Ever since hot air balloons at the Mount Baker Marathon of 1911-1913 provided the first aerial views of Bellingham, there have been enthusiastic efforts to see the City of Subdued Excitement from above. Public webcams hosted by local organizations and businesses provide one such eye in the sky from the comfort of your computer screen.
Sites such as EarthCam, Skyline Webcams, and US Geological Survey’s Multimedia Gallery attest to the popularity of public webcams worldwide. For tourists and remote viewers, they provide a way to learn about and experience new places vicariously. For locals, they provide useful references on weather, tides, and traffic at one’s destination. And in a town as snug as Bellingham, they present new ways of seeing familiar landscapes from unfamiliar vantage points.
Western Washington University
At Western Washington University, the live webcam overlooks Red Square — a hub of campus activity. Viewers can spot Fisher Fountain and Isamu Noguchi’s “Sky Viewing Sculpture,” one of Western’s internationally recognized art installations. Just beyond lie the Humanities Building, Fraser Hall, Miller Hall, and Sehome Hill Arboretum.
In Bellingham’s geocaching community, one of the most popular local caches uses Western’s webcam as part of the game. Over 2,000 people have logged in at “University of Christi,” a virtual experience where visitors pose for the camera and submit screencaps.
Bellingham Cold Storage
From their warehouse on the waterfront, Bellingham Cold Storage provides a webcam displayed as a still image that regularly refreshes for new timestamps. The page lists current weather conditions and weather dashboards ranging from days to years.
The webcam itself shows boats on Squalicum Waterfront, where BCS has operated since 1946 to facilitate portside industry.
Community Boating Center
Based in Fairhaven, the Community Boating Center hosts webcams at five locations with the assistance of sponsors such as the City of Bellingham, San Juan Sailing, Whatcom Community Foundation, and San Juan Cruises. Every day, timelapses of the previous day’s webcam recording become available to view on the page. Viewers can also consult an on-page map for reference on the cameras’ fields of vision.
The Post Point Buoy cam shows the water past Marine Park, where the buoy collects oceanographic data. Depending on the time of day, viewers can see the BNSF Railway trains pass or watch the buoy blink at night. The other Post Point cam shows a curving portion of the rail track alongside the water. A separate Marine Park panorama captures a broad view of the water by the Boating Center docks.
The Fairhaven Cove Panorama provides a direct view of the boat launch, where Bellingham Cruise Terminal ships to the west and inland Fairhaven to the northeast can be seen in the background. The Fairhaven Public Boat Ramp cam shows a tighter westward view of the Boating Center, with the Cruise Terminal just beyond.
The Barkley Village mixed-use neighborhood and commercial center has two webcams. The webcam on Barkley Boulevard provides clear views of businesses such as Chase Bank, Peoples Bank, Wells Fargo, NW Gastro Endo, and Regal Cinemas.
The webcam on Rimland Drive shows apartments and condominiums such as the Cornerstone, the Weatherby, and the Drake. Barkley Village’s housing is specifically designed with sustainability and proximity to local businesses in mind. For residents, prospective residents, and visitors, these webcams provide a first look at traffic and commercial activity in the area.
About 20 miles from Bellingham, the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce hosts a webcam view of their unincorporated community. From Birch Bay State Park, the live camera overlooks the residences and businesses facing northeast across the water. “The webcam refreshes regularly throughout the day,” the site explains, also providing weather and tide charts for visitors.
The site notes that viewers can spot the mountains in Vancouver, Canada, on clear days. The condominiums and townhomes stand by businesses such as The C Shop, where visitors can enjoy signature sweets during summer and select seasonal openings.
The Bellingham Herald provides traffic cams for motorists to gauge activity and wait times. These include views of numerous Interstate-5 onramps and Canadian border crossings in Blaine, Lynden, and Sumas.
Whether you consult them for information or recreation, webcams will always provide a way to visit Bellingham in the digital landscape.