Bellingham and Whatcom County are home to more than 100 miles of shoreline on the Salish Sea, including Chuckanut Bay, Bellingham Bay,Â Lummi Island, Lummi Bay, Cherry Point, Birch Bay, Drayton Harbor and Point Roberts. This, combined with the waters of Lake Whatcom, Lake Samish, Lake Padden and the Nooksack River provide a diverse marine habitat and playground. Here are a number of ideas for getting out on the water:
Paddle: Sea kayaking half day and full day tours for groups and individuals are offered May through September by Elakah Expeditions and Moondance Sea Kayaking Adventures. Visitors and locals regularly bring their own equipment to enjoy kayaking, canoeing and SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) on Bellingham Bay, Lake Whatcom,Â Lake Samish and Lake Padden and off Lummi Island.Â SUP board rentals and lessons, as well as kite boarding lessons are offered by KitePaddleSurf at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham.
For fun ideas, read Todd’s Insider Blog posts:
Whale Watching and Day Trips: Three companies offer whale watching trips through the Salish Sea from Whatcom County each May through September.Â San Juan Cruises departs from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven, offering full-day whale watching cruises to Friday Harbor with a complimentary Northwest salmon lunch, as well as sunset wine & beer tasting cruises. Island Mariner Cruises departs from Squalicum Harbor daily during the season for full-day whale watching. Outer Island Expeditions departs for whale watching trips from a variety of locations including Hotel Bellwether, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island and Sandcastle Resort at Birch Bay.
Sailing:Â Gato Verde and Schooner Zodiac both offer group sailing excursions around Bellingham Bay and the San Juans. Read Teresa’s Insider Blog post: A Bellingham Bay Wine Cruise on the Schooner Zodiac.
Overnight Excursions: Northwest Navigation, Schooner Zodiac and Sail the San Juans offer incredible overnight packages that include wine, beer, fabulous meals, educational speakers and group experiences. Read Annette’s Insider Blog post: Discover the San Juans on a Small Ship Cruise out of Bellingham
Alaska Ferry: Bellingham is the only the location in the lower 48-states from which to start your journey on the Alaska Marine Highway System. The ferry departs Bellingham for Ketchikan and points north every Friday evening, year-round, and every other Saturday in the summer months. Advance reservations are advised. Read Annette’s Insider Blog post: Cruise to Alaska Like a Local – On the Ferry.
The Traverse is a multi-sport event for solo, tandem and relay teams. The event has a strong salmon theme running through it. Participants, aka Spawners, are encouraged to â€śThink Like Fishâ€ť as they go through the course. This is a community event that displays a wide range of athletic abilities from the hard-core to those out in costumes just for fun. The public is encouraged to come out and cheer on the Spawners. The event starts at noon at the Bellingham Farmers Market and makes itâ€™s way through Boulevard Park, Fairhaven, Lake Padden, around Lake Samish, to Fairhaven and Marine Park. Finishers complete the last leg together up Wharf Street to finish at Boundary Bay. The Bellingham Traverse Course includes a 5.5 mi. Greenways Run, 6 mi. Mountain Bike, 18 mi. Road Bike, 3.4 mi. Trail Run, 3.6 mi. Paddle, 0.65 mi. Team TREK to the finish.