Off scenic Chuckanut Drive lies Teddy Bear Cove. Beautifully secluded with opportunities to relax, hunt for treasure, climb trees and enjoy life, this has quickly became a family favorite.
A nice little beach with rock faces for exploring and madrona trees for climbing, this is a perfect spot for a low key fun day, a family picnic or an evening sunset date.
This Whatcom County Park just minutes outside of the historic Fairhaven district of Bellingham WA, although not immediately visible, is easy to get to via the interurban trail off Chuckanut Drive.
To get there take Interstate 5 to exit 250. Go west on Old Fairhaven Parkway for 1.3 miles. Turn left and follow Chuckanut Drive south for 1.5 miles to the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead. Hike 0.2 miles up Hemlock Trail to the Interurban Trail, then head south for 1/2 mile to the Teddy Bear Cove sign. If coming through Fairhaven, I suggest a stop by Sirena Gelato, their amazing flavors are even better affogato style with a shot of fresh espresso poured on top.
If coming from the South, you can take a different route and meander up scenic Chuckanut Drive to the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead. This is a perfect way to take advantage of all the local farms and artisans and pack a local picnic lunch. Stop by Bow Hill Blueberries for local berries (when in season) or pickled and preserved blueberries, Golden Glen Creamery or Samish Bay Cheese for a variety of cheeses from either of their farm stores, Breadfarm for crackers, cookies or a crusty loaf of bread and Slough Food for cured meats, cheese and wine. If you’d rather stop for a meal rather than pack a picnic Tweets in Edison has the best breakfast around and Taylor Shellfish Farm is perfect for a beachside barbeque or raw oysters by the sea.
The ‘hike’ down to the beach is on a short well groomed trail.
It is steep, but because of all the carved in steps, is doable for all ages and abilities.
Once down to the waterfront, quickly cross over the active railroad tracks and choose which beach to visit.
Teddy Bear Cove has two beaches, a north and a south beach, separated by a bluff that serves as a nice viewpoint, just use caution around the edges of the bluff especially with children, as the fall is steep and straight down.
Covered in bare madrona trees, the inside of the bluff is a great spot for climbing.
Both beaches seem to be a rarity in Washington state with white sand, but look closer and find that the fine white rocks are really just ground up shellfish shells. Apparently, this is evidence that this is the eroded remains of an area used for centuries as a fishing and dumping spot for clams and other shellfish.
You can find all sorts of treasures mixed in with the rocks and shells. The kids and I had a great time searching for sea glass.
The evidence of saltwater erosion can also be seen in the interesting honeycomb like shapes carved into the sandstone under the bluff.
There’s also a ton of washed up logs and driftwood for climbing and playing on.
It’s a great place for both kids and adults, to find as much or as little as they’d like to do.
This is a popular spot, but because it is lesser known than many of the other recreational spots along Bellingham Bay and Chuckanut Drive, you never know what sort of crowds to expect. On a holiday Saturday, we had the beach all to ourselves for around 6 hours. Next time, we will be visiting to catch the sunset. This beach never closes but if coming after dark, dress warm as fires are never allowed.
What are your favorite low key things to do with your family?