Nestled between panoramic views of beautiful Bellingham Bay and the magnificent Mount Baker, the city of Bellingham, Washington offers all the benefits of "big city" living with the charm of a small town. From hiking and kayaking to museums and theater, Bellingham has something for everyone. With a population close to 70,000, this nationally acclaimed city is the largest in Whatcom County, serving as its county seat. It has a blended population of young and old, offering "back to basics" living for adults and families, as well as a youthful environment for students of Western Washington University and other nearby colleges.
To the north of Bellingham sits unincorporated Birch Bay, attracting year-round residents and summer visitors alike with its beautiful, warm water bay. Whether you're seeking the calm of its majestic waters, the quaintness of its "mom and pop" shops, or the limitless outdoor activities offered by Birch Bay State Park, this lovely town has an allure all its own.
Blaine, a quaint town of 3,700 residents, is located in the northwest corner of Whatcom County, bordering Canada directly to the north. Once known as a tourist town, Blaine is emerging as more than just a vacation spot or a pass-through to Canada. It is home to the luxurious Semiahmoo Resort, Peace Arch State Park, and an 18-hole Arnold Palmer championship golf course. The town boasts a revitalized downtown, specialty shops, antique stores, and several area marinas.
Situated along the Nooksack River on State Route 544 is Everson, Washington, a small town of 2,000 residents. It became the home to settlers in the late 1800s, including Ever Everson from Norway, for whom the town is named. In addition to nearby Riverside Memorial Park, Everson is known for its dairy farms and native crops of blueberries, raspberries, peas, potatoes, and corn.
The city of Ferndale is located north of Bellingham just off Interstate 5. Located on the Nooksack River, this city of almost 9,000 residents is home to several of Whatcom County's largest employers including ARCO, the BP Refinery and Alcoa-Intalco. Expected to grow significantly in the next 10 years, Ferndale embraces its pioneer heritage with historic parks and annual events. It is the home to a handful of individually owned restaurants, a down-to-earth city hall, and the well-known Pioneer Park.
Accessible by ferry, Lummi Island is located northwest of Bellingham off the Lummi Nation Indian Reservation. Surrounded by the tumultuous waters of Lummi Bay, the island is home to about 800 year-round residents. This San Juan island offers breathtaking sunsets, spectacular views of Hales Passage and Rosario Strait, a local arts and crafts studio, a well-manicured inn and a charming bed and breakfast.
With approximately 9,000 residents, Lynden is a lovely farming community located in north central Whatcom County. Known for its Dutch influences, Lynden offers residents and visitors alike an unmatched mix of bakeries, specialty shops, and restaurants. Lynden attracts many visitors to its Pioneer Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the state of Washington. It is also the proud host to the ever-popular Northwest Washington Fair. Offering world-renowned entertainment, horse races, a world-class carnival, and 4H attractions, the fair welcomes more than 200,000 guests each August.
Mount Baker Foothills
Along the Mount Baker Highway, also known as State Road 542, are a number of small towns leading up to Mount Baker, one of the largest peaks in the Northern Cascades. The towns along SR542 include Nugent's Corner, Deming, Kendall, Maple Falls, and Glacier. Also located near the mountain in eastern Whatcom County are Van Zandt and Acme, located along State Road 9. Known as the Mount Baker Foothills, each town has its own unique characteristics. In addition to the breathtaking views of the mountains, rivers and waterfalls, you will find a vineyard, the Nooksack Casino, quaint pubs, and winter lodging.
Located east of Everson, this tiny town of 850 residents is located at the base of Sumas Mountain. Taking its name from the Indian tribe Noot Sach which used to inhabit the area, the town gained popularity in the gold rush era of the 1860s and 1870s. Its rich history of logging, fishing, and railroad building is documented by photographer Darius Kinsey at the Whatcom Museum.
Across from Boundary Bay and due west of Blaine sits the five-mile peninsula of Point Roberts. With a year-round population of 1,000 residents, this unique spot in Whatcom County is a well-known weekend and vacation destination of Americans and Canadians alike. Point Roberts offers a small business district, in addition to its popular Lighthouse Marine Park. This 22-acre park is located in the southwest corner of Point Roberts and offers its visitors fishing, clamming, crabbing, whale watching, and beach combing.
The town of Sumas, with fewer than 1,000 residents, is located northeast of Bellingham, along the Canadian border. Serving as a busy crossing point into Canada, Sumas is often a connector between the Trans-Canada north-south Route 1 and the Alaskan Highway. It also serves as a pass-through for Canadian visitors making their way to the slopes of Mount Baker.