Set on the seaward side of Chuckanut Mountain near Bellingham, Larrabee State Park is known for its postcard views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. It is also Washington’s first state park.
This unique camping park on famed Chuckanut Drive offers boating, fishing, shellfish harvesting and diving. A ¾-mile hike takes you to the rare sandstone cliffs and teeming tidepools of Clayton Beach. This is the perfect spot for a quiet time out, an exploratory jaunt with the kids or a romantic date.
Though the shore is the main draw at Larrabee, freshwater Fragrance and Lost lakes provide excellent bass and trout fishing. Hiking and mountain bike trails wind through a forest of Douglas-fir and salal.
Train-spotting is also part of the Larrabee experience. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Amtrak run trains up to 16 times a day (including at night) on the Burlington Northern track by the beach. This can be a noisy proposition for light sleepers but great fun for train buffs and kids.
Park visitors often enjoy the full 21-mile meander along Chuckanut Drive and discover the charm and flavor of Northwest Washington with a side trip into Bellingham, with its variety of attractions and amenities.
Larrabee is a 2,748-acre camping park that has 8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline on Samish Bay.
Automated pay station: This park is equipped with an automated pay station for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass.
Please note: Access to Clayton Beach via private property owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe is prohibited because of inadequate sight lines for pedestrians to see on-coming trains when crossing the rails to access the beach area.
Shellfish harvesting is closed until further notice.
Two picnic shelters are reservable by visiting online or calling (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688. One shelter has a sink, each has electrical outlets, barbecue grill, and eight covered picnic tables. The shelters accommodate 50 to 100 people. In addition to the picnic shelters, the park provides 45 unsheltered picnic tables available first come, first served.
1.5 miles of biking only trails
2.7 miles miles of hiking only trails
13.8 miles of multi-use trails (biking/hiking/horse)
18 miles of total combined trails
Water activities & features
Other activities & features
Visitors may enjoy fishing on Fragrance Lake and Lost Lake on Chuckanut Mountain, accessible by hiking trails.
A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The old roadbed of the Mount Vernon-to-Bellingham Interurban Railway runs parallel to SR 11, north through the park and on to Bellingham.
Located in Whatcom County on Puget Sound, Larrabee offers a boat launch available at high-tide, but may be inaccessible to launching and retrieving watercraft at low-tide cycles.
A daily watercraft launching permit and trailer dumping permit for $5 is available at the park. Annual permits also may be purchased at State Parks Headquarters in Olympia, at region offices, online, and at parks when staff is available.
Latitude: 48º 39' 41.04" N (48.6614) Longitude: 122º 28' 42.96" W (-122.4786)
The park has 51 standard tent sites, 26 utility sites, eight primitive sites, one dump station, and six showers (four ADA). Six showers are open May 1 - Oct. 1 and four showers are open Oct. 1 - May 1. Utility spaces have sewer, power, and water. Maximum site length is 60-feet (limited availability). A working train track runs through the park and west of the campground. Campers are advised to check in at the registration booth upon arrival.
A group camp with tent camping for a maximum of 40 people is reservable by visiting online or calling 888-CAMPOUT (888-226-7688). There is a small picnic shelter with picnic tables and a fire ring. Parking is limited. RVs are not permitted.
Reservations & fees
Reservations can be made 9 months in advance for the period of May 15th to
September 15th each year. The rest of the year is on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations can be made online or by calling (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688). For fee information, check out our camping rates page.
On Oct. 23, 1915, Frances P. Larrabee donated 20 acres of land to the State of Washington that would soon become the state’s first state park. The donation had been planned with her late husband, Charles X. Larrabee, a wealthy industrialist and philanthropist, and Governor Ernest Lister. The donated land was envisioned as a scenic park and auto campground to complement the Chuckanut Drive section of the Pacific Highway, which was nearing completion.
Larrabee had been instrumental in the development of Chuckanut Drive. In the late 1890s, he began lobbying the state to fund the conversion of a rustic logging road that ran along the shores of Bellingham Bay and Samish Bay into a scenic highway. In 1909, the first in a series of legislative appropriations for the route came, and in 1913, the road was designated as part of the Pacific Highway, an early north-south route along the Pacific Coast of the United States.
The park was first opened to the public in October of 1915, to coincide with the dedication of Chuckanut Drive. On Nov. 22, 1915, the property officially became the first state park in Washington. Originally known as Chuckanut State Park, the park’s name was changed to honor the Larrabee family on February 15, 1923, although Frances insisted that her husband would not have wanted such recognition.
In its early years, the park had limited facilities but quickly grew popular with motorists. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, emergency work relief funding from the Public Works Administration was used to construct the first amenities at the park, including a pair of restrooms still in use in the park’s historic day-use area. In 1944, a distinctive bandshell designed by architect Earl E. MacCannell was built.
Frances and her son Charles later donated another 1,500 acres to increase the size of the park, which now stands at more than 2,500 acres.