Captain George Vancouver named the bay in 1792 for the numerous black birches along its shore. Clam digging along the fine sandy beach and saltwater fishing are popular recreations.
With some of the warmest waters north of California, many world-class golf courses and resorts. It is a popular destination for both Canadians and Washingtonians wanting to experience the gorgeous sea shore without big-city crowds.
Members of the Francisco de Eliza expedition of 1791 named it Ensenada de Garzon to honor Miguel Garzon, a Spanish Naval officer. On June 11, 1792, Capt. George Vancouver gave the bay its present name when his ships anchored there.
The birch trees around the shore of the bay, which Vancouver called black birches, inspired the name. Cmdr. Charles Wilkes used Vancouver’s name on his charts of the bay in 1841. Semiahmoo Native Americans called it Tsan-wuch. Lummi Native Americans called it Say-wak, meaning people saved from a flood by building a raft.