This study investigates the variations in flow patterns in the northern Taiwan Strait in summer using high-frequency (HF) radar measurements, satellite-tracked drifter trajectories and numerical models. There is an obvious interaction between intra-diurnal tides and ocean currents in northwestern Taiwan. When the tide changes between high tide and low tide, the change in direction of the nearshore flow occurs before the change in the offshore flow. Drifter trajectories show that there are three different drifting paths in the Taiwan Strait in summer. One path is along the west coast of Taiwan from the southwest coast to the northeast coast. Another path is the same as the first one but leads northward to the East China Sea instead of eastward to the northeast coast of Taiwan. The other path exists along the west coast of Taiwan, some distance out, after being deflected by the bottom ridge. The regional ocean modeling system model was used in this study to clarify the influencing factors that lead to these three paths. The results of multiple simulations and HF radar data indicate that the bifurcation of the first two drift paths in northwestern Taiwan is caused by ebb and flood tide transitions. The different routes of the latter two paths are due to the significant speed difference between the nearshore current and the offshore current approximately 45 km from the coast.