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“not the best campground but not the worst”

Larrabee State Park
Ranked #9 of 82 things to do in Bellingham
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Location Required
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“not the best campground but not the worst”
Reviewed August 24, 2013

Larrabee is in a pretty location. It's a cheap alternative to local motels. Other than that, not a lot of good things to say.

I stayed three nights at a walk-in site and even though the walk is a good 300 feet uphill from the parking area, the sites are far from private. All the walk-in sites are jammed right next to each other. There are split rail cedar fences to make sure you know where your site ends but you will easily be able to see and hear the people camping next to you the entire time you are at your site. I expect this in a car campground, but walk-in sites should be spaced with a little more privacy in my opinion.

As others have mentioned, you will definitely hear trains throughout the night. Not the lull-you-to-sleep sound of a train yard in the distance -- but the very loud train horns and rumbling on the tracks. The campground seems to amplify the sounds via a canyon. I love the sound of trains but even I was unable to sleep through these. Expect to hear four or five trains a night, depending on the night. They last for several minutes at a time.

The car campground itself is pretty crazy. There were kids running wild everywhere. It's like a giant playground. Quiet hours seem to have no enforcement either. The group camp over a ridge from the walk-in sites was extremely noisy well into the night. The camp hosts and rangers did nothing to enforce quiet hours (10 pm to 7 am).

Additionally, even though it was raining two out of three mornings I was there (in August), campfires were banned. I was told all Washington State Parks had banned campfires until the end of September. There are big metal fire pits and the chance of starting a wildfire was laughable (this is wet, rain forest habitat with heavy moisture every morning) so the fire ban seemed a bit extreme.

If you need a cheap place to camp near Bellingham, Larrabee is the place. I wouldn't make it a destination by itself though. There are far better campgrounds in Washington.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Pete S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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203 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Seattle, Washington
1 review
“Don't plan to sleep.”
Reviewed August 20, 2013

If you are staying in a tent, don't plan on sleeping. We counted 5 very loud trains come through and where we were camping in site 45, the ground vibrated as the cars rumbled by. Second night was better after moving to site 4 and sleeping in our car. The state park website should come with a noisy warning!

Issue #2. No working outlets in the bathroom. No power = no hair dryer. Issue #3. The field area above the beach smelled. Possible septic field failure?

All that said, this area has incredibly nature beauty. Spend a few hours exploring - just don't spend the night.

Visited August 2013
Thank Donna N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kelowna, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
148 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Depends on what you are looking for”
Reviewed August 6, 2013 via mobile

If you want a pretty park thats convenient and cheap and you are not sensitive to noise this is for you but if you are looking for a peaceful get away with beaches you can easily explore swim at and fish at this is not your place there is no swimming the shellfish are toxic tons of dead fish crabs on shore very rocky and difficult to explore some of the noisiest groups of campers and you literally count the noisiest trains trains to sleep very well kept clean park with nice staff but need more noise enforcements one family let there children start the day on there scooters at six am if not earlier these children were obnoxiously yelling and screaming while scooting up and down the campsites and running through peoples campsites when i made myself get up i was disgusted to find out it was quarter to seven these same children were playing tag in the dark screaming there heads off at 11 pm the previous nite and we had campers around us partying till early sat am this park also has a ton of very cute but overly brave and hungry raccoons who sneak up at you after 8pm they also know how to open coolers and run off with your garbage they also apparently like to jump on your vehicles as there muddy footprints on the hood of our truck told us if you want a more peaceful alternative try dash point state park

Visited July 2013
Thank mayablossomprince
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Nice place to stay for Alaska ferry”
Reviewed August 4, 2013

We needed a place to camp near Bellingham WA before boarding the Alaska ferry the next day. We selected Larrabee State Park because it was 15 minutes away from the ferry dock and was very near the water. We're glad we did. We had full hook ups on our camper van and a nice flat secluded camp site under the trees. The trails heading to the beach were quite nice and the scenery was great. We'd learned that trains come and go by the park at all hours - not great - but we weren't bothered inside the van so no problem. Maybe inside a tent might be. The mosquitos weren't bad but they had found the place. It looked like the place was mostly full in mid May but we had reservations. It's convenient to the Alaska ferry terminal and a nice place although somewhat pricey to camp.

Visited May 2013
Thank Happycampersabq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
815 reviews
305 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 205 helpful votes
“great place for all ages to explore”
Reviewed August 1, 2013

whether camping here or just exploring and checking out the beach Larrabee is always fun, check out the Amtrak loudly go by or a freight, watch the herons and stellar jays and seabirds and gulls, look for starfish and crabs, watch freighters and tankers go by, climb on rocks, watch the water and look at the island sin the distance, have a picnic, read, play catch, whatever.Drinking fountain has okay to drink water and restrooms stocked.Been here on and off since like the 4th grade and it has always been great.one of those places you bring out of towners to see.

Visited September 2012
Thank KweqSmanit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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