It can be difficult to find a peaceful moment in this busy modern world. We all need a little time with nature whether it be in a tent or a travel trailer, whatever inspires you to take a step outside into the great outdoors. It is hard to beat Bellingham for recreation because there’s a campsite for everyone. Most are open May – September; some are open year-round. Visit each campground’s website for up-to-date reservation and pricing information. Grab your gear and let’s go. Happy camping everyone!

There are two state parks in Whatcom County both offer you the land and the sea adventures.

Larrabee State Park – This park is known for its scenic coastline views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. It’s located just south of Fairhaven on Chuckanut Drive which in its self is something to admire because it offers some exceptional views of sandstone cliffs that meet the sea. Larrabee is quite popular during the summer months due to all the fun activities that surround you. There is an extensive network of hiking trails or stay close to the water, kayak, search the tidepools, and watch the sunset, and never have to leave the park’s boundaries. Fun Fact: Larrabee State Park was Washingtons first state park

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

Birch Bay State Park– This park feels private and secluded without being far from urban life. It is nestled between Bellingham and Blaine surrounded by dramatic views of the Cascade Mountains and the Canadian Gulf Islands. There are more than 8,000 feet of saltwater shoreline here, allowing for excellent beach walking and birdwatching opportunities. Low tide is a treasure trove of activities so bring out the pails, shovels, mud boots and start digging. Cedar trees scattered throughout the campground’s well-developed community area create a nice atmosphere for picnics, shooting some hoops on the basketball court, or hanging out at the wilderness theater. Birch Bay is a unique resort town and is known as a family favorite, especially with the Birch Bay Waterslides nearby and up the road you can play 18 holes of mini-golf and ride go-karts at Miniature World Family Fun Center.

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

Whatcom County has two parks that present camping. You have your choice of the beach or a lake.

Lighthouse Marine Park– The campground has 30 sites available, group campsites, and a kitchen shelter near the beach.  The park is known for being one of the best places to view Orca whales from the shore. The park offers camping, beach access, a boardwalk, and a picnic area.

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

Silver Lake Park – This park is a paradise for those who love the outdoors. Just 40 minutes from Bellingham tucked away in the Cascade mountain foothills. The pristine forest air and crystal clear lake water Silver Lake Park provides a wide variety of recreation opportunities. They have well-kept campgrounds, picnic shelters, showers, trails, and even horse stables. The park also offers six lakefront cabins for rent. The cabins sleep four to six and have a variety of amenities, including and stove, and refrigerator – and a deck overlooking the lake. These charming 1940’s-era cabins are a popular draw, so it’s best to reserve your stay well in advance.

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

Now let’s head into the mountains! Living just a short drive from some of the most breathtaking scenery nature has to offer is, something Bellingham and Whatcom County residents do not take for granted. The  Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is one of the most visited forests in the country. You can expect to find spectacular mountain meadows, old-growth forests rich in history, glacier-covered peaks all offering exceptional outdoor opportunities. The National Forest land occupies much of the eastern side of Whatcom County and with over 100 plus camping sites available in the whole National forest. Backcountry camping is a big deal. Not to mention dispersed camping is allowed. Let’s stick to the popular sites closest to Bellingham.

Douglas Fir– This park is situated at the edge of the North Fork of the Nooksack River you will enjoy the feeling of deep wilderness while staying within reach of civilization. Campers can hear the sound of rushing water throughout the grounds, and even sites not located directly on the river are just a short walk away. Campers can set up tents or park RVs at riverside spots or under the shade of the old-growth forest but no hookups are available. Check out the tall, old-growth trees, and watch for wildlife; salmon run in the Nooksack and black bears have been spotted in the area.

  • Sites: Standard tent sites, RV sites,
  • Seasons: Open July through September (see website for specific dates)

Baker Lake – This park has the most impressive mountain landscape on the southeast flanks of Mt. Baker’s slopes and it offers year-round recreational fun. Baker Lake is nine miles of green-blue water surrounded by tree-covered hills and features camping, boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and saddle trips. The lake itself is almost 9 miles long ensuring that no matter where you are, you’ll miss most other people there. There are 10 established and reservable campgrounds from massive lakeside campsites to small creekside nooks, Baker Lake serves up the right camping for anyone.

  • Kulshan Campgrounds (108 campsites) by far the largest site on the lake. The swimming areas offer up some of the most stunning views of Mount Baker and neighboring Mount Shuksan. It’s the only site open year-round. It is available on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Swift Creek Campgrounds (50 campsites) This is the spot that’s got it all, barbecues, a beach, a swimming area, marina and boat ramp,  covered picnic shelter, picnic tables. These sites are good for groups and can accommodate either tents or RVs. Click here to make a reservation.
  • Horseshoe Cove Campgrounds ( 38 campsites) Campsites are situated in a forested setting with pathways connecting down to the lakeshore where there is a large swimming cove. Click here to make reservations.
  • Shannon Creek Campgrounds ( 19 campsites) This camping spot is situated on a forested slope leading down to the shores of the lake. These spots are your best bet at peace and solitude because they are a bit further away from the entrance of the lake, but you still have access to a boat launch and swimming area. Click here to make reservations.
  • Park Creek Campgrounds (12 Campsites) This is a smaller sized campground and pretty private. It is situated in a lovely old-growth forested setting alongside Park Creek. Click here to make reservations.
  • Panorama Point Campgrounds (15 campsites) This spot is a favorite due to its exceptional location and impressive views. It is situated mid-way up the lake basin along the western shore of Baker Lake. Click here to make reservations.
  • Boulder Creek Campgrounds (10 campsites) This campsite is a tranquil setting is in close proximity to the shores of Baker Lake. It’s a smaller sized campground in the enchanting forested setting along Boulder Creek. Click here to make reservations.

These sites are kinda remote and they are more used as group sites. But still worth mentioning.

  • Lower Sandy Beach ( 5 campsites)
  • Bayview North Group Campsite (1 group site )
  • Bayview South Group Campsite (1 group site )

Camping is a great part of life here in the Pacific Northwest and specifically Bellingham and Whatcom County. There is something magical about sleeping under the stars or having a nearby waterfall be your environmental soundtrack. Or maybe it’s waking up and with an astonishing view of Mount Baker or the San Juan Islands. Bellingham does really meet any need for whatever kind of adventure you are looking to have all year round.

Here is a list of great resources for information on proper gear, weather advisories, directions, and more. There is a plethora of knowledge in this area to be shared for many reasons ad number one being your safety. The last thing you want to do is head out unprepared. Nature is beautiful but can be unforgiving. Secondly, there is a reason this area has maintained its un-tapped wilderness environment. Residents here respect and care for Mother Nature. Great efforts and time are spent cleaning, discovering, and teaching about our glorious natural resources here.

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