Things To Know Before You Visit Washingtons National Parks
Entrance Fees: $30 per vehicle OR if you plan to visit more National Parks within the next 12 months we suggest you go ahead and purchase the America the Beautiful Pass . This pass gets you into all National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and more including 2,000 sites for free after a one time $79 fee.
Sunscreen: Use it. Lots of it. Especially this one which we never leave the house without because it plays nice with our dear friend, earth
Leave No Trace: Were big fans of Leave No Trace, here at MTJP. Want to learn more? Read about the seven principals of Leave No Trace here.
Insect Repellent: We carry around an Eco-Friendly Insect Repellent with us, especially in the redwoods, as mosquitoes can be a bit crazy in the parks.
Dogs are not allowed on trails in most national parks due to their potentially disruptive presence with the natural ecosystem. The basic rule is they are allowed where cars can go so be sure to check before taking your pooch on your trip to the park!
San Juan Island National Historical Park
San Juan Island National Historical Park commemorates a very short and minimal almost war between the US and Great Britain in the late 19th century. Today, its a sweeping island landscape with great views of mountains and the Salish Sea, hiking trails and beaches located on San Juan Island.
San Juan Island is a crossroads of important indigenous land and is the homeland of the SKlallam, Lummi and Samish People as well as the Tulalip Tribes and the WSÁNE and Songhees First Nations.
Day 6 Tacoma To Greenwater
This is the same as Day 4 in the 7 day itinerary above. Youll spend the day taking in epic views of Tahoma , seeing wildflowers and beautiful rivers and ancient trees.
- Driving distance and time: 130-150 miles depending on exactly where you stay, at least three hours of driving time
- Highlights: Sunrise view of Tahoma , wildflowers, hiking
- Stay at: If youre camping, the Ohanapecosh Campground is a good option you can reserve ahead of time, along with the Dalles and Silver Springs along Highway 410 outside of the park, along the White River. The White River Campground is wonderful in Mt Rainier National Park, but its difficult to get into because its small and not reservable. If youre looking for lodging, there are lots of vacation rentals near Greenwater that serve the ski area in the winter.
- What to do if you have more time: Spend more time exploring Sunrise, or head up to Paradise via Stevens Canyon Road, which is beautiful. The Paradise area is extremely crowded in summer, with the parking area filling by 8am. If you have an extra day and are an early riser, then check it out! You can also head up there in the evening
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Day 3 Forks To Long Beach
Today youll explore more of Olympic National Park and then head further down the Washington coast to the mouth of the Columbia River, visiting more impressive public lands and learning about Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, dispatched from Washington DC in 1804.
To start your day, follow the same itinerary as Day 3 above, starting from Forks and exploring the Hoh Rainforest, beaches along the coast and Lake Quinault.
When Highway 8 branches off towards Olympia, stay on Highway 101 to continue further south. Follow Highway 101 until you reach a spur heading to the Long Beach Peninsula.
Stretch your legs at Cape Disappointment State Park, with its many hiking and biking trails through the forest and to the beach at the mouth of the Columbia River. From high above the mouth of the river, you can watch the ships attempting to navigate the infamous and tricky Columbia bar to enter the river.
When you arrive, make sure to spend some time walking the beach or riding a bike on the Discovery Trail. If its clear, dont miss the sunset!
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Texas State Parks Rv Length Limits
The Lone Star state has many state parks, many of which allow RVs on their campsites. However, if you own a huge RV, theres a good chance that you wont be granted access to a great number of them.
Therefore, keep in mind your RV length while planning your trip. If you are headed for the Texan fan-favorite, Radcliff Lake Park, or to Oakland Park, you might not have any problems finding a suitable campsite. You can enter these parks even with a monster RV of a combined length of 50 feet. However, parks like the Jackson Creek Park only allow RVs up to 25 feet in length.
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Campground Rv Age Limit
The US national parks RV restrictions sometimes also include age restrictions. Some campgrounds that are trying to maintain a luxurious look only allow new RVs on site. Therefore, you might see a sign that says that your RV isnt eligible for a long-term stay if its older than ten or even five years. This is a real issue for enthusiasts who love old-time Airstreams, for example. However, this isnt a problem that youll run into very frequently.
Whats more, since the campsites with age restrictions are a few and far between, if you run into this problem, you can always just move along. Another campsite is probably around the corner.
Ebeys Landing National Historical Park
Ebeys Landing is located on land that has been and continues to be a crossroads of many indigenous Coast Salish People for millenia on what is currently called Whidbey Island. White settlers also found the area desirable and built farms in the area. The National Park Service eventually ended up owning the land and have preserved some of the farm buildings. The real treasure here is the wonderful loop hike with views of multiple mountain ranges, the Salish Sea, marine mammals and birds. This is one of my favorite places in Washington State! Read more about my favorite hike at the end of this article in the itineraries.
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Looking For The Best Campgrounds In Washington State
Youre in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:
- Information and tips for your Washington State camping trip
- Rustic and modern campgrounds on the Washington coast and inland
- Nearby attractions
- Our favorite campgrounds in Washington for summer and winter camping
The Evergreen State is known for its lush forests and sprawling access to the ocean and Puget Sound. But theres much more to be found in the states parks and forests and no shortage of activities for the whole family.
With over 80 public campgrounds alone coupled with countless private campsites, finding a place to pitch your tent or park your RV can be a hassle. To help you out, weve put together a list of 19 campgrounds that will let you experience the best camping in Washington.
We also provide info on fun nearby activities. From canoeing and freshwater swimming to beaches and hiking, these incredible campsites have something for everyone!
RELATED READING: For more outdoor adventure check out our guides to the best hikes in Washington State.
Ohanapecosh Campground Mount Rainier National Park
The ideal base for adventuresome campers keen to explore the wonders of Rainier NP.
- Type: Tent, RV
- Full RV Hookups: No
- Nearest town: Packwood, 11.8 miles
Offering a perfect basecamp for exploring all that Mount Rainier National Park has to offer, Ohanapecosh Campground is centrally located between the Paradise and Sunrise areas of the park.
There are 175 sites available here for tent and RV camping. They all contain access to flush toilets and drinking water.
Youll find a beautiful glacier-carved canyon just next to the campground. You can follow the river via a trail that will take you to Silver Falls. This jaunt is less than a three-mile round trip from the campground.
Nearby youll also find the popular Grove of the Patriarchs Trail, where youll follow a boardwalk through towering old-growth forests.
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How Many National Parks Are In Washington State
Washington State has three National Parks Olympic National Park, Mt Rainier National Park and North Cascades National Park.
Washington has nine additional park service units that are mostly national historic sites or national historical parks plus Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.
Mt St Helens National Monument and Hanford Reach National Monument are part of the US Forest Service rather than the park service, but they are also discussed here.
The 3 National Parks In Washington State: What To See + Do
Washington State is known for its great outdoor adventures and its often surprising to newcomers to find out there are only 3 official national parks in Washington to explore.
However, these Washington national parks are massive, offering an abundance of activities and natural scenery to unwind and relax. From the rugged peaks of the North Cascades to the iconic Mount Rainier, to the wet climate of the Olympic Rainforest, here are the best national parks in Washington State.
Some tips for visiting the beautiful national parks: weather can change quickly and its often wet, always bring a good rain jacket and invest in sturdy hiking shoes or boots.
Some of the areas and trails have little shade, bring a hat and sunscreen especially during the summer months. Always hike with plenty of water, a first aid kit, and a map of the area.
Help maintain the parks beauty, pack it in, pack it out and leave the area better than how you find it.
Park rangers are always happy to answer questions and help out, they often enjoy talking about the park they dedicate their careers to. Also, dont forget to have fun!
Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.
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Camping In Washington By Region
The State of Washington is vast and home to 11 tourism regions. With so much area to cover, its hard to know where to start. No matter which part of the state youre ready to explore, theres a campground for you. While many campgrounds can be found in federal or state forests and parks, privately held KOA campgrounds and RV resorts are also plentiful.
Many campgrounds come with full hookups and dump stations, while others offer limited amenities. Be sure to check the campground website before heading out.
During the busy summer months, many campgrounds require reservations. You can check availability and make reservations at some campgrounds by phone or online at Recreation.gov or Washington State Parks. Certain types of reservations, such as split reservations, must be made by calling the Reservation Center at 888-226-7688.
Below are some options that can be found in each of the states regions.
This massive camping park spans 2,023 acres along southwest Washingtons Long Beach Peninsula, which is fronted by the Pacific Ocean. Campers can enjoy easy access to hiking trails through old-growth forests and along beaches. The area is great for families looking to spend time in the sand. Amenities include 137 standard campsites, 50 full-hookup sites, 18 partial-hookup sites, eight restrooms, and 14 showers.
Lake Wenatchee State Park
Lake Wenatchee State Park is a popular camping spot for both friend groups and families as it offers you an array of landscapes including dense forests, blue lagoons, and jagged mountains. You can take part in multiple activities including hiking in the lush green forests, sunbathing, or kayaking in the lake. The clean and picturesque park is suitable for day trips as well as night-stays.
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Spencer Spit State Park Lopez Island San Juan Islands
While its a bit of a toss-up which of Lopez Islands two laid-back waterfront campgrounds nudge above the other in greatness, Ill go with Spencer Spit just for the setting. Situated on the northeast corner of the island on a sand spit that encloses a picturesque lagoon, the campground within this 138-acre state park includes seven walk-in campsites right on the beach. Whether you are fortunate to snag one of these campsites or you end up with a roomier one up on the bluff, youll enjoy hours of fun exploring the tidal areas and walking along the sand spit itself. Note the beachfront sites offer no privacy whatsoeveryou trade that for the view and setting. The seven sites are literally separated from one another by a suspended boundary rope. The other Lopez Island campground is a great alternative Odlin County Park is a short distance away and also has beachfront sites.
Details: 37 sites, $22 a night. RVs to 20 feet. Water and restrooms, but no showers . Reservations here up to 9 months in advance some campsites are first-come, first-serve.
Nez Perce National Historical Park
Nez Perce NHP is located in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington with the main visitor center near Lewiston, Idaho. The park has sites spread over 4 states but many can be seen on a day’s drive.
The Niimiipuu people who have historically been called Nez Perce have lived in the Pacific Northwest for 100s of years. They like many tribes experienced non-Indian immigration into the region.
In 1877, fighting broke out between a faction of Nez Perce and white settler in the Wallowa Valley of Oregon. These battles would become known as the Nez Perce War.
Today visitors can visit 38 sites that are spread over what was the traditional Nez Perce people’s homeland. There is an amazing visitor center is Lapwai, Idaho that has a wonderful movie and information about the park.
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Glacier National Park Rv Size Limit
If youre a proud owner of a massive RV and are headed for Glacier national park youre in luck. As long as your RV is 35 feet long or shorter, youll be granted the permission to enjoy most of their campsites. Still, its important to keep in mind that only seven out of thirteen Glacier campsites allow RVs at all.
This gem of pure Montana wilderness will be a perfect short-term home for your RV. However, not all seven campsites allow massive RVs. The Rising Sun campsite, for example, only allows RVs that are 25 feet long, while the Apgar campsite has above average campground RV length restrictions and will allow you to camp out in your 40-foot RV.
Best National Forest Campgrounds In Washington
In my opinion, the National Forest doesnt get enough attention. The National Forests provide some of the most scenic camping and are VERY inexpensive. For adventurers like us, who love to get off-the-beaten-path, we love that there are so many great camping opportunities in our National Forests. There are too many great national forest campgrounds to list them all, but these are two of our favs. If you have one you love, please share it with us in the comments.
- Washington Pass
- Blue Lake
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Sol Duc Campground Olympic National Park
The ideal getaway for active and ocean-loving families.
- Type: Tent, RV, cabins
- Full RV hookups: Yes
- Nearest town: Maple Grove, 26.0 miles
Set in the northwest of Olympic National Park is the popular destination for waterfall lovers, Sol Duc.
There are about 80 tent sites and 17 RV sites here. Be sure to reserve a spot in advance during the busy summer season.
Recreational opportunities abound in this area. You can walk from the campground to the trailhead of the popular Sol Duc Falls, one of the best hikes in the state. To get to the falls is just 1.6 miles. More zealous hikers can continue on to the Seven Lakes Basin, a 19-mile loop trail.
Just next to the campground are delightful hot-water mineral pools at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
Washington National Parks Road Trip 7 Day Itinerary
This itinerary takes you to the three Washington National Parks in just a week! This itinerary includes a lot of driving time and moving to a new location every night. If you have more time, Ive included how to spend it below. You could also add in some side trips to see all the National Park Units in Washington, covered in the next section.
Some of the roads on this itinerary are closed in winter. They are:
- Hurricane Ridge road usually only open weekends and holidays November through March. Sometimes closed entirely in April
- Highway 410 through Mt Rainier to Yakima is closed generally November through late May. When its closed, you need to go to Paradise instead. You can cross over to Yakima by going back out of the park and over Interstate 90 or US Highway 12
- Road to Sunrise usually doesnt open until late June or early July and it closes typically in early October.
- North Cascades Highway is generally closed November through late May. To get back from Winthrop when its closed, go south to US Highway 2 or Interstate 90.
This chart includes a summary of this Washington National Parks 7 day itinerary, with details below.
|North Cascades National Park views, lakes and hikes|
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Day 12 Winthrop To Anacortes
Today youll follow the itinerary for day 7 in the week long itinerary described above, taking in the amazing scenery of North Cascades National park and a hike or paddle if you have time and enjoy it.
You wont head back to Seattle yet though, youll head to the charming port of Anacortes for your island adventure.
- Driving distance and time: 150 miles, 3 hours driving time
- Highlights: Washington Pass Overlook, Diablo Lake Overlook, hiking, Newhalem and Ladder Creek Falls, Mt Vernon/Skagit Valley
- Stay at: Anacortes hotel, motel or vacation rental. If youre looking for camping, Deception Pass State Park and Bayview State Park are both close.