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) if you’re looking for solitude. From north to south, here are five beaches near downtown Bellingham.
There’s always a hidden gem tucked away in any town that only the locals know about. In Bellingham, the best-kept secret for amazing access to the water is Locust Beach. You can ride your bike, take the bus, drive or come by water.
Exploring Locust Beach
At Locust Beach, seabird sounds (and airplanes overhead from the nearby airport) fill the air. Take your time beachcoming, 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.
One of the most popular activities on warm days at Locust Beach is to walk as far out onto the Nooksack River Delta as you can. The water is relatively warm during summer, and your sense of walking into the unknown is fun too. The sand stretches as far as you can imagine, but when you get out far enough, you will encounter the 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.
Skimboarding is a popular sport for many at Locust Beach. The shallow water and the sandy beach make for the perfect combination to 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. And if kiteboarding is on your bucket list, Bellingham Kite Paddle Surf is located right down the street and a great place to take kiteboard lessons!
Insider Tip: Beach shoes are a must when you’re walking around Locust Beach. You never know what you’re going to step on or in. Check the tides when you’re planning your trip to Locust Beach too — especially if you’re arriving by boat.
To reach the beach by car, take Holly Street west from downtown Bellingham. Holly Street becomes Eldridge Avenue, which then becomes Marine Drive. Turn left onto Locust Avenue, then immediately turn right into the gravel parking lot located 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.
Little Squalicum Park
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.
Parking is located at 640 Marine Drive in Bellingham. Follow the path from the parking lot down to the wide, gravel Bay to Baker Trail and turn right (south). It’s about 0.25 miles from the parking area to the beach.
Little Squalicum 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.
Navigate to 2929 Roeder Ave in Bellingham and continue to the parking lot at the end of the road.
Zuanich Point Park
There’s no beach access at Zuanich Point Park, but 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.
Home to 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 the sculpture is grassy area to run and play, as well as a beach where you can skip rocks or look for sea life. Landscaping includes benches and well-placed rocks for perching upon and enjoying the sun and the scenery.
Waypoint Park is also home to Downtown Bellingham’s new pump track!
Insider Tip: Check out blog on Waypoint for more information “Waypoint Park: The Perfect Place to Start Your Waterfront Adventure in Bellingham.”
For more beach access near downtown, check out Boulevard Park and Marine Park in Fairhaven. You can also check our our Hiking or Parks & Playgrounds page to learn more about beaches and walks in Whatcom.