Bellingham Bay

Bellingham Bay consists of a very lively waterfront port that supports fishing, leisure boating, charter cruises, crabbing, and of course it is ranked very high with paddlers. Bellingham Bay and its proximity to the San Juan Islands make it a very popular destination either for whale watching or beer, wine, and/or sunset cruises. If you don’t own a boat there are several charters and passenger ferries that can get you around in the water.

Water Activities

Boating– Boaters seeking convenient access to the San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, and British Columbia may find Bellingham to be an ideal home base. There is so much to do once out on the water. Crabbing is one of Puget Sound’s most popular recreational fisheries. when pulling in your pots you have the chance of nabbing Dungeness, Red Rock, or Tanner Crabs. For Fishing, you’re looking at saltwater species such as halibut, albacore tuna, and rockfish. So now that you are ready to dock the boat after a fun adventure on the bay you have two harbors to choose from. The main and larger harbor is Squalicum Harbor it is centrally located in Bellingham Bay near the downtown district, Squalicum Harbor has a four-lane paved ramp that accommodates most sizes of trailers. Then there is the Blaine Harbor located 20 miles north of Bellingham Bay near the Canadian border.

Whale watching-Spend the day exploring Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands with your choice of two main whale watching tours out of Bellingham. The San Juan Cruises leaves out of the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven. They offer more than just whale watching tours they offer trips to Friday Harbor, crab dinner cruises on Chuckanut Bay, beer & wine-tasting cruises, and private charters. The trips are as exciting with lots of wildlife sightings, fascinating information about the islands’ history and geology, and loads of sightings of whale pods, seals, sea lions, porpoises, and birdlife this time of year. The San Juan Cruises pretty much guaranty you will see whales if not they hand out what they call a “bummer card”. This card has no expiration date and is good for 50% off your next whale watching adventure. Outer Island Expeditions tours primarily depart from Orcas Island and Anacortes. They also have trips departing regularly from Bellingham, Lopez Island, and The Willows Resort on Lummi Island. Aboard their whale watching boat you are able to interact with the Captain, have a say in the itinerary, and have a truly memorable experience with wildlife.

Kayaking– Gliding through one of the area’s many uniques bays or along one of the picturesque rivers is a fun and relaxing way to get out into nature and see the water from a new perspective. Plus, it’s an activity that’s gentle yet active and intriguing enough to be perfect for all ages – and for everyone from singles to couples or the whole family. Some favorite coastal paddling spots Marine Par, Boulevard Park, Teddy Bear Cove, or Wildcat Coven Larrabee State Park. If you enjoy kayaking or wanna give it a try the list below provides resources to book a tour or rent gear.

  • Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures 909 Squalicum Way #122, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-738-7664
    • They specialize in small groups to assure attention to individual needs, and to promote low impact interaction with the natural surroundings. Our experienced guides are friendly, approachable, and extremely passionate, and knowledgeable about our local environment and waterways.
  • Dragonfly Kayak Tours 360-453-7036
    • Dragonfly Kayak Tours is all about the adventure! They are excited to take you on a journey of exploration in the Salish Sea! Booking a tour with them is like planning an intimate getaway with your closest friends. We’ll take care of all the planning and work, all you have to do is show up prepared for fun and lasting memories.
  • Community Boating Center 555 Harris Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-714-8891
    • They offer small-watercraft education, access, safe recreation, and marine stewardship on Bellingham Bay.

Charter Cruises-If perchance you don’t own a boat but would still like to experience an epic trip on the bay there is an abundance of appealing trips offered by many diverse charter companies.

  • San Juan Sailing & Yachting 2615 S Harbor Loop Dr, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-671-4300
    • Over 35 years of experience, offering sailboat and powerboat bareboat charters, instruction and brokerage services in Bellingham, Washington. Charter a sailboat, powerboat, or yacht to explore the exceptional cruising grounds of the Pacific Northwest, including the San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands & Desolation Sound. Guided flotilla options available as well. For those interested in learning to the boat we offer power (RPBA) & sail (ASA) instruction in both private & group course formats.
  • Gato Verde Adventure Sailing 355 Harris Ave #108, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-220-3215
    • Gato Verde Adventure Sailing provides both day and overnight sailboat trips with captain provided. Carefree skippered sailing charters, customized boat tours, overnight whale watching. Overnight trips can be either full service with food (soft) beverages and chef provided, or cook for yourselves if you prefer.
  • NW Explorations 2623 S Harbor Loop Dr, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-676-1248
    • NW Explorations is your full-service yacht company. Located on both sides of the border in the Pacific Northwest, we offer bareboat and flotilla charters, servicing, training, and brokerage.
  • Zodiac Sailing Schooner 355 Harris Ave Suite 104, Bellingham, WA 98225 206-719-7622
    • She departs her Bellingham homeport for a variety of public and private charters, as well as day and evening sails from spring through fall, exploring the pristine anchorages of the San Juan Islands and Canadian Gulf Islands. The Zodiac is an ideal setting for company events, team-building retreats, wedding receptions, and gatherings of family and friends. This beautiful, historic vessel is available for private charter or simply join one of the many public cruises.
  • Sail the San Juans 19 Bellwether Way #202, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-671-5852
    • Six-day luxury sailing charters in the San Juan Islands with captain and chef aboard the beautiful 55′ sailing yacht, Northwind.
  • NW Sailing Adventures 1074 Bellwether Way, Bellingham, WA 98227 253-381-3919
    • Fully crewed all-inclusive San Juan Islands sailing adventures.
  • Lady of the Sea Adventures Gate 3 25 E West, 25, Bellingham, WA 98225
    • Lady of the Sea Adventures provides fully crewed, all-inclusive, overnight wilderness adventure charters between Washington and Alaska. The 72-foot Motor Yacht, Lady of the Sea, is a classic beauty with all the fine trimmings; teak, stone, and high-quality fabrics. With a modern solid fiberglass hull and recently updated systems, provides you a safe, functional, and comfortable cruising experience. 

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