One of the nice things about Bellingham is the proximity to several beautiful locations with numerous things to do. There are so many trails to hike, places to see, great food to eat. So for this lowdown in the hometown, I’ll be writing about my favorite day trips from Bellingham.
San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are comprised of multiple different islands that are each unique and wonderful to visit. I recently just did a day trip out to Lopez Island and spent several hours just adventuring around the island. There were trails to hike, beaches to explore, and while the village was mostly closed during the winter, it was still fun to walk around and window shop. Shark Reef Sanctuary was definitely my favorite part of the island and has about a mile round trip hike through the forest and gorgeous view of the sound. A few of the other islands include San Juan, Orcas, and Freeman.
My parents met, got married, and lived in Seattle for many years before moving up to Bellingham just after I was born so I grew up taking day trips down to the city. There are plenty of things I love about the city and many things I can so very easily live without (traffic being the key for that). But definitely my favorite touristy place in Seattle is of course the Pike Place Market. This market is a must see while visiting the city and there’s so much to see. It’s a permanent market, home to artist booths, fresh food, fish and seafood sellers, restaurants, and other stores. There’s a floor below the main market that’s home to a great comic shop, a magic store, and a few other places that are always there in the market. Just outside the market, there’s the Left Bank Books that I really love visiting. It’s a collectively owned radical bookstore and has this amazing window seat on the second floor that overlooks the crowds going into the market.
Mount Baker and Mount Baker Highway
Driving up Mount Baker Highway is so gorgeous, no matter the weather. Along the way to the top, there are plenty of places to stop and hike for a while. One place is Nooksack Falls, where there a couple trails to adventure through and there is an amazing view of the falls near the parking area. Driving up to either of the ski lodges is also great – the lower lodge is absolutely gorgeous but if you’re thinking of skiing or snowboarding, only go to this one if you’re comfortable doing either. Heather Meadows is the upper lodge and has access to a few easier slopes for beginners and there are a couple places to sled if you want! Unlike the eastern part of the United States, we’ve had an extremely mild and warm winter so unfortunately this year has been awful for skiing and snowboarding. But going up the Mount Baker Highway is still beautiful with or without the snow.
Edison, via Chuckanut Drive
Edison is a tiny little town about half an hour south of Bellingham (and I mean really tiny. The 2010 census counted 133 people as the population). But there are several really cool art galleries and a couple really quirky stores to window shop through. The Lucky Dumpster is an artist collective and sells a plethora of different things made by local artists (mugs, scarfs, paintings, clothing, etc). Plus, there’s a cafe called Tweets that’s basically mainstream hipster heaven – the food is not only fantastic but the entire cafe is small and has a very Pacific Northwest vibe to it. And it is possible to take I5 to Edison, driving down on Chuckanut Drive is always beautiful and scenic!