Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, WA

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.

Shoreline at Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington

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.

Camping in the REI Co-op Grand Hut 4 at Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington

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.

Shoreline at Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington

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.

Shoreline at Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington

Water-based park activities include boating & kayaking, sailboarding, diving, crabbing, clamming, fishing, and wildlife-watching.

Overlooking the pebble beach at Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington

A short walk from the beach there is a playground and a nice old sheltered pavilion that can be rented for day-use gatherings.

Pavilion at Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington

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!

Campground at Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, Washington

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.

Sunset over the San Juan Islands, view from Larrabee State Park Beach

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…

Part 2: Downtown Bellingham, Ye Olde City of Subdued Excitement
Part 3: Walk, Eat, Drink: Fairhaven to Bellingham via the South Bay Trail

Curious where else we’ve been? Click here to check out our list of parks visited.

10 Replies to “Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, WA”

    1. I miss it too! Although I have been enjoying the Florida sunshine and mild temperatures in Tennessee this winter, I still wish that I could hop in the car and head back to the west coast.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m excited for you, Kelley! Have you been to Bellingham before? I hope to get back to WA in 2020. I dream of being able to work from the road so that I can split my time between the PNW, Southwest, and Southeast. Perhaps one day…

      Liked by 1 person

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