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If you’ve ever come up to visit the Intellitonic office on the second floor of the historic National Bank Building on Holly, you’ve likely noticed we have a dog-friendly culture. If the boxes of well-chewed dog toys aren’t a dead giveaway, the happy pups definitely are. With three puppies all one and under, a snarf-ly French bulldog, and two older labs, there is never a dull moment. (If you’re wondering, all the dogs are rarely here at once, and they’re often left at home on days with lots of meetings, etc.)
There’s no doubt about it – dogs make humans happier. They also make you feel loved, less stressed, more fit, and more social.
Bellingham is an outdoorsy city, and a perfect place to have a dog. The city boasts several off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly trail systems, hotels, breweries, and if not dog-friendly restaurants, at least plenty of outdoor pubs that serve scrumptious food.
We tend to like bringing our dogs with us when we go places, (and if you’re reading this, you probably do, too). With that in mind, we made a list of our favorite dog-friendly spots, so you can spend a day with your favorite companion.
Traveling from out of town? Wake up at our favorite pet-friendly accommodations: The Heliotrope Hotel @heliotropehotelpnw (2419 Elm St, Bellingham, WA 98225)
At the crossroads of downtown and welcoming neighborhoods, the Heliotrope transformed a vintage motel into a modern oasis. Knowing that some trips are better (and cheaper!) with your four-legged companion in tow, the Heliotrope opened its doors to cats and dogs. This hotel offers food and water dishes, a package of grain-free Mud Bay treats, a 10% off coupon to Mud Bay Pet Supply, and waste bags. The cost? Pretty reasonable at $25 per pet.
Early riser? Catch the sunrise at Bloedel Donovan Park on Lake Whatcom. This beach functions as an off-leash dog park until 10AM
For disc golf: Cornwall Park (3424 Meridian St, Bellingham, WA 98225)
This 70 acre park is conveniently located right off The Guide Meridian in NE Bellingham. There are over 1.5 miles of trails and a nine-hole disc golf course. This park also offers two playgrounds if you have little humans. Dogs are allowed on leash. Free parking.
For waterfalls: Whatcom Falls Park (1401 Electric Ave, Bellingham, WA 98229)
Four waterfalls, a fishing pond, several miles of trails, and 241 acres of forest make Whatcom Falls Park a very special place in Bellingham. The trail system here connects to Bloedel Donovan Park, as well as several local neighborhoods surrounding the area. Dogs are allowed on leash. Free parking.
For cardio: Sehome Hill Arboretum (600 25th St, Bellingham, WA 98225; there are many alternative entrances)
Over six miles of meandering trails all eventually lead you up a steep hill to an observation tower with sweeping views of the cityspace and Bellingham Bay. This protected acreage, nestled next to Western Washington University, boasts mature, native trees and an outdoor learning center. Dogs are allowed on leash. Free parking.
For expansive wilderness: Chuckanut Mountain Park (1467 Chuckanut Dr, Bellingham, WA 98229, check the map for specific trailhead locations)
The woods along Chuckanut Bay are filled with scattered trails, some devoted to bicycling or horse-back riding, some just for you and your dog. The expansive area includes pet-friendly campsites. Dogs must be on leashes at all times, which is especially important on horse trails for the safety of the horses and riders. Parking is very affordable, just $5 per day or free with a Discovery Pass.
If there’s a pub or bar with outdoor seating in Bellingham, chances are they’ll welcome dogs with open arms, but it’s still wise to check first. The following pubs are especially well-known for their dog-friendly nature.
If you hit the Chuckanuts, head into Fairhaven and go here:
Paws for a Beer // @pawsforabeer (501 Harris Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225)
Paws for a Beer is a dog-friendly tavern serving local PNW beer, wine, cider, and kombucha. Humans enter free, but dogs must pay at the door. See day pass and membership prices. Dogs roam the premises, play with other dogs, and generally have a great time. The tavern is also dedicated to improving the dog-based community by offering free training courses to members, and networking with local dog rescue agencies to bring deserving dogs to deserving owners.
Stones Throw Brewery // @fairhaven_stonesthrowbrewery (1009 Larrabee Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225)
Just up the road, Stones Throw Brewery offers a back and front patio, both of which allow dogs on leash. Come for a lovely craft beer, and stay to check out the local art hung around the small brewery. Bring your own food (BYOF) or try food from the rotating food carts below.
If you spent the day in Bellingham, head here:
Wander Brewing // @wanderbrewing (1807 Dean Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225)
This award winning brewery allows dogs inside and outside on the patio. There are often dog treats around and fresh water bowls, too. If you like a strong pint, try their Googly Eyes DIPA; the Doglost Pilsner makes a refreshing alternative. They don’t serve food. (Are you seeing a pattern here?) But, the food truck schedule is as follows:
Gruff Brewing // @gruffbrewing (104 E Maple St #101, Bellingham, WA 98225)
In our opinion, Gruff is the most dog-friendly brewery downtown. Their huge back patio overlooks the bay and features lots of tables and seats to enjoy refreshments. If you have a dog that needs a little more space to feel comfortable, it’s likely you can find it here. BYOF with occasional food carts.
Beer not your thing? Check out our list of Best Lunch Spots in downtown Bellingham (and leave the pup at home).
Lake Padden Dog Park (4882 S Samish Way, Bellingham, WA 98229)
Lake Padden is a popular destination in Bellingham featuring a beautiful lake with a boat launch, fishing dock, playgrounds, tennis courts, picnic shelters, ball field, trails, and an off-leash dog area. The east entrance is closer to the trail headed to the dog park. Great swimming spot! Open dusk to dawn. Free parking.
Squalicum Creek Dog Park (1001 Squalicum Way, Bellingham, WA 98225)
Cute community park with walking trails, a playground, and more. The dog park has separate areas for big and small dogs. Back in the leashed area, there is a sprawling playground for little ones and a picnic area with plenty of shaded and unshaded options.
….Maybe let your dog take a nap while you enjoy dinner.
This low-key spot offers public beach access as well as shady spots to sit and enjoy the water. Open from dawn to dusk. (Parking off of Seaview Ave.)
What did we miss? Email us and tell us your favorite dog-friendly spots in town.