Five Washington State Parks Camping Ideas For The Summer

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In our family, summer time is all about Washington state parks camping. Despite our busy summer schedules, we try to make time for at least a few camping trips each summer, usually to one of the state parks in our area.

Recently, we enjoyed some fun camping in Washington: a weekend trip to Deception Pass State Park with my sister, niece, and their spouses. We had a great time taking a break from the city and experiencing some camping near Seattle with family. And my daughter and I especially had fun trying out my new selfie stick (yes! I finally broke down and got one!).

Exploring former military structures at Cape Disappointment State Park (June 2015)

Exploring all the amazing Washington state parks camping options!

As many Washington state families may know, we live in a pretty amazing state. The diversity in climate and geography of the state allows for some wonderful state parks.

Most of our explorations have focused on the Western part of the state, mainly because we live in Western Washington. But there are plenty of great camping in Washington along the eastern part of the state.

Here are our favorite picks this summer for Washington state parks camping ideas.

Washington state parks camping options at Camp Disappointment State Park
The sea view at Cape Disappointment State Park (June 2015)

Moran State Park

This state park is located on Orcas Island, one of the collection of islands in the Puget Sound known as the San Juan Islands. You’ll need to take a ferry to get to this Washington state parks camping spot, but once on the island, you’ll be rewarded with some wonderful ocean views.

Being on an island means you’re not really at risk of coming across any large animals, and the small towns on the island are fun to explore. There are three main camping areas, centered around Cascade Lake, but there is also a camping area located near Mountain Lake, to the west of Cascade Lake. The highlight of Moran State Park is Mount Constitution, which allows you to see a panoramic view of the San Juan Islands.

A child exploring Washington state parks camping spots at Moran State Park
Stumbling upon waterfalls at Moran State Park (May 2016)

Deception Pass State Park

A great option for camping near Seattle, Deception Pass State Park is an easy few hours drive from the city. The state park itself is located on two islands: Whidbey Island on the south and Fidalgo island on the north.

You can access the park by ferry boat from Mukilteo on the mainland to the town of Clinton on Whidbey Island. Otherwise, you can drive north to Burlington (a much cheaper option!), and then head west on Route 20 to Fidalgo Island. This will take you across the Deception Pass bridge, which offers scenic views of the Puget Sound. The park has campsites on both Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island, and has several miles of beaches.

Playing on the beach at Deception Pass State Park (July 2017)

Cape Disappointment State Park

For those interested in a bit of history, head to Cape Disappointment State Park, located in the southwestern corner of Washington state. Cape Disappointment was where Lewis and Clark spent their final days of their expedition across the American continent.

The state park is located at the point where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, and one of the highlights of the park is their lighthouse. There are campsites available, as well as yurts and cabins. Next to the lighthouse are light-keeper residences that have been converted to vacation houses.

A helpful tip for visitors to Cape Disappointment: bring a windbreaker or a jacket. Even in the summer months, the wind can get pretty strong next to the water, so it’s good to wear layers.

The lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park (June 2015)

Lake Wenatchee State Park

One of the things I enjoy about camping in Washington is the opportunity to experience the tranquility of camping in the mountains. Lake Wenatchee State Park is located within the Cascade Mountain Range, just north of the town of Leavenworth.

There are two camping areas, located near the eastern banks of the lake. There are trails throughout the park that you can hike or ride your bike through. When it comes to Washington state parks camping spots, Lake Wenatchee can’t be beat. I loved seeing the sunrise over the mountains reflecting in the clear blue waters of the lake. What a sight!

Morning at Lake Wenatchee State Park (September 2016)

Manchester State Park

Last summer, I did my first solo camping trip with my son. We headed over to Manchester State Park on the Kitsap Peninsula for a night, and had a fun time exploring the former fort site turned state park.

The park itself is not that big. It only covers 111 acres and has just 2 miles of hiking trails. There is only one camping area with 35 tent sites and 15 utility sites. But the thing I like about the park is that many of the former military structures are there, including a torpedo warehouse that now serves as a picnic area. Manchester State Park is a great spot for camping near Seattle, and nearby Port Orchard is a nice town to visit for a lunch or breakfast.

The torpedo warehouse at Manchester State Park (July 2016)

We love exploring Washington state parks camping spots as a family. We’re lucky that our state has a fair number of state parks available for us to enjoy camping in Washington. Not only is it a great excuse to be outdoors, but it also lets us get to know our state better.

What’s your favorite part about visiting state parks? And what state parks have you visited recently? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Five Washington state parks camping ideas for the summer

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Hi, I'm Astrid

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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