Water Adventures

Bellingham and Whatcom County are home to more than 100 miles of shoreline on the Salish Sea, including Chuckanut Bay, Bellingham Bay,  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,  Lake Samish and Lake Padden and off Lummi Island.  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.  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:  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 and Schooner Zodiac 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

Charters and Fishing: A Trophy Fishing Charters, Bellingham Yacht Charter and Outer Island Expeditions offer charter and fishing trips.

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.

News Stories featuring Water Adventures

Bellingham is named Best Paddling Town by Outside Magazine

Schooner Zodiac Wine Tours Are a Big Hit —  read more here or here

Adventure Sailing at its finest in Vancouver Province

Chartering in the San Juans on Northwest Navigation’s David B

Elakah Expedition’s Foraging Trips in Seattle Met

Water Related Annual Events

Bellingham Traverse

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 “Think Like Fish” 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 it’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.

Water Adventures Download

Water Adventures Links & Resources

Gato Verde Adventure Sailing | 360-220-3215
1842 Governor Road, Bellingham
Gato Verde is a modern sailing catamaran offering skippered day and overnight charters and custom educational expeditions in the magnificent waters of the Pacific Northwest. We can accommodate twelve passengers for day trips and up to nine for overnight trips. | gato_verde@earthlink.net
Northwest Navigation | 360-201-8184 or 877-670-7863
PO Box 1431, Bellingham
Outer Island Expeditions | 360-376-3711
PO Box 653, Eastsound
Our high quality marine tours depart from both Semiahmoo Resort and the Lummi Island Ferry Terminal. We head out twice a day to find Gray, Orca, and Humpback Whales. We spot whales 90% of the time. | outerisland@live.com
Sail the San Juans Inc. | 360-671-5852 or 800-729-3207
15 Bellwether Way, Bellingham
Join us aboard Northwind for a six day sailing adventure! We offer quality crewed yacht charters in the San Juan Islands and Inside Passage. No experience required. Six guests, gourmet fare, kayaks, hiking, fishing, crabbing and a fun crew included! | info@sailthesanjuans.com
San Juan Cruises | 360-738-8099 or 800-443-4552
355 Harris Avenue, Bellingham
San Juan Cruises offers a scenic whale watch cruise which includes lunch and a stop in Friday Harbor, sunset crab dinner cruises on the bay with spectacular views of the Chuckanut coastline, wine and beer tasting cruises, and customized adventures. | tours@whales.com
Schooner Zodiac, The | 206-719-7622
355 Harris Avenue, Bellingham

Bellingham Yacht Charter
1801 Roeder Avenue, Bellingham
Borealis Sailing Expeditions
722 Coho Way, Bellingham
Island Mariner Cruises
5 N Harbor Loop, Bellingham
360-734-8866 or 877-734-8866
Moondance Sea Kayaking Adventures
3120 Peabody St, Bellingham
Paddle and Pedal Adventures
4865 Goldstar Drive, Birch Bay
Salish Sea Kayak School
17 Honeycomb Lane, Bellingham
The Community Boating Center
555 Harris Avenue, Bellingham
View our entire Member Directory.