Larrabee State Park, Washington’s first state park, is known for its scenic coastline views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. The 2,748-acre park has 8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline and is part of the Chuckanut Drive section of the 22-mile scenic byway, State Route 11. This curvy road passes along sandstone cliffs and past where the Cascade Mountains meet the sea.
The park, located a few hours from Seattle and minutes from Bellingham, Washington, is a coastal recreational hotspot. You can take a day trip and visit the North Cascades National Park, or stay close to the water, kayak, search the tidepools, and watch the sunset, and never have to leave the park’s boundaries.
RVers will enjoy a Pacific Northwest’s camping and recreational experience staying at Larrabee State Park. The park’s scenic views beckon visitors to stay outside and enjoy nature in its purest form. The lush green campground offers one activity that most campgrounds can’t provide: trainspotting. Train enthusiasts and kids will love hearing and seeing the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Amtrak run past the campground up to 16 times a day.
RV Rentals in Larrabee State Park
Transportation in Larrabee State Park
Washington requires that all visitors purchase a Discover Pass to access state-managed recreation lands. Visitors can buy day passes or a yearly pass. Passes are available for purchase online, by phone, and in person.
Larrabee State Park is located six miles south of Bellingham, Washington. When driving south on the Chuckanut Highway, exercise extreme caution on curves and downgrades.
People driving north from Seattle, an 80-mile drive, should be aware of road restrictions on certain sections of the Chuckanut Highway. No vehicles over 18,000 lbs are allowed on Chuckanut Drive between miles 9—14. Large RVs are not recommended.
Campgrounds and parking in Larrabee State Park
Campsites in Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park Campground
The Larrabee State Park Campground is a year-round, pet-friendly campground that requires reservations between May 15 and September 15. Outside of that window, the campground operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. During the off-season, some facilities work on a limited basis. The campground offers full hookup sites, electric-only sites, and primitive camping sites. Electricity ranges from 20 to 50 amps. Maximum site length is 30 feet, but availability is limited. Check the individual camp specs when reserving your site for more information on size, shade, and leveling issues. The campground offers picnic tables, hydrants, toilets, showers, and a dump station. Generators may be operated only between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm. Please note that a working train runs through the park, just west of the campground.
Seasonal activities in Larrabee State Park
If you enjoy fishing and you want a quiet and secluded fishing experience, then bring your fishing gear with you when you visit the park. Lost Lake and Fragrance Lake are small lakes inside of the park that are accessible by foot. Hiking trails will take you to your mountain lake destination, and you can spend your day fishing the scenic waters. Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for information on the fishing season, fish species, and purchasing a recreational fishing license.
Bring your boats and paddle the coastline! The park’s boat-launch area is located close to the water. It has ample parking, and pit toilets, so your day of boating will be convenient and fun. The boat launch is available at high tide, but when the water retreats, boats may become inaccessible during low tide cycles. The park sells the required daily watercraft launching permit, so be sure to ask the park office staff about purchasing a permit and preparing to boat.
Spend your day outside by preparing a day of picnicking for the entire family. Two reservable picnic shelters with sinks, electrical outlets, grills, and picnic tables can accommodate large groups up to 100 people. If you don’t have that many people with you, but you still want to enjoy a picnic, then visit one of the 45 unsheltered picnic areas. These picnic areas are first-come, first-served, and they will help your group experience a day of food and fun.
Larrabee State Park is just one of the many places along the Washington coast where people can take part in one of the Pacific Northwest’s most popular hobbies. Recreational shellfishing, or clam digging, is an activity people of every age can enjoy. Even on the coldest and wettest of days, you can have a successful clam and oyster dig. Buy a license, pick up some tools, and head to the beach to see what you can dig up! Always check the rules, regulations, tide tables, and beach status before attempting to dig for clams as health reasons may temporarily close popular clamming beaches.
Bring your metal detector to the park’s metal-detecting area and hunt for treasures in the sand! Metal detecting is a favorite activity in Washington, and more than 30 state parks, including Larrabee State Park, provide visitors with sanctioned metal-detecting areas. If you are planning on trying out this unique pastime, you must first register with Washington State Parks and agree to adhere to the code of ethics and posted rules and regulations which govern this activity.
You won’t find yourself bored at Larrabee State Park because spending time outside in the almost surreal scenery will provide any nature lover with an unforgettable experience. Hiking or biking along the Pacific Northwest’s evergreen-lined, oceanfront cliffs, or wandering through the woods to find a secluded lake, are just a few of the things you can experience on the trails at this state park. Whether you enjoy a leisurely hike, or you are looking for a little more adventure with your mountain bike or horse, the 18 miles of trail system inside Larrabee State Park will give you and your family hours in nature.