We are kicking off a new series, highlighting some of the awesome places to go, morsels to eat and things to do in our beautiful little corner of the Pacific Northwest. Our focus will be on the Bellingham area mainly, but we’ll touch on Seattle a bit as well. Enjoy!
I have made my home here in Bellingham, WA for just over 8 years now. I spent a lot of the first few years indoors, on a self-imposed hiatus from the outdoors. Another few years recovering from a breakup, and I’m just now discovering all of the amazing things we have to do here.
I know, I’m late to the “LOOK AT WHAT YOU CAN DO OUTSIDE!” party. Forgive me, I grew up mostly an “indoor girl”.
So I have flipped a switch and abandoned my couch and the endless amount of streaming television options to head outside.
And our town has been glorious this summer. We have hit outdoor concerts, movies projected onto the side of an early 1900s building, sea kayaking, sailing, beach time, and visiting many of our local parks.
We also “discovered” Larrabee State Park.
Just a 20 minute drive from downtown Bellingham, Larrabee Park sits right on Samish Bay. It’s heavily wooded, and has beaches as well. It is 2,748-acre camping park that has 8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline.
It’s basically heaven.
The kids and I decided to have an “after school adventure” one Friday, and headed out after I was done with work. The drive through town was lovely (as always) and the short distance we traveled down Chuckanut Drive is just stunning with the trees and ocean views.
When we pulled into the park, we had to stop at the Ranger Station because I had just purchased a Discover Pass and had no idea what I was doing.
(Protip: you put the pass on your mirror and park. That’s it. I may have overcomplicated it a bit.)
We parked near the amphitheater, and took the trail down underneath the train tracks to head to the beach.
When you get most of the way down the hill, the trail splits. The trail to the left leads you to a set of large rocks you can climb around on and a tiny beach where a lot of people go crab-fishing during the season. There’s also a pretty lookout from a REALLY big rock you can sit on.
To the right, is the beach. There are tidepools (if the tide is out) and sandstone rocks and lots of kayakers and lots of ways to get dirty and wet and it’s pretty incredible.
So I piled a pair of wet, filthy, tired and completely blissful kids into my car at the end of about 3 hours of playing on the beach and climbing every rock they could and catching a thousand tiny crabs and rolling in dirt and learning how to catch a crab with a fishing pole from some nice gentleman.
It was a great after-school-adventure trip, and a pretty amazing park.
Here’s five things you should know about visiting the beach at Larrabee Park:
- It’s the first official state park in Washington, founded in 1915! There’s a cool plaque commemorating this, next to the picnic structure near the amphitheater.
- The trains are LOUD. Hella loud. Be prepared, because the path to the beach takes you straight underneath the train tracks. It’s kind of fun to stand in the tunnel while the train passes overhead.
- If you need to purchase the Discover Pass, you can do so at the pay station on site. You can also just pay for a day of parking at the same pay station.
- There are no bathrooms down on the beach. There ARE bathrooms right next to the amphitheater. Highly recommend hitting the bathrooms prior to heading down the trail.
- This park has a lot of fun rocks to climb and the climb-able terrain changes with the tides. Keep an eye on those kiddos who climb every and anything – at one point on our first trip, one mom though she had lost her kid, and he was halfway up a huge boulder nearby.
Larrabee State Park is a fabulous short trip from Bellingham – you can even squeeze it in between lunch downtown and one of our many breweries – or make it your stop on your way out of town!