Seattle's Child

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Semiahmoo Resort is about two hours north of Seattle and has lots to do both on the water and on land. (Photos by Jasmin Thankachen)

Semiahmoo with kids: so much to see, do and eat

Semiahmoo with kids: Gorgeous sunsets, beautiful mountain views, good food and loads of adventure! What more could I ask for in a family vacation?

We visited Semiahmoo Resort, Golf & Spa over the summer and highly recommend it for a quick family getaway. We were so in love with our trip that we’re booked for the spring already.

Semiahmoo Resort is located on the spit between Semiahmoo Bay and Drayton Harbor. Two hours north of Seattle and 45 minutes south of Vancouver, B.C., the resort’s location makes it an ideal destination for a quick weekend trip.

Also, if you’re on your way to Canada, Semiahmoo is a great place to break up the drive.

Semiahmoo with kids: getting there

Bags packed, kayak strapped, snacks in tow, and plenty of books to read along the way, we were ready for our trip. The drive was easy, with minimal complaining from my two kids, ages 9 and 7.

We stopped once at a rest area to have lunch and stretch our legs, but before my kids could ask “Are we there yet?” we had reached our destination.

Comfortable rooms with views of the water or garden

Driving down the spit, we were surrounded by water on both sides. Many boats were parked on the harborside and a few seafaring kayaks were on the other side.

At the resort, front-desk staff supplied us with information about beach resort activities, onsite dining, spa offerings, pool access, as well as movie and game night options.

“Whoa, this is luxury!” my oldest said upon seeing our standard double-queen room and plopping himself onto one of the comfy beds. The room was stately, with plush, gold and blue striped carpet, waterfront views, a TV, coffee maker and mini-fridge (great for the snacks and breakfast sandwiches we brought from home). Note that many of the rooms are being renovated ahead of the summer rush.

We unpacked and settled in for the next few days.

Semiahmoo with kids

The heated pool was a hit with the kids!

So much to do, so little time!

Biking, swimming, beach-combing, kayaking, paddle boarding … the list goes on! The resort is well-equipped with plenty of activities whether you’re looking for water or land adventures. Pro tip: Reserve your spot for popular activities like renting the movie theater, fitness and activity classes, water sports and spa services.

The outdoor heated pool was a huge hit! We brought our own floats and splashed, swam and stayed in the water until our hands wrinkled.

Large seals spotted on the docks while kayaking. Photo by Andre Schrool

Biking and hiking were other outdoor activities that we enjoyed. Walking the trail down the spit, we saw many eagles and also seals bobbing up and down in the waves. A view of Mount Baker, snow-capped and engulfed in clouds, was in the distance. Our walk took us down to end of the spit and looped us back around to the beach area, just in time for skipping rocks while enjoying the sunset. Along the way make sure to spot all the poppies growing on the path, look out for more seals in the water and resting on the docks, and stop at the smaller parks to take in the views.

We also rented bikes for the kids, who rode down to the end of the spit and back. They got back to the resort just in time for s’mores by the fire.

The resort provides free s’mores kits for enjoying at the communal fire pits by the beach. Bring your own roasting skewers for the marshmallows or wait for other guests to share the resort’s supply. This was a highlight of the trip for us.

Semiahmoo with kids: Water sports

We brought our own kayak for adventures on the water, easily dropping our boats into the bay and making our way around. Waiting to take turns, my kids walked through the wet sand and dodged squirting clams. Both boys yelped and squealed at the unexpected streams of water hitting their calves. We spied some sea stars and other sea life under the docks and observed herons and orange-beaked oyster catcher birds tip-toeing across the rocks. In addition, we investigated the old cannery building and the rusted water tower, two landmarks of the resort.

 

Semiahmoo with kids

Squirt! Watch out for those clams!

Most of the week, the tides were very low and provided more beach to walk on and seashells to find. Bring boots for slippery beach sand. Plus, eelgrass grows beneath the water and can be a tangled mess when trudging through with flip-flops. Watch the water levels if you go boating. I got stuck in my kayak as the tides were getting low.

Families can rent kayaks and paddleboards at the resort’s outdoor water sport shop. However, we found the hourly rental prices a little high and stuck to sharing the kayak that we had brought from home.

Taking turns kayaking around Semiahmoo

 

Sunset kayaking, too beautiful to miss

Semiahmoo: onsite dining

The onsite restaurants and cafe are available with plenty to choose. The food was run-of-the-mill burgers, fish and chips, pizza and salads. An excellent cioppino and steak entree were highlights on our most recent trip. It was enjoyable and if you go during the warmer months, call ahead to reserve your table. Try to grab a seat by the water: The views are amazing! This time we saw many many seals bobbing their head up and down in the water.

However, we didn’t dine out for every meal. I brought breakfast sandwiches, cereal, milk and fruit from home for breakfast. We put the mini-fridge and the communal microwave (on each hotel floor) to good use.

Additionally, the golf resort is open and a short drive from the main hotel. The dining room offerings there are upscale but similar to what’s at the hotel restaurant. I’d skip the fancier meals here and stay at the main hotel, unless of course you are there to golf.

Fish tacos at the resort restaurant.

Historic Plover ferry: Blaine by water

Take the Plover ferry from the dock of the old cannery building, located behind the resort and by the activities center, and enjoy the water views as you head into Blaine. The Plover is Washington’s oldest foot ferry and carries 17 passengers at a time. In 1944 the boat shuttled workers from Blaine to the Semiahmoo Spit, where they would get off to work at the largest salmon cannery in the country.

Young children under 12 get on for free, while tickets for adults are $10 per person. Board the small boat and meet the jolly captain and one-man crew. The captain allows passengers to steer the large wheel, handing participants “Captain of the Day” certificates at the end of the sail. Along the way, you’ll see many seals lazing on the docks, cormorants and their nests, as well as many other water fowl. Stay a while in Blaine and try the fish and chips truck to the left of the dock – the Alaska Wild Fish and Chip Co.  or a delicious assortment of ice cream at Edaleen Dairy located within walking distance of the dock.

Be sure to watch your time when taking the boat back. There were far more people in line than the boat could fit, and we waited an hour to get back to Semiahmoo.

Semiahmoo side trip: Blaine by land

We explored the surrounding town of Blaine on our last day of vacation. Park your car and walk around the beach side town and its nearby restaurants. With staffing shortages and reduced seating, wait times were long last summer.

Don’t miss C Shop in nearby Birch Bay: an old-fashioned candy and ice cream shop. Get a cup or cone (they’re huge!) and head outside to watch candy-making. The shop has been around for more than 50 years and makes small batches of cotton candy, peanut brittle, caramel apples, and marshmallow sea snakes in traditional copper kettles.

Stuffed with treats, we took a very slow walk back to our car and headed home. The quiet in the car could have been from our over-stuffed bellies, but I’d like to think of it as a wonderful end to a lovely family vacation. We can’t wait to go back in the spring!

 

Cup and a cone at the C shop ice cream and candy store.

Semiahmoo with kids: Know before you go

  • Semiahmoo Resort is located at: 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy, Blaine WA 98230
  • Semiahmoo Resort often offers vacation packages especially in the off-season. Check out their website for more information.
  • Beaches are rocky: Prepare your kids with good shoes and the expectation to skip a lot of rocks.
  • Book spa services, bike rentals and movie theater rentals well in advance.
  • The stroll down the spit is stroller and bike-friendly.
  • Bring your own s’mores ingredients and use the communal fire pits.
  • Play the lawn games provided by the resort – chess or bean bag toss are outdoor favorites.

 

Published Feb. 9, 2022

Updated June 20 2022

More family travel in Seattle’s Child:

Cape Disappointment: a year-round coastal escape with lighthouses

Great Wolf Lodge: Tips for saving money and your sanity

 

 

 

About the Author

Jasmin Thankachen

Jasmin is the Associate Publisher at Seattle's Child and an Eastside mom of two boys. She enjoys parenting with lots of love and laughter. Co-Founder of PopUp StoryWalk, she also loves children's picture books, essay writing, and community stories.