White Rock & Cres­cent Beach (BC)

Beau­ti­ful Beaches & Stun­ning Sun­sets

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Contents -

Head­ing north on In­ter­state 5 from Seat­tle to Canada, we went through the Dou­glas (Peace Arch) bor­der cross­ing into Bri­tish Columbia. Trav­el­ing north for a few min­utes on High­way 99 from the Peace Arch, we took the 8th Av­enue exit head­ing east to the Hazelmere RV Park and Camp­ground. From here, it was only a five-minute drive to the ocean­side com­mu­nity of White Rock and a forty-five minute drive to Van­cou­ver. The Pier in White Rock is the city’s fa­mous land­mark and des­ti­na­tion. The orig­i­nal struc­ture was built as a dock for steamships in 1914 and over the years the Pier has been re­built and ex­tended to a stag­ger­ing 470 me­ters (1,542 ft). See­ing the pier for the first time, you know why it’s White Rock’s main at­trac­tion. We had to find the clos­est park­ing spot and ven­ture out on the Pier. At low tide, you can just about walk out to the Pier’s ma­rina from the beach.

White Rock Sea Tours is set up next to the ma­rina at the end of the Pier. Their Zo­diac was get­ting ready to go on a whale watch­ing tour, so we jumped in and went for a ride. It wasn’t long be­fore we saw our first Orca (Killer Whale) cruis­ing around the San Juan Is­lands. They also do har­bour and sun­set tours. This spur of the mo­ment, un­planned trip, was an­other high­light of our visit. East of the Pier, on West Beach is a big white rock for which the com­mu­nity is named. It’s over four me­ters high, and said to weigh 486 tonnes - likely a glacial de­posit from the last ice age, thou­sands of years ago. The First Na­tions “Coast Sal­ish” peo­ple have their own leg­end on how the boul­der landed here. They be­lieve it was the re­sult of a for­bid­den love be­tween a na­tive “Cowichan” Princess and a Sea God’s son. When they were re­fused their wish to be mar­ried, the Sea God’s son threw a rock from Van­cou­ver Is­land, over the Gulf of Ge­or­gia. It was said that he and his bride would move to wher­ever the rock landed to make a home to­gether. We es­ti­mated the dis­tance to be about 92 kms (57 miles). It was their de­scen­dants who be­came the “Semi­ah­moo” First Na­tions peo­ple of White Rock.

Ma­rine Street trav­els east to west along White Rock’s shore­line. On week­ends, and dur­ing the sum­mer, the restau­rants, shops, pier and mu­seum are bustling with peo­ple. The cli­mate is a few de­grees warmer than Greater Van­cou­ver and has helped trans­form the area into a fam­ily and mid­dle age liv­ing com­mu­nity. An­other land­mark and a must- see on White Rock’s Ma­rine Street is the “Great North­ern Rail­way” train sta­tion. It was built in 1912, and

is now home to White Rock Mu­seum and Ar­chives, with lo­cal rail­way his­tory as one of the mu­seum’s main themes. The track run­ning next to the sta­tion is used mostly by BNSF Rail­way (Burling­ton North­ern and Santa Fe Rail­way) to trans­port goods be­tween the Port of Van­cou­ver and the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. The pas­sen­ger train Am­trak also uses the tracks to trans­port peo­ple be­tween Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia; Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon.

Trav­el­ing west from White Rock for fif­teen min­utes, we came to Cres­cent Beach. It is a funny thing, White Rock borders the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Sur­rey on all three sides, and Semi­a­hoo Bay on the fourth, and is in the dis­trict of Metro Van­cou­ver. But Cres­cent Beach is far­ther west (closer to Van­cou­ver) and is in the Sur­rey mu­nic­i­pal dis­trict. Cres­cent Beach is a def­i­nite fam­ily des­ti­na­tion - the beaches are the best we have seen for swim­ming in the lower main­land. Per­ma­nent dykes were built in 1913 to pre­vent flood­ing and al­low for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of a sub­di­vi­sion. Homes and cot­tages built from those early years have been re­stored and some are now B&B’s or for rent. Their yards, streets and walk­ways are im­mac­u­late. Walk­ing along the wa­ter­front on the dyke is very scenic.

Cres­cent Beach faces south­west and looks at Bound­ary Bay, the City of Van­cou­ver and the North Shore Moun­tains. When the sun comes out, the restau­rants, shops, and ma­rina are busy. Peo­ple still come here for week­end re­treats from the out­ly­ing cities and Wash­ing­ton State - just like they did over a cen­tury ago. One of the high­lights for us was the gor­geous sun­sets. Hav­ing din­ner in a lit­tle sea­side restau­rant watch­ing the sun go down was a per­fect end­ing to our beau­ti­ful va­ca­tion in Cres­cent Beach and White Rock.

Cres­cent Beach has been a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion for more than a cen­tury.

Top: Look­ing at White Rock from the Pier. Bot­tom:The Pier is the main at­trac­tion for vis­i­tors.

BNSF Rail­way uses the track daily to trans­port goods to and from Van­cou­ver to the USA. The 475 m/1,559 ft Pier stretches out into Semi­ah­moo Bay.

Spray from an Orca Killer Whale.

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