90 miles N of Seattle, 55 miles S of Vancouver
Perhaps best known outside of Washington state as the southern terminus for ferries heading north to Alaska, Bellingham is a vibrant little city that boasts excellent views of the San Juan Islands. Still an active shipping port, Bellingham has, at Squalicum Harbor, a large commercial and private boat marina, a hotel and commercial complex, and a park that together provide residents and visitors with a chance to enjoy the bay. South of downtown Bellingham, near the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, which is where Alaska ferries dock, is the historic community of Fairhaven. Fairhaven's old brick commercial buildings and interesting shops are a highlight of a visit to Bellingham.
Bellingham is in Whatcom County, which extends from the coast to the top of 10,778-foot Mount Baker and beyond. The county is still primarily rural in character, and near the coast, farming predominates. The nearby farm towns of Ferndale and Lynden are worth visiting for a glimpse of local history and a chance to explore the countryside. At Mount Baker there is a popular downhill skiing and snowboarding area in winter, while in summer, hiking trails lead through meadows and forests and up mountains for spectacular views. South of the city, the mountains and saltwater come together along one of Washington's most scenic stretches of coastline. Winding along this coastline is Chuckanut Drive, with glimpses of rugged shores, expansive waters, and the San Juan Islands.