Located in the North Cascades hills in Washington State, Bellingham is paradise for anyone who adores natural beauty and outdoor excitement, and it is also a fine city to visit in its own right.
For starters, this is a city with a love of culture. Head to the Mount Baker Theatre to see plays and dance or the Whatcom Museum of Art, while there is an engaging radio museum and several excellent cinemas. Not far away, there is also the fascinating historical village of Fairhaven, which was once a thriving seaport, and still retains architectural gems from the nineteenth century. For relaxation, you can always stroll in the gorgeous surroundings of Whatcom Falls Park and, when you feel hungry head to the farmers' market to taste the rich variety of local produce.
Most visitors to Bellingham come to enjoy the area's many outdoor recreation activities. A short drive away, you can reach Mount Baker, one of the best skiing resorts in the United States, and a great place to hike or mountain bike during the summer months. The coast is another attraction. Whale-watching tours can be booked from the town, and sightings of majestic orca whales are not unusual.
Visitors can also easily reach the scenic San Juan islands. There you can relax with bald eagles soaring overhead, pitch a tent and tuck into some of the islands' famous seafood, including delicious mussels and the freshest salmon you will ever eat.
Another one of the town's attractions is its location between two great cities in Vancouver and Seattle. Staying in Bellingham it's easy to drive the 80 miles or so to Seattle or the 50 miles to Vancouver. Shop, watch top quality American Football or Ice Hockey games, and enjoy the food and nightlife, before heading to a scenic hotel room back in this lovely coastal town.
When to fly to Bellingham
Head over to Bellingham between December and March if skiing is your aim. March may be the cheapest month with good deals on equipment hire likely. For whale-watchers, visit between May and October as, when the salmon are running, an orca sighting is much more likely. For classical music fans, the city's music festival is held in July.
Getting around Bellingham
The best way to see the historic buildings of Fairhaven is by walking or cycling, and getting around the centre by rental car can be confusing. Driving is handy for reaching the mountains and the islands, but cycling is catered for by a well signposted network of paths. A sea taxi will take you to the San Juan islands as well.