University in Bellingham Washington - my grad school alma mater.
Big Boat sailing in Bellingham Bay year round. The San Juan
and Canadian Gulf Islands are only a few hours west. There are no year round anchorages
or mooring fields in B'ham but the Squalicum marina is cheap
. I lived aboard in the marina during grad school.
Great Lake Sailing on Lake Whatcom just 10 miles east. WWU has a very active sailing program on the Lake where they own a lot of waterfront and have a big cabin
and boat house.
Year round (most years) snow skiing at Mt Baker (45 minutes east) or Whistler (90 minutes North)
Fantastic mountain and rock climbing all over the Pacific NW.
Exquisite road bike riding for thousands of miles on flat land and the Cascade mountains.
Even better mountain bike riding - actually some of the best in the world IF you like riding in the mud and big trees.
I lived there for eight years and thought it one of the nicest places for all the activities I described.
Many a day I skied in the morning, raced a sailboat in the afternoon, and bicycled to the bar at night.
My personal experience was with the WWU grad schools in psychology, education, and computer science and found them to be superb.
WWU has about 10,000 students and B'Ham about 82,000 residents. The university dominates the community and thus B'Ham has a rich social and cultural scene. There is a lot of live music
and many great restaurants and bars.
We would live there again if it were not for the hundreds of days a year of cloudy cool weather
. That was great when we lived during school and for five years after school - tbut now that we've lived in sunny Mexico
for four years and San Diego
for six years we just can't stand the cool clouds.
For those grad school naysayers - my graduate education, after a near worthless BA in psychology, allowed me to work in a new and developing field where I created many of the methods and procedures. That work allowed me to retire at age 50 and go sailing for the rest of my life.