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Bellingham and places to visit nearby - any advice?

edited October 2009 in - USA
I'm staying in Bellingham, Washington with a friend for a week while I do a tour of the States. I have a few days where he wont be able to take the day off work to show me around, so I'll be going solo. I hear it rains a lot in Bellingham but I'll be there late October/ early November - is that a bad time as far as weather is concerned and will it affect my sightseeing prospects?

So far all I have planned is a trip down to Seattle, but I'm wondering what other great attractions or points of interest are located nearby? I know of Whatcom Falls and Mount Baker, but I think I might be a little early for the ski season. How easy is it to visit Vancouver for the day? I plan on hiring a car, so getting around shouldn't be too much of a problem for me.

Does anyone have any valuable advice or tips for me? I'd really appreciate all the help and suggestions I can get.
Many Thanks!


  • edited 3:43AM
    Ha I have been waiting all my life for just this question. I am from Bellingham. Good choice of a place to go, it is beautiful. That is a great time to go as all the leaves are changing colors. I would skip Whatcom falls, there are much better places to go. The trick for bellingham is always stay on the south side or downtown, there isnt anything on the north side of town, infact its almost a different city culturally. It always rains in Bellingham so no, the rain wont effect your site seeing, just take it as a given. If you can stay somewhere in Fairhaven, a cool part of town and near to all the sites. I would really recommend taking a short hike from close to town to Fragrance lake, everybody in town knows where the trailhead is. The hike is beautiful with great views of the islands and a couple of tranquil lakes at the top. If your not a hiker, take a walk around lake padden, its the smallest of the three main lakes (padden, Samish, Whatcom) but the most beautiful. Def take a drive down Chukanut drive. The further the better, although the whole thing will only take about half an hour. Great drive with great views of the bay and islands. Larrabe state park is a must for a stop on the drive, its a small seaside park. If you get another chance and there isnt snow on the mountain yet try going to Mt baker for some walks, they are among the best in the northwest, there is an incredibly helpful ranger station along the way that will choose a great walk for you. That is a bit too early for skiing which is a shame. For dinner and drinks the best place in town is Boundry Bay. It is a brewery and a great restaurant popular with locals. Great great beer and usually has something going on in the courtyard in the evening. I really recommend catching a ferry from bellingham to the islands and back. Beautiful islands that are great to just roam around and take in the sites. Dont go to Lummi though, not too much to do unless you know people there. If you write back with some more specific info on what your are looking for I would be happy to answer questions. IT is really easy visiting Vancouver for the day, the borders are hassle free and its about an hour and ten minutes away. You need a passport or special drivers liscense to get back in the US though. Enjoy that place, I love it.
  • edited 3:43AM
    Oh wow.
    Thanks so much Alex, this is SO helpful and it's really made me excited to get going on my travels :-)
  • edited October 2009
    alex, you've been waiting all your life? Hahahahaha!
    I definitely agree with alex here, drive down Chukanut drive and the hike to Fragrance lake is great if you're up to it and you MUST visit Vancouver for the day. It's awesome and so close by!

    Best of luck and enjoy your trip - M
  • edited 3:43AM
    Ahhh, Bellingham. I miss living there.

    Definitely take a day and go to Vancouver B.C. It is about an hour and a half, without a long border crossing, from B-Ham. I recommend having an awesome breakfast and a lovely view of the water and Canada from the Semiahmoo Resort. It is is Blaine, right on the border. Maybe do this before you head to Vancouver.

    Go to Boundary Bay Brewery for good beer and good.

    Go to The Buffalo for live music.

    Fairhaven has an awesome gelato place right next to the green. If you're up for it, and will be there a few days, paint some pottery at Creativitea. It takes a few days to get your piece back so make sure to ask them before how long it will take.

    Go to the Red Lion hotel's bar for awesome drinks. If I remember correctly, it is called Poppy's.

    Check out the Western Washington University campus in the fall as the campus is stunning and the trees will be gorgeous. Especially in front of Old Main.

    Seattle-a ton of fun and where I am from! So, it depends on what you want to do. My favorite sites are Green Lake, Gasworks Park for awesome views of the city, Capital Hill for good food and good entertainment, Bell Town for some awesome Jazz clubs. You have to go to Pike Place Market, I'm a local and I go all the time. Shopping of course is great downtown.

    Have an awesome time!
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