RnR RV Blog

  • Published on May 25, 2018
    Great Washington Campgrounds

    Washington camping


    1. Cape Disappointment State Park, Southwest of Ilwaco

    The campground launches you into 1,880 pristine acres at the end of the Long Beach Peninsula. Wander 27 miles of beach, or go clamming or fishing. Sites 104 and 105 have great beach access. $30; 360/902-8844; book at parks.wa.gov/reserve.asp

    2. Lone Fir Campground, Okanogan National Forest, Northwest of Winthrop

    A wooded spot along Early Winters Creek offers a cool base for exploring the northern Methow Valley. On hot days, head to the swimming beach at Pearrygin Lake State Park, near Winthrop. $12; no reservations; 509/996-4003.

    3. White River Campground, Mt. Rainier National Park

    Keep an eye out for mountain goats near this campground (accessed from the White River entrance) on Mt. Rainier. For wildflowers, hike 3 miles to Glacier Basin or 4.2 miles up, up, up to Summerland via the Wonderland Trail. $12 (plus $25 park entrance fee per vehicle); no reservations; 360/569-2211.

    How to build the perfect campfire
    Our editors get expert advice on how to build a safe roaring campfire.
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    4. Curlew Lake State Park, Northeast of Republic

    This 5.5-mile-long lake in the state’s northeastern corner is famous for its trout fishing and swimming. Bring your passport and take a day trip to the historic mining and railroad town of Grand Forks, British Columbia, 27 miles north. $from 20; book online at washington.goingtocamp.com; 360/902-8844.

    5. Moran State Park, on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands

    After you summit 2,400-foot Mt. Constitution or conquer the park’s bike trails, cool off by Cascade Lake at this shaded campground. Skip the long car-ferry lines and walk on with your gear; the Orcas Island Shuttle ($5 one-way; www.orcasislandshuttle.com) runs all summer long. From $22; 360/902-8844; book at parks.wa.gov/reserve.asp

    Moran State Park, Orcas Island, WA
    Andrea M. Gómez

    The jewel of Washington’s state park system, with 5,252 acres of forests, lakes, and waterfalls. The view from Mt. Constitution is world-class and well worth the trek upward.


    6. Penrose Point State Park, Southwest of Purdy

    On the Key Peninsula, Penrose is the best of two worlds ― Northwest forest and Puget Sound beach, with a Frisbee-perfect lawn connecting the two. The group campsite near the playfield and beach can sleep up to 50 people. $20 (from $40 for group site); 360/902-8844; book at parks.state.wa.us (group site: 888/226-7688).

    7. Salt Creek Recreation Area, West of Port Angeles

    Awe-inspiring views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and colorful tidepools at Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary make this a standout. Choose a spot with a view over the strait―we like site 63. $25; clallam.net or 360/928-3441; book by mail (details on clallam.net).

    8. Doe Bay Resort, on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands

    The best spot at the eclectic, 38-acre Doe Bay Resort with its 27 sites on Orcas Island isn’t a crunchy cabin, one of the yurts, or a Buckminster Fuller–like dome. It’s a simple tent site called Seal Landing: The grassy bluff on the point of Otter Cove has a front seat to sunrise, and it’s just steps from the new soaking tubs, a sauna, and a cafe serving organic, locally sourced food, from scallops to foraged nettles. From $110, including spa access; doebay.com

    9. Second Beach, Olympic National Park

    Hemmed in by rugged headlands and bookended by natural arches with keyhole views, Olympic National Park’s broad Second Beach—reachable by a quick 0.7-mile hike—is the coast’s crown jewel. Pitch your tent on the sand and unzip to views of seals, bald eagles, and the Quillayute Needles, a half-dozen surf-battered islets. $5, plus $25 park entrance fee and $2/person/night; no potable water; nps.gov/olym

    10. Bridge Creek Campground, Leavenworth

    On the border of the Enchantment Area Wilderness, Bridge Creek Campground’s falling leaves flash from mustard to maroon. www.fs.usda.gov. Make time for the 8-mile round-trip to Colchuck Lake, a turquoise glacial gem set against neon larches and craggy peaks. From $100; Apr-Oct; recreation.gov

    Best peak: Mt. Rainier
    Frank Kovalchek via Flickr Creative Commons

    Okay, it’s obvious. But that’s the point: Rising to 14,410 feet, a mile and change above everything around it, Rainier is the only mountain in the Cascades that locals call “The Mountain.” (We know it’s a perfect summer day when “The Mountain is out.”) The intrepid climb it; the athletic hike the trails that make a necklace around it; everyone else drives up close to its glacial flanks, rolling wildflower fields, and cliffs to soak in the sensation of feeling very, very small. $25/vehicle; nps.gov/mora.


    11. Deer Park, Olympic National Park

    Get a true backcountry feeling without ditching your car. At the meadowed 14 sites of the highest campground in Olympic (at 5,400 feet), you’ll likely be outnumbered by ungulates. The short jaunt up nearby Blue Mountain nets 360° views of jawbone peaks and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. And summer stargazing doesn’t get much better. From $15; $25/vehicle; Jun–Sep; no potable water; vault toilets; no reservations; nps.gov/olym

    12. Wilderness Camping, Mt. Rainer National Park

    It’s easier than ever to snag an overnight among the lowland forests and sub-alpine areas along the Wonderland Trail in Mt. Rainer National Park, thanks to a new online reservation system. nps.gov/mora

    13. Dash Point Cabins, Federal Way

    The 7 heated cabins in Federal Way have been updated with queen-size futons and bunks that sleep three. parks.state.wa.us

    14. Deception Pass Cabins, Deception Pass State Park

    Popular boat-in site Ben Ure Cabin in Deception Pass State Park has been updated and is now fully furnished with an electric kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor shower. It’s also heated and has electricity. parks.state.wa.us

    15. Jones Island State Park

    Want San Juan Islands beachfront, all to yourself? The two rustic sites on the west side of this 188-acre island are set aside for human- or wind-powered arrivals only, so they’re perfectly quiet (except for the bark of sea lions). And the firepit—on a bluff, with logs for benches—is like a box seat for spectacular sunsets. From 12; open year-round (potable water May–Sep); vault toilets; no reservations; parks.state.wa.us

    Discovering Wallowa
    Dave Lauridsen

    It’s not easy to get the northeastern Oregon town where the Jennings resides, but its surrounding county has so much to offer in views, local spots, and family roots that are experiencing their own revival. Check out our full guide to visiting Wallowa County here.

    A steep ride up the Wallowa Lake Tramway brings you to a lookout point on Mt. Howard with views of the Wallowa Mountains and Eagle Cap Wilderness. The mountain is a newly designated National Natural Landmark.

    Credit: https://www.sunset.com/travel/outdoor-adventure/best-campgrounds-northwest


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