Year-Round Outdoor Adventure in Northern Washington State

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Advisor - Brittany Merryman
Curated By

Brittany Merryman

  • Washington

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Hiking

  • Outdoors

  • Mountains

Green trees overlooking body of water and green mountains during daytime
Curator’s statement

Exploring the outdoors of Northern Washington during beautiful winter was an experience I won't soon forget. The summers of Washington State are also not to be missed. Follow up a day of adventuring with a visit to some downtown Bellingham breweries and you have yourself a pretty awesome trip!

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Where to stay in Northern Washington

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Things to do in Northern Washington

View of green trees and bright blue lake with mountains in background during daytime

Winter Adventure in Northern Washington

All of these are a bit of a drive inland from Bellingham, but definitely doable by rental car if based in the city. If you prefer to drive less, base yourself inland a bit. 

Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding at Mt. Baker: For the thrill seekers and athletic adventurers, Mt. Baker Ski Resort is a HOT SPOT in the winter. One could easily spend a few days shredding on the slopes.

Cross Country Skiing: For the slower-paced travelers in Washington, there are some beautiful cross-country ski trails in Northern Washington, also in the heart of Mt. Baker. Escape reality for a few hours as you marvel at the snow-covered trees while gliding through what feels like an unreal forest. You wont regret renting those skis and giving this activity a try! 

North Cascades National Park: You might think that visiting a National Park in Northern Washington in the late winter is not ideal, but let me tell you: it's quite the opposite! The trails were dry enough to hike and with such limited crowds (in some cases literally no one else in sight!), you have a unique opportunity to unplug and immerse yourself in nature as you walk through the snowy trails to beautiful views of the green/blue waters of Diablo Lake and Ross Lake. The Ross Dam Trail was a perfect mix of raising the heart rate to hike, and finding a calmness around you as you view the lake. You can also check out the Ross Dam — a pretty amazing sight as you take in the grandness of the construction here!

Wine Tasting at Glacier Peak Winery: This quite small winery is a great stop to relax and have a glass (or a few) of wine! A hidden gem that hit the spot after a long day of adventuring.

Summer Adventure in Northern Washington

Mountain Biking: If you are a mountain biker — beginner or expert —Northern Washington is a dream location! You'll find many trail nearby, and bike rentals available if you can't travel with you bike. Worth the trip just for these trails! 

North Cascades National Park: You'll find that some trails are closed or inaccessible during the winter and early spring months. In the summer, there are numerous trails to hike, easy to advanced and views to take in along the way! You can also take the Diablo Lake boat tour as a round trip activity, or park your car at the ferry stop, hike up to the top if the lake and take the boat tour back to your vehicle. 

Mount Baker: While the slopes will be closed for summer, Mt. Baker offers a different experience this time of year! The drive alone will provide beautiful views and photo opportunities of farmlands, wooded hills and small communities. You can also camp at Baker Lake, rent kayaks for the day or just relax on the water. There are a surplus of hiking trails so you wont go bored at Mt. Baker in the summer! 

City Activities in Northern Washington

Walk the boardwalk in Bellingham: A beautiful walk to get you moving in the morning! You'll pass many smiling runners, families and friendly pups along the way. This was the perfect start to the day when staying in Bellingham. 

Breweries & food in Downtown: There are so many different restaurants and breweries in Bellingham, you'll want to try them all! My personal favorite was "Stones Throw Brewery Co." 

Fairhaven Historic District: A very cute and charming building with cafes, restaurants and small businesses. Worth a stop just for the photo op!

Day Trips

San Juan Island Cruises: This can be done as a day trip or an overnight tip! The San Juan Islands are just off the coast of Washington, and are so easily accessible from Bellingham

You could also easily venture an hour or so north and find your self in Vancouver! This could also be done as a day trip (start early!) or an over night. There are plenty of wonderful hotel options in Vancouver if you want to make this a few days of your trip.

Places to eat & drink in Northern Washington

People sitting at tables in room with large windows during daytime

Places to Eat Breakfast in Northern Washington

The Birch Door Café: For the sweet lovers AND the savory lovers alike, The Birch Door Café will not disappoint! This charming café is warm and inviting from the moment you walk up. My sweets loving self went for the blueberry lemon cobbler, and ate every bite! 

Old Town Cafe: This was a super cute and cozy spot for breakfast, and the location couldn't be beat! This time I started with a Mimosa!! I also went with biscuits and gravy — a great choice! 

Places to Eat Lunch & Dinner in Northern Washington

The North Fork Brewery Pizzeria & Beer Shrine: We actually ate here twice, it was so good and had too many options for us to try in just one visit! Conveniently located on the way out of Mt. Baker, this restaurant offered the perfect refuel and beer after a long day on the mountain. 

The Black Cat: Downtown Bellingham location in the Fairhaven Historic District offers a view of the Bellingham bay and great food and drinks! This was a great spot to relax and talk with friends for a bit in the city.

Breweries in Northern Washington

Stones Throw Brewery Co.: My favorite spot in Bellingham is BY FAR Stones Throw. This place has plenty of room for large groups, or small pockets of more private space for a part of two. The selection of beer was great! A great beer selection paired with a awesome atmosphere - we didn't want to leave!

Wander Brewing: This was another favorite not only for the drinks, but the atmosphere. Everyone here was so warm and inviting, or maybe that was the fire pits we drank by at night :)

Need to Know

Dreaming of Ireland? Check out my 10-Day itinerary: 10-Day Road Trip in Ireland, from Dublin to Killarney.

Advisor - Brittany Merryman

Travel Advisor

Brittany Merryman

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