Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Landing on your feet at Larrabee State Park

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.

LarrabeeTunnel
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.

LarrabeeShore

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.

LarrabeeWater

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. LarrabeeBeach

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.

LarrabeeBeachDogs

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.

LarrabeeBoatLaunch

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.

LarrabeeView

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.

LarrabeeWoods

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!

LarrabeeStage

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.

Larrabeeonstage

More information:

LARRABEE STATE PARK
245 Chuckanut Drive
Bellingham, Washington   98229

Reservations: 888-226-7688
Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

For more fun ideas see a list Todd’s posts about outdoor activities.

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About the Author:

As the co-Executive Director of Recreation Northwest and the founder of the Bellingham Traverse, Todd promotes outdoor recreation and brings people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. He enjoys biking, hiking, paddling, skiing and will try anything twice. Get connected at RecreationNorthwest.org.

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