Editor's note: This article was sponsored by The Inn at Lynden.
If your family is anything like ours, pandemic life has given you a whole new appreciation for the outdoors. For my crew, outdoor adventuring during the past couple of years has included excursions to some of our state’s many beautiful agricultural communities. Lynden, a straight shot north of Seattle by car and located just a few miles from the U.S.-Canadian border, is the pick of the crop to add to your family’s summer bucket list.
What drew Lynden’s first Dutch settlers to the area in the 1870s continues to hold appeal today. At its core, Lynden is a thriving agricultural community nestled in the Nooksack Valley; its welcoming small-town vibe makes it an ideal home base for all manner of seasonal adventures. Its bucolic attractions are particularly abundant in summer: Whether you want to bike around the quaint downtown, take in a fair or festival, enjoy a little “agritainment,” or head to the mountains or beaches, you’ll find what you are looking for — and more — in Lynden.
Teri Treat, general manager of the Inn at Lynden, shares a few things she loves about the town: “Lynden is a classic historic American town, very walkable and bikeable, surrounded by beautiful farmland, and it has lots of interesting activities for families.”
Read on for a few ideas to kickstart your planning for a family-friendly getaway to Lynden in beautiful Whatcom County.
Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Grab your U-pick bucket and celebrate all things berry.
Did you know that Whatcom County produces the largest crop of red raspberries per capita in the world? With berry season quickly approaching, that makes Lynden, a top berry producer in the county, the perfect destination for a sweet summer excursion. Many farms offer U-pick berries, including juicy strawberries in June, scarlet raspberries in July, and plump blueberries and blackberries in August. If you can, plan your visit to coincide with the annual Northwest Raspberry Festival (July 15–16 in 2022), which promises bushels of entertainment for the whole family, including a kids’ fun zone, classic car show, live music, $2 raspberry sundaes and more.
Explore Lynden’s charming downtown on foot or by bike.
Everywhere you turn, Lynden’s proud heritage and rich agricultural history are reflected in Dutch-themed murals, storefronts and architecture along the downtown area’s main drag, Front Street. Families can snap selfies at the 72-foot-tall Teunis & Aartje windmill, admire spectacular floral displays, pop into the independent bookstore Village Books and Paper Dreams, go roller-skating at the nostalgic Lynden Skateway and peruse exhibits at the historic Jansen Art Center.
Learn about Lynden’s interesting early history at the Lynden Pioneer Museum.
At the Lynden Pioneer Museum, also located in the heart of the town, you’ll learn more about the area’s interesting early history. Educational displays, including an impressive collection of horse-drawn buggies, make this unique museum an interesting diversion for all ages. Keep an eye out for an upcoming exhibit that will highlight the history of John Deere agricultural machinery (dates to be announced).
Join the community in celebrating the farms and businesses that sustain Lynden at the Farmers Day Parade.
If you love a small-town parade as much as I do, mark your calendar for the June 4 Lynden Farmers Day Parade down Front Street. This free, family-friendly event brings the local community together to celebrate the agricultural industry and community organizations that built the town. (With its more than 115-year history, it’s one of the longest-running parades in the Pacific Northwest.) The parade features farm equipment (old and new), decorated floats and more.
Visit Bellewood Farms, Western Washington’s ‘premier apple orchard and distillery,’ or another farm in the area.
Add Lynden to your must-visit list if your family enjoys touring working farms — the area has many to choose from. While you might want to visit Bellewood Farms later in the season to enjoy its U-pick apple harvest, pumpkin patch and corn maze, it makes for a wonderful visit any time of year. A family-operated, sustainable apple farm and award-winning distillery (with free tastings!), Bellewood also features a bakery, café, seasonal events (including a summer Farm Tunes series) and spectacular views of Mount Baker.
Get your wiggles out at Lynden City Park.
Lynden City Park, also known as Million Smiles Playground Park, is a neighborhood park located just minutes from downtown, and it appeals to kids of all ages. The playground features a “tot lot,” a climbing wall and boulders, a pump track, a jungle gym, a castle maze and a 35-foot-tall tree house. Trails from the park connect to creekside Bender Fields, which provides access to baseball, lacrosse and soccer fields, plus a dog park.
Extend your outdoor explorations into the greater Lynden area.
If you enjoy outdoor adventures, you’re in luck, because Whatcom County is a recreationist’s paradise in all seasons. Lynden is the perfect gateway to explore the Nooksack River, the majestic North Cascade Mountains and the northern edge of Puget Sound. Closer to town, check out the Berthusen Park trail system, a forested oasis of old-growth Douglas fir and western red cedar trees. Bike or walk the easy, dog-friendly 3-mile Jim Kaemingk Sr. Trail, which winds by a quaint thatched-roof house that looks straight out of a storybook.
A scenic drive to Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest, about 30 miles from Lynden, connects families to glorious hiking and biking trails, fishing, nature viewing and more. Stage your perfect family Christmas card photo shoot at picturesque Nooksack Falls. Easy access to this stunning waterfall viewing area, just off the Mount Baker Highway, makes it a jaw-dropping introduction to hiking for young children.
Take the family to the Northwest Washington Fair.
Who doesn’t love a big ol’ fair? The Northwest Washington Fair, one of the largest and most venerable around, has been held in Lynden every August since 1909 (with the exception of 2020, during the pandemic) and has something for everyone in the family to enjoy: carnival attractions, grandstand entertainers, rodeo action, a livestock show, fair food galore and more. Touted as a “hands-on experience” promoting an appreciation for the area’s agricultural heritage, the fair will run a full 10 days this year (Aug. 11–20). Tickets for the planned live music performances are already on sale, so check the website.
If you go …
Lynden is located 100 miles north of Seattle, a straight shot up Interstate 5, and is easily accessible from other Washington cities. (It’s a 26-minute drive away from Bellingham.)
Where to stay
If you choose to stay the weekend, The Inn at Lynden is a great choice. Housed in the historic Waples Mercantile Building (constructed in 1914), this inviting boutique inn offers many comforts and amenities, including an adjacent pub and café serving breakfast and lunch. Other accommodation options can be found here.
Where to eat
A few great family-friendly eateries to try in Lynden include:
Avenue Bread, Lynden Café (444 Front St.) offers freshly baked goods as well as a full breakfast and lunch menu.
Ten-Mile Café (6140 Guide Meridian Rd.) at picturesque Bellewood Farms features lunch options, fruit and cheese plates, homemade apple pie (naturally) and more.
Cancun Mexican Restaurant (8874 Bender Rd.) features a full bar and scrumptious Mexican cuisine.
Edaleen Dairy Store (1011 E. Grover St.) scoops up 40 different flavors of ice cream made from fresh local milk.
Infusion Cuisine (6912 Hannegan Rd.) presents beautifully plated fusion fare while also priding itself on being family-friendly.
Lynden Dutch Bakery (421 Front St.) serves many delicious baked goods, including pie by the slice and traditional Dutch treats, such as krentenbollen (raisin buns).
Steakhouse 9 Bistro & Lounge (115 E. Homestead Blvd.) offers a diverse variety of interesting dishes, including sushi rolls.