Days 44-48 (September 11-15)
Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington
Beautiful, beautiful Bellingham. Based on a glowing recommendation from a family member who recently visited, we made it a last-minute addition to our itinerary. We fit so many activities into our few days in the area that I will be dedicating several posts to our stay. By the end of our time in Bellingham, I will find myself dreaming about a life here.
From the south, the drive toward the city via Chuckanut Drive winds through farmland then up the side of Chuckanut Mountain, providing teaser views of waterscapes which we will get a better view of up the road once we reach Larrabee State Park.
Bellingham is a super scenic ten minute drive to the north via Chuckanut Drive. Upon seeing how lovely Larrabee’s campground is, and given the convenient proximity to the city, Deception Pass, and the San Juan Islands, we quickly decide that the park will make a great home base for exploring the area over the next four days.
We set out a quick Pacific Northwest themed lunch of smoked salmon spread & crackers, a Washington apple (of course!), and I treat myself to an afternoon beer: Deschutes Pacific Wonderland.
A quarter mile walk down to the park’s rocky shoreline and pebble beach on Samish Bay presents stunning views of the San Juan islands, a cargo ship or two and a double-masted sailboat, which likely is sailing home from the wooden boat festival in Port Townsend.
There are tide pools here, although I did not see any anemones or starfish. Perhaps we weren’t there when the tide was at its lowest, or perhaps the starfish here have disappeared due to the unfortunate wasting disease.
From the beach one can also get a glimpse at a couple of private homes perched on the cliff overlooking the water, though they are wonderfully nestled in the forest.
Water-based park activities include boating & kayaking, sailboarding, diving, crabbing, clamming, fishing, and wildlife-watching.
A short walk from the beach there is a playground and a nice old sheltered pavilion that can be rented for day-use gatherings.
The park has a total of 18 miles of trails (biking, hiking, horse, and multi-use). I have no recommendations for any specific trails because we spent most of our days in the city of Bellingham and taking side trips. It really is a shame, because this area is known for its easy access to hundreds of trails. I could spend a month in this area and still not have time to do everything on my wish list!
One thing worth noting: Trains run regularly (up to 16 times a day) through the park. This didn’t bother us, however those who are noise-sensitive will want to want to select a site as far from the track as possible, or perhaps even consider staying elsewhere. Earplugs are helpful but won’t block out the sound of the trains completely.
Although the weather was gray and drizzly much of the time that we were in Bellingham (apparently the rainy season started early), we were fortunate to watch a couple of spectacular sunsets over the San Juans.
I feel relaxed just reliving our time here through this blog post. Alhough now I’m craving that tasty Pacific Northwest campground lunch!
This is the first in our series of Bellingham posts. If you’d like to read more…