Bellingham on a budget: 8 fun and inexpensive things to do on a day trip

May 18 2023, 10:17 pm

Summertime weather has arrived and it’s the perfect opportunity to make the most of your long days by taking a trip out of town.

And you’re in luck if you’re watching your wallet this season. There’s no need to hop on a plane to visit a far-flung destination when there are plenty of wonderful spots to visit close to Metro Vancouver.

One of our favourites is Bellingham, Washington, just south of the border and the largest city in Whatcom County.

Just a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, there’s plenty to see and do while you’re in the neighbourhood. And if you’re on a budget, we’ve got you covered.

Here are eight fun and inexpensive things to do on your next day trip to Bellingham.

Whatcom Museum

Whatcom Museum

Whatcom Museum/Facebook

Whatcom Museum is a non-profit organization with a collection of over 200,000 artifacts and artworks of special importance to the region. The museum is home to a huge photographic archive as well as rotating exhibitions, family activities, and more.

A visit to the Whatcom Museum is a great way to discover northwest history, and admission ranges from $5 to $10. Children under the age of 2 are free.

Big Rock Garden

Big Rock Garden

Big Rock Garden (Daniel Chai/Daily Hive)

Big Rock Garden is a 2.5-acre park filled with dozens of unique and permanent artworks. Local and international artists have created pieces you won’t see anywhere else, including a magnificent horse, a brick canvas, and stone tributes. There is no cost to visit the garden.

Marine Life Center

Marine Life Center

Marine Life Center/Facebook

The Marine Life Center at the Port of Bellingham invites guests to see what lies beneath the surface of Bellingham Bay and the Salish Sea. The free attraction is highlighted by touch tanks where visitors of all ages can discover what a sea cucumber or a giant marine snail feels like.

The Upfront Theatre

The Upfront Theatre

The Upfront Theatre/Facebook

The Upfront Theatre has been serving up side-splitting improvised comedy to Bellingham since 2004. Originally founded by Ryan Stiles of Whose Line Is It Anyways? fame, the theatre offers a variety of hilarious shows including improvised musicals, duo nights, student showcases, and more. Tickets range from $5 to $16 so you’re definitely getting your laughs-per-minute money’s worth.

Bellingham Farmers Market

Bellingham Farmers Market

Bellingham Farmers Market/Facebook

Head down to Depot Market Square every Saturday to check out 100 stalls filled with fresh produce, handmade items, delicious food, and more. Bellingham Farmers Market is free to explore and has been running since 1992. It has become a gathering place for local farmers, makers, and the community. You’ll also enjoy great live music from local performers while you shop.

The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention

Spark Museum of Electrical Invention

Spark Museum of Electrical Invention/Facebook

The Spark Museum of Electrical Invention in Bellingham is especially great if you’re travelling with kids, but it is still quite an educational experience for people of all ages. Spend an afternoon here discovering the wonderful world of electricity and radio, and don’t miss The MegaZapper Electrical show.

Admission ranges from $6 to $10 and children 2 and under are free. It is truly a hair-raising time!

First Fridays in Downtown Bellingham

First Fridays

Downtown Bellingham/

Downtown Bellingham hosts a monthly showcase of local artists and galleries, great shopping and dining spots, live music and events, and more. The celebration invites visitors to check out the neighbourhood throughout the year, with dozens of businesses hosting performances and offering signature dishes and drinks to get the new month off on the right foot.

Whatcom Falls Park

Whatcom Falls Park

Whatcom Falls Park (City of Bel,lingham/cob.oorg)

This 241-acre park has four sets of waterfalls to discover as well as plenty of walking trails to enjoy. The nature paradise on Whatcom Creek also offers a variety of amenities to enjoy year-round, including a fishing pond, tennis courts, picnic tables, playgrounds, and a fish hatchery.

Daniel ChaiDaniel Chai

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