Things to do in Bellingham When Your Flight is Delayed

Delayed flights are the worst. Yet for travelers with an extended layover in Bellingham, there's plenty to keep you busy within 15 minutes of Bellingham International Airport (BLI). Whether you have a few hours or an entire day, here are a few ways to make the time fly by.

Scotty Browns
Distance from BLI: Inside the terminal
No car? Don't feel like taking an Uber? No worries - there's a tasty restaurant right inside the terminal. Scotty Browns promises a clean, modern, fresh atmosphere with drink specials and a Northwest foodie menu. Choose from two-handed burgers, pizzas, street tacos, and a variety of specialties like the "#28 Dragon Bowl" — an Asian fusion dish with teriyaki chicken or tofu, coconut rice, vegetables, red cabbage, and spicy yogurt. Pair it with a couple "yummy cocktails", and you may just forget all about that flight delay.

Locust Beach
Distance from BLI: 2.4 miles (7 mins)
Ditch the airport and head to the Bellingham's so-called Secret Playground, less than 10 minutes drive from BLI. Access to Locust requires a steep descent down a narrow staircase, but it's worth the adventure to get away from it all. Once you reach this rocky beach, you can stroll your flight delay woes away. Or grab a bite to eat on the way and treat yourself to a leisurely picnic. It's not uncommon to see hammockers here, chilling out and watching kite- or skim-boarders on the water.

Downtown Bellingham
Distance from BLI: 5 miles (15 mins)
One benefit of Bellingham's relatively small size is that you can reach the heart of downtown in 15 minutes or less from BLI. Downtown is a wonderfully walkable destination, full of restaurants, bars, and independent shops to keep you busy. Look elsewhere for chain stores and restaurants. Sure, there's a Starbucks at the corner of Railroad and Holly, but the majority of downtown remains independent. Check out the Bellingham Farmers Market if you're delayed on a Saturday. Across the street, Bellingham's oldest brewery — Boundary Bay — is a sure choice for great food, beer, and entertainment.

Hovander Homestead Park
Distance from BLI: 8 miles (15 mins)
If you're in the mood for a history lesson, head up to Hovander to learn about pioneer farming in the area. Historic buildings, farm animals, and a wetland boardwalk are among the highlights of this large riverside park. This rural getaway feels timeless, and it's easy to spend an entire day here. Just don't forget about that flight — you wouldn't want to miss it twice. Or would you?

Brandon Fralic is a Bellingham-based freelance writer. With a focus on the outdoors, travel, and craft beer, he contributes to a handful of publications including Washington Trails, WhatcomTalk, and Outdoor Project.