Chuckanut Drive manages to pack in a lifetime’s worth of delights—from tidal bays and sweeping coastal views to rolling farmland and historic storefronts—all in a mere 20-mile jaunt between Burlington and Bellingham.
Near the drive’s southern terminus, just outside of Burlington, Bay View State Park serves as a perfect jumping-off point to explore the 11,000-acre Padilla Bay National Estuarine Sanctuary. Hike on the 2.5-mile Padilla Bay Shore Trail to search for herons, eagles and falcons, and check in with the naturalists at the nearby Breazeale Interpretive Center.
To the north in Edison, stop at the down-home Edison Café, or take a seat at the elegant Oyster Bar in Bow to splurge on local Samish Bay and Kumamoto oysters in a picturesque setting.
As the Chuckanut hugs the forest-fringed Samish Bay to the north, drivers can take advantage of multiple roadside viewpoints peering over the San Juan Islands before reaching Larrabee State Park. Boating, saltwater fishing, and clamming are all popular ways to pass the time here, as is just staring out at the unforgettable sunsets over both Samish and Chuckanut Bay.
The Chuckanut’s beauty isn’t limited to nature, though: the drive ends in the beautifully restored (and seriously hip) red-brick-lined downtown of Fairhaven, a Bellingham neighborhood brimming with parks, shops and cafes.
Learn more about Chuckahut Drive Scenic Byway.