Lifestyle

Semiahmoo: Life’s a beach

White Rock Beach, which stretches eight kilometres just south of Marine Drive, includes a 1,500-foot-long pier and a two-and-a-half-kilometre promenade often bustling with people. - Black Press photo
White Rock Beach, which stretches eight kilometres just south of Marine Drive, includes a 1,500-foot-long pier and a two-and-a-half-kilometre promenade often bustling with people.
— image credit: Black Press photo

If you’re staying home this summer, consider taking a “day” vacation in a neighbouring community.

Community by the sea

While the Semiahmoo Peninsula is a friendly, tight-knit community known for diverse merchants, great restaurants and a bustling arts scene, there’s no argument over what has put this area on the map – the beautiful beaches.

The Peninsula beaches attract visitors from all over the world, who enjoy a walk along the scenic promenade, a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes or a dip in the Pacific Ocean – well-known highlights of this unique seaside community.

White Rock Beach, which stretches eight kilometres just south of Marine Drive, includes a 1,500-foot-long pier and a two-and-a-half-kilometre promenade often bustling with people out for a sun-soaked stroll.

At West Beach, home to the famous pier,  one can find everything from rustic cafes to fine-dining, boutique merchants and spas, not to mention live music and art displays.

Don’t be surprised to see children diving from the lower level docks of the pier, or dangling a fishing line or a trap for crabs, which can be seen on the sea floor through the clear waters.

The slightly quieter East Beach, which borders Semiahmoo First Nations Land, is a family favourite and perfect spot for a picnic. When the tide is out, the huge sandy area can be found filled with kite flyers, sandcastle builders and sunbathers. In the height of the summer, East Beach makes a great swimming spot, as the hot sands warm the water when the tide comes in, and is also a popular place for skim boarders to glide along the shoreline.

On the west side of the Semiahmoo Peninsula lies South Surrey’s Crescent Beach, slightly quieter than nearby White Rock Beach but equal in charm and beauty.

Take a relaxing stroll down the graveled walkways of Crescent Beach, go for a swim in the warm waters, fly a kite on the sand or just soak up some of the sun.

Beecher Street – known as the Marine Drive of Crescent Beach – boasts trendy bistros, live entertainment, deep wine cellars and artistic flair.

For the birds

One of the best bird-watching areas in the country, named Blackie Spit after the early settler, and is located just a short walk north of Crescent Beach.

Also in the neighbourhood is Camp Alexandra, which hosts numerous events and services from recreational activities to support groups.

With plenty of free parking and lifeguards on duty in July and August, Crescent Beach is a great place for locals and tourists alike to enjoy the sunny, seaside atmosphere.

Walk down memory lane

While the village of Crescent Beach was sparsely inhabited until the completion of the Great Northern Railway in 1909, which connected the seaside community to the rest of Surrey, humans have inhabited the fragile sandy spit for more than 5,000 years.

The Coast Salish, Semiahmoo and Kwantlen First Nations settled in Crescent Beach in the summer months, focusing their efforts on hunting and fishing.

To honour the area’s rich history, in 2002, the City of Surrey commissioned a public art program called Memory Stones at Crescent Beach.

With 33 stones circling the neighbourhood, the history, memories, dream and stories of the Crescent Beach community past and present are distilled through poetic phrases, symbols and references.

A self-guided walking tour follows the memory stones and their tales through the community, and starts at the “Keystone” at the foot of Beecher Street.

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