Camping is so refreshing. In such a busy world, it can be so nice to just get out, surround ourselves with gorgeous Evergreen scenery, and completely unplug from everything for a few days. There’s just nothing quite like sitting around a warm campfire with friends, sharing stories, drinking beer and roasting s’mores. If you’re thinking about making a trip out this summer, here are 15 of the many extraordinary spots in Washington where you can set up tent.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Cape Alava
Cape Alava is one of the many heavenly places where you can camp out by the coast. It also happens to be the western-most point of the country, and can easily be reached by a short hike through old-growth forest.
To score this dreamy site by the ocean, you will need a reservation - which you can get online
2. Ohanapecosh Campground (Mount Rainier Park)
Ohanapecosh is surrounded by old-growth forest in the southeastern part of Mount Rainier National Park. It's located about 3 miles north of the park's boundary on Highway 123, and complete with 188 sites for camping. Most are first come first serve, but you can still get a reservation if you'd like to make sure you'll have a spot. (Read more info
3. Moore's Point (Stehekin)
Hidden in Stehekin Valley, Moore's Point is the furthest point you can camp up-shore along Lake Chelan. So, naturally it offers a more private stay with only four tent sites that are all first come, first serve. They also provide four picnic tables, four fire rings, and a fixed dock with room for three boats.
4. Deception Pass
It would be almost impossible to make a list of great camping spots in Washington without mentioning Deception Pass. The park is easily the most popular in our state, with three campgrounds to stay at, including: Cranberry, Bowman Bay, and Quarry Pond. The sites tend to fill up fast, but it's easy to see why: they're all within walking distance to the beach and hiking trails.
5. Lunch Lake
Lunch Lake features the most campsites in the Seven Lakes Basin area, and you really can't go wrong with staying at any one of them. The remote spots are located on the High Divide Loop, which runs for 18 miles through ancient forest in the Olympic National Park. Permits are needed to stay overnight here as well, which you can pick up from the Wilderness Visitors Center in Port Angeles.
6. North Fork Nine Mile (Loomis)
North Fork Nine Mile is a hidden gem in northeastern Washington, surrounded by the Loomis State Forest. The campground provides 11 secluded sites (all first come, first serve) that are ideal for staying in a tent or an RV.
7. Larrabee State Park (near Bellingham)
Larrabee State Park is perfect for a weekend trip, located just south of Bellingham on the shores of Samish Bay. It features 51 sites for camping, plus opportunities for outdoor recreation like boating, fishing, and mountain trails for hiking and biking. Not to mention, the sunsets over the water in the evenings are absolutely stunning. All in all, it's a total Northwest paradise.
8. Lena Lake (Olympic National Park)
A short, 3-and-half-mile trail will lead you out to Lena Lake in the Olympic National Park. Here you'll find 28 scenic campsites along the western shore, all first come, first serve.
9. Palouse Falls State Park
Most people only visit Palouse Falls to see the cascade, then leave. Instead of making it a quick stop, bring a tent to stay overnight and you'll find plenty of great hikes early in the morning, many of which are also wheelchair accessible. The park is limited to only 10 sites (that are all first come first serve), so you'll want to show up and get your spot as early as possible.
10. Lake Quinault (Olympic National Park)
Lake Quinault actually features three campgrounds along its pristine shores, including: Willaby, Falls Creek, and Gatton Creek. They all offer a unique camping experience, in the middle of a temperate rainforest with hiking trails and waterfalls all within a short walking distance.
11. Big Creek Campground (Ashford)
Big Creek offers a great alternative rather than staying at Mount Rainier Park, which can get way too crowded during the summer. These grounds near the west entrance are in a much more secluded location, surrounded by forest with plenty of lush trees and privacy in-between the campsites.
12. Staircase Campground (Olympic National Park)
Staircase is a classic spot to camp in the Olympic National Park, and deserves every bit of its popularity. The grounds are complete with 47 sites, and dozens of trails for hiking nearby. For an easy venture, you can take the Shady Lake Trail for less than a mile out to Lake Cushman. If you're more experienced, try taking on the longer trek to Flapjack Lakes with over 3,000 feet in elevation.
13. Snow Lake (near Snoqualmie)
Snow Lake is a popular spot near Snoqualmie, and can easily be reached by a short 3-mile trail with only a little elevation. It winds through lush forest and down switchbacks, before finally arriving at the crystal clear water, where there are several well-marked sites to stop and set up tent. (Read more about the camping permit required
14. Second Beach (La Push)
There aren't many places more dreamy to set up tent than along the shores at Second Beach. Stargazing at night just seems ten times more magical when you combine it with tree-covered sea stacks and waves of the Pacific Ocean. Like with other spots on this list, you'll want to pick up a Wilderness Camping Permit for an overnight stay (which you can find more info about
15. Glacier View Campground (Lake Wenatchee)
Named for the views of Glacier Peak, this campground on the south shore of Lake Wenatchee is a quiet, little-known treasure. Most of the sites are located along the water, with an extraordinary view of the snowy peak in the distance. They provide 23 spots for camping (all first-come, first serve), 16 of which can easily be accessed from the parking area. Campers will also be able to find a day-use boat launch, perfect for launching kayaks and canoes.
And of course, with all of them, you’ll want to Leave No Trace – leaving the site just as spotless as when you arrived.
This list could go on forever. Where are some of your favorite places to camp in the Northwest? We’d love for you to share them with us!