Best Lake Camping In Washington
When I was a kid growing up in the Midwest going camping meant three things: camping by a lake, swimming in a lake, and fishing in a lake.
A friend recently asked me for a recommendation on a few great lakefront campgrounds in Washington, and it got me thinking. I dont think of the Northwest as having a lot of lowland lakes like say, Minnesota, but as I started to list off the best lakeside campgrounds in the state I realized there are quite a few of them. And then I decided the list was too great to not share with everybody.
Below are my top picks for places to pitch your tent beside a lake in Washington. See all of these plotted on a map here.
Are you looking for a more comprehensive guide to Washington camping? I recommend Ron Judds Camping Washington : The Best Public Campgrounds for Tents and RVsRated and Reviewed published by The Mountaineers Books. Ron has been camping in Washington since he was a child and his writing is punctuated with his signature humor.
Need camping gear? My car camping checklist is here, and Ive included my gear recommendations in the list. The best one-stop shop for all things camping, from cookstoves to sleeping bags, is REI.
Enjoy, and happy lakeside camping!
La Wis Wis Campground
Just minutes outside of Mount Rainier National Park, La Wis Wis is notable for its location at the confluence of three rivers.
Not only is the campground the perfect starting point for exploring Mount Rainier, its also one of the best long-term locations for camping in Washington. 15 double sites and an extra spacious group site make it a good choice for large groups.
The campground has 122 campsites. No utilities are available, but one section does accommodate RVs and trailers .
The List Does Include These But There Are More
- Issaquah Village RV Park
- Eagle Tree RV Park
- Columbia Sun RV Resort in
- The Driftwood RV Resort And Campground in Copalis Beach, Washington.
- Spokane RV Resort
Issaquah Village RV Park Issaquah, Washington:
Going by distance, the town of Issaquah is about twenty miles less from Seattle and also shrouded by the pretty Cascade Mountains.
It is a year-round RV park with fifty-six sites, sufficient hookups, room for slide outs, and also pull through.
The likes of Cable TV, Wi-Fi hotspots, twenty hour coin laundry, and a couple of other services were made available.
In the same vein, you can also find restrooms, showers, a handful of interesting amenities such as kids playground coupled with tetherball and horseshoes, et cetera.
In addition, due to its location, theres access to exciting natural vistas, enough relaxation potential plus its closeness to a good number of parks and lures.
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Lake Wenatchee State Park North Cascades
All the comforts of a state park campground with the alpine vistas of a national park. That is Lake Wenatchee State Park, a beautiful and large camping park that sits in between Stevens Pass and the town of Leavenworth.
Details: 197 sites. $12-$37 a night. No hookups, RVs to 60 feet. Reserve here.
Lake activities: One of the most scenic sandy swimming beaches in the state, and epic views are in store for you from the seat of your canoe. Off the lake there are miles of trails in the vicinity for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding.
What to bring: A swimsuit for sure, and a boat if you have one. Dont forget to pack your camera and fishing pole.
Willaby Campground Olympic National Forest
Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane
For rainforest surroundings close to Seattle, Willaby Campground delivers on a dense world to discover. On the shores of Lake Quinault near the Quinault Ranger Station and Quinault Rain Forest of Olympic National Park, Willaby features over 20 popular campsites to pitch a tent or park an RV. Outdoor recreation abounds in the immediate vicinity of Willaby, including non-motorized boat rentals on Lake Quinault and exploration of the neighboring Quinault National Recreational Trail System. Flushing toilets and potable water are available to all overnight users at Willaby.
A three-hour drive from Seattle, Willaby Campground and the rest of the Olympic Peninsula deserve a weekend visit. Easily reached from Willaby Campground, the Quinault area of Olympic National Park features two other campgrounds the Lake Quinault Lodge and some of the best hiking trails in Olympic National Park, including the East Fork Quinault River trail to Enchanted Valley. Willaby is generally open from April through November, weather dependent, with advanced reservations available and recommended.
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Fields Spring State Park
If you havent experienced the Blue Mountains in winter, Fields Spring State Park in southeastern Washington is a must-do. This large park in the gently folding hills has three winter options:
Tamarack Cabin near Wohelo Lodge sleeps four people. The comfortable cabin boasts a mini-fridge, bathroom with shower, microwave, coffee pot and parking spot. Bring snowshoes! The park features spectacular views on the 6 miles of groomed trails here.
Puffer Butte Warming Hut sits 4,500 feet above sea level and sleeps four. The hut provides an excellent intro to winter backpacking without the tent-camping part. A stove will keep you cozy, but first youll make the 1-mile uphill trek with all your provisions. Hardy winter recreationists can reserve this hut through the park at 509-256-3332 for $20 a night. Caveat: while youll have the place to yourself after dark, the hut is open to the public for warming all day.
Primitive snow camping: Have a bigger group, or just not into backpacking? Drive to Fields Springs campground , unload your gear and stake your tent in a flat campsite. Youll have to do some digging, as the sites are not cleared. Remember your wool or synthetic layers, puffy jackets and hot water bottle or foot warmers to heat up your sleeping bag. Sites are $20 a night plus permits. Extra vehicle – $10.
Digging a platform and staking a tent in snow takes practice. Photo by Unsplash.
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
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Rv Parks Near Me: Riverbend Rv Park
The Riverbend RV Park is a RV campground in Twisp, Washington that offers a little bit of everything for guests. Boasting an ideal located within the Methow Valley, visitors will find plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors, as well as the excitement and culture of the town. The RV park features a half-acre dog park, clean shower and restroom facilities, wireless internet, full hook-up RV sites, and riverfront views. Theres plenty for visitors to do at the Riverbend RV Park, with activities available including water sports, roasting marshmallows by the campfire, basketball, skiing, horseback riding, and much more.
19961 WA-20, Twisp, WA 98856, Phone: 509-997-3500
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Free Camping In The Cascades
The Cascade Mountains stretch from British Columbia, Canada to northern California, cutting a beautiful path through Washington. In the north part of the state, youll find solitude and few roads cutting through the landscape. Check out Hozomeen Campground, a popular waterfront spot right on the Canadian border.
A bit further south and closer to Seattle, youll find more people and some of the prettiest landscapes in the state. Ranger Creek Airstrip is big-rig and tent camping friendly, and each site has a picnic table and firepit. The memorably-named Tree Phone Campground is a hidden gem in Ahtanum State Forest.
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Fort Flagler Historical State Park
Make the perfect family camping road trip even better by setting up shop at Fort Flagler Historical State Park.
Just minutes from charming downtown Port Townsend, this campground is situated on the northern end of Marrowstone Island. Visit nearby Fort Flagler, a coastal defense fort built during the 1890s, for a dose of military history to complement the camping experience.
Fort Flagler State Park boasts 59 standard campsites plus 55 campsites with full hook-ups. All RV sites have easy access to the beach, making this one of the best places for RV camping in Washington.
What People Are Saying About Alpine View Rv Park & Campground
What I like about Alpine View is that it is walking distance to the heart of the town. If you want to indulge in adult beverages, you can walk or take a reasonably priced cab. Weve stayed there the last two years on our way through. We cabbed both ways to and from town the first year. Last year, we walked one way. It is an easy walk if youre in semi-decent shape. Michael, Google Review
- Alpine View RV Park & Campground
- 9825 Duncan Road
- Dump station
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Larrabee State Park Bellingham
Larrabee State Park
Along the scenic Chuckanut Drive in northern Washington, Larrabee delivers on excellent views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. Less than 10 miles south of Bellingham and a 90-minute drive from Seattle, Larrabee holds the title of Washington’s first state park and is still today one of the most popular. Over 80 campsites are available along the seaward slope of Chuckanut Mountain at this scenic state park, accommodating primarily tent campers and including access to showers, potable water, and restroom facilities. The Burlington Northern Railroad runs adjacent to the campground, rumbling with appeal for locomotive enthusiasts and young children alike.
Rv Parks Near Me: Harmony Lake Rv Park
The Harmony Lake RV Park in Silver Creek, Washington is situated along the shores of Mayfield Lake, offering an ideal setting for an escape from busy daily life. Guests can enjoy a picturesque waterfront environment that provides a way for them to connect with nature and bond with friends and family. There are plenty of activities for visitors of all ages to take part in at the Harmony Lake RV Park as well, particularly when it comes to water activities, such as paddle boarding, kayaking, boating, water skiing, and fishing. Other activities include horseshoes, badminton, chess, and volleyball.
563 WA-122, Silver Creek, WA 98585, Phone: 360-983-3804
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Campgrounds Near Me: La Conner Rv & Camping Resort
La Conner RV and Camping Resort is a 111-acre beautiful year-round RV resort and campground featuring a half-mile beachfront along the Puget Sound and and a convenient location for exploring the Pacific Northwest. Located about five minutes outside of the old fishing village of La Conner, Washington, the RV park is close to several historical sights, distinctive dining, and a variety of antiques, crafts, and arts. West of the La Conner RV and Camping Resort are the San Juan Islands, which can be reached either by ferry or boat, and just to the north is an easy journey to Canada.
16362 Snee Oosh Rd, La Conner, WA 98257, Phone: 360-466-3112
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Ohanapecosh Mount Rainier National Park
There are three stunning campgrounds in Mount Rainier National Park, and each is wonderful, beautiful and popular. Ohanapecosh is usually the least crowded of the three, away from the hustle and bustle of the summer crowds at Paradise and Sunrise. The main reason it tops my list is for its magical old-growth forests and the wild river that runs right through the middle of the campground. Hike the little .5 mile nature loop trail out of the campground through enormous Doug firs and hemlocks to the bubbling waters of the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs. Up the road a bit is the famed Grove of the Patriarchs trail, also an easy, flat loop to see some of the biggest trees on earth.
Details: 188 sites, 2 groups sites. $15 a night for single site. Late May early October. RVs up to 32 feet. Some tent-only sites, including several walk-ins for additional privacy. Water and flush toilets. About half the sites can be reserved in advance and half are first-come, first-serve. Reserve here.
Need a hiking guide to Mt. Rainier for your camping trips? Try Day Hiking: Mount Rainier by Dan Nelson, published by The Mountaineers Books.
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Notes About Campgrounds In Washington
- National Park Campgrounds: Many campsites within Washington’s three national parks are available for advanced reservation through Recreation.gov. Campsite rates do not include entrance fees into the park. Consult official sites for more information.
- State Park Campgrounds: Washington is home to over 100 state parks with many designated as day-use only. For state parks that offer campgrounds, including Deception Pass, Cape Disappointment, and Larrabee, advanced reservations can be made through the Washington State Park Reservation Page. Rules and regulations for Washington’s state parks vary from site to site, and users can find more information at each park’s official webpage.
Ida Creek Wenatchee National Forest Up Icicle River Road Near Leavenworth
The Icicle River canyon just east of Leavenworth is one of the most beautiful areas of Washington state, and so naturally its a magnet for hikers and rock climbers all summer long. A major road washout has cut off several campgrounds here, putting additional pressure of the remaining ones, including the tiny Ida Creek campground, the last one before the washout. Its on the confluence of Ida and Icicle Creeks, and I dont think Ive ever camped at such a pretty spot as this. Just up the road past the washout is the Icicle Gorge Trail, a wonderful little jaunt for beginners and families.
Details: 10 sites, $14 a night. RVs to 30 feet Water and vault toilets. No reservations campsites are first-come, first-serve. Campground info.
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Wanapum Recreation Area Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park Vantage
Petrified wood at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park
Thirty minutes east of Ellensburg, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park presents a dense collection of fossils on display. Overlooking the Columbia River and Wanapum Reservoir, Ginkgo is considered one of the most diverse fossil forests in the country and provides a landscape found nowhere else in the state. Inside the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Center and along the outdoor Trees of Stone Interpretive Trail, visitors can learn about the geological history and timespan that turns wood into stone and see for themselves the longstanding result.
The petrified forest areas of Ginkgo are day-use only, and camping can be found three miles east towards the community of Vantage at Wanapum Recreation Area State Park. Along the shore of the Wanapum Reservoir, the recreation area features 50 full-hookup RV sites and two hiker/biker areas. A public boat launch is a popular means of enjoying the water, and nearby concert goers at the Gorge Amphitheater often take advantage of the campground come summer. Flushing toilets and running water are available to all overnight guests.
Best Camping In Eastern Washington
A lot of people, especially those from outside of Washington State, tend to overlook Eastern Washington for camping.
Yet its one of the best regions for camping in Washington. The rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains means this region is much drier than Western Washington some areas are even desert.
Here are 5 of the best places to go camping in Eastern Washington.
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Sullivan Lake State Park Colville National Forest
If Washingtons far northeast corner feels a bit like Idaho, you wont find us complaining. Just dont forget your trout fishing pole! Sullivan Lake promises brown and rainbow trout for the patient and hungry, plus swimming and water skiing. Just three miles from here is the border of the Salmo-Priest Wilderness and the last old-growth left in Eastern Washington. Oh, and there are grizzlies in them there hills, along with bighorn sheep, woodland caribou and moose. Sullivan Lake Campground | 684-7000