Everyone knows about the stunning San Juan Islands, but you'll find little traffic around Portage Island in Bellingham Bay. This uninhabited island is part of the Lummi Native American Tribal lands, and it offers a great place to paddle and explore. Much of the island has accessible beaches for a rest or picnic.
The roughly 6.5-mile trip features views of Mount Baker, Lummi Island, the San Juan Islands, and the beautiful waters of Puget Sound. Expect a variety of wildlife encounters, including sea lions, seals, bald eagles, vultures, and numerous species of shorebirds, crabs, and fish.
The small parking lot is at the end Portage Point (though you can also put in at Gooseberry Point near the Lummi Island Ferry terminal). You can actually walk out to Portage Island from this point during low tide (so watch your rutter). Check the tides, and bring snacks and lots of water. Portage Bay is a shallow tidal flat that features a spit of land called Brant Point. In addition to hosting resting shorebirds, Brant Point is a good place to portage your kayak or paddleboard for a shortcut.