Bellingham is located in Whatcom County, on the west coast of Washington state about 30 miles
south of the British Columbia, Canada border. Historical, the area has been populated for
thousands of years by the Lummi, the Nooksack and the Semiahmoo nations. However,
permanent Europeans settlements (Fairhaven, Bellingham, Sehome and Whatcom), didn't appear
until the 1880's when the region's natural resources of lumber and fishing were industrialized. A
couple of decades later, the communities merged into one: the city of Bellingham.
Bellingham has matured wisely, as most modern developments have graciously stayed out of the
downtown core, entrusting the historic districts to only the occasional spells of steam cleaning.
As well, there's a sense of community in the city, which is probably why critics rate it so highly
for places to retire, places to live and work, and why it was rated as the 21st fasting growing
cities in the United States by Rand McNalley in 1996.
Highlights for tourists in Bellingham include the excellent Whatcom Museum, the scenic
Chukanut Drive and the Fairhaven district.