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Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

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Adirondack, New York
posts: 3,926
reviews: 89
Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

Is staying in Burlington a night before the ferry departure a good choice? Are there other more convenient and closer to the ferry terminal lodging options? Burlington has Holiday Inn Express which looks fine.

The ferry departs late afternoon. What are outdoor activities recommended in the area? Will have a car but do not want to go sightseeing to Seattle. Any scenic hiking trails near by?

We are traveling in the beginning of July

Seattle
posts: 4,398
reviews: 1
1. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

There's a Holiday Inn Express in Bellingham as well.

Burlington's going to be about a 20-30 minute drive from Bellingham and not as interesting of a place to stay--more strip malls, etc while B'ham has two real downtown areas (Fairhaven and downtown).

A drive up to Mt Baker would be a great option--lots of scenic hiking trails up there although you'll want to check with the local ranger station when you go to see what's snow free then (some higher elevation trails may not yet be fully melted out).

seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 14,619
reviews: 84
2. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

Bellingham is a college town and a stop off point for heading to Vancouver so there are lots of hotels and motels of various types and prices. Make sure to look at the reviews before booking. Hotelcoupons.com lists some great hotel prices. I agree that staying in Bham or Fairhaven will be a whole lot more interesting than Burlington. Make sure to drive in on Chuckanut Drive. It goes along the water and comes right into Fairhaven and the ferry terminal. If your renting a car just to get to the ferry also be aware that the Amtrak station in Bellingham is right near the ferry, so you could take the train from Seattle.

Adirondack, New York
posts: 3,926
reviews: 89
3. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

northwestwanderer and davidgmg, thank you for great and helpful information. I'll definitely stay in Bellingham and not Burlington. We'll be there in July so hopefully the snow on Mt Baker will be melted by then. As suggested I'll be reading reviews of the hotels in Bellingham. We'll have our own car.

I just had another thought. If my husband and I decide to come earlier and stay for two nights what activities would you recommend besides hiking around Mt Baker? I am not interested in shopping and we both don't want to go back to Seattle for all touristy things. We would be interested mostly in hiking/ walking, breathtaking scenery, wildlife.

It looks like we can avoid Seattle if we take a drive from Spokane through North Cascade Park with an overnight stop somewhere in the park, maybe in Winthrop.

Thank you for all your help

Washington - the...
posts: 327
reviews: 14
4. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

There are two very nice hotels in Fairhaven - both are a little spendy, but worth is for the view and location. Be aware that if you stay in Fairhaven you will hear the train at night (it goes right along the waterfront) so bring earplugs. There is a wonderful interurban trail that you can pick up in Fairhaven - the visitor's bureau has maps. If you want a hotel that is less expensive my personal fave is the Lakeway Inn on Lakeway Drive. If you have a car there are some nice lakes for fishing and kayaking in town as well.

If you are thinking about taking hwy20 from Spokane - you might want to make reservations in Winthrop - it gets very busy in the summer. Are you visiting someone in Spokane? Nine times out of ten it is cheaper to fly into Seattle and it saves you that boring drive.

Washington - the...
posts: 327
reviews: 14
5. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

Another fun thing to do in the summer is one of the whale watching tours - there is an all day one up to Victoria BC and back with dinner that departs from Fairhaven. Or there is a nice sunset one that departs from the marina (downtown) that is lovely.

Seattle
posts: 4,398
reviews: 1
6. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

Or a day trip to one of the San Juan Islands--I think there's a passenger only ferry that goes out of Bellingham (not sure though) but if not, Anacortes isn't too far from B'ham.

Adirondack, New York
posts: 3,926
reviews: 89
7. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

PacificNWAuntiem and northwestwanderer, you both gave me many new ideas. I need to figure out whether to stay for two nights in Bellingham or Winthrop. At this point I have reservation for 2 nights in Winthrop and planning to spend one day hiking in the area. I want to add to my list North Cascade National Park. Based on your suggestions i reserved one night at HIExpress in Bellinghma but will check the the Lakeway Inn. It needs to be convenient to the Alaskan ferry terminal. I decided not book in Fairhaven since I am very sensitive to noises and probably trains would keep me up all night.

I am not sure what route to take from Spokane to Winthrop. I am not visiting anyone there but it is just an overnight stop between Yellowstone National Park and North Cascade NP. If you have any suggestions on a nice stop between these two destination I'll be ready to make some changes in my itinerary. We are driving across the country so no flying this time. Our final destination is Alaska and this is going to be our almost 3 month long adventure.

I appreciate your great help.

Places

Bellingham, WA
posts: 7
8. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

Other nearby options include the Best Western Lakeway Inn and the Val-U Inn, which are about 3 miles from the ferry terminal.

Seattle
posts: 4,398
reviews: 1
9. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

Coeur D'Alene ID might be a more scenic place to stop.

Rt. 20 across the top of the state is a pretty nice drive. But if you want to see the Coulee Dam and/or Dry Falls, you might want to map out a different route.

As far as staying a day in the North Cascades and hiking, that's a great plan in theory but you might want to check snow levels closer to your trip and see if that's going to be possible and make changes accordingly. Of course there's always an exciting rafting trip on the Methow as an option if you're into that.

Washington - the...
posts: 327
reviews: 14
10. Re: Alaska Ferry and hotel in or near Bellingham

If you take I2 to 174 jog up to Coulee Dam then 155 to 20 to Winthrop that would be a nice scenic route (that is the way we go on the motorcycle).

Spokane has some good to great hotels and restaurants. If you feel like splurging there is alway the Davenport or for less expensive - several good clean ones near Riverfront park. If you are there in the summer you run a good chance of something going on in the park while you are there. Domini's (downtown) for deli sandwiches is excellent. The Flour Mill is fun to wander in to get out of the sun (thru the park) - Clinkerdagger's has a nice view of the river and good food.

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