activities enjoyed off the coast in Birch Bay. Surfing is also a popular activity; the best spot to catch waves is in the middle of Birch Bay State Park is at a surf spot called Seaman Spit. On good days, you can surf all the way down the shore. If you want to participate in the fun on the water, you'll need to bring your own equipment along in the Airstream, as the park does not offer rentals.

Picnicking

The glorious stretch of rocky beachfront along Birch Bay is perfect for lazy summer picnics and sea swimming in the warmer months. There is also a scenic picnic spot with a variety of picnic tables available at the day-use area if you’re not staying overnight. With hundreds of tables available for use, six of which are sheltered, your options for a memorable picnic are endless. If you are planning on parking the rig for the night, you'll find your own private picnic table and fire ring at your campsite, making it easy to enjoy an intimate picnic without going too far.

Off-Season

Photography

The glistening water of Birch Bay, distant views of the North Cascade Mountains and the Canadian Gulf Islands, and towering forests of paper birch trees all conspire to create the perfect backdrop for professional photographers, and smartphone-toting campers alike. Birch Bay State Park is one of the only areas in the Puget Sound where freshwater and saltwater come together to form an estuary. The estuary creates a stunning photo opportunity, both in terms of the picturesque vistas or the wildlife that inhabit the area. Snap unforgettable pictures of local birds along the Terrel Marsh Interpretive Trail, photograph an incredible sunset over Birch Bay, or simply capture the most memorable moments from your RV camping trip to northern Washington.

Hiking

Birch Bay State Park’s many acres are filled with scenic nature trails to explore. Stroll the 1.5 miles of saltwater shoreline along Birch Bay, or enjoy the active interpretive program, the Terrell Marsh Interpretive Trail. This 0.5-mile loop is one of the last salt and freshwater estuaries in the northern Puget Sound. It runs through a forest of maple, paper birch, alder, cedar, and hemlock trees with 10 informative signs posted along the way. There are some incredible wildlife and birdlife to be seen, from American bald eagles to great blue heron, so pack your camera and your binoculars along with you inside of your conversion van!

Bird Watching

Birders will be in their element at Birch Bay State Park with everything from migratory waterfowl to birds of prey to be spotted, so don't forget to pack your binoculars in the Sprinter van. You’ll see saltwater species like the common loon, and western grebe, as well as shorebirds like the greater and lesser yellowlegs, black turnstones, and marbled godwits. Winter waterfowl viewing is particularly good, and the chance to spot American bald eagles is nearly guaranteed in the off-season when they feed on spawning salmon in the rivers. The Terrell Marsh Interpretive Trail is a fantastic spot to view great blue herons and smaller songbirds.

Fishing

Birch Bay State Park is perfect for this peaceful recreation with 8,255 feet of shoreline for fishing or digging up oysters, hard shell clams, or crabs. During fall, enjoy fishing for chinook, pink, or sockeye salmon. The harvesting season for shellfish is in mid-August. The clam band is a stretch of sand and gravel where you can dig for clams. You’ll find a variety of clam types during low tide. Some oysters can be found on the beach, but there are not very many. The state of Washington requires that all anglers and clamdiggers possess a valid fishing license before fishing or harvesting.

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