Getting to Larrabee State Park, just south of Bellingham, is half the fun. From Bellingham city limits, your choices are to either ride your bike, run or walk on the pedestrian friendly Interurban Trail or take the road, known as Chuckanut Drive. Once you arrive, you can choose to go up or down from this unique portion of the Cascade mountains that rise directly from Salish Sea. If you go up, you’ll access the Chuckanut Mountains and Blanchard Mountain to the south. Trails galore! One option is the Big Rock Trail.
We set our sights on the water and headed down to the beach at Larrabee State Park– a 2,683-acre camping park with 8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline on Samish Bay. In October 1915, the Larrabee family donated 20 acres of land to the state to be made into a park- Washington’s first state park.
Getting down to the beach is relatively easy. After you go through the underpass of the train tunnel you can catch the trail down to the water. If you go to the right, you’ll soon be down on the shore. We chose to go left and make our way down to the rocky coast. The Chuckanut sandstone formations make for great climbing for kids and adults alike.
The park is a great place for a play date. I took my daughter and her friend for the day and we scrambled around the rocks and with the low tide were able to have more surface area to explore. Climbing like crabs around the barnacle encrusted surface connects you with the landscape.
We made our way around the headland and were able to scramble along the beach and hook up with others enjoying a beautiful Northwest weather day. In the tide flats there is so much to experience and learn from. Little critters (kids included) are always so much fun to watch in the low tide zone.
On the beach you can expect to find families from near and far bringing picnics and their dogs to enjoy this little slice of paradise. The low slope shoreline is great for frolicking and exercise.¬† In the background, you can see the public boat launch where you can set out for such excursions as Kayak Camping on Lummi Island.
We kept on moving and soon found ourselves high up on the bluff looking down over the boat launch. The trails wind in, around and through the campground and connect with the boat launch beach below.
From the high vista, the views to the south are spectacular. In the visible distance is the south tip of Lummi Island, Guemes Island, Samish Island and Fidalgo Island with Mount Erie rising from the shores. On clear days, the Olympic Mountains are visible as well.
We made our way back down through the campground and crossing creeks brought us back to where we started our adventure. The towering trees in the campground dwarf people. Especially small were the little pixies in pink- seen standing next to cedar tree as the base of the trail.
One feature of the park not to be missed is the amphitheater. Sure, the playground up the hill is fun to climb around on and slide down but for the performers in the crowd, the stage beckons. Make sure to set time aside for a little song and dance!
The girls led the way and the next thing we knew there were multiple acts going on- with the parents as audience. Twirling, singing and just plain being silly. What a great way to get out and enjoy this special place.
LARRABEE STATE PARK
245 Chuckanut Drive