Spring has officially sprung and it’s time to get outside and explore! Outdoor recreation is one of the top five reasons folks come to Whatcom County, and one of the reasons you should stay here to soak up the sun. Located between the Salish Seas and North Cascades, Bellingham & Whatcom is full of outdoor adventures including hiking, biking, paddling, and taking scenic drives.
Check out our current Travel Advisory for local travel restrictions including COVID-19 related guidelines.
Now that spring has officially arrived, eating outside is really great! Grab your sunglasses and enjoy delicious food around the county and help support our local businesses. Whatcom County loves their breweries too, we have 17 local breweries ranging from family-friendly to dog-friendly. You can also find local restaurants through Sustainable Connection’s interactive map.
Bellingham has hikes ranging from quiet nature trails leading to waterfalls, through old-growth forest, and along peaceful lakes and bays. If you want to get outside for a walk, we’ve got you covered with a list of the top 10 walking trails in Whatcom County including Boulevard Park, Whatcom Falls, Lake Padden, Semiahmoo Spit, Hovander Park and Picture Lake.
Explore Historic Fairhaven and Downtown Bellingham by way of Boulevard Park and Taylor Dock, one of Bellingham’s most popular trails. Taylor Dock is part of the South Bay Trail making it the perfect walk to visit Fairhaven before heading to Downtown Bellingham. Taylor is one of the most popular trails and the best way to explore Bellingham Bay and the waterfront.
We’ve also put together a list of Bellingham local’s must-see spots to help you explore Bellingham and Whatcom County like a true local.
Known for its namesake waterfall, there is something for everyone at Whatcom Falls Park. The park features 241 acres, and you’ll find everything from miles of serene, forested trails to a 100-year-old railroad trestle standing silently over Whatcom Creek.
Whatcom is full of water trails making it a true kayak paradise. From the Salish Sea and Bellingham Bay to rivers and lakes, we have it all. To help locals and visitors, the Port of Bellingham recently created the Whatcom Water Trails map which highlights 22 of our most popular water trails.
Whatcom County is also home to two companies that offer recreational kayak excursions: Moondance Kayak, owned by Kristi Kucera, and Dragonfly Kayak Tours, owned by Victoria Ayres. Both are women-owned companies and great for anyone looking to rent gear and take a guided tour!
Insider Tip: The Water Trails Map can be found online or is available at the Bellingham Tourism office on Potter street. You can also email email@example.com and request to have a map mailed to you if you’re planning your water adventure from home!
The City of Bellingham has more than 80 outdoor sculptures and pieces of artwork in its collection for locals and visitors to explore! Wander through the famed 29-piece outdoor sculpture collection at the Western Washington University campus or visit Big Rock Garden where 35 permanent works are displayed over Lake Whatcom.
Did you know Bellingham is home to the largest mural in Washington State? Located on Puget Sound Energy’s building, this Gretchen Leggitt mural spans the length of two football fields!
The Cascade Loop Byway is 440-miles of why people love Washington. The route shows off our state’s natural beauty and contains three additional scenic byways including the Stevens Pass Greenway, North Cascades Highway and the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way.
Insider Tip: The Cascade Loop won’t be fully open on the North end for five weeks or so, so plan accordingly! Think ahead, check their website and be aware that the scenic drive is closed roughly at Newhalem.
As the North Cascades Scenic Byway loops between massive peaks and along colored turquoise lakes, you’ll see why these mountains are called “the American Alps.” Some say, the North Cascades Highway is the most scenic in Washington State. The route passes through Whatcom County at its northern point, with stunning views of Diablo Lake, Ross Lake and hundreds of rugged peaks.
Other scenic drives include Chuckanut Drive, which hugs the shores of Bellingham Bay including Larrabee State Park, the first designated State Park in Washington, and Mount Baker Highway, built in the late 1800s and now a designated National Forest Scenic Byway.
We’ve created brand new itineraries to help you sightsee, savor, unwind and experience Bellingham & Whatcom County. Spend a few days being a tourist in your college town and make world-class memories with small town easy. Our new itineraries include classics like Chuckanut Drive and scenic Mount Baker along with a new outdoor adventure and foodie itinerary.
We also partnered with Sustainable Connections to help you unwind, savor, and take a trip like Sasquatch! They maybe be a native of the Pacific Northwest, but they’ve been hiding and don’t know what Whatcom County has to offer.
If you’re thinking ahead – you won’t want to miss a Bellingham summer. It’s a great time of year to be in town and we will be updating this blog to help you get the full experience!
You don’t have to physically be in Bellingham or Whatcom County to experience our community! Virtually explore the rich and diverse history of Whatcom County with our virtual tour blog or get an exclusively virtual experience with the Good Time Girls and Lummi Nation. You can even invite your friends and family to travel with you!
The Good Time Girls have teamed up with The City of Subdued Podcast to bring you the inside scoop on Bellingham’s History! Listen to Bad Town for the spookiest and scariest stories in Bellinghistory.
Produced by The Children of the Setting Sun Productions, the Young and Indigenous Podcast features the voice of four Lummi Nation’s youth. In a venture to keep the origins of Lummis’ oral tradition alive, hear first-hand accounts of what it is like to be a tribal member from the Pacific Northwest in Bellingham, Washington.