Top 5 Bellingham Bay Beaches near Downtown

Sunsets, sandcastles, long walks and seashells — all can be found at the beach. On Bellingham Bay, several beaches line the downtown waterfront shores for easy public access. Some you can drive right up to; others require a short walk. Beaches closer to town tend to be busier, so head north (to Little Squalicum Park and Locust Beach) if you’re looking for solitude. From north to south, here are five beaches near downtown Bellingham.

In every town, there’s always a hidden gem tucked away that only locals know about. In Bellingham, that gem is Locust Beach. You can ride your bike, take the bus, drive, or come by water.

At Locust Beach, seabird sounds (and airplanes overhead from the nearby airport) fill the air. Take your time beach-combing, and you’ll likely discover driftwood forts, hanging hammock nets, and even the remains of a shipwreck. Lummi Island, Orcas Island, and the Chuckanut Mountains rise above the saltwater. It’s a peaceful place for walking any time of the year.

On warm days, you can walk out onto the Nooksack River Delta. The water is relatively warm during summer, and the sand stretches as far as you can imagine. When you get out far enough, you'll encounter creeks that flow out through the sand. It’s fun to cruise through these in kayaks at low tide to see how the ebb and flow of the bay works in concert with the river as they meet in this magical place.

The shallow water and sandy beach make Locust Beach perfect for skimboarding. Run along with your board, drop it in the shallow water, and show off for your friends. On windy days, this is also a mecca for kiteboarders. Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf, located down the road, even offers kiteboard lessons! 

Tip: Beach shoes are a must at Locust Beach. You never know what you’re going to step on or in. Check the tides when you’re planning your trip — especially if you’re arriving by boat.

Getting There

To reach the beach by car, take Holly Street west from downtown Bellingham. Holly Street becomes Eldridge Avenue, which becomes Marine Drive. Turn left onto Locust Avenue, then immediately turn right into the gravel parking lot at 3199 Locust Avenue, Bellingham.

Once you’ve parked, walk southwest along the shoulder of Locust Ave and cross beneath the railroad tracks. Turn right onto the trail and you’ll be well on your way — it’s about a 5-minute walk down winding stairs to the rocky beach. 

A popular dog-walking park with designated off-leash trails, Little Squalicum Park offers a short walk to the beach. At low tide, you can even walk along the beach in either direction. [Note: Due to a restoration project, beach access at this location is closed until December 2022.]

Getting There

Parking is located at 640 Marine Drive in Bellingham. Follow the path from the parking lot down to the gravel Bay to Baker Trail and turn right (south). It’s about 0.25 miles from the parking area to the beach. 

Just east of Little Squalicum Park, Little Squalicum Beach is a drive-up beach with easy access for all ages. This port-owned property connects to the City of Bellingham’s Little Squalicum Park along the beach — you can walk between the two at low tide. 

Getting There

Navigate to 2929 Roeder Ave in Bellingham and continue to the parking lot at the end of the road. 

There’s no beach access at Zuanich Point Park, but the bay and harbor views are excellent. Jutting out into the bay, Zuanich Point is a notoriously windy park — perfect for flying kites. There’s also a playground and paved walking paths that are great for individuals with limited mobility.  

Getting There

From downtown, take Holly Street to Roeder Avenue, and then turn left onto Coho Way. From there you'll quickly turn left onto Harbor Loop Drive. The park is at 2600 Harbor Loop Drive. 

The home of Bellingham’s most recently developed beach, Waypoint Park is located centrally on the downtown waterfront. Check out Waypoint’s giant steel acid ball before exploring the park and playground. Alongside this sculpture is a grassy area to run and play, as well as a beach where you can skip rocks or look for sea life. Perch on benches or some well-placed rocks to enjoy the sun and scenery.

Waypoint Park also features Downtown Bellingham's pump track, the Kulshan Trackside Beer Garden, and a rotating selection of food trucks.

Getting There

Navigate to 1145 Granary Avenue on the downtown waterfront. There is plenty of street parking and a large gravel lot. You can easily walk or bike to the park from downtown Bellingham!

Bonus Spots!

For more beach access near downtown, check out Boulevard Park and Marine Park in Fairhaven. 

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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