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Washington's first state park is located roughly midway between Vancouver, BC and Everett, just outside of Bellingham. This wonderfully wooded area is 2,748 acres of sprawling park that hooks around Samish Bay and encompasses over 8,000 feet of the shoreline. Larrabee State Park campers have a scenic view nearly every direction they turn, and who doesn’t love a sunset over the Pacific?
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Chuckanut coastal highway was built, which brought visitors up the beautiful coastline and into what would soon become Larrabee State Park. The Larrabee family donated twenty acres of their land in 1915 to Washington to be used as the first state park, and it was opened to the public that same year. In the 1930s, the CCC built all the original amenities, including bathrooms, showers, and the visitors' center.
Water sports are very popular here thanks to Samish Bay, as well as two different lakes within the confines of the park. Hikers and bird watchers also get a chance to flourish here at Larrabee State Park. But before you start planning your trip, rent an RV in Whatcom County and then the fun can begin.
Campers at Larrabee State Park have 18 miles of wooded trails to explore — one and a half miles are bike-only, just under three miles are hike-only, and nearly 14 miles are open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Walk the coastline and dip your toes into the Pacific Ocean, pedal past the branches of the cedar trees, or ride your horse through the woods. Whatever your preferred method of enjoying the wilderness, Larrabee has you covered.
This park wraps around the beautiful Samish Bay and also encompasses Lost Lake and Fragrance Lake. That means there are both saltwater and freshwater options for swimming and boating. Work on your backstroke off the coast of a lakeside beach or scuba dive into the ocean. If you’re boating, just be cautious of killer whales in Samish Bay. If you’re angling, make sure to read up on the most current fishing regulations.
Keep your eyes peeled while on the trails or in the park. You never know what kind of wildlife could be roaming around. Catch a doe spending time with her mother under a tree, see ducks, geese, hawks, and hummingbirds as they take flight, or pluck a starfish up off the ocean floor. The sheer variety of wildlife mixed with the breathtaking scenery is enough to provide lasting memories of your Larrabee State Park camping trip.
This park has 26 campsites available for motorhome camping, which include both water and electric hookups (30 and 50 amps). Some sites provide full-hookups. Pull-through sites are available, and certain sites can accommodate campers up to 60 feet long. If you know you’re going to be camping at Larrabee State Park ahead of time, the park allows reservations up to nine months ahead.
As far as amenities go, there are public bathrooms and six showers, four of which are ADA-approved. There's a playground nearby for the kids, and a dump station is available for visitors camping in an RV. Most major cell phone providers have decent service in the area, so you can still enjoy the wilderness with the comfort and safety of staying connected.
Want to see a movie, but not really interested in the newer popular flicks? Head to Bellingham to discover the largest independent film cinema in the area. This non-profit film center shows independent films as well as foreign flicks and documentaries to educate and entertain the visitors and residents of Whatcom County. Become a member or just stop in and catch a movie with the whole family.
Raise the mast, catch the wind, and get ready to hit the high seas. If you’re ready to try out your sea legs, Schooner Zodiac is ready to take you on an adventure. Experience Samish Bay on this 160-foot schooner, which offers private and public charters and anchors at the San Juan Islands and Canadian Gulf Islands. The tallest mast is 127 feet high, and the details of the ship are decorated in brass. This breathtaking windjammer/yacht first set sail in 1924 and has been wowing guests ever since. This experience is great for team building, discovery, and good old-fashioned family fun.
If your crew likes the adrenaline rush of extreme sports, sign up for a whitewater rafting tour of the Skagit and Skykomish Rivers in Bellingham. Ride the waves, paddle through whirlpools, dash past boulders and trees, and get your blood pumping. Rest assured that this high-energy adventure is safe for all rafters thanks to the experienced and highly trained professional guides who lead you on your trip.
Motorhome camping at Larrabee State Park is something your family will cherish for years to come. When it's time to head out, make sure to fill your tank at any of the nearby gas stations and feed your appetite at one of the fantastic restaurants in Bellingham. Then jump on I-5 and head north to Canada or south towards Everett.