The Art of Smart Timing
For many families, summer is the best time to visit, and the long hours of daylight (16 at the peak) allow for scenic outdoor adventures. Like Seattle, its big-city neighbor, Bellingham gets its sunniest weather from June to September, and the rainiest from October to March. The city's proximity to the water gives it cooler than average temperatures during summer, rarely exceeding 75 degrees, which spells relief for some visitors.
Summer abounds with free family-friendly concerts, including the Downtown Sounds series on Wednesday evenings, Boulevard Park (Saturdays) and Elizabeth Park (Thursdays). Memorial Day Weekend brings the famous Ski to Sea Race, a seven-leg relay from Mt. Baker to Fairhaven that draws some 500 teams each year.
The off-season is a great time to visit, too. Despite chronic cloud-cover in the winter, the maritime climate makes the city a mild year-round destination that receives less rain than you think (around 35 inches). Even when it does rain, it tends to mist rather than pour. Catch up on indoor attractions, head to Mt. Baker for a day of skiing and cash in on lower hotel rates.
Bellingham International Airport (BLI) completed a major remodel in 2014 to become a Northwest hub serviced by Alaska, Allegiant and Frontier airlines. Located a few minutes outside town, the airport has direct flights year-round from a number of western cities, including Honolulu, as well as seasonal flights for San Diego, Denver and Maui. Because Bellingham is just 90 miles north of Seattle on I-5, farther-flung visitors can fly to Sea-Tac and drive north or catch an airport shuttle. Amtrak also services Bellingham with two arrivals daily from Seattle.
Bellingham is a walkable town with bus service and bike paths, but families will want to have a car to access activities in the area, including hiking opportunities, the Mt. Baker area or a day trip to Lummi Island. If you fly in, plan to rent a car at the airport.
Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism