Every day 6:30 AM - Dusk
Photo Credit: Jamie Valenta
Clayton Beach is part of Larrabee State Park, found just outside Bellingham along Chuckanut Drive, one of the prettiest drives in the area. It is a fairly rocky beach - a wonderful place to rock climb and study wild mussels, barnacles and baby crabs. At high tide, the sandy beach area is relatively small; this is a beach that is more enjoyable at lower tide levels, so check the tide tables before you set off.
The parking lot for Clayton Beach is found on the left hand side of Chuckanut Drive, heading away from Bellingham, and the trail to the Beach is across the busy street, so parents need to be alert. The walk down to the beach is beautiful - a cool, green trek through the forest, with the tree canopy arching far overhead. The trail is basically just a dirt path that can get very muddy and slippery after rains, so caution is needed especially if carrying coolers or picnic baskets. Travel as lightly as you can down to the beach. There are no picnic tables, restrooms or trash cans, so you must pack out everything you pack in. The trail itself is approximately three-quarters of a mile and is rocky and steep in places. Soft-soled shoes are recommended. The beach is open from 6:30 a.m. to dusk.
Once down to the beach, clamber up onto the rocks and enjoy a wonderful view - across the Sound, Anacortes twinkles in the distance, and the San Juan Islands stretch across the horizon, misty blue islands suspended between the dazzling blue sea and the endless blue sky. Savor the quiet, the peace, the beauty of it all.
Follow Chuckanut Drive from Fairhaven, driving south. The parking lot for Clayton Beach is a short distance past the main Larrabee State Park entrance, on the left hand side.
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San Juan Islands