A 20-mile drive from Bellingham and a 10-mile drive to the Canadian border, Birch Bay is Whatcom County’s one and only beach town. It is popular for vacationers and second-home owners but is becoming an increasingly popular location for full-time residential living.
Birch Bay includes several beachside restaurants, coffee & ice cream shops (some seasonal), and even a new brewery. Activities include crabbing, clamming, fishing, and camping. The 194-acre Birch Bay state park is one of the most popular campgrounds in the Pacific Northwest. Family activities include the nearby Birch Bay Waterslides, go-karts, and mini-golf.
For home buyers, there are a wide variety of home buying options for nearly every budget. The condo complexes range from small, basic units to luxury bay view units. Many HOA’s allow you to rent as a VRBO. There are affordable smaller homes, manufactured homes, and mobile home parks. You can raise the budget and find high-quality homes, many with bay views or beach access. The largest and perhaps most sought-after is the gated community of Birch Bay Village, which has amazing amenities, 24/7 security, a 9 hole golf course, trails, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, private beach access, and a private marina.
Overall, Birch Bay is a charming area that offers incredible value. Home and condo prices typically are 5 to 20% below prices in Bellingham.
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Birch Bay Positives:
-Many bay view homes and condos.
-Growing number of restaurants walking distance.
-Easy commute to Bellingham for full-time residents, but also affordable 2nd/vacation home location.
-Less rain than many other areas in the Pacific Northwest.
-Wide range of options for investing in Real Estate here.
-Some mobile home parks and less “well kept” developments in some sections do not put off a high-end feel to the community (excluding Birch Bay Village).
Relocating to Birch Bay, WA
Are you moving to Birch Bay, WA? Our relocation guide will help you familiarize yourself with this popular vacation destination in Whatcom County.
First, before planning your move to Birch Bay, it’s helpful to understand the city’s location, population, and features. Here is a breakdown of quick stats you need to know.
Did You Know? Birch Bay was named the most tax-friendly place in all of Washington for retirees (by Smart Asset).
Birch Bay, WA Demographics
Location and Population
Size: 16 square miles
Distance to Canadian Border: 20 minutes
Distance to Seattle, WA: 1 hr, 52 minutes
Population: 9,323 (2019)
Median Age: 51.9
Work and Income
Median Income (Household): $62,413
Per-Capita Income: $38,272
Mean travel time to work: 27 minutes
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 27.2%
High school or higher: 94.5%
Average Home Price: $407,000
Total Housing Units: 5,699
% of Homes Occupied: 73%
Average Dollar Per Square Foot (Residential): $246
12 Month Appreciation: 3.1%
Did You Know? Birch Bay received its name in 1792, when a member of the Vancouver Expedition noticed the number of birch species in the area.
JLS Realtor Insights: Birch Bay is Whatcom County’s quintessential beach town. This community used to be more seasonal, as tourists flooded the beach and neighboring state park every summer. Vacation rentals and 2nd homes, RV parks and vacation condos are a good part of the development that surrounds Birch Bay. Being 20 minutes from the Canadian border, Birch Bay has also long been a 2nd home location for Vancouver, BC residents. In more recent years Birch Bay has become more popular for full time living and retirement. The lifestyle allows you not only beach access, but still only 25 minutes to Bellingham. The most prominent development in Birch Bay is the gated and secure Birch Bay Village. Which is home to a marina, parks, a 9 hole golf course.
Birch Bay, WA Local Events
Kite Weekend in Birch Bay
Birch Bay Drive in at the Waterslides (through September)
Bellingham Real Estate Stories sharing the story of Bellingham, Washington. John L. Scott Realtors are local real estate brokers sharing local information and insights on neighborhoods, schools, and events in our friendly community.