Camping in Washington State is an RV’er and tent camper, or car camper’s delight. One of the best parts of camping in Washington is the easy-to-access options within lush forests and alongside lakes, rivers, and tide pools. Called “The Evergreen State,” for a reason, Washington is home to some of the very best camping locales in the U.S.
With 154 State Parks, five State Recreation Areas, two State Forests, one State Wildlife Area, three National Parks , seven National Forests, two National Historic Sites, two National Historic Parks, 17 National Wildlife Refuges and three National Recreation Areas there’s something for everyone – whether you’re only interested in visiting, a day pass, or camping.
Maryhill State Park
50 Highway 97
Goldendale, Washington 98620
Maryhill State Park was acquired by lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1972 at no cost. Sam Hill, considered a local eccentric, built a “castle” for his daughter, Mary, on a hill overlooking the Columbia River, and named it “Maryhill.” He designated the beautiful building, originally designed as a family home, as an art museum before the end of its construction. This museum houses one of the largest and most extensive gun, doll, and clothing collections in the country. Mr. Hill built a full-scale partial replica of England’s famous Stonehenge one mile from the state park. Both Stonehenge and the Maryhill Museum of Art are open to the public.
The campground has 20 tent sites and 50 utility sites. Maximum site length is 60 feet (may have limited availability). There are four restrooms, one ADA, and 10 showers, two ADA, and one RV dump station.
There are some trees and shade, and acres and acres of rolling hills. The views of the Columbia River are stunning. This is a quiet, peaceful, simple campsite with few amenities other than showers and toilets, some picnic tables etc., but it is a wonderful place to spend a few days while visiting area attractions – like Bickleton, Washington, home of the largest population of Bluebirds in the state, and the Bickleton Rodeo in June each year. http://www.bickleton.org/bickleton-pioneer-picnic-and-rodeo/
Deception Pass State Park – Camping in Washington
Deception Pass State Park spreads over 4,134 acres. It is a marine and camping park with 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline on three lakes. The park is actually located on two islands — Fidalgo to the north and Whidbey to the south. The Canoe Pass and Deception Pass bridges connect the two islands, creating a gateway for exploration. Pets on leashes are allowed in this park and at each of the three campgrounds.
There are three campgrounds within the park. Cranberry Lake Campground is the largest, and features sites close to the seashore as well as the lakeshore. Bowman Bay Campground is smaller and more intimate, with easy access to the bay and to Rosario Beach’s tide pools. Quarry Pond Campground, the only one of the three that stays open year-round, is located at the base of the popular hike up Goose Rock. The only downside to spending a night at Deception Pass is that you might get woken up bright and early by jets from the nearby naval base. Remember to bring earplugs! Standard sites are $25/night during the peak season. Reservations are recommended.
Cranberry Lake Campground – Camping in Washington
Cranberry Campground is hidden in the old growth forest between North Beach, West Beach, and Cranberry Lake on Whidbey Island. It is the largest campground at Deception Pass. With 234 campsites, the main campground is divided into the forest loop and the lower loops. The 78 sites in Forest Loop are primarily hookup sites, with some standard sites. The remainder of the campsites are in the Lower Loops, which are primarily standard sites with some hookup sites. Cranberry Campground is open seasonally. Five of the six restrooms have showers. Three of the campsites are walk-in sites, meaning that the parking for the sites is a few dozen feet away. Five of the sites are only for campers who arrive at the park on bicycles or on foot. There are also a handful of handicapped sites available among all of the campsites.
Hookup sites offer electricity and water along with a table and campfire stove. Standard sites offer a table and stove, with water nearby. The size of the tent pads and parking spaces vary from site to site. Sites 231-235 are reserved for campers that come on foot or by bike. These sites are first come, first serve. There is a single Group Camp on the east side of Cranberry Lake, with plans for another site to be built in the Quarry Pond Campground.
Bowman Bay Campground – Camping in Washington
With only 20 campsites available, Bowman Bay Campground is a more intimate feeling campground. All sites are located fairly close to the beach. Only two sites are hookup sites. The others are standard sites. There are showers in the campground restroom. Bowman Bay Campground is open seasonally.
Quarry Pond Campground – Camping in Washington
Quarry Pond Campground is open year round. There are 61 sites, 54 hookup and 7 standard sites. The restroom has shower facilities. There is also a kitchen shelter and a gazebo in the middle of the campground. Quarry Pond, one acre in size, is a pleasant rock-rimmed pond near the campground. Goose Rock rises to the north of the campground. A new group camp is being built in the Quarry Pond Campground, but until then groups should use the one Group Camp on the east side of Cranberry Lake.
A trailer dump is located at the top of the hill in the Cranberry campground area. Registered campers do not need to pay for use of the trailer dump.
There are three primitive boater-only campgrounds at Deception Pass. The Hope Island Campground has 6 sites and the Skagit Island Campground has 5 sites. There is a single Washington Water Trails campsite (open to all boaters) at Bowman Bay. All boater-only sites are first come, first serve.
Lakeside Campgrounds – Camping in Washington
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284
Located just outside the town of Diablo, north of SR 20 at milepost 126. 20 miles (32 km) east of Marblemount, 67 miles (108 km) west of Winthrop. This campground is situated on the bank of Gorge Lake, next to the cascading Stetattle Creek. It’s small, with only six sites, but it’s free. All six sites are first-come, first-served. There are no reservations. This is a primitive camp with no water or services. Bring water and pack out all trash. Vault toilets. Gathering firewood is prohibited. Firewood is available outside the park. Recreational Opportunities: Boat launch and fishing on Gorge Lake.
South Loop Campground – Camping in Washington
Located near Colonial Creek, this campground is not large RV friendly. Large RVs can better be accommodated in Newhalem Creek Campground sites. However, if you’re tent, or car camping, or have a smaller RV, you’ll enjoy camping in this old growth forest at the base of the impressively glaciated Colonial Peak on the shore of Diablo Lake. With 100 sites, there’s almost always a site available except on holiday weekends.
The campground offers a dump station, flush toilets, garbage and recycling service, and potable water available. There are no hook-ups or showers. Fully accessible campsites available. Walk-in campsites available. Gathering firewood is prohibited, but firewood can be purchased outside of the park. Campground reservations are accepted during the specified season dates. Campgrounds may be open before or after the reservation season on a first-come, first-served basis. There’s a fully accessible fishing pier and boat launch on Diablo Lake. Hiking opportunities abound for various abilities on Thunder Creek, Thunder Woods Nature Walk, and Thunder Knob trails. There are evening ranger programs and weekend activities during the summer.
Cascade Loop – Camping in Washington
Whether you prefer to star gaze from a hammock, or to step outside your RV, or just throw a sleeping bag on the ground, camping can be a great way to experience the Cascade Loop. How much you ‘rough it’ is directly dependent upon how much planning and prepping you do, and what kind of camping you want to do. The Cascade Loop can help you experience it all. The “loop” is actually a 400-mile journey around the state of Washington. Visitors tour nine distinct regions, each with its own diverse personality. The diversity is both scenic and social.
The loop winds through metropolitan areas as well as charming small towns, breathtaking Cascade passes, fertile lowlands, and everything in between. You can rush through it in a day or you can stretch it out for a few weeks, or even the summer. It’s up to you. The average trip on one of the nation’s most scenic highways—takes two to four days, longer if you want to camp and explore each day. Here are some of the campgrounds and areas you’ll find on the Cascade Loop.
Other Washington State Campgrounds
Newhalem Creek Campground
Milepost 120 State Route 20
Newhalem, WA 98283
Phone Number: 360-854-7200
Newhalem Campground is a comfortable facility close to the town of Newhalem, Washington and the Skagit River. The campground has individual and family campsites, as well as two group sites that are popular among school and volunteer groups. It is private and secluded, yet the town, a visitor center and other amenities are only a short walk away. It is also surrounded by forests of Western Red Cedar, Western hemlock, Douglas fir trees and a variety of shrubs that that can be explored through the area’s many hiking trails.
There are a few family sites, which are for visitors with more than one or two cars. Within the family sites, there is extra parking available for RVs and several tent sites as well. Family sites are different than the group sites, which are on the group loop and can hold up to 30 people. The entire facility offers drinking water, flush toilets and paved roads.
The nearby Newhalem Creek and the Skagit River offer plenty of boating and fishing opportunities. The Skagit River is the largest river that flows into the Puget Sound area and provides critical habitat for all species of Pacific salmon. Don’t miss visiting the salmon-viewing station located near the group campsites. The river drains cold, clean glacial melt-water from the mountains of British Columbia and northern Washington.
Colonial Peak North Cascades National Park – Camping in Washington
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284
If you’re looking for quiet, waterside camping, then pitch your tent at the base of Colonial Peak on the shores of Diablo Lake. The lake is a a blue-green beauty with excellent opportunities for rainbow trout fishing. If you enjoy a good hike, explore the 3.8-mile Thunder Knob Trail for an awe-inspiring viewpoint of the glacier-fed lake cradled by forested peaks of the North Cascades. With 142 campsites, this campground is a place you may never want to leave. Great for families, Colonial Creek Campground offers ranger programs and activities at the on-site amphitheater during summer. You can launch a kayak or canoe from the campground to explore Diablo Lake, or nearby Ross Lake from the campground too.
Located on Orcas Island
Moran State Park is the fourth largest State Park in Washington State and it attracts a lot of visitors year round. Don’t worry. There are dozens of campsites in Moran State Park on Orcas Island and there is no better place for camping in the San Juan Islands. There are three separate campsites located at the northern, central, and southern shores of Cascade Lake. Each campground can accommodate visiting parties of numerous shapes and sizes. A dump station is located near the western entrance of Moran State Park across from the camp Registration Booth. All of the campsites are adjacent to restrooms with showers. Call the Moran State Park Office to learn which sites can support RVs and motorhomes.
Moran State Park may be on an island, but there are miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers, and even horses in some areas during particular seasons. The Mountain Lake area offers seclusion, while the Southend area has tent spots on the shoreline. Campsites in the park include some beautiful lakeside spots if you’re lucky enough to arrive in time to secure one. Even if you don’t, your views are still great—including the tower on the top of Mt Constitution and the three mountain ranges visible from the campground. Moran State Park on Orcas Island is one of the San Juan Islands’ great treasures. You’ll need to take a Washington State Ferry to the San Juan Islands to visit the park.
For transportation on Orcas Island and pick-ups at the Orcas Island Washington State Ferry landing call the Orcas Taxi at 360-376-8294.
Central Washington State Camping – Camping in Washington
Number of Sites: 88
Located within walking distance of the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, Seaquest State Park’s campground is a fantastic home base for exploring the land around Washington’s famous volcano. Other nearby activities include swimming and fishing at Silver Lake and hiking and biking on more than 5 miles of trails.
White River Campground – Camping in Washington
Located near Mount Rainier National Park
Phone: 360-569-2211 x6030
Located in the northeastern section of Mount Rainier National Park, the White River Campground is the perfect basecamp site for exploring the east side of Mount Rainier. The views of Mount Rainier’s snowy summit alone make this a great campground. Add the proximity of the campground to the national park’s super-scenic Sunrise area (14 miles from the park’s entrance), and any time you spend here makes this busy campsite worthwhile. Whether you are a climber heading for a climbing adventure, or a hiker looking forward to exploring a new trail, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. White River is a perfect place for car campers as well.
Located five miles up from Highway 410, the White River Campground sits at 4,232 feet, making it the highest of the three drive-in campgrounds at Mount Rainier. The high elevation often makes this the last of the campgrounds to open and the first to close.
Number of Sites –
There are 112 individual sites within the campground and no group sites. Camping costs $12. There are four main camping loops, with the majority of the sites positioned on loops C and D, farthest from the entrance. Most of the sites are well placed for both privacy and scenic value. Because of the steep terrain around the campground and its proximity to the White River itself, little streams cascading through the area provide a consistent backdrop of soothing water flow that make the sites even more relaxing.
There are restrooms and washing facilities located in each loop and in the picnic area although, as in the rest of the campgrounds in the park, there are no showers. Ranger-led evening programs take place in the rustic campfire circle on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and there are Junior Ranger activities for the kids offered each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Near the Beach
Mile Post Marker 157683 WA 98331-9354
Phone Number: 360-565-3130
While Kalaloch’s 168 campsites, including one group site and four accessible sites, are not located directly on the shoreline, many have ocean overlooks. All sites are within walking distance to the beach access nearby. Explore the Olympic Peninsula’s southwest coast, where crabs, sea urchins, sea otters, whales and dolphins delight wildlife watchers and hiking trails wind through coastal forests.
Each site has campfire rings with grates and picnic tables. Food lockers and drinking water are available at campground loop restrooms. There are no hookups at this facility, though a dump station is available for a $10 fee ($5 with a Senior or Access Pass) and is not included in the camping fee. The nearest shower facility is nine miles away, and campers can purchase firewood and other goods at a nearby general store.
244 Robert Gray Dr.
Ilwaco, WA 98624
Cape Disappointment was named by an English sea captain in 1788. He stumbled upon the peninsula after failing to discover the Columbia River, and named it after his failure. But, this area is anything but disappointing. With access to coastal hiking trails, fishing, crabbing, razor-clam digging and a 1850s-era lighthouse there’s too much to see or do to feel remotely disappointed. Even if you’re not on the beach, you can still see lighthouses atop windswept cliffs, and enjoy the rich, pungent sea smells that waft up from where the Pacific Ocean meets the Columbia River below.
There are 137 sites at Cape Disappointment. You can bring your own RV, tent, or trailer, or book one of the state park’s 14 furnished yurts, which are also within walking distance of the beach.