Photo Courtesy of Joanna NesbitHad great time walking by the port. Even though it was super windy and air was cold my kids had Whatcom Falls  is a nice close viewSpring arriving over Bellingham Bay and Bellingham.Wilson Library Reading Room at Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA.

Families will love:

  • Unique museums
  • Fairhaven Historic District
  • North Cascades National Park

Most visitors think of Portland and Seattle when they think of the Pacific Northwest, but they don't realize there's another 110 miles between the Emerald City and Canadian border, which include the town of Bellingham, a bayside college burg of some 82,000 with stunning views of the San Juan Islands. Also known as the City of Subdued Excitement, Bellingham serves as a ... more
Most visitors think of Portland and Seattle when they think of the Pacific Northwest, but they don't realize there's another 110 miles between the Emerald City and Canadian border, which include the town of Bellingham, a bayside college burg of some 82,000 with stunning views of the San Juan Islands. Also known as the City of Subdued Excitement, Bellingham serves as a gateway to North Cascade National Park and the Puget Sound, which draw hikers, skiers, kayakers and sailors.

But the town is an attraction in its own right. Families will find a casual, outdoorsy vibe here, infused with a laid-back intellectualism and a passion for all things local. For visitors, that means kid-friendly indie restaurants, off-beat museums, a vibrant cultural arts scene that rivals its big-city neighbors, as well as outdoor adventures on the water and in the mountains. Add in its accessible size and you've got a great family getaway.

One of Bellingham's most popular attractions is the quaint historic district of Fairhaven. Fairhaven was founded in 1883 by Dirty Dan Harris, a business man who earned his moniker for dubious bathing habits. You'll find a statue of him on the Village Green, and every April, residents celebrate Dirty Dan Days with a piano race up Harris Streeet.

Don't miss the downtown core either, home to the Cultural Arts District, where family-friendly museums reside near the town's only independent cinema, and cafes are just a short walk. On Saturdays from April to December, residents flock to the lively Farmers Market at Depot Market Square, housed under an arched steel roof with beams salvaged from a bridge (look for the weathervane). Just up the hill perches Western Washington University with views out over Bellingham Bay.

The greater Whatcom County area -- referred to as "out in the county" -- offers easy access to North Cascades hiking trails, the Mt. Baker Ski Area and small-town attractions in Lynden, Ferndale and Birch Bay. Wherever you go though, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles. Chances are good you'll see them, particularly on the way to Mt. Baker, but even in town.

Written by Joanna Nesbit less

Bellingham, WA Planning & Tips
Traveling Family with Baby

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