Go north for active days and appetizing nights
You can get from Seattle to Bellingham, Wash., by driving 90 miles straight up the interstate, but you shouldn’t. The best route to this small city tucked where the mighty Cascade mountain range meets the sea can be more scenic and pleasurable. Veer off Interstate 5 about 15 miles south of Bellingham to make the final approach via Chuckanut Drive, one of the state’s more than 20 official Scenic Byways.
Another terrific place to meander is Western Washington University. The hilltop campus, with expansive views of Bellingham Bay, was founded in 1893 and is now home to 15,000 students. It also hosts 70 species of trees and a world-class outdoor sculpture collection. You can’t miss the bright red, 27-foot-tall steel creation, by Mark di Suvero, or giant tipped cube by Isamu Noguchi, but there are many other works by artists, including Richard Serra and Beverly Pepper. Washington State takes its trees seriously and the university offers online tree tours so you can learn about the campus flora, including the umbrella tree with its 20-inch leaves. One of the largest Giant Sequoias in the state stands there at 120 feet.