State Parks Bellingham WA

5 State Parks Near Bellingham WA: Discover the natural beauty of Washington

Bellingham and Whatcom County offer unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation with their numerous state parks. From the picturesque Larrabee State Park, Washington’s first state park, to the serene Hovander Homestead Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Explore the stunning landscapes, hiking trails, camping grounds, and picnic areas in these state parks, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Washington.

Key Takeaways:

  • Experience the diverse natural beauty of Washington at the state parks near Bellingham.
  • Discover hiking trails, camping grounds, and picnic areas in these parks.
  • Enjoy breathtaking views and serene landscapes.
  • Immerse yourself in the tranquility and peacefulness of nature.
  • Create lasting memories in the outdoor playground of Bellingham and Whatcom County.

Larrabee State Park – A historic and scenic gem

Larrabee State Park, located in Bellingham, Washington, is a captivating destination that showcases the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. As Washington’s first state park, it holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Spanning over 2,700 acres, Larrabee State Park offers a diverse range of outdoor activities, making it the perfect retreat for nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or simply want to relax and take in the breathtaking surroundings, this park has something for everyone.

Key Features Activities
8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline on Samish Bay
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Beachcombing
Serene forests and scenic waterfront views
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Birdwatching

One of the highlights at Larrabee State Park is the extensive network of hiking trails that wind through the lush forests. From leisurely walks to challenging treks, there are options for every skill level. Don’t miss the Fragrance Lake Trail, known for its stunning panoramic views or take a leisurely stroll to the beach and feel the sand between your toes.

If you’re planning an overnight adventure, camping facilities are available throughout the park. Spend a night under the stars and enjoy the tranquility of nature at its best. For day visitors, there are plenty of scenic picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy a meal surrounded by the park’s natural beauty.

When visiting Larrabee State Park, be sure to make time for a stop at Taylor Shellfish to savor their famous oysters. And for those looking to explore nearby attractions, the historic district of Fairhaven offers eclectic shops, restaurants, and cafes.

To access Larrabee State Park, it’s necessary to have a Discover Pass for parking. The pass can be purchased online or at authorized vendors.

Larrabee State Park

Experience the beauty of Larrabee State Park

“Larrabee State Park is a hidden gem where you can immerse yourself in nature and create unforgettable memories. Whether you’re hiking through ancient forests, camping by the shores, or simply enjoying a picnic with loved ones, this park offers a truly magical experience.” – Park Ranger

Hovander Homestead Park – A countryside escape

Located in Ferndale, Hovander Homestead Park is a sprawling 350-acre park that offers a peaceful retreat from the city. It is one of the nature preserves near Bellingham, WA, and a popular recreational area for locals and visitors alike.

This rural county park features easy walking trails, making it a great destination for leisurely strolls and family outings. As you explore the park, you’ll come across a charming countryside farm with farmyard animals, creating a picturesque and serene atmosphere.

For nature enthusiasts, there is a fragrance garden where you can take in the scents and colors of various plants and flowers. Additionally, the park offers a beautiful boardwalk at Tennant Lake, providing a serene and delightful experience.

One of the highlights of Hovander Homestead Park is the wildlife viewing tower. Climb to the top and revel in the expansive views across the wetlands to the majestic Mount Baker. It’s an ideal spot for birdwatching or simply enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings.

For those interested in history, the park is also home to a National Historic Site. Explore the historic red barn and Victorian home, showcasing the rich heritage of the area.

Hovander Homestead Park is a hidden gem among the nature preserves in Bellingham, WA. With its beautiful landscapes, easy walking trails, and fascinating farmyard, it offers a countryside escape for all ages to enjoy.

Hovander Homestead Park

Semiahmoo Spit – A beach lover’s paradise

If you’re a beach lover, Semiahmoo Spit is a destination that you don’t want to miss. Located between Birch Bay and Blaine, this mile-long beach offers breathtaking views and a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages.

Take a leisurely sunset stroll along the sandy shores, enjoying the soft sound of waves lapping against the beach. Collect seashells or go beachcombing to discover hidden treasures washed up on the shore. Feel the refreshing sea breeze as you ride your bike along the picturesque coastline.

Semiahmoo Spit is also a perfect spot for a picnic. Spread out a blanket on the sand and savor a delicious meal surrounded by the beauty of nature. Enjoy the company of your loved ones while taking in the stunning views that stretch across the bay.

“Semiahmoo Spit is a paradise for those who love nature and the beach. The serene atmosphere and picturesque surroundings make it the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike.”

One of the highlights of Semiahmoo Spit is its world-class birdwatching opportunities. The area attracts a wide variety of bird species, providing a unique experience for bird enthusiasts. Keep your binoculars handy and be prepared to spot some rare and beautiful birds along the shoreline.

If you’re looking for a place to stay or enjoy a delicious meal after a day of outdoor activities, Semiahmoo Resort is conveniently located nearby. The resort offers comfortable accommodations, dining options, and stunning views of the surrounding area.

Outdoor Activities at Semiahmoo Spit Picnic Areas
  • Sunset strolls
  • Beachcombing
  • Biking
  • Birdwatching
  • Beachside picnic spots
  • Scenic views
  • Relaxing atmosphere

Visit Semiahmoo Spit and immerse yourself in the beauty of its sandy shores, stunning views, and abundant outdoor activities. Whether you’re a nature lover, a beach enthusiast, or a birdwatcher, this beach paradise has something for everyone to enjoy.

Stimpson Family Nature Reserve – A tranquil forest escape

For those seeking solitude and serenity, the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve is the perfect destination. This 350-acre ancient forest is filled with Douglas Fir trees that are over 400 years old. Take a walk beneath the lush canopy and explore the two loop trails, which offer over 4 miles of hiking trails in total. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and tranquility of this reserve, making it one of Whatcom County’s best walking trails.

Trail Name Difficulty Level Distance
Main Loop Trail Easy 2 miles
Secondary Loop Trail Moderate 2 miles

Get ready to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the serene surroundings of the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve. This nature preserve is a hidden gem nestled in Bellingham WA, offering visitors a chance to reconnect with nature and experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, this reserve has something for everyone.

As you venture along the Main Loop Trail, you’ll find yourself surrounded by towering Douglas Fir trees, their branches reaching towards the sky. The gentle rustling of leaves and the sweet scent of pine fill the air, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere. The trail is well-maintained and offers a relatively easy walk, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, explore the Secondary Loop Trail. This moderately difficult trail takes you deeper into the reserve, allowing you to discover hidden nooks and crannies along the way. As you navigate through the dense forest, keep an eye out for the diverse array of wildlife that call this place home. You may even spot a deer or two!

Expert Tip:

“For the best experience, be sure to bring your camera and capture the beauty of the ancient forest. Don’t forget your binoculars either, as there are plenty of bird species to observe throughout the reserve. And remember, leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photographs.”

Whether you’re seeking solitude, a peaceful stroll, or an opportunity to reconnect with nature, the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve is the ideal destination. Immerse yourself in the serenity of this ancient forest and experience the natural beauty that makes Bellingham WA truly special.

Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Chanterelle Trail – A year-round hiking adventure

The Chanterelle Trail is a must for any hiking enthusiast. Open year-round, this trail offers a moderate challenge with a 4.8-mile round-trip hike and 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Suitable for all ages, including kids and leashed dogs, the trail provides stunning views across Lake Whatcom to Lookout Mountain, Bellingham Bay, and beyond.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the lush forests and tranquil surroundings as you navigate the well-maintained trail. Along the way, you may encounter a diverse range of flora and fauna, including wildflowers and birds.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the world of outdoor activities, the Chanterelle Trail offers an unforgettable experience. Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes, carry water and snacks, and check the weather conditions before embarking on your adventure.

“The Chanterelle Trail takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Bellingham area. It’s a great way to reconnect with nature and enjoy the outdoors.” – John Stevens, avid hiker

Tips for Hiking the Chanterelle Trail:

  • Start early in the day to avoid crowds and get the best views.
  • Take breaks at the designated viewpoints to soak in the beauty of the surroundings.
  • Stay on the marked trail and follow all posted signs and regulations.
  • Bring a camera to capture the stunning landscapes and wildlife along the way.
  • Plan your hike according to your fitness level and allow enough time for rest stops.

Embark on a journey of exploration and adventure on the Chanterelle Trail, and discover why it is one of the top hiking trails in Bellingham, WA. Whether you’re seeking solitude, a family outing, or a memorable hike with friends, the Chanterelle Trail offers an exhilarating and rewarding experience for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.

Pine and Cedar Lakes Trail – A challenging mountain hike

The Pine and Cedar Lakes Trail is a challenging and exhilarating hiking trail located in Bellingham, Washington. With its rugged terrain and breathtaking views, this trail attracts outdoor enthusiasts seeking a thrilling adventure in nature.

The trail spans a total distance of 5 miles round-trip and offers a gain of 1,400 feet in elevation. As you begin your hike, be prepared for a steep initial ascent that will surely get your heart pumping and muscles working. However, as you continue along the trail, the terrain becomes more moderate, allowing you to catch your breath and immerse yourself in the surrounding beauty.

As you make your way through the trail, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas of the lush evergreen forest and the majestic Chuckanut Mountains. The trail also leads you to two picturesque lakes, Pine Lake and Cedar Lake, which are nestled within the mountains. Take a moment to pause and soak in the peacefulness of these serene lakes, surrounded by towering trees and wildlife.

Trail Highlights:

  • Challenging terrain with a gain of 1,400 feet in elevation
  • Breathtaking views of the Chuckanut Mountains and surrounding forests
  • Two picturesque lakes, Pine Lake and Cedar Lake, for a tranquil escape

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or someone looking to push your limits, the Pine and Cedar Lakes Trail offers a thrilling adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Lace up your hiking boots, pack your essentials, and embark on this challenging mountain hike that showcases the natural beauty of Bellingham, Washington.

Mount Baker Highway – A Scenic Drive with Breathtaking Views

Embark on a spectacular journey along Mount Baker Highway and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. This scenic route is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a plethora of outdoor activities in Bellingham, WA. As you drive along the highway, be prepared to be captivated by the stunning views that unfold before your eyes.

One of the highlights of the Mount Baker Highway is the opportunity to witness the majestic Mount Shuksan reflected in Picture Lake. Take a leisurely walk on the paved trail that encircles the lake and marvel at the picturesque scenery. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture this sublime moment. If time permits, make a quick stop and indulge in a delightful picnic amidst the scenic beauty of Bellingham, WA.

For the avid nature lover, the journey doesn’t end there. Venture further up the road and reach Artist Point, where panoramic views of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and Table Mountain await you. Gaze upon these magnificent peaks and feel a profound sense of serenity. The breathtaking beauty of this location is unparalleled, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and photography.

In the summer months, don’t miss the chance to visit the Diablo Lake Overlook on the North Cascades Highway. Here, you’ll be treated to striking views of the turquoise waters surrounded by snow-covered peaks. This picturesque vista is a true testament to the natural wonders of Bellingham, WA. Plan your visit in July and August to witness the landscape at its finest.


Are pets allowed in the state parks near Bellingham?

Yes, pets are allowed in most state parks near Bellingham; however, they must be kept on a leash at all times.

Do I need a Discover Pass to visit the state parks?

Yes, a Discover Pass is required for parking in state parks near Bellingham. The pass can be purchased online or at various retail locations.

Can I camp in the state parks near Bellingham?

Yes, many of the state parks near Bellingham offer camping facilities. Some parks have designated campsites, while others offer primitive camping options.

Are there picnic areas in the state parks near Bellingham?

Yes, most of the state parks near Bellingham have designated picnic areas where visitors can enjoy outdoor dining and beautiful views.

Are there any nature preserves near Bellingham?

Yes, the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve is a 350-acre ancient forest that offers a serene and secluded experience for nature enthusiasts.

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