You're ready to pile the kids (Rover too) into the SUV and hit the road? How about a day trip to Bellingham, Washington? Just 90 miles north of Seattle, Bellingham has culture, outdoor scenery and shopping -- a great destination for the entire family.
Don’t forget the SPF
First stop is Lake Padden, a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Bring your bathing suit to take a dip in the lake then ride bikes on the relatively flat trail that encircles Padden. Even the youngest in the family will enjoy walking the easy 2.6-mile smooth gravel loop. Sorry, no motorized vehicles are allowed in the lake but that’s OK, because you can float around in a kayak or on paddleboard. Rover can go off-leash in the designated dog area.
Sure it’s a day trip but why not get the kids using their thinking caps? Swing on over to Mindport, an interactive museum with exhibits in science and woodworking. The best part here is that you can touch everything, so don’t worry about breaking anything. You will see fine art exhibits and a full library too. Be sure not to miss the Rythmo display.
By now you’re probably hungry, so walk just a few blocks to the Farmer’s Market at Depot Square. Here, you will see organic produce from local farms and everyone can find something for their palette with food vendors selling Indian, Thai, Mexican, crepes and all kinds of cuisine. You will surely have fun conversation as patrons share picnic tables lined along the edge of the market, so sit down with the entire family and meet some new folks. Next, stroll the market for gift ideas (or for yourself!) in jewelry, pottery and clothing all produced by local artists.
After your bellies are full, why not head to Boulevard Park in Fairhaven where you can watch the sailboats floating on the bay amid a beautiful sunset? There’s plenty of room to spread out, toss a Frisbee and play catch with the pooch. The kids can even join a pickup game of volleyball. Bring a blanket so you can relax and listen to live music in the band shell. Check local listings for dates and times.
Jennifer Karchmer is a freelance writer based in Bellingham, Wash.