Experience Peak Hygge and Abundant Nature in Bellingham
Story, video and photos courtesy of Visit Bellingham
Grab your beanies, pull on your puffy coat, and prepare for a storybook Pacific Northwest vacation this fall. Situated between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, Bellingham, Washington is a vibrant college town nestled between the dreamy Salish Sea and the forested Chuckanut Mountains.
This abundance of mountains and water means that Bellingham is an amazing destination for outdoor recreation year-round. Hike in the Chuckanut Mountains, kayak in Bellingham Bay (for something extra special, go on a bioluminescence tour with Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures), or simply explore one of Bellingham’s numerous local parks and greenways, like Whatcom Falls. Wherever you are in Bellingham, it’s easy to slip into a pocket of nature and reconnect with the physical world.
For something more extreme, mountain biking in Bellingham and Whatcom County is another activity that draws people from around the region and even the world. The range of thrills varies from cruising on flat, wide-open paths up to big stunts and screaming downhill runs. With 65 miles of trails, Galbraith Mountain has been ranked as the best place to mountain bike in Washington State, and it’s just the beginning.
If you’d rather explore our area’s beauty on four wheels, you can choose between two breathtaking scenic byways. Journey up the Mount Baker Highway which winds through idyllic farmlands and lush forest toward Mount Baker, a glaciated volcano that offers panoramic views of distant peaks. The road ends at Artist Point, a nexus of late summer and early fall trailheads leading to glaciers, alpine lakes, and flower-studded meadows. Camp under the stars or find comfortable lodging in the nearby town of Glacier, WA.
Another terrific road trip option is Chuckanut Drive, one of the most beautiful drives in the Pacific Northwest. Compared to California’s Highway 1, this 22-mile stretch of road is nestled between the Chuckanut Mountains and the magical Salish Sea, ending in historic Fairhaven Village where you'll find amazing dining options, boutiques, art galleries, and more.
When it comes to food, do as locals do and feast on seafood from the bountiful Salish Sea, a wellspring of oysters, salmon, and Dungeness crab. You can also celebrate seafood and maritime culture at Bellingham SeaFeast on October 14-15, buy fresh catches straight from anglers at the Bellingham Dockside Market, or enjoy tide-tossed oysters at Taylor Shellfish and Drayton Harbor Oyster Company.
For a cultured outing, you can enjoy Bellingham’s many museums and art spaces. Learn about the history of electricity at the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, discover Coast Salish art at the Whatcom Museum or hear Bellingham’s colorful history come alive on a guided Bellinghistory walking tour with The Good Time Girls.
Bellingham is also known for its beverages, so you’re never far from an amazing cafe or craft brewery. Grab an Instagram-worthy latte from the award-winning Camber, recently ranked among the top 25 coffee shops in the U.S. Or visit one of the area’s nearly 20 breweries and discover why Bellingham is a haven for craft beer enthusiasts.
Whether you’re hoping to hike, ski, kayak, enjoy restaurants, or browse art museums, fall is an amazing time to visit Bellingham, Washington!