Into the Woods — 9 Locations to Car Camp in Whatcom County

Douglas Fir Campground
With countless options for car camping in Whatcom County, enjoying a weekend in the great outdoors is as easy as piling into the car and heading to your woodland destination.

Bellinghamsters rejoice: camping season has arrived in Whatcom County. Most seasonal campgrounds are open for use between May and September, just in time for summer. Whether you prefer camping out in the mountains or by the bay, creekside or lakeside, there are sites for everyone in our corner of the northwest.

We’ve rounded up nine of the best car camping spots in Whatcom County, from the Salish Sea to the North Cascades. Picnic tables, fire pits, drinking water, and restrooms are available at all of these recreation areas. Visit each campground’s website for up-to-date reservation and pricing information.

Larrabee State Park

Larabee State Park
Enjoy island views across Samish Bay from Larrabee State Park.

As Washington’s first state park, Larrabee celebrated 100 years in 2015. Closer to Bellingham than any other campground, this one is understandably quite popular during summer months. Enjoy the park’s 8,100 feet of saltwater shoreline, where views of the islands from a high-rock perch await. Be sure to check out the extensive network of hiking trails — Fragrance Lake trail begins just across Chuckanut Drive. Choose from 51 standard tent sites, 26 utility sites, 8 primitive sites, and a huge group camp. Larrabee State Park is open year-round for camping, though facilities are limited in winter.

Lighthouse Marine Park

Located on Point Roberts, this park requires two 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, and Lighthouse Marine Park is known as one of the best places to view Orca whales from land. Thirty tent and RV sites are available, along with group camping areas. Open April 1 through October 31.

Silver Lake Park

Silver Lake Park
variety of boat rentals are available at Silver Lake Park.

Surrounded by Cascade foothills, Silver Lake Park is an outdoor oasis. Camping options are varied and include tent and RV sites, along with a horse camp and group camp. Most campers choose the centrally located Maple Creek area, with its 47 campsites near the lake. There’s a playground for little ones, and a variety of boat rentals are available for paddlers. Consider renting a cabin for the best lakefront views. Open year-round.

Lynden KOA

You can always count on KOA Kampgrounds for a host of amenities, and Lynden KOA is no exception. It features 30 standard sites, 107 RV hookup sites, and 15 comfy cabins. Expect everything from the basics (restrooms, drinking water) to extras including WiFi, a rec hall, swimming pool, mini-golf course, and fishing ponds. Open year-round.

Douglas Fir Campground

Douglas Fir Campground
Many sites are right next to the Nooksack River at Douglas Fir Campground.

Set alongside the North Fork of the Nooksack River, this peaceful little campground makes a great basecamp for hiking and exploring off Mount Baker Highway. Horseshoe Bend trail is right across the highway. 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. Approximately 30 sites are available, May 26 – September 26.

Panorama Point Campground

With so many scenic campgrounds at Baker Lake, it’s tough to choose just one. Panorama Point is a favorite due to its exceptional location and impressive views. Check out mounts Baker and Shuksan from your lakeside campsite on a clear day. Trout fishing and recreational boating are popular activities at the lake — bring your boat or rent one to make use of Panorama Point’s ramp. Of the 15 standard sites, nine are reservable. Open May 26 – September 26.

Colonial Creek Campground

Diablo Lake
Diablo Lake is a popular paddling destination in the North Cascades.

Camp out in the North Cascades National Park Complex at Colonial Creek. This campground features 142 sites near the shore of bluish-green Diablo Lake. Creekside, Lakeside, and old-growth forest sites are available, with nearby hiking trails, a fishing pier, and a boat launch to keep campers busy. Great for families, Colonial Creek Campground offers ranger programs and activities at the on-site amphitheater during summer. All sites are first come, first served. Open May – September, with a few sites available year-round (sans-services).

Hozomeen Campground

The most remote — and perhaps the most rewarding — campground on our list, Hozomeen is not accessible by road from the US. Hopeful campers must cross into Canada, then back into Whatcom County (just like Lighthouse Marine Park) before tackling an unpaved, 40-mile road to reach Hozomeen. But once you’re there, it’s like backcountry camping out of your car. With 75 free, non-reservable sites to choose from, you’re bound to find a quiet little spot on Ross Lake’s northeast shore. Open May 27 – September 6 with water service, and September 7 – October 31 with no services.

Birch Bay State Park

birch bay state park
With more than 8,000 feet of natural shoreline, campers can delight in the birdwatching opportunities that abound at Birch Bay.

Boasting 147 standard sites in its forested campground, Birch Bay is open for camping year-round. 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. Reservations are taken May 15 – September 15.

 

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