March 2, 2019
We recently celebrated our two years anniversary of living here, and we’ve really enjoyed exploring the TWO local beaches: Crescent Beach in South Surrey and East + West Beach in White Rock. I was SO surprised at how many fun outdoor activities there are for families to do here. (And yes, it includes a visit to see the broken pier!)
Throwing Rocks At the Beach Near The Broken White Rock Pier. Photo Ethan Dysktra
Yes, you read that right. Just because it’s broken doesn’t mean it’s not interesting for kids to see! This is a season of change for the White Rock area and a significant moment in the community’s history. The pier has been a symbol of White Rock pride since it was built in 1914, and was destroyed by fire in 1931 and rebuilt. In 1976, it faced threat of being torn down, but the community banded together to save it and rebuilt it again. And this past December the pier was badly damaged by a storm.
It was SO shocking to see the pier get destroyed and trust me– it was the talk of the town for weeks afterwards. There’s now a plan in place to fully repair the pier by the end of this summer. The pier’s been through a LOT in its 105 years, and this is a significant chapter of its overall story.
Going to White Rock also provides a chance to show kids the construction of Memorial Park and nearby parkade before they’re completed.
Parent Tip: We all know kids need frequent bathroom breaks. New public washrooms are being built, so make sure they go to the washroom before leaving home, and there are plenty of options at Marine Drive restaurants or at the museum. There are also outhouses available in the parking lot near the museum.
The White Rock beach, shops, museum, and restaurants are all fantastic places for families and the parking is FREE until March 31.
I can’t help but think about the symbolism of the broken pier and how we all have seasons of our lives that take grit and community support to overcome. Ultimately, the Marine Drive business community could really use our help right now as things are getting rebuilt. Why not bring your family down for a meal, visit to the museum and walk along the beach?
Regardless of the weather, our kid asks for an ice cream cone whenever we go to the beach. Our favourite spot at Crescent Beach is Red Baron and for White Rock is Crazy Cows. We don’t always say yes to his requests for ice cream, but it’s a real treat when we do.
Next up, it seems like most kids are fascinated with rocks. Who needs a playground when you have intricate patterns of rocks to climb? We have a rule for my son when he’s climbing the rocks: “Go LOW and SLOW!” which has worked out well. At both beaches, we also love to throw rocks together. When my son was a toddler, I REALLY had to stress the importance of aiming AWAY from mommy.
This has to be my #1 favourite thing to do. After a stressful week of work, there’s nothing I love doing more than going for a walk down to Crescent Beach and looking for seaglass with my family. It calms my mind and makes me forget my stress. We have found some great chunks of seaglass that we bring home and display in a jar in our kitchen. The best spot is below Christopherson Steps on Crescent Beach.
We haven’t actually built these before, but we are ALWAYS thrilled to find driftwood forts on the beaches. One last year had the sign “Seaweed Cafe” on it, and so now we call all of them this. If you’re one of the people who builds these, thank you for providing hours of enjoyment for our family!
Moving on, walking has always been my go-to way to decompress and get in some exercise. White Rock Beach has the promenade and the expanse of sandy beaches at low tide, and Crescent Beach has Christopherson Steps and its pebble beach. Both are ideal places to be alone with your thoughts in the ‘off season’ away from the peak season crowds.
We have always been into community history and museums; we can find out so much about where we are going based on where we have come from. First, The White Rock Museum is full of rotating exhibits, a fun kids’ train, and stories of White Rock’s Semiahmoo First Nation and settlers. Next, Crescent Beach has a series of memory stones, that are inscribed with poetic phrases capturing the local history and culture of the area. Third, the nearby Historic Stewart Farmhouse is a glimpse back to rural Surrey in the early 1900’s and is fascinating to tour and walk through the scenic grounds that are open to the public even if the farmhouse is not.
Last but not least, there is NO better place in the Fraser Valley to enjoy the sunset. The ones around here are so spectacular with the light reflecting off the waves. It also helps that South Surrey/ White Rock gets more sunny days than the rest of the mainland. Just saying.