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With more than 100 miles of beautiful Salish Sea shoreline, Whatcom County is home to Chuckanut Bay, Bellingham Bay, Lummi Island, Lummi Bay, Cherry Point, Birch Bay, Drayton Harbor and Point Roberts. Combined with the waters of Lake Whatcom, Lake Samish, Lake Padden and the Nooksack River visitors have endless marine habitats and playgrounds to explore.
Above images from left to right: Chuckanut Bay, Lummi Island, Larrabee State Park and Baker Lake.
Bring your own equipment to enjoy kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddleboarding (SUP) on Bellingham Bay, Lake Whatcom, Lake Samish, Lake Padden and off Lummi Island.
To book a tour or rent gear, try these options:
- Moondance Sea Kayaking Adventures offers half day or full day sea kayaking tours from May through September.
- Dragonfly Kayak Tours offers half day, full day, sunset, bioluminescense and multi-day overnight adventures.
- The Community Boating Center in Historic Fairhaven has equipment for rent and offers classes and lessons for paddling and sailing during the summer.
- Head up to Birch Bay and Semiahmoo for kayak rentals and paddles boards at Paddle and Pedal Adventures.
- KitePaddleSurf in Squalicum Harbor offers SUP board rentals and lessons, as well as, kiteboarding lessons.
- Explore one of Bellingham’s best-kept secrets. Western Washington University’s water recreational center, the Lakewood Boathouse can be found on the eastern edge of Lake Whatcom. Here you can rent kayaks, paddle boats, windsurfers, SUPs and a variety of sailboats.
- Gato Verde and Schooner Zodiac both offer sailing excursions. Grab your friends and spend the day exploring Bellingham Bay and the San Juans.
- If you’re looking for an overnight excursion, check out Northwest Navigation, Schooner Zodiac and Sail the San Juans. All of them offer incredible multi-day cruises on the Salish Sea and through the San Juan Islands.
- Bellingham Yacht Charter and Outer Island Expeditions offer charter and fishing trips.
- Bellingham is the only the location in the lower 48-states that gives you access to the Alaska Marine Highway System. The ferry departs Bellingham for Ketchikan and points north every Friday evening, year-round, and every other Saturday in the summer months. Advance reservations are advised.
Interested in Whale Watching? There are three companies in Bellingham that offer trips through the Salish Sea each May through September.
- San Juan Cruises departs from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven, offering full-day whale watching cruises to Friday Harbor with a complimentary Northwest salmon lunch, as well as sunset wine & beer tasting cruises.
- Outer Island Expeditions departs for whale watching trips from a variety of locations including Hotel Bellwether, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island and Sandcastle Resort at Birch Bay.
Water Adventures Resources
Dragonfly Kayak Tours is all about adventure! We are excited to take you on a journey of exploration in the Salish Sea! Booking a tour with us is like planning an intimate getaway with your closest friends. We’ll take care of all the planning and work, all you have to do is show up prepared for fun and lasting memories. We offer half day, full day, sunset, bioluminescense and multi-day overnight adventures.
Ski to Sea is the original multisport relay race, from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay. Organize your team of 8 racers and join us on Memorial Day weekend! Teammates and spectators await finishing racers in Bellingham’s scenic Marine Park and can experience the Historic Fairhaven Festival, the all-day street party just up the hill.
San Juan Cruises offers a scenic whale watch cruise which includes lunch and a stop in Friday Harbor, sunset crab dinner cruises on the bay with spectacular views of the Chuckanut coastline, wine and beer tasting cruises, and customized adventures.
We are proud to share our knowledge and expertise with you today! Beginners will learn the basics of kayak navigation and paddling techniques, while the more experienced will find this an excellent opportunity to advance their skills. We offer evening, half day, full day and multi-day trips as well as custom adventures.
Come aboard for a unique sailing experience in the beautiful San Juan Islands. The 160 ft. classic tall ship Zodiac sets sail for overnight adventures throughout the summer and Friday night salmon dinner sails on Bellingham Bay.
Gato Verde offers clients of all ages and abilities a fun outdoor customized boat tours, overnight whale watching, sailing instruction or carefree skippered sailing charters that run from 1.5 hours to seven days aboard our comfortable and efficient 42-foot-long catamaran.
We offer high-quality and unforgettable experiences of the San Juan Islands. We offer custom charters, whale watching tours, fishing around the islands and water taxi services. Outer Island Excursions prides itself in the ability to find whales when others can’t.
Pacific Multisports is the event solutions partner you need to create great race experiences and to run a smooth event. From online registration to race day timing we deliver the results. As part of the racing community in Bellingham Washington for 9 years and founders of the Lake Whatcom Triathlon, we know how to bring people together to create a successful event. We rely on our connection to the community, our experiences as athletes and 2 decades of IT experience to attract, engage and reward racers and volunteers who share our passion for athletic events.
The Community Boating Center, a local nonprofit, offers fun sailing and paddling lessons, guided trips, youth camps, and rentals on Bellingham Bay. Open seven days a week during the summer, in Fairhaven. The CBC is your place for boating adventures.
See our Insider Blogs for more tips on Whatcom’s Water Adventures
- A Bellingham Bay Wine Cruise on the Schooner Zodiac
- Cruise to Alaska Like a Local – On the Ferry
- Discover the San Juans on a Small Ship Cruise out of Bellingham
- Kayak Camping on Lummi Island
- Lakewood is Lake Whatcom’s Best Kept Secret
- Launch Your Paddle Adventure from Wildcat Cove at Larrabee State Park
- Lummi Island Guided Culinary Foraging Trip