Birch Bay State Park, Birch Bay, WA
Pebble beach with camping nearby, Directions: Exit Interstate 5 to go west at Grandview Road. Turn right onto Jackson Road. Turn left at Helweg Road. Sand, tide flats, herons and a seaside resort atmosphere, Directions: Exit Interstate 5 at Birch Bay-Lynden Road. Take the road west until it ends. Turn left on Harbor View Road and follow it to Birch Bay Drive.
Boulevard Park, Bellingham, WAM
A boardwalk, three small sand and pebble beach’s, plus access to a bouldery shoreline. Directions: Take North State Street south of downtown, bear right onto Boulevard and turn right, toward the water, at Bayview Drive.
Chuckanut Bay Marsh & Tidelands, Bellingham, WA
This secluded sand and pebble beach borders huge tide flats. Directions: Take Chuckanut Drive south. Just before the junction of Old Samish Highway, turn right on 21st Street, which will round a corner and become Fairhaven Avenue. Follow Fairhaven Avenue to the end.
Clayton Beach, Larrabee State Park, South of Bellingham, WA
Sandy beach with rocks and boulders nearby. Good for basking or low tide exploration, Directions: Take Chuckanut Drive south to the Clayton Beach Trailhead parking lot. Cross Chuckanut Drive to reach the trail, which runs about a half-mile to the beach. Watch out for one tough spot: a steep rock near the railroad tracks. At the bottom of the rock, take the left-hand trail and keep to the left after you cross the tracks.
Gulf Road, West of Ferndale, WA
Secluded cobble beach with long views of Georgia Strait, Directions: Exit Interstate 5 to go west at Slater Road. Turn right at Lake Terrell Road. Turn left at Mountain View Road; turn right at Rainbow Road, which turns a corner to become Henry Road. Turn left on Gulf Road to reach the beach.
Klucketenus Beach-Locust Beach, North of Bellingham, WA
This sand and cobble beach lets you see all of Bellingham Bay. Shame about the beer bottles, cans and beach fire remains, Directions: Exit Interstate 5 toward Bellingham International Airport. Turn left on Bennett Drive, right on McAlpine Road, then left on Locust Avenue. A trail on the right side of the end of Locust Avenue leads to a staircase to the beach.
Lighthouse Marine Park, Point Roberts, WA
South and west facing beaches with sweeping views of Georgia Strait and the islands beyond. Prime whale-watching spot, Directions: Take Tyee Drive south as it turns into Marina Drive and then curves west to become Edwards Drive. Turn left at the sign.
Little Squalicum Beach, Bellingham, WA
Pebble and sand beach with tide flats, Directions: Take Roeder Avenue away from downtown. Turn left onto Seaview Avenue. Follow it to the end.
Maple Beach, Point Roberts, WA
You might see some faded “private beach” signs but Whatcom County owns this wide sand and pebble beach. Great views of Boundary Bay and Mount Baker, Directions: Take Tyee Drive south, turn left on Johnson Road, then left on Goodman Road and right on Elm Street. Park in a side street.
Marine Park, Bellingham, WA
This sand and pebble beach slopes down to a rock-strewn tide flat. Directions: From Fairhaven, take Harris Avenue toward the water. After you cross the railroad tracks, take a left turn to the park.
Semiahmoo Spit, Blaine, WA
This 1½ -mile-long sand spit has a resort at the end and walking trails on both sides, Directions: Exit Interstate 5 at Birch Bay-Lynden Road. Take the road west until it ends. Turn right on Harbor View Road, then left on Lincoln Road, which will become Semiahmoo Parkway. Follow this road to Semiahmoo County Park. Turn left into the parking lot as soon as you reach the spit.
Teddy Bear Cove, South of Bellingham, WA
Undulating sandstone and conglomerate rock formations frame this isolated beach, Directions: Take Chuckanut Drive south. Turn left into the North Chuckanut Trailhead and park there. Walk south on the Interurban Trail. Turn right at the sign for Teddy Bear Cove. Cross Chuckanut Drive and follow the trail, which steeply switchbacks to the cove. Walk is about one mile total.
Wildcat Cove, Larrabee State Park, South of Bellingham, WA
This sheltered cove is a good place to investigate at low tide, Directions: Take Chuckanut Drive south. Turn right into Cove Road. Follow Cove Road as it crosses the railroad tracks and turns left.