Effective August 23, 2021, Indoor Masking is Required in the State of Washington Regardless of Vaccination Status per State Government.

Western Washington University Students' Guide to Bellingham

Welcome to Bellingham and Whatcom County! Fall quarter is here and for some, it's the first time exploring Bellingham so we want to help you make the most of it.  

Check out our current Travel Advisory for local travel restrictions including COVID-19 related guidelines.

Outdoor recreation is one of the top five reasons folks choose to come to Whatcom County. Positioned between the Salish Sea and the North Cascades, Whatcom County is the peak of the Pacific Northwest. We have more than 100 miles of shoreline to kayak, the best mountain biking in Washington State, and gorgeous scenic drives including Chuckanut Drive and the Mount Baker Highway.  

Check out our blog Explore Scenic Bellingham and Whatcom County Like a Local for a list of the best spots in town ranging from top parks and hikes to lookout spots and shorelines to explore.

Bellingham and Whatcom County hikes range from quiet nature trails to waterfall views through old-growth forests. 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 Lake Padden, Semiahmoo Spit, Hovander Park, and Picture Lake. 

Bonus Spots

Taylor Dock

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. 

Whatcom Falls

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.

Kayaking & Water Adventures

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 here or you can email info@bellingham.org and request to have a map mailed to you if you’re planning your water adventure from home! 

Outdoor Art & Downtown's Art District

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!

Tourist in your College Town: New Itineraries Alert

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 may be a native of the Pacific Northwest, but they’ve been hiding and don’t know what Whatcom County has to offer.

Fall is a great time of the year to experience Bellingham and Whatcom County. You will find vibrant colors and seasonal activities including apple picking and pumpkin patches at the largest apple orchard in Western Washington, Bellewood Farms and Distillery.  

You can also head to Waypoint Park on Wednesday for the Bellingham Farmers’ Market or check out their Saturday market at Depot Market Square across from Boundary Bay in Downtown Bellingham.  

Other fun fall activities include Downtown First Friday Art WalksFairhaven Fourth Friday Art Walk, or Free State Park Day at the end of September. For a full list of activities and events happening in Whatcom County, check out our event calendar.  

Locally farmed and fished foods are a norm in Bellingham. We have it all from award-winning restaurants to fresh locally sourced ingredients; Whatcom County takes pride in using as many locally sourced ingredients from our local farms as possible.  

In Whatcom County, September means Eat Local Month! Every September, Sustainable Connections helps connect the community to get a taste of the delicious and fresh flavor of Whatcom County and Washington State. Follow Eat Local First on social media for daily suggests and tips! 

Whatcom County is also home to 17 different breweries, so we have created a FAQ sheet to help you keep track of family-friendly optionshappy hours, pet-friendly spots, and get the inside scoop on what makes each brewery unique. 

We also encourage you to save time with reservations or order take-out and enjoy the scenery. Open Table is a good starting point for booking reservations around the county. You can also check out the restaurant’s website to see if they offer reservations or order online and enjoy a meal on the go!  

Maybe you have family coming up to help move you in or a friend visiting. Check out our lodging page for a waterfront resort, mid-price hotel, or bed & breakfast.  

You don’t have to physically be here to experience Bellingham and Whatcom County. Explore with our virtual tours blog or book an exclusive virtual tour with the Good Time Girls. You can even invite your friends and family to ‘travel’ with you! 

Last but not least, don’t forget to share your photos with us on social! Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and tag us at Bellingham Experience for a chance to share your own Bellingham Experience on our page!  

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

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