Best Places for Kayaking in Whatcom County

By: John Moles
Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What could be more enjoyable than gliding across the waters, breathing the fresh air and taking in the natural beauty of the great outdoors? And, where better to get out on a kayak than Whatcom County with its stunning lakes, rivers, oceans, mountains and forests? Whatcom County has a lot to offer to both beginner and seasoned Kayakers. Here are a few of the favorite kayaking spots around the region for you to discover.

Lake Whatcom

Lake Whatcom located in Bellingham offers a large, easily accessible recreation area with something for all levels of kayakers. On Wednesdays you can join other boaters for a friendly 3.5 mile race (don't worry if you are slow, they will give you a head start). If you prefer a more serene nature experience than you can head to the south end of the lake. As long as the wind is not blowing too strongly the south end is a nice calm place for new kayakers. Please note: due to the high risk of invasive species contamination in the lake, there is a small fee you must pay to have your boat inspected and receive an invasive species tag.

Wildcat Cove

Take the scenic Chuckanut drive to Larabee State Park to access the calm waters of Wildcat Cove. This protected inlet is a great place to launch your kayak. From here you can head north to Chuckanut Bay or south to Samish Bay. You can go for a nice day paddle or an adventurous overnight one. Be sure to bring your camera to snap a photo of kingly eagles and curious otters.

Bowman Bay

For strong and experienced paddlers, Bowman Bay offers a couple of attractive options. Heading out towards Anacortes you have the opportunity to do some island hopping. You can take a picnic and enjoy the rocky seascapes of Allan and Burrows Islands. The other option, also for intermediate paddlers, is to head South through Deception Pass to Similk Bay. If the tide is running, be prepared for some very strong currents.

Gooseberry Point

Gooseberry point is located near the Lummi Island Ferry terminal. From here you can take a nice long paddle heading directly to Lummi Island or go across to Hale Passage and beyond to Point Migley, Legoe Bay or Lummi Rocks (avoid Portage Island unless it’s an emergency, as this reserve land belonging to the Lummi Nation and requires permission). On Lummi Island there is a wonderful boat-access only campground so you can spend a few days exploring and watching the night sky. When heading across Hale passage watch for strong winds going against the current, as this can make for some treacherous paddling.

Nookshack River Delta

The Nookshack River Delta is a handful of finger-like channels that empty out into the Bellingham Bay. Located West of Bellingham, the delta offers a calm and scenic opportunity for all levels of kayakers. The channels fluctuate with the tides, so you will have to hunt around for a good place to launch. You will also want to make sure to check the tide charts so that you don't go when the water is too shallow for paddling.

Whichever location you select, there’s no question that Whatcom County is an ideal spot to toss your kayak in the water and get paddling.

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