Since social distancing measures and shutdowns began in early 2020, most of us have been traveling less and staying closer to home. For those who need a getaway, 2020 is the year of the (local, socially-distant) road trip. With Phase 2 in full swing in Whatcom County, activities are limited, but my partner and I decided to carefully dip our toes in the travel pool once again. We eased in with a one-night local getaway on a weekday. Our destination: Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, only 2 hours north of Seattle and 30 minutes north of Bellingham.
Once the site of the largest cannery in North America, Semiahmoo has seen centuries of human history. Indiginous peoples first lived here in the 1700s. The name “Semiahmoo” comes from the Salish language, describing the shape of the land as a “crescent moon”. In the 1890s, the Alaska Packers Association opened a massive cannery that operated at Semiahmoo for over 75 years. You can still find remnants from the cannery days around the property — from Semiahmoo’s iconic water tower to the seasonal cannery museum. In 1987, Semiahmoo was transformed into a resort.
Today, Semiahmoo Resort is a family-friendly, 198-room casual beach destination. Located at the end of a mile-long spit, Semiahmoo is surrounded by Salish Sea saltwater with views across the bay to White Rock, BC and beyond. It’s an ideal place for a quick getaway from the city. And I’m happy to report that the resort is taking Covid-19 precautions seriously.
To combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Semiahmoo has implemented increased protocols for cleaning their property daily to protect guests and employees. Read more about their Columbia Clean program here.
During our stay (in Phase 2), there were some noticeable differences. Masks were required “when in public spaces, both indoors and outdoors where unable to physically distance from others”. Complimentary coffee — normally self-serve — was kept behind the counter and available by request. The restaurants were offering take-out meals and limited seating options. The pool was available by reservation only. Sandpit toys were temporarily removed from the beach. These considerate rules and regulations helped us feel safe during our stay. Check with the resort before your stay for current health and safety information.
Our waterfront room had all the amenities we expected, including our favorite perk — the balcony. We spent a lot of time enjoying happy hour, people-watching, and sunset gazing from our socially distant bayview balcony. You can choose from classic room configurations or fireplace suites. And yes, some rooms are pet-friendly! Rates start around $130 per night. Book online, or call 855-917-3767 for reservations.
Semiahmoo offers three main dining options. For breakfast or a quick lunch, grab a bite at Seaview Cafe. True to its name, Seaview offers a nice waterfront location near the main lobby. Or check out Great Blue Heron Grill at the Semiahmoo Golf Club for lunch, dinner, and drinks.
For full-service waterfront dining, head to Packers Kitchen and Bar. Two large dining rooms — the kitchen and the bar — offered plenty of space for reduced capacity seating during our stay. There are also several outdoor tables available. The menu offers fresh seafood, woodstone pizza, and a variety of signature items to please all palates. Local beer, wine, and craft cocktails are also available. And you simply can’t beat the view at Packers — it’s one of the most scenic waterfront dining rooms in the county!
Things To Do
Semiahmoo Resort is packed to the gills with activities. Bring your own gear, or you can borrow bikes to cruise the scenic Semiahmoo Spit paths, tee up at the golf course, or simply walk the beach to take it all in. You can also indulge in the Spa. We enjoyed walking the historic grounds and beachcombing with views east to Mount Baker, north into Canada, and west to the islands. Each evening, Semiahmoo staff ignite beach bonfires and provide complimentary s’mores to hotel guests. We chose to watch the sunset and beach bonfires from our balcony, drinks in-hand. Because at the end of the day, there’s nothing like a Semiahmoo sunset.
Semiahmoo is a great jumping-off point for exploring nearby Blaine and Birch Bay. For a few scenic walks in the area, check out our blog: Socially Distant and Uplifting Walks in Whatcom County.
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