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Great Escapes: Our guide to Bellingham, WA

Planning a getaway? Bellingham has all the charms of a small, coastal town with the comforts of nature and a bustling events schedule.


Bellingham’s Boulevard Park is simply a stunner.

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Planning a getaway? Check out Bellingham, WA, a quaint, coastal city with two lively city centers and a mountain range less than two hours away.

SEAtoday City Editor Alina here. I grew up in the South, but would travel to Bellingham almost every year to visit family and enjoy the PNW’s stunning, bluebird summer weather. The little town feels like it’s just waiting to be featured in a Wes Anderson film with its seaside board walks, forested bike paths, quaint gift shops, and tucked-away restaurants. Grab an ice cream cone and watch the seagulls with us.

Why go?

  • Bellingham showcases the best of the Pacific Northwest’s beauty without the hassle of a major metropolitan scene. Enjoy fresh seafood, island cruises, and quiet walks without the stress of big city traffic.
  • Rock out to free live concerts downtown every weekend in July.
  • Check out this visitor’s guide and travel blog for more ideas of things to do.
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Pro tip: This trail gets absolutely covered in wild blueberries in early-mid September.

Photo by Ruth Grah

Act like a local

  • Food: Capitalize on the proximity of some of the best oysters in the US at Rock and Rye Oyster House.
  • Coffee: Get your morning started over at Makeworth Coffee Roasters with a lavender honey latte and an avocado toast.
  • Outdoors: Take a hike in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Ptarmigan Ridge Trail that features incredible views from the very first step. The first ~one mile is a flat walk that’s navigable for most experience levels before taking on bigger hills that more seasoned hikers or overnight backpackers will enjoy.
  • Sweet treats: Mallard Ice Cream parlor is well-known by locals for its creative flavors like ghost pepper peppermint and licorice.
  • Sail: It’s not a complete trip to the upper PNW without a boat ride over to the islands. These San Juan Island cruises can take you whale watching or on a day trip to Friday Harbor where “Practical Magic” was also filmed.
  • Explore: Need a day to recover after hiking the mountains? Fairhaven is perfect for a relaxing day of gift shopping, snacking, and enjoying the ocean breeze. Don’t forget to stroll along the boardwalk that leads downtown. You can grab a coffee in the park for a midday pick-me-up.
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Some serious micro-brew magic happens right downstairs from this VRBO rental.

Photo via VRBO

Where to stay

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