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Chuckanut Drive Washington Vacation

Chuckanut Drive, 2-4 days, June    |  Map  |  

Chuckanut Drive is fantastic 21 miles of winding seaside road with beautiful views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. This drive, a.k.a. highway 11, is the alternative to traveling on yet another boring interstate. When planning any of our Vanabode trips we look forward to eating the most. And the restaurant choices along this scenic highway are endless. Stop and take advantage of the locally grown shellfish served at any one of the many restaurants along Chuckanut Drive. And throughout the year there is a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables to purchase as well. The state parks that we visited were all free and all had spectacular views of the water and tidepools to explore. We even got lucky to see a fat raccoon fishing and shelling amongst the rocks during low tide. Chuckanut Drive should be driven the speed limit or even slower. If you get in a hurry either driving too fast or not taking the time to stop you will not get the full experience of this wonderful place.


chuckanut drive in edison washington restaurant picture

larrabee state park washington picture

Above: Larrabee State Park on Chuckanut Drive at low tide. From the parking lot we walked on a trail that went through a tunnel and into the woods before reaching the beach. We just spent time on the beach, however, Larrabee has more than 2,500 acres with camping, freshwater lakes, coves, and trails. Low tide exposes starfish and slippery rocks and we even saw a fat raccoon foraging for food among the rocks. And Jason thought he saw a cougar of some sorts, of the feline type that is, but it wasn't witnessed. The people living in and around Seattle come here to play during the weekends and holidays.

From Bellingham to Skagit Valley there are antique stores and art galleries, bed and breakfasts, one of a kind restaurants, produce stands and farmland. Just south of Bellingham is Chuckanut Mountain. It has a full range of trails for hiking and mountain biking that connect to other parks, such as Larrabee State Park. The overlooks and viewpoints offer spectacular views of the bays and the islands, especially during sunset.

farm to market bakery chuckanut drive washington picture

Above: Farm to Market Bakery at the corner of Gilmore and Farm to Market Road in Edison, Washington. The tables outside face their flower garden which was in full bloom. The owners are very friendly and their food is fresh and delicious. They serve all homemade soups, sandwiches, quiche, as well as sweets.

We ate at a wonderful little restaurant in Edison called Farm to Market Bakery. I had a quiche with local goat cheese and freshly picked mushrooms and a couple other ingredients that made me want seconds. Jason had a sandwich made with freshly baked bread, good and hearty. And for dessert we shared the huckleberry pie, fabulous, no really. The owners are passionate about their ingredients and happiness of their guests. It's pretty tight inside so the tables are outside overlooking a flower garden. The ground was mulched with hazelnut shells, very cool. There were quite a few eatin' places to pick from though and I'm sure they are all great in their own way. I think that the owners and cooks purchase and serve locally grown produce, fresh cheese, meat and shellfish, so their food is the best it can be. From Edison we took Bayview Edison Road west to Samish Island and then south to Bay View State Park along Padilla Bay.

washington wild flower and foxglove picture

Above and below: After eating lunch I took some pictures of the flowers in the garden at Farm to Market Bakery which is just off Chuckanut Drive in northwestern Washington. I really wish I had gotten a picture of the mulch in the garden which was hazelnut shells. And, I unfortunately didn't take a picture of the entire garden just individual flowers.

washington wild flower picture

We highly suggest to take a little detour from Chuckanut Drive and go to Edison for lunch then head west to Samish Island to overlook Samish Bay. You will drive through residential streets only, there are no stores, but the views and peacefulness is priceless. There are farms that sell their apples or berries, whichever is currently in season. And you can also purchase fresh oysters and other shellfish and even visit an oyster bed farm. Or if you want to sightsee from your car, the drive on Samish Island Road rewards you with quaint homes beautifully landscaped in a blanket of green grass and beds of blooming flowers.

samish island washington picture

Above: There were few cars on the road so we drove slow and stopped a few times to take pictures of the scenery. Samish Island is connected to the mainland by a dike and is informally considered one of the "inner San Juan islands" east of the larger San Juan Islands.

display at padilla bay interpretive center washington picture

Above: Breazeale Interpretive Center on Padilla Bay is a great place to stop even if you don't want to be interpreted to. You're on your own to walk through the display rooms and read the history and functionality of the bays in this area. There are fish tanks and an interactive room for kids to touch and learn.

The Breazeale Interpretive Center is free with good parking. You can walk from the building on a paved path to Padilla Bay shoreline. It is part of the Salish Sea which includes the Puget Sound, Straits of Juan de Fuca, Georgia Straits, Hood Canal and the waters around the Gulf and San Juan Islands. One mile south of the center is a 2.2 mile trail called the Padilla Bay Shore Trail. It goes from Bay View along a dike at Little Indian Slough. This is a great place for bird watching and a picnic and so are a lot of stops along the 21 mile Chuckanut Drive Washington.

Click Washington vacation details for more information and pictures.

This page is part of a 20 day, 2,866 mile, Vanabode trip.
See van camping Nevada Washington Oregon Canada for an overview of this particular trip.
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