County Offices
311 Grand Avenue
Bellingham 360-676-6717

Chamber of Commerce
119 N Commercial Street
Bellingham 360-734-1330

Whatcom County consists of 2,126 square miles of unique, beautiful, and lively communities. It is home to more than 200,000 residents. Overlooking Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands, it is located in the northwest corner of Washington State. The county seat is at Bellingham, which is also the county’s largest city. Whatcom County’s northern border is the international boundary with the Canadian province of British Columbia; adjoining the county on the north are four of metropolitan Vancouver’s suburbs, Delta, White Rock, Surrey, Langley, and in the central Fraser Valley, Abbotsford. Several shopping malls and other services in Bellingham and elsewhere in the county are geared to cross-border shopping and recreation.

The profusion of fresh water lakes, salt water inlets, and the rivers and streams that unite them have created an abundance of water-based experiences that range from tranquil to thrilling.  The marine trail system frequented by kayaks and canoes provides access to protected shoreline and otherwise inaccessible beaches.   Whatcom County offers outdoor enthusiasts opportunities to observe nature in al of its forms, with options that include whale watching cruises and charters, world class bird watching, and an extensive trail systems. Cyclists of all types can find every adventure that they could imagine with everything from family oriented and beginner biking trails to trails that will challenge and ultimately satisfy even the most extreme cyclist. National Forest and National Park lands are at the ready for hikers, walkers and mountain climbers, with plenty of scenic space to explore – from flat to moderate to strenuous. Mt. Baker dominates the scenery in the area and at nearly 11,000 feet, Mt. Baker is the highest peak in the North Cascades Mountains – holding world records for snowfall and serving as a year around site for photographers, adventurers, recreationalists, and those who appreciate easily accessible and stunning vistas.

For those looking to enjoy less strenuous activities, they can explore the area’s many galleries and studios which feature items produced by local artists and craftspeople.  Residents can enjoy the public art walk through the Western Washington University campus, where 29 outdoor sculptures celebrate the relationship between nature, academics and history.  Bellingham’s cultural arts district, anchored by the historic Mt. Baker Theatre, Whatcom Museum, Pickford Film Center, and American Museum of Radio & Electricity is another exciting way to enjoy the arts in this community.  Additional museums and displays present a moment in time with aircraft, marine trade, historic districts and architecture, logging, pioneer, and other examples of our rich history and culture. Shoppers will enjoy Bellis Fair Mall, Meridian Street, Sunset Square, Birch Bay Square and Duty Free Americas. Those moving at a more leisurely pace or looking for locally-made or specialty items may take in the small town charm of Downtown Bellingham, Fairhaven, Lynden, Barkley Village and Ferndale.

Surrounded by the rural landscape of Whatcom County, Bellingham is home to a thriving network of farms and fisheries that supplies the community with a wide variety of locally harvested products. Wild salmon, shellfish, buffalo, lavender, artisan cheeses, gourmet chocolates, award-winning wine and microbrews are all highlights here. Many restaurants rely on local farms for their ingredients, and several farms are open to the public. Agriculturally, Whatcom County is especially prolific in raspberry and dairy production, ranking top in the nation for both.

The County affords outstanding educational opportunities at all levels. Public and private schools offer strong college preparatory, vocational and technical programs. The schools located throughout the county offer a variety of enrichment programs which take students beyond the normal curriculum. Academic enrichment in music, drama and art broaden the cultural awareness of local students and community. Accredited private schools that offer classes in kindergarten through grade twelve are also available. Whatcom County residents are served by a number of public and private schools. These schools provide preschool, primary, and secondary education. Public schools are operated by eight school districts. Seven districts serve the western portion of Whatcom County. One district serves the southeast corner of Whatcom County. The remaining portion of the county is national forest or national park land, which has no permanent residents.

Whatcom County is home to five institutions of higher education. Two universities and two colleges are located in Bellingham. One college is located on the Lummi Nation Reservation west of Bellingham. Bellingham Technical College is a public technical and vocational college located in Bellingham. Trinity Western University is a private, Christian university based in Langley, BC about 25 miles north of Bellingham. TWU operates a branch campus in Bellingham offering undergraduate courses and supports TWU’s bachelor’s degree completion program. Western Washington University is the third largest public university in Washington. Western offers bachelors and masters degrees through seven colleges. Western enrolls over 15,000 students. Whatcom Community College is a public community college offering academic certificate programs and associates degrees. Northwest Indian College is a college supported by the Lummi Nation and serves the Native American community.

Health care is a priority in the County and is well represented by an excellent full-service hospital, healthcare facilities and human service agencies that offer a continuum of care, resources and support to meet the physical, mental and developmental needs of the community. The County is home to an excellent health care system, a continually expanding and improving hospital staffed with outstanding physicians, support by a dedicated emergency medical service staff. The main healthcare provider in the county is the PeaceHealth Saint Josephs Medical Centers.

City Offices

210 Lottie Street
Bellingham 360-778-8000

Chamber of Commerce

Bellingham is acclaimed for its small-city flavor, easy access to outdoor opportunities in the San Juan Islands and North Cascades Mountains as well as proximity to the cosmopolitan cities of Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle. Bellingham is the largest city in Whatcom County and home to more than 81,000 residents. Bordered by the Puget Sound waters of Bellingham Bay, marked by dramatic hills and dotted by three lakes, Bellingham is a breathtakingly beautiful place to live and work. Throughout the city, there are neighborhoods that reflect the area’s history. Bellingham’s downtown is filled with specialty shops blending into an updated landscape of trees, colorful awnings, food and flower vendors, and inviting cafes and fine dining establishments. There, the Whatcom Museum and the Mount Baker Theatre define the cultural district, home to antique malls, boutiques, music and bookstores and galleries. At Bellingham’s southern end is the historic Fairhaven district. Many of the original buildings and brick-paved streets still exist from Fairhaven’s earliest days. The Fairhaven Station and Cruise Terminal, located at the foot of Harris Avenue, offers ferry service to Alaska, Victoria, and the San Juan Islands.

There’s a great deal of civic pride in Bellingham. This is a city where it’s easy to get involved in the community. It’s an area that offers so much in the ‘Lifestyle’ category that newcomers are often overwhelmed with the abundance of choices.  On the shores of Bellingham Bay with Mount Baker as its backdrop, Bellingham is the last major city before the Washington coastline meets the Canadian border. The City of Bellingham, which serves as the county seat of Whatcom County, is at the center of a uniquely picturesque area offering a rich variety of recreational, cultural, educational and economic activities. Bellingham residents are passionate about community life. Strategic investments in parks, trails and preserved open spaces offer recreation and help the community grow gracefully as the population increases.  Numerous public/private partnerships support the arts and cultural district downtown and elsewhere. Bellingham’s active waterfront hosts a range of marine activities. Bellingham has 25 distinctly recognized neighborhoods, where active leaders work together to shape the future of their area and the City as a whole.  The City’s rich heritage and recent population growth are reflected in its diverse neighborhoods and housing styles, from regal Victorians, waterfront bungalows and country farmhouses to downtown condominiums and new developments. Bellingham is truly an amazing place to call home.

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