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Bellingham
Thursday, May 6, 2021

VIKING TRAVEL: PICNIC AT BIRCH BAY

The sunset at Birch Bay. // Photo by Madison Krueger
The sunset at Birch Bay. // Photo by Madison Krueger

Bellingham sunsets are not something to be taken for granted. Chasing new scenic lookouts to watch the sun go down is one of my favorite pastimes, so when I had a free evening on my hands, I took advantage of it.

This Sunday, in celebration of Spring Day, visitors to local state parks and trails won’t need a Discover Pass to get outside.

Photo by Madison Krueger
The car full of snacks, blankets, pillows and my ukulele. // Photo by Madison Krueger

Because it’s not warm enough for a picnic on the beach, snacks in the trunk of my roommate’s car backed up to face the bay was the next best thing.

Birch Bay State Park is a 30-minute drive north that allows you to park almost right on the beach, but also provides enough room to walk along the water if you’re really bundled up. We opted for insulation in the form of blankets and pillows by snuggling up in the trunk.

We stopped at the grocery store for cheese, crackers, chips and guacamole on the way; that’s my version of dinner and a show. I brought my ukulele because the sun sets better to a tune.

Our dinner included chips and guacamole dip. // Photo by Madison Krueger
Our dinner included chips and guacamole dip. // Photo by Madison Krueger

The half-hour drive takes you through lonely back roads as you pull right up along the beach in Birch Bay. Aside from a few dog walkers, the park was empty and allowed us to have the area almost completely to ourselves.

The park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk in the winter and 6:30 a.m. to dusk in the summer. A Discover Pass is normally required for parking. I would have taken advantage of the first-come-first-serve kitchen shelter with picnic tables to barbecue my dinner had I known about it earlier. You can rent the space out for up to 125 guests, in case you’re feeling an outdoorsy party. Campsites are available throughout the park starting at $12 a night.

There are a lot of parks along the water in Bellingham, but there is something nostalgic about escaping the city and the inevitable run-ins with people you know. So if you’re looking for a mini road trip to escape responsibilities and chase the sun, try bringing snacks, snuggling in your car and letting nature entertain.

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