Bellingham has several great spots for tide pool explorers. Teddy Bear Cove is a 2 mile roundtrip walk from the North Chuckanut Mountain trailhead. Look for squirts from geoduck clams, but avoid eating any creatures you find, as Fish and Wildlife advises all shellfish are not fit for consumption. Larrabee State Park is home to anemones, nudibranchs and sea cucumbers. At both locations be sure to walk carefully in slippery situations.
Large park (209 acres) in the middle of the city, we have a few of those, with Whatcom Creek running through it. The city's water plant is here, as is a State of Washington fish hatchery. Bordered by Bayview Cemetary, Lakway Dr, Alabama Hill neighborhood, and Electric Ave.
Lots of trails that locals use. Lots of dog walkers, bikers, in the summer there is swimming and diving in a large pool. There is a fishing derby pond for opening day of trout fishing. The dam that controls the level of Lake Whatcom is at the upper end of the park.
The city has shelters for rent for your event. There are large lawns, playgrounds, basketball court, tennis courts, etc. The signature peice of the park is the stone bridge over Whatcom creek near one of the falls.
Bellingham has a very tiny public aquarium/touch tank. Marine Life Center at the Squalicum Harbor Center is a one room aquarium space, great for kids and animal lovers. 1801 Roeder Ave. Free, but donations are greatly appreciated.
If you're looking for an easy hike to do with kids, I suggest Connelly Creek Nature Area. This hike takes about 1/2 hour, is flat and has diverse terrain. It's gorgeous and right in the heart of Happy Valley. One can enter from Douglas Avenue, west of Joe's farm.
Historic Fairhaven is a exciting part of Bellingham's Past.
Today, Bellingham is a lively place that has many things to do, watch an outdoor movie during the summer, drink some coffee with a friend, buy and read a book, or buy some beads and make a necklace. Maybe even take in a few drinks at social hour. Or even enjoy some great dining.
This would be a great place to enjoy watching the sunset by the bay, as the skies turn into a ruby color, as the sun ends it's day.
Before you sink into the couch, why not check out Film is Truth, the local non-chain video store existing solely for the pleasure of true movie lovers. They do their best to carry all the interesting and obscure titles, and you can put in a request if there's something they don't have. Located at 1417 Cornwall downtown.
If you'd like a fun little trip out of town, try driving the half-hour to the lummi ferry dock, then enjoy a short but pleasant ferry ride across the water to little Lummi Island. On your drive you will pass through the Lummi Reservation, which is worth it's own visit, but is not associated with the Island. There is a cute restaurant on Lummi, called The Beach Store. This Island is home to many of Bellingham's local artists, and they often host artist studio tours. Though there is not much touristy shopping to be done, it is very scenic, and your best bet if you want some action is to check out their events calendar and see what interests you.
Here is a list of Bellingham's parks offering off-leash areas for dogs.
Arroyo Park, Lake Padden Park, Sunset Pond and Bug Lake, Whatcom Falls Park, Post Point Treatment Area, Sehome Hill Arboretum, Little Squalicum Park, and Bloedel Donovan Park. The link below gives more detail on specific off-leash areas at these parks. My favorite is Marine Park at Port of Bellingham near the Bellingham Transportation Center in Fairhaven. There's a main grassy area and then a separate area of dirt and shoreline. The dogs love to chase balls into the water and swim around, so be prepared for a happy muddy pup.
sure we've got our barnes and noble, but bellingham also has several local used bookstores. my favorite is henderson's downtown, just shelves and shelves of books. there are several others i haven't been to, but are worth checking out. And in Fairhaven the newly remodeled Village Books carries both new and used, and is linked to the very quaint Paper Dreams gift shop.
I wouldn't say this is off the beaten path for sure, but not all visitors know which lakes are best for swimming and relaxing. Some require hiking to, so I'll just mention the easily accesible ones. Lake Whatcom is huge, and has a public area where lots of people hang out, but the water can be a bit too cold at times and a little choppy for kayaking etc. My preference is Lake Padden, just south of town- it has lots of space to sunbathe, a tennis court, great trails for running/walking, and the waters are relatively warm and calm. Other lakes to look for include Lake Samish and Toad Lake.
For something off the beaten path, & to also get a good glimpse of the Native culture of Bellingham, take a drive through the Lummi Indian Nation, a small community of about 4,000 Native Americans. The main city is Marietta, which is not much more than houses & a few buildings. Warning: there are no touristy places to stop here. It's just a cool place to check out if you're interested. Besides, there's a casino up the road where it gets a lot more interesting!
there's plenty of secret things to do here, but the last time we did this i watched my favorite river-side campout spot turn into a tourist garbage dump. you'll have to be good friends with me for me to tell you about all of Bellingham's secrets.
Explore Squalicum Harbor. Check out the Fisherman's memorial in the park between the 2 parts of the harbor. Good views of downtown w/ the mountains in the background. Great Kite flying area.
Along with the yatchs, there are small weekend boats, and the harbor is a working harbor, so there is a large fishing fleet based in the harbor.
Fairhaven, located in the south end of Bellingham, has many small local shops in old brick buildings. There is the big local bookstore, Village books with the connected Colophon Cafe. Dirty Dan Harris, fine dining, try the salmon. Tony's coffee is the local version of Starbucks. There are many other little cafes and shops.
If you go to the end of Harris Ave. from Fairhaven, you will find the Greyhound, Amtrak, Alaska Ferry Station. If you go left and walk down the railroad tracks(or hop on the back of a slow-moving train)you will find many private beaches and wooded plots to hang out on. AND GET DRUNK! Oh, be careful here. Trains comin'....