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Obstruction Pass State Park, on Orca’s Island, is less-known than Moran State Park, but just as beautiful and worth a visit. Located on the southeastern tip of Orca’s Island, Obstruction Pass State Park is one of the few saltwater beaches open to the public in the area. Even so, because it is smaller and more off the beaten track than Moran State Park, there are significantly fewer visitors, making it an ideal destination for those looking to get a little peace and quiet while enjoying the natural beauty of the San Juan Islands. Three mooring buoys are available for use, and there is ample space for anchoring. The pebble beach is perfect for landing a dinghy or kayak. The beach offers south-facing views of Obstruction Island, Lopez Island, and Blakely Island. There is excellent beach combing and bird watching from the beach, and at low tide there are even some tide pools to explore. From the beach, visitors can take a 0.6 mile, easy hike along the interpretive trail to learn more about the geology, ecology, and natural history of the park.
Photo Courtesy of parks.state.wa.us
There are also more trails to explore throughout the park’s 80 acres for those looking to stretch their legs and take in some views. Please note that there is no potable water available in the park, however there are outhouses both above the beach as well as at the head of the interpretive trail. There are 10 camp sites scattered throughout the forest in the park along with several day use picnic tables if you decide to stay for lunch.
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Peace Arch State Park, located on the United States-Canada border, is unique due to the international border splitting the park almost exactly in half. The highlight of the park, the 67-foot Peace Arch Monument (left), is the first structure in the world to be build on the border of two countries. It was constructed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the treaties that were a result of the War of 1812 with Great Britain, and was dedicated in 1921. The park is situated along scenic Semiahmoo Bay, and in addition to its panoramic views of Point Roberts and Vancouver Island, is known for its lush gardens and vast lawns. Regularly the park is the site of cultural and international events. Numerous unsheltered picnic tables are available for day use, some of which are ADA-accessible. There is a playground on site for families to enjoy, as well as two horseshoe pits and large play fields for activities. Visitors to the park are encouraged to explore the entire park on both sides of the physical border, but if you would like to cross outside the boundary of the park you must clear customs.
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Although the Peace Arch State Park does not have moorage, Blaine Harbor is within walking distance of the park, offers guest moorage, and is also an interesting place to spend some time. The harbor itself features all the amenities a charter guest might need, including a fuel dock, pumpout stations, electrical hookups, and showers. During the summer, visitors can also take a ride aboard the historical Plover ferry (above), which was used in the 1940’s to carry workers across the channel between Blaine and the salmon cannery that was located on Semiahmoo Spit. Take the ferry to the Semiahmoo Spit and visit the Alaska Packers Association Cannery Museum, which is housed in an original cannery building and tells the story of men who worked in the salmon cannery industry, which was the basis for many of the communities in the area. There are also trails leading from the harbor along the waterfront into historic downtown Blaine, where you can shop, eat, and enjoy the views.
Photo Courtesy of travelgolf.com