It’s so easy to take our beautiful spaces for granted here in Washington – everywhere we look, there’s another stunning view or gorgeous river. Visit these 12 state parks that might be under-appreciated, but are well worth your time.
1. Beacon Rock State Park
Beacon Rock State Park is located in the Columbia Gorge region of Washington, and it definitely offers a one-of-a-kind stunning view. Wind your way up the side of the mountain on a one-mile hike that takes you 848 feet up. Other hikes take you to some beautiful waterfalls, and you can even mountain bike here.
2. Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park
This pretty park is tucked into the trees on the south end of Lake Chelan. This 235-acre park is best explored via boat, and you can also stay overnight at the campground.
3. Fort Worden Historical State Park
Fort Worden was once a bustling place with 1,000 soldiers stationed here to protect and defend Puget Sound. Today, it's a historical park that offers a self-guided tour that will teach you all about the important history of this special place. Tour the lighthouse and stop by for a meal at the Guard House Pub, too.
4. Camano Island State Park
Camano Island is less crowded than others in the Puget Sound area, and it offers plenty of quiet relaxation. The 224-acre park offers 6,700 feet of shoreline, plus some beautiful forest hiking trails. Explore Saratoga Passage by boat, go crabbing, fishing and sailboarding.
5. Sacajawea Historical State Park
You'll find Sacajawea State Park where the Snake and Columbia rivers meet. Explore 9,100 feet of shoreline and visit the Sacajawea Interpretive Center to learn all about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and Sacajawea's contributions.
6. Birch Bay State Park
Visit Birch Bay State Park, where you'll enjoy both saltwater and freshwater activities. Go clamming or crabbing and spend some time on the beach. Explore the Terrell Creek Marsh and watch for wildlife.
7. Rockport State Park
The forest here is pristine and untouched - trees reach as high as 250 feet. Take a guided ranger walk to learn all about the park and its amazing trees. You'll find hiking trails suitable for everyone in your party - everything from strenuous hikes to an easy, interpretive trail.
8. Joseph Whidbey State Park
One of Whidbey Island's most beautiful beaches is found at Joseph Whidbey State Park - you'll fall in love with this place for sure. This day-use park doesn't offer camping, but has plenty of picnic spots.
9. Dosewallips State Park
This park has plenty of hiking opportunites, with five miles of trails, but the real draw? Fresh oysters and clams! Make sure to pick up a recreational license if you want to harvest some shellfish for your dinner, then grab a bucket and gather 'em up! The park also has a campground so you can stay overnight.
10. Leadbetter Point State Park
This little park is often overlooked in favor of some more famous spots in the area, which is exactly why you need to put it on your bucket list! It's a day-use park with five miles of beach so you can stroll to your heart's content.
11. Palouse Falls State Park
Palouse Falls plunges 198 feet into the canyon below. Take a hike, and watch for the interpretive panels that tell you all about the canyon's history and geology. You can stay overnight in the campground - its 11 sites are primitive, tent-only spaces.
12. Lime Kiln Point
This park, with its stunning bluffs and rugged coastline, is one of the best places for whale watching in the world. Visit between May and September to see pods of humpback and minke whales, who chase the salmon run to feed here. Visit the Lime Kiln Interpretive Center to learn all about these gentle giants, and spend a day kayaking or hiking.
Which of these state parks have you visited? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!