Point Roberts is the western most point of Whatcom County but you’ll have to boat or drive through Canada to get there. When the treaty of 1846 drew a boundary between western Canada and the U.S. on the 49th parallel it nipped off a small, less than five square mile, block of the lower mainland of British Columbia known as Point Roberts. Today, visitors will find a visit to Pt. Roberts an outdoor and natural area delight. Anchoring the four corners of the Point are four county parks, each offering unique experiences including: Border Monument No.1 from the 1800’s, near shore campgrounds, ruins of sunken ships and fish processing plants, geological wonders, the highest shoreline bluffs in the county and the warmest wading and swimming saltwater beach in Western Washington. Boaters can take advantage of the large marina facilities while paddlers often enjoy circling Lily Point into the world famous birding waters of Boundary Bay. The vistas and sights that Pt. Roberts offers from its beaches and cliff top viewing areas are spectacular: islands, mountains, orca pods, marine traffic and a west coast rarity, sunrise over saltwater. With so much wonder packed into such a small area it’s understandable why a visit to Pt. Roberts so often results in it becoming another favorite outdoor destination.
Originally thought to be an island by early European explorers, Pt. Roberts was indeed an island at one time. Through numerous glacial advances and recessions and the intervening floods and deposition of sediments from the Fraser River a large delta formed eventually connecting the island to the mainland. Used for centuries as a sustainable fishery by Native Peoples it became a major site for commercial fish traps of the early 1900’s until outlawed due to their devastating effects on the salmon runs. Its subsequent history included short lived periods influenced by gold rushes, smuggling during prohibition, farming, and most recently vacation homes and outdoor recreation. Influenced by its proximity to British Columbia and its large percentage of Canadian residents it provides a somewhat exotic ambience for U.S. visitors. Certainly traveling through Canada and two border crossings add to this sense of the unusual. Even for families and groups with a wide range of ages and interests, Point Roberts offers so many easily accessed outdoor opportunities that it’s sure to offer something for everyone.