Pacific Northwest Area Information

Whatcom County


Residents of this jewel in northwestern Washington believe they're in the ideal location. Lying along the Canadian border, Whatcom County offers multiple crossings that lead to Vancouver, B.C., home of the 2010 Winter Olympics and many other attractions in British Columbia. The entertainment, cultural and business offerings of Seattle are just 90 minutes to the south, while numerous recreational opportunities await to the east in the Cascade Mountains and to the west among the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound.

Whatcom County has experienced steady growth in recent years, rising to a population of 193,100 in 2009. Its largest city, Bellingham, ranks 11th in the state with a population of 76,130.

Bellingham has received many high rankings in "most livable" surveys of cities throughout the country. It offers a full range of business, shopping, educational, entertainment and health-care options.  The city is served by Amtrak and multiple airlines, including Delta Airlines, Skybus, Horizon Air and Allegiant Air. Bellingham also is the southern terminus for the Alaska ferry system. The Whatcom Transportation Authority provides bus service throughout the city.

Lynden and Ferndale are the other larger cities in Whatcom County with more than 11,000 residents apiece. The rest of the incorporated cities are Blaine, Everson, Nooksack and Sumas.

Local residents don't have to go far for recreation. Whatcom County offers numerous parks, plus trails for walking and bicycling. Mt. Baker attracts thousands of skiers, snowboarders and hikers annually. If you prefer water in its liquid form, marinas in Bellingham and Blaine serve hundreds of saltwater boaters while others flock to nearby lakes for fishing and water-skiing. The annual Ski to Sea Festival, held in the county each Memorial Day weekend, features a relay race from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay that draws nationwide television coverage.

Whatcom County's balanced economy includes strong industrial, agricultural, retail and tourism components. The unemployment rate hovers around historic lows.

Shoppers can head to a diverse downtown Bellingham or experience the historic Fairhaven District , which features Victorian-era buildings with Northwest cuisine and art galleries. Looking for a mall experience? Go to Bellis Fair, which has five anchor stores, more than 140 specialty shops and a six-screen theater. For live entertainment, the Mount Baker Theatre attracts top-caliber performers.

Western Washington University, which has approximately 14,000 full- and part-time students, provides numerous educational, cultural and entertainment options. Bellingham also is home to many medical specialists and St. Joseph Hospital, a leader in the care of heart, cancer and senior patients.

Quick Links:

Whatcom County Government
City of Bellingham
Bellingham Chamber of Commerce
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Mt. Baker Ski Area
Bellis Fair Mall
Western Washington University
St. Joseph Hospital
Bellingham School District

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Susan Stecher

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Photography & Information Courtesy of: Photography Magic, Lawliss Creative, Scherrer Photography, Jon Brunk Photography, Getty Images, iStock and the following Chambers of Commerce's and Visitor Bureau's from: Bellingham/Whatcom County, Birch Bay, Blaine, Bow, Everson-Nooksack, Ferndale, Mt. Baker Foothills, Point Roberts, Sumas, Anacortes, Burlington, Concrete, La Conner, Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley, Camano Island, Central Whidbey, Coupeville, Langley, The Greater Oak Harbor, San Juan Island, Lopez Island and Orcas Island.