Summer Water Adventures in Bellingham

Photo Courtesy of Visit Bellingham

As the weather heats up, cool down with an afternoon spent out on the glistening waters of Bellingham, WA. Boating season runs from May to September in the Pacific Northwest, and there are many different adventures to choose from. Take a leisurely sail, enjoying everything from history to happy hour, or embark on a kayaking excursion on Chuckanut Bay.

San Juan Cruises offers a range of trips aboard their four vessels: Victoria Star 2, Salish Express, Chinook and Salish Sea. Their newest Vendovi Island Cruise, which launched in May, will depart from the Bellingham Ferry Terminal every Saturday this summer, extending through August. Only two acres of Vendovi Island’s remote, 217-acre landscape have been developed, the remaining is wild habitat to explore.

In addition to its pristine beauty, the island is home to wildlife, lush forest lands and an interesting history which draws visitors in. The hourlong narrated cruise passes by scenic Lummi and Eliza Islands and Viti Rocks National Wildlife Refuge on the way to shore. When the ship docks, guests will enjoy an hourlong guided nature walk. Upon arrival, guests can choose a special spot to sit down and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch prepared by the crew.

Popular tours for happy hour enthusiasts include the Brewer’s Cruise, featuring craft brews from Boundary Bay Brewery and two guest Northwest breweries, along with appetizers. The unWINED On The Bay Wine Tasting Cruise offers passengers a taste of 15-20 wines from all over the world. Winery representatives and wine experts are on-hand during the tasting experience. Daily whale watching cruises keep passengers watching for marine wildlife including orca, humpback and minke whales before reaching shore in Friday Harbor for a delicious meal.

For a more history focused excursion, the Whatcom Museum has partnered with San Juan Cruises for the 35th annual History Sunset Cruises. Passengers will get close-up bayside views aboard The Victoria Star, while guided by local historians, Brian Griffin or Doug Starcher. The cruise is offered every Tuesday, starting July 10 and continuing through September 11.

The Schooner Zodiac offers afternoon and multi-day cruises on its 160-foot classic wooden yacht, sailing across the San Juan Islands. Once aboard, passengers become temporary crew members and are assigned “sailing stations” to assist with raising the 4,000-square-foot mainsail, along with the foresail and staysail. Sleeping berths and cabins can accommodate up to 20 passengers, with delicious meals and snacks provided from the galley by the ship’s cook. From June through September, climb aboard for Friday Night Bellingham Bay Salmon Dinner Sails, to enjoy a gourmet salmon dinner and craft cocktails, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Families with children are welcome.

Take a full or half-day trip with Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures. They specialize in introducing small groups to the wonders of the Salish Sea. The company focuses on providing low-impact interactions with natural surroundings in its kayak tours. Experienced, fun-loving guides assist guests in an adventurous and scenic trip. Custom trips are available for those seeking a unique, adventurous idea for a wedding party or corporate outing. Sail away this summer and enjoy the beautiful scenery and adventure that awaits.

For more information on water adventures in Bellingham and Whatcom County, visit our website at or our outdoor adventure website at You can also reach us at 360-671-3990 or stop in at 904 Potter Street in Bellingham.