Summer Camping in Whatcom County, Washington

When the sun comes out in Northwest Washington, it’s time to go camping. Whatcom County is home to numerous campgrounds on public lands, from Salish Sea beaches to the mighty mountains of the North Cascades. Seeking a simple mountainside camp? We’ve got it. Lakeside, riverside, bayside? Check, check, and check. Whether you need a basecamp for outdoor adventures or a group camp for roasting s’mores with the family, there’s a campsite for everyone in Whatcom County.

Campgrounds are listed roughly in order of proximity to Bellingham (state and county parks are nearest the city; national forest and national park camps are furthest away). Most are open May – September; some are open year-round. Visit each campground’s website for up-to-date reservation and pricing information. Happy camping!

State Parks in Whatcom County

Both of Whatcom County’s state parks offer forested camping and saltwater shorelines. If you want to camp by the beach, these campgrounds are your best bet near Bellingham.

Larrabee State Park

Located to the south of Bellingham on Chuckanut Drive, Larrabee is Washington’s first state park. Because it’s closer to Bellingham than any other campground, Larrabee is quite popular during summer months. Enjoy the park’s 8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline, where views of the islands and Samish Bay await. Be sure to check out the extensive network of hiking trails as well — Fragrance Lake trail begins just across Chuckanut Drive. Be aware that trains frequently pass the campground — up to 16 times a day (and night)!

Birch Bay State Park

North of Bellingham, Birch Bay State Park is another large camping park on the Salish Sea. There are more than 8,000 feet of saltwater shoreline here, allowing for excellent beach walking and birdwatching opportunities. Attractions include the boat ramp, picnic shelter, basketball court, and nearby golf courses. The resort town of Birch Bay is a family favorite, especially with Birch Bay Waterslides nearby.

  • Seasons: Open year-round (facilities limited during winter)
  • Sites: Standard tent sites, RV partial-hookup sites, primitive sites, and group camping available.

Whatcom County Parks

Two Whatcom County parks offer camping — one on a lake, and one by the beach.

Silver Lake Park

Located in the Mount Baker Foothills, Silver Lake Park is accessible from the Mt. Baker Highway and Silver Lake Road. Accommodations here range from standard tent and RV sites to a lakeside lodge and rustic cabins. You can rent rowboats, pedal boats, canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards at the onsite Silver Lake Day Lodge. 

  • Seasons: Open year-round (facilities limited during winter)
  • Sites: Standard tent sites, RV utility sites, primitive sites, cabins, and group camping available.

Lighthouse Marine Park at Point Roberts

Located in Point Roberts, this park requires two Canadian border crossings each way to access. Those adventurous enough to make the journey will be rewarded with a scenic site near the beach. Wildlife viewing is legendary here — Lighthouse Marine Park is known as one of the best places to view Orca whales from land.

  • Seasons: Open April through October (see website for specific dates)
  • Sites: Standard tent/RV sites and group camping available.


Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

National Forest land occupies much of the eastern side of Whatcom County and is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. Camping is available at numerous campgrounds at Baker Lake and along Mt. Baker Highway.

Douglas Fir Campground

Located on the North Fork of the Nooksack River near the town of Glacier, this peaceful little campground makes a great basecamp for hiking and exploring off Mt. Baker Highway. Horseshoe Bend trail is right across the highway, and you can easily drive to Artist Point from here. There are, of course, plenty of old growth Douglas Fir trees to keep your campsite well-shaded on hot summer days. Try your hand at trout fishing in the river or simply relax — there are no hookups available, discouraging most RVers.

  • Seasons: Open May through September (see website for specific dates)
  • Sites: Standard tent and RV sites available (no hookups).

Silver Fir Campground

Similar to nearby Douglas Fir Campground in its river and trail access, Silver Fir is located further east on Mt. Baker Highway. This makes it the closest public campground to Artist Point — a great jumping-off point for summer hikes. Enjoy river access and plenty of shade from the forest. Like Douglas Fir Camp, there are no hookups available.

  • Seasons: Open May through September (see website for specific dates)
  • Sites: Standard tent and RV sites available (no hookups).

Baker Lake

Accessible via North Cascades Highway southeast of Bellingham, Baker Lake is home to numerous public campgrounds. You’ll find everything from primitive sites to RV and group sites here. Baker Lake is a buzzing summer recreation hub for boating, fishing, and hiking — so expect some neighbors! Follow these links for information about each camp:

North Cascades National Park Complex

A significant section of North Cascades National Park — including all 5 of its car campgrounds — exist within Whatcom County borders. Take North Cascades Highway east to Newhalem for access to these camps (except Hozomeen, accessed via Canada). Located in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, these campgrounds provide the perfect basecamp for hiking, paddling, and sightseeing within the park. Visit the national park camping page for reservations and more information.

  • Colonial Creek Campground – North Loop is first-come, first-served, South Loop is reservation system
  • Goodell Creek Campground – Main Campground is first-come, first-served, the Upper and Lower Group Campgrounds are reservation system
  • Gorge Lake Campground – Reservation system
  • Hozomeen Campground –  First-come, first-served
  • Newhalem Creek Campground – Reservation system
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