Colonial Creek North Cascades
While North Cascades National Park is nice to see, it is not one of my favorite Naitonal Parks mainly becasue everything is spread far apart. I prefer the national forest area just east of North Cascades . However, if you are going to camp in North Cascades, this is the place to camp. It is a gorgeous campground surrounded by old-growth forest. There are many trails from the campground. You can access the blue waters of Diablo Lake by walking across the street. There arent any amenities nearby so pack accordingly.
Cost of Sites: $16-40Max RV Length: 22 feet Hot Showers: No
Red Mountain Picnic Shelters
When camping at Red Mountain you are able to reserve the picnic shelters centrally located in the campground. The two shelters are tucked into the woods on the edge of a large meadow at the foot of Red Mountain. Each shelter features a serving counter, stove top, sink, wood burning fireplace, charcoal BBQ, and picnic tables. Maximum capacity 25.
Cancelling Individual Site Reservations
When cancelling reservations for individual campsites, cabins, yurts, platform tents, Adirondack shelters, or vacation houses, please be aware of the following information:
- If you cancel or reduce nights on a reservation seven or more days prior to your scheduled arrival date, the cancel / change fee is $8 online or $10 by calling the Reservation Center, plus a fee that is a percentage of the cost of all cancelled nights as follows:
- 50% for reservations held more than six months
- 40% for reservations held five to six months
- 30% for reservations held four to five months
- 20% for reservations held three to four months
- 15% for reservations held two to three months
- 10% for reservations held one to two months
- 5% for reservations held less than one month
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Best State Parks In Washington
While I typically love camping in State Parks, the Washington State Park system is not one of my favorites mostly becasue they are expensive and the reservation system is not user friendly like Reserve America is. I do love their locations though so its a trade off to be immersed is such gorgeous natural settings. If you travel in the off-season, you typically can save money by not reserving ahead of time and just paying for your site when you arrive. In the busy season, July and August, you will probably want to book ahead.
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All 90 campsites at Camano Island State Park can now be booked online, as well as six group campsites in the San Juan Islands and seven day-use facilities.
For the first time, the system is mobile- and tablet-friendly .
You can now make up to three reservations in one session and you can make partial reservations .
You can more easily filter for different types of accommodations, from day-use shelters to campsites and vacation homes and the system should save preferences such as discounts you qualify for.
While you still cant reserve the state park retreat centers online, you can see available dates for them .
Be patient: The new reservation system has experienced a very high volume of traffic, including logging more transactions on Wednesday, Jan. 16, the day it launched its new system, than on any single day last year.
There were nearly 4,600 reservations made and over 9,000 web accounts created or updated just on that day, Meryl Lipman, communications consultant for Washington State Parks, noted in an email.
Need more help? Post questions and glitches to Washington State Parks and Recreation Commissions or email them they are quick to answer. You can also book by phone at 800-CAMPOUT.
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Icicle Creek Road Leavenworth
While Eight Mile Campground could easily be added to the list above of the best national forest campgrounds, we prefer to free camp when we head to Leavenworth. If you go up Icicle Creek toward French Creek campground, there is a large gravel pull out that allows RVs to overnight camp . I loved the sound of the water in the creek tumbling over all the boulders below and the fact that its usually empty. There is fantastic rock climbing and hiking all along the road, and if you have strong legs, you have to do one of the greatest hikes of all time, The Enchantments. .
Hope this helped you find your next camping trip! If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments section below or let us know if we missed your favorite campsite!
Where To Camp In Washington State
From moss-draped forests on the Olympic Peninsula to shimmering lakes in Eastern Washington, the states diverse landscapes provide stunning backdrops for camping. Whether youre looking for adventure on the water, the perfect basecamp for hiking, or simply a place to stargaze away from city lights, youll find plenty of options spread throughout the state.
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State Parks National Parks And National Forests All Have Sites Available
If you yearn to go camping, but every campground you usually haunt is all reserved, theres hope.
Even if you dont have a reservation, there are quite a few first-come, first-served campsites on public lands Washington, and Washington State Parks offers a few tricks for landing one.
Be prepared and flexible: Pay attention to the amenities at the campground. You might need to pack water. Set out for your perfect spot but have a backup plan or two. Search the area around where you are headed for other campgrounds and places to stay. Even if it means a night in a motel, its still better than driving back home.
The early camper gets the site: Pack the night before and be ready to go early in the morning to get a jump on the crowds.
Shoot for the middle: Showing up in the middle of the week or on the tail end of the weekend vastly improves your odds of getting a nice campsite. Bonus: fewer crowds.
Think outside the box: Try these lovely, semi-close but less used parks where you might get a spot without reserving a year ahead.
Here are the parks where all camping is first-come, first served :
Joemma Beach State Park: 19 primitive tent sites.
Mount Spokane State Park: eight standard sites and more than 12,000 acres to explore.
Obstruction Pass State Park: Small Orcas Island park with 10 primitive sites take your car on the ferry or arrive by boat or kayak.
And these parks have a combination of reservation and first-come, first-served sites:
Olympic National Park
Minimum Window For Making Reservations
- You can make reservations for campsites, group camps, shelters, and rustic accommodations up to 8 p.m. on the day prior to arrival.
- You can reserve vacation houses at least three days in advance of arrival date except the vacation houses at Fort Columbia and Cape Disappointment which require seven days in advance of arrival date.
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Washington Has Over 1000 Public And Private Campgrounds
Whether you want to camp with the noise of the waves, wake up to the sun rising over a mountain lake, or enjoy the stars shining over your campfire high up in the mountains, there is a wealth of options. But if you are hoping to go camping this yearbe prepared. Either make your plans early, go mid-week or choose one of the less crowded campgrounds.
Washington recreation lands saw an unprecedented surge of visitors in 2020 as people were desperate for safe recreation opportunities that were also close to home. Many people who flooded to our public lands had not been regular visitors, but now they have a taste of the opportunities. Tourism and recreation management groups are anticipating that visits to public lands will remain very high through 2021: as the economy slowly opens up and people are looking for a break but still interested in activities that are closer to home and allow them to maintain distance as needed. Washington Hometown has many signature camping destinations that are known around the world, but these are going to be very busy this year as they are the ones that people first think of when they start planning their vacation. In this post, we are going to look at some of the most popular campgrounds in Washington Stateplaces that you should reserve now if you want a spot this summer.
There are too many great campgrounds to cover them all in one post, so we are going to look at favorites in the National Park and State Park systems.
Mt Rainier National Park
One of the most popular destinations, and perhaps the place that most defines our state, Mt. Rainier State Park has three regular campgrounds and numerous hike-in campgrounds for the more adventurous. Cougar Rock Campground and Ohanapecosh Campground are two of the top rated campgrounds in Washington State. Click here for reservations. Even if you are looking for a back country experience, you need a permit to camp overnight in the wilderness. Click here for more information. If you cant get a spot in the park, the USFS has many nearby campgrounds that may be less crowded.
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Shellfish And Crab Harvesting
Did you know that you can collect your next meal from the sea? Many parks along Puget Sound are great places to harvest clams and oysters. If you harvest shellfish yourself, make sure you have your shellfish license. Follow all posted beach advisories and closures to avoid illness. Know before you go and read posted warnings or call the Marine Toxins/PSP Hotline: 1-800-562-5632 for a regularly updated recorded message or go to the Department of Health Washington Shellfish Safety Map.
Harvesting oysters on the Hood Canal | Photo courtesy of State of Washington Tourism
Reservation Or Reduction In Nights
Washington State Parks and Recreation sets cancellation fees to encourage the public to make cancellations, including reductions in the number of nights reserved, as soon as possible so that others may reserve and use the unoccupied sites. Fees are non-refundable including the reservation fee and any reservation change and cancellation fees. Reservations may be canceled by calling 226-7688 or the Washington Telecommunications Relay Service at 711 or 833-6384.
You can cancel online or through the Reservation Call Center.
You can cancel no earlier than 8 months prior to arrival or no later than 8 p.m. on the arrival day.
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Now Accepting Reservations From August 7 2022 To February 6 2023
The information below is valid when operations are normal:
Reservations are accepted at most campgrounds and at parks with reservable group day-use facilities. While reservations are not required to camp, they are recommended because sites and facilities fill quickly. Other things to know:
- New reservations are accepted one day to six months in advance for stays that begin within this time period .
- New sites come online at 6 a.m. daily.
- An $8 reservation fee is charged for each site reserved whether you call or go online.
- You will receive a confirmation letter via e-mail or in the mail after making your reservation.
- You must be 18 or older to make a reservation. An adult must accompany minors at the site.
- Horse camping sites are only for people camping with their horses or other pack animals.
- Some campgrounds are first-come, first-served. Check individual park pages for season dates and reservation information.
- Reservations are required for yurts and cabins.
Reserve A Campsite Cabin Or Yurt At Washington State Parks
Most Washington State Park campgrounds take reservations up to nine months in advance. That means that if you want a certain campsite for the Fourth of July, you should be on their system on October 4. On the State Park website you can browse parks and availability and there are photos of each site.
- Online reservation system:
- Reservation call center: CAMPOUT. An extra $10 is added for each booking, plus $5 if you are booking from out-of-state.
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Cougar Rock Mount Rainier
This campground sits in the middle of Mount Rainier National Park, making it a great jumping off point to access the many trails in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier is a must see in my opinion. Besides how impressive the actual mountain is, the sub-alpine meadows, waterfalls, and lakes in the park are incredibly scenic. If you love geology, you will love learning all about volcanic activity here and the kids will love the junior ranger programs at the campground.
Cost of Sites: $20-$30Max RV Length: 35 feetHot Showers: No
A Classic Camping Experience In The Cascade Foothills
Silver Lake Park provides a wide variety of recreation opportunities just 40 minutes east of Bellingham. With boating, fishing, boat rentals, and camping in three campgrounds this foothills park is a popular family destination.
There is no cell service or Wi-Fi at Silver Lake Park
Camping season at Silver Lake runs from mid April through the end of October. Silver Lake Park has two RV campgrounds with water and electric hookups, one tent campground with no hookups, and a group camp suitable for RVs. Each campground offers a different experience.
Reservations are recommended, but we do have a limited number of first come/first serve sites.
Reservations open the first business day of December at 9:00am for the following calendar year.
Six lakefront cabins and the Lakeside Lodge include beds with vinyl-covered mattresses, refrigerators, oven/stoves, sinks, and propane fireplaces. There is also one rustic camping cabin without a kitchen located in the Maple Creek Campground. The Lakeside Lodge and lakefront cabins are available for rent year-round. Rates vary by cabin.
One ADA accessible cabin and the Lakeside Lodge include a restroom and shower.
Up to two pets are allowed at the Tomyhoi cabin with an additional fee.
Reservations open the first business day of December at 9:00am for the following calendar year.
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Kalaloch Olympic National Park
We love camping at National Parks and this one is amazing if you love forest trails, playing on the beach, and learning about nature. Campsites are up on a bluff making it a short walk down to the beach. I loved that the campsites were nestled between trees, making it quite private. The ranger program at night was one of the best Ive ever been to. While the closest amenities are 9 miles away, there is a lot to do here in nature including wildlife viewing, tidepooling, beach combing, and hiking. This is a very popular campground for a reason so reserve it early.
Cost of Sites: $22-44Max RV Length: 40 feetHot Showers: No
George Washington State Campground And Management Area
Located within the 4000 acre George Washington Management Area, and on the shores of Bowdish Reservoir, the 100 acre George Washington Memorial Camping Area is an overnight, primitive camping facility offering a multitude of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
There are 45 well spaced gravel sites suitable for tents, trailers, and RVs. Electrical hookups are not available water is available from the various shared spigots throughout the campground. Bathrooms consist of flush toilets located in the shower facilities and solar-powered standalone composting toilets. There are two Adirondack style Shelters available by reservation, for group camping . The campground is open from the second weekend of April to the end of October.
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Hells Canyon Rv Resort
To be honest, we rarely stay at full service RV parks when we travel so I dont have a lot of recommendations for this section, however, I was very impressed with Hells Canyon RV Resort. I loved that it was right on the water, there was a pool and jacuzzi that were both open, the showers were free, hot, and very clean, and the sites themselves were big rig friendly. If you find yourself on the Idaho/Washington border near Lewiston, this is a great RV park.
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.
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