Exploring the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest means choosing between beaches and deserts, forests and volcanos, lakes and prairies. Camping in Washington is a chance to greet nature up close and sleep in some of the most beautiful land in North America. The biggest challenge? Deciding where to start.
The Cascade Mountains run down the center of Washington like a spine. A handful of highways cross the crest in parallel lines, all running from the evergreens of the west side to the wide open grasslands of the east. Camping in Washington is available along every route, like the state parks that dot I-90 and North Cascades National Park that hugs Highway 20.
Take Highway 2 over Stevens Pass to find old-growth trees around each spot at Money Creek Campground, plus a view of a classic metal train trestle. Fill each day with hikes through the Cascade forest, perhaps on a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail where it passes the Stevens Pass Mountain Resort ski area. Head east of Stevens Pass to verdant Lake Wenatchee State Park for wooded campsites near the shores of a placid mountain lake and a stable inside the park offering trail rides through the summer. BYO kayak or rent one here.
Sometimes camping in Washington means getting off the beaten track to explore the quiet corners of the state. Take a forest road in Olympic National Park to find a green haven of mossy logs and curious chipmunks, or head north around Mount Baker, the Cascades’ northernmost volcano, for boat-in campsites around Baker Lake. In winter, the snowy expanse of Artist Point near Mount Baker' offers killer views of rugged glaciers for intrepid snow campers and backcountry skiers.
There are spectacular overnights to be had in the Pacific Northwest’s national and state parks, not to mention the remote U.S. Forest Service lands that blanket this corner of the country. Stock up on s’mores and firewood (when and where rules allow) and pitch a tent under the stars and go camping in Washington for the trip of a lifetime.
Looking to gently break your young kiddos into backpacking ? This campsite is a mile walk-in from the parking lot. It has fire rings, picnic tables, and water supply via the Dosewallips River. There is one section that requires a detour up a steep hillside, but other than that it's a flat walk. We used it as a training backpack trip for some of the younger Scouts in our troop. It has enough flat, open area in which to play, and the river was not too deep or fast-moving in October.
I stayed at this campground with my climbing partner for a couple of days after an extended climb of the nearby Mt. Logan. The campground offers usual amenities like running water and bathrooms, and is conveniently located about ten miniutes from the town of Winthrop. There is also a nearby crag that is excellent for top roping or sport leading.
I would be cautious around holidays and three day weekends if you like to avoid crowds :)
Although there is no hookups, there are restrooms with showers, there are a couple convenience stores fairly close, one has a cafe inside & is open year round, the other side of the river has a Skippers inside and in the summer there is a restaurant in the casino at the Two Rivers Casino & Resort
This is a great little campground to head To when Ohanepecosh in Mt Rainier NP is full and you still want to be in the area for local hikes. There is a great watering hole to swim in in the frigid but refreshing river that runs alongside most campsites, accessible from the upper (closed) loop. Some brave souls jump from the rock outcropping though we were not so intrepid. Friendly camp hosts, mostly families in camp made for a nice atmosphere in a lovely setting. Good access to Mt. Rainier hiking trails.
I recently rented the cabin for the weekend in February. I've already made a reservation for a summer weekend, but this review is based on winter use.
The cabin comes with a stove & a battery lantern, with the expectation that you'll provide the fuel & the batteries. A previous user had left a propane canister and left the batteries in the lantern. It's a nice gesture, but come prepared with your own. I'd also brought along a propane lantern, and I'm glad I did. (Although this did violate the "no open flames in the cabin" rule - more on that later.) The interior of the cabin is very dark, and while the battery lantern provides light, it's only bright up close. Plan to bring your own lanterns, especially in the winter when the night's dark comes early. There are some board games and books in the cupboard, as well.
The bunkbeds are covered in plastic, but it's a thin cellophane so it wasn't noisy. There are provided pillows; I didn't use them. The bunks' mattresses are comfortable. Because of the way the Forest Service installed the bunkbed & the cupboards, the bunkbeds don't fully benefit from the heat of the woodstove. In the winter, you'll want a warm sleeping bag.
I broke the "no open flames in the cabin" rule because it was 16°F outside, and my meals needed to simmer. I imagine this rule is designed to protect the cabin as well as to protect visitors from CO poisoning. I placed the stove near a window and opened the window a crack, and I never turned my back on the stove. There's a CO monitor in the cabin, and truth be told, the cabin's drafty. But if you're going to break the rule, understand the risk you're taking, and for the love of all that is holy do not burn down this cabin.
The lock on the woodshed is the kind that the tumblers need to be lined up before you take the key out, but it's also a little worn so it's possible to take the key out without it being lined up. If that happens - as it did with me - it's really difficult to get the key back into the lock far enough to unlock it. (I had to heat up the lock & the key with a candle to get the tumblers "unstuck.") Be very careful with the lock, or you may find yourself having a chilly night. (Wood is only provided during winter rentals, so this doesn't apply for the summer folks.)
The toilet paper in the vault toilet is kept in a heavy plastic tote. My guess is this is to protect it from rodents. Please keep the lid on tight.
I wish I'd brought along a pair of camp shoes to keep my bed socks clean. There's a warning that you should expect every surface in the cabin has been contaminated by mouse urine & droppings. Consider that during food preparation. (I used some plastic wrap to cover the countertop to give me some clean space to work.) I didn't see any rodents while I was there, but there were droppings in a few places. There's no running water, so I'd recommend bringing hand sanitizer as well.
I was carrying more than my usual backpacking load, and I'd planned to haul things in on a sled. Unfortunately, I failed to test out my sled setup & practice pulling a sled, and on the trail it turned out to be a dismal failure. I got very lucky in that a nearby cabin owner saw me, took pity on me, and hauled my gear in & back out for me. However, his was the only one of the cabins along the road in use that weekend. If you're going to do something similar, be smarter than I was and test out your gear & your technique ahead of time.
Although the river is nearby, it has a steep bank and I wouldn't risk trying to get water out of it during the winter. I utilized the woodstove's cooktop & melted snow. It's not the tastiest, but it's fine for cooking with.
I will definitely come back, and next time I will be better prepared. I enjoyed the brief glimpse of life in a remote cabin: splitting wood & kindling, needing to keep the woodstove going through the night, et cetera. But I'm grateful someone else cut the wood and stocked the shed, and that I had access to modern winter clothing & recreation devices like lightweight snowshoes & waxless skis.
We needed to just get out of the city and do some camping therapy…. Manchester State park was perfect. It took no time to get there from Seattle and the park staff were GREAT and gave us some great tips for future visits. The camp site was perfect….clean and just what we needed to unwind. The park hostesses very nice and helpful as well. There was plenty to do hikes, beach combing and most of all quiet. Defiantly going back midweek getaways.
I love this campground I stayed here to complete a natural resource college assignment and I will return many times. Beautiful and has all the user rentals. Those are cool. I recommend this campground.
Well manicured. Not especially private. It's nice, but I would prefer a spot that's a little more secluded. Benefits of this site are the facilities and the 15 minute drive to the ferry terminal. Super conveneient. Only open May-Oct!
Great campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Smallish campground with about half the spots right on the river. Nice day use area slightly separated from the camping. Picnic tables and fire rings. Mostly tents when we were there, but there's also pull-through driveway type spots that could fit a trailer. At just $12 per night, price can't be beat.
Plenty of trees and grass. Most spots are slightly exposed to the turn-around road, but still feels private since there's space and trees between the spots.
Not too far from Mouton Falls, which are amazing, plus other hiking and swimming areas nearby.
Probably a 2.5-star spot. Super clean, but in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. Lots of pull-through spots with full hook-ups. Just off the I-5 freeway. Shares a wall with the freeway, so can be loud with traffic noise.
Spots are just driveways with very little space in-between. Many did not have picnic tables and only a few on the ends were near any grass. There is some grass on the ends of the rows and at the sides of the park. There's also a small strip-mall basically in the same parking lot, for better or worse.
If you're driving through and need a place to stay, this one is safe, clean, newer, and basic.
Great state park with all the usual amenities: fire pits, trees, ranger station. It's basically two different types of campgrounds in one: there's the sites more out in the open that are closer to the freeway. Then there's a bunch further away in both a meadow and the woods. Obviously if possible, stay away from the freeway. Down at the day use area (which has a nice small beach) the sound was so loud it was hard to hear people talking just a few feet away.
Lots of hiking including a nice trail between the campground and the day use area. Firewood available. Spots for both camps and trailers including electric and water hookups. Nice staff/rangers available for questions. Walk-in spots are cheapest and many are further away from the freeway. Very clean overall.
This is another great Grays Harbor County spot just south of Montesano. Like Lake Sylvia it is super family and pet friendly. The campsite is divided into two different areas…one for RVs and the other for tents. The facilities are all well maintained and the bathrooms have showers. It is a pretty quiet campground even though it is near a highway.
There are lots of spots to fish in the campground as well as the surrounding areas.
Well situated. Just off I-5, about 10 miles from the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center and about an hour north of Portland, Oregon. Lots to do, especially for kids. There's a swimming pool, basketball court, huge playground, volleyball, disc golf course, picnic table areas and woods to run in.
Everything is fairly well maintained, but like HBO's Westwood's park, it gets stranger the further you get from the center of the park. Off on the edges the spots get more weedy, there's a railroad track on one side and the freeway on the other. But stay to the middle and everything is very well maintained and fun.
A bit more expensive than other more run down spots in the area ($43 or so), but in general worth it for its nice location and amenities.
Tips: not all spots have fire pits, so if that's important to you, be sure to ask for one.
Set in a former logging camp above the town of Montesano, park life revolves around a large swimming and fishing lake. This site is super family friendly and pet friendly too.
There is a playground on site and TONS of old logging roses turned bike trails.
There are plenty of tent and RV sites and s few primitive sites for campers. There are showers a flushing toilets.
This is a larger campground great for RV, trailers and tents. The sites are enclosed in a circle, making a nice walk or bike ride. The campgroundl has partial hook ups and is very camper friendly otherwise.
Sites are pretty open not offering a good amount of privacy, though most are along the Spokane River. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, with bbq grate. The site has showers and flushing toilets!!
This is a perfect getaway for people looking to unplug as no cell service (tested on sprint, verizon, and google fi) is available. There is tons of wildlife and lots of trails and riverbank to explore.my favorite thing was the suspension bridge over the river. Lots of space for swimming and fishing!
Rock Creek Park - Columbia River Gorge is a campground located near the city of Lyle. The campground was maintained by US Corps of Engineers.
As of now the campground is abandoned but there are still spaces available. From this area you will get the best views of both the back country and the gorge.
In the lovely Maryhill valley is the Peach Beach RV park. I am not one usually for RV parks but this on was ok. It was well maintained and clean. The spots were very close together and little privacy was had. They claim to have a private beach but it seemed like a muddy inlet overflowing with mosquitoes.on the plus side it is right next to a wine tasting shop.
There are many great places along this stretch of highway. This might be one to pass up.
When we are in the area we normally stay near Maryhill State Park. This campground was a delightful change to our routine. The site is small but it offers quite a few different ways to camp: tents, RV, cabins even a teepee!! This site is on Horsethief Lake and offers some great summer fun.
One of the best aspects was the petroglyphs that were along trails near the campground. This was a great spot and I highly recommend it!
This is one of my favorite campgrounds!! As a Tacoma resident we have a lot of clouds. I head over to Yakima for my sun. This campground never disappoints!
There are lots of spaces for tents and RVs. Clean and well maintained bathrooms. There is plenty of space for kids to play and visibility is high for bike riding. There is a huge group campsite that has bathrooms near it.
The surrounding grounds is a park with playground equipment and a huge field. There are tons of hikes and a small pond to explore…with turtles!
On maps this is sometimes called Paradise Resort & RV Park, but if it's an RV Park with "paradise" in the name and you're in Castle Rock, Washington, you're in the right place.
Just off the freeway. Mostly full-timers. There's a store there with the basics, plus laundry machines, showers etc. No frills. Friendly enough staff and people who live there. Full hook-ups. Sites are nothing to write home about. They take overnight bookings for about $32 a night.
If you have kids and/or want more facilities, head across the freeway to Toutle River RV Park. Otherwise this place is fine.
The campground was great and the hiking was amazing! We ended up doing the enchantment thru-hike which was about 20miles round trip. We were super glad to have this campsite nearby so we didn’t have to drive home so tired. The campground was clean and well kept but small. There were a few other people there when we got there and turns out they also did the thru hike and thought the same thing we did. The Enchantments were incredible as you can see from the pictures. It killed my feet and body, though but was worth it. We just stayed at the campground Saturday night and left early in the morning. We definitely plan to do this again and stay here next time.
This is a nice spot to stop over for a day or two. It is a smaller campground but it offers quite a bit. There is a amphitheater for guests and the rangers put on decent shows. There are only two bathrooms for the entire campground but they do have showers. When we went one of the showers was out of order, but we were told it would be getting fixed soon.
There is lots to do around the campground you just have to venture out and find it. This is a pet and horse friendly spot.
There is one hiker spot for first come first serve.