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10 Reasons to Escape to Bellingham!

Enjoy many adventures in one bayside city when you visit Bellingham, Washington. Marvel at two scenic byways, sip local brews, explore miles of trails, take in local art and hit the beach for sunset!

1. Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway

If you love gorgeous views, epic sunsets and easy-to-get-to trailheads, then Chuckanut Drive is your route! Built as Washington State’s first scenic byway, Chuckanut Drive is a 24-mile scenic drive that connects Skagit County to Bellingham with views of the San Juan Islands in the distance and the oyster beds of the Samish flats in the water just below.

2. Larrabee State Park

Washington’s first state park, Larrabee State Park has been a local favorite since its opening in 1915. Over 100 years later, this 2,748-acre camping park offers 8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline on Samish Bay.

Larrabee is also a great spot to kayak! Whatcom County’s 100-plus miles of saltwater shoreline and freshwater lakes offer plenty of kayaking opportunities, and thanks to the Port of Bellingham, we now have the Whatcom Water Trails Map.

3. Historic Fairhaven

If you love great food, boutique shopping, an amazing art scene and getting outside in a small town, you will love Bellingham’s Fairhaven Village. Stroll charming streets lined with locally owned stores where you can browse art, craft food products, new and used books, dreamy footwear — and find those perfect items to take home with you!

Two women shopping
Photo provided by Visit Bellingham. 

4. Stay in Style

Whether you prefer a luxurious waterfront resort or an experience right in the heart of downtown, immerse yourself in Bellingham’s world-class charm and small-town easy. You can find the perfect accommodation that fits you and still resonates with local flair.

5. Local Outdoor Art

Bellingham and Whatcom County are full of creative outdoor art. The art collections range from the Big Rock Sculpture Garden featuring over 37 different pieces tucked away above Lake Whatcom to Western Washington University’s outdoor sculptures, which is one of the top ten university collections in the United States. Bellingham also features a wealth of art from muralist Gretchen Leggitt, including the largest mural in Washington located on Puget Sound Energy’s building that spans the length of two football fields.

6. Explore Downtown Bellingham’s Art District

There is so much to do in Bellingham’s downtown arts district! Start in the center at the Whatcom Museum with their latest exhibit. Then head about a block away to the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention, one of Whatcom County’s most popular indoor attractions.

The SPARK Museum presents its signature demonstration involving the biggest lightning machine in the country, a Tesla coil called The MegaZapper. Right next door is Pickford Film Center, a wonderful indie movie house (with comfy seats and wine). Across this arts district, from many galleries to several venues for performances of all types, there is so much packed into one small town downtown!

7.  Downtown Dining

Find farm-to-table lifestyle direct from Whatcom County’s agricultural region at restaurants downtown.

That commitment to local includes craft beverages, and aside from locally made cider, kombucha, spirits and wine, there are also 19 craft breweries (and several of them are family-friendly and dog-friendly).

Friends sampling local craft beer in Bellingham
Photo provided by Visit Bellingham. 

8. Whatcom Falls Park

Best known for its namesake waterfall, the park’s main attraction could easily be checked off your Bellingham bucket list in as little as 15 minutes. But there’s so much more to discover beyond the falls. Spend an hour or two wandering Whatcom Falls Park’s 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.

9.  Mount Baker Highway Scenic Byway

Mount Baker Highway is state Route 542, stretching from Bellingham toward snow-capped Mount Baker. Towering evergreens and leaf maples line the route, with skirts of the Nooksack River peeking out at several points. In the summer months, hike to Artist Point and its spectacular views of Mount Baker’s 10,781-foot peak.

10. Keep Dreaming

There is so much to do in this region that you can keep coming back again and again! Make sure you have your handy pocket Go! Guide (order one here), and sign up as a part of the community of travelers that love the peak of the Pacific Northwest to keep in the know!

You can also follow Bellingham Experience on Facebook and Instagram for the inside scoop.

Advertising Disclosure: This content is provided by Visit Bellingham | Whatcom County, an advertiser of AAA Washington. The content doesn’t necessarily represent the views of AAA Washington.

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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