Beautiful Campgrounds in Washington State

There are loads of campgrounds to choose from, including many inside Washington’s national parks, and each features its own distinct backdrop and roster of activities.

From resplendent old-growth forests and verdant rainforests to sandy coastal sanctuaries and freshwater lakes framed by sky-scraping peaks, Washington state’s unique landscapes supply pristine grounds for camping. Here are just a few tried-and-true favorites to consider. For more, check out our campground listings.

Lakeside Retreats

Colonial Creek Campground
North Cascades National Park, near Marblemount
Number of Sites: 142

Pitch your tent at the base of Colonial Peak on the shores of Diablo Lake, a blue-green beauty with excellent opportunities for rainbow trout fishing. Tackle 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.

Moran State Park
Orcas Island, near Olga
Number of Sites: 151

Five campgrounds are available; the Mountain Lake area offers seclusion, while the Southend area has tent spots on the shoreline. Summit 2,409-foot Mt. Constitution, rent a paddleboat or kayak, or fish for kokanee, cutthroat and rainbow trout in Cascade Lake.

Near the Beach

Kalaloch Campground
Olympic National Park, near Forks
Number of Sites: 166

While the campsites are not located directly on the shoreline, several have ocean overlooks and beach access is available 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.

Cape Disappointment State Park
Near Ilwaco
Number of Sites: 137

Access to coastal hiking trails, fishing, crabbing, razor-clam digging and a 1850s-era lighthouse make Cape Disappointment (named in 1788 by an English sea captain who stumbled upon the peninsula after failing to discover the Columbia River) anything but disappointing. Feeling fancy? Book one of the state park’s 14 furnished yurts, which are also within walking distance of the beach.

Family Favorites

Lake Chelan Campground
Lake Chelan State Park, Chelan
Number of Sites: 109

Easy access to swimming, boating, fishing and other water activities makes this spot on the south shores of Lake Chelan ideal for families. Let the kids burn off energy at the playground, set up a Frisbee game on the grassy field or survey the park’s 127-acre pine forest. Find more things to do at Lake Chelan.

Salt Creek Recreation Area
Strait of Juan de Fuca, near Port Angeles
Number of Sites: 92

Kids adore the playground and basketball, volleyball and horseshoe courts, and the sea-critter-filled tide pools at Tongue Point Marine Sanctuary are fun for the whole family to explore. Tent sites No. 1–49 have awe-inspiring views of the strait.

Surrounded by Green Beauty

Ohanapecosh
Mount Rainier National Park, near Packwood
Number of Sites: 188

Ohanapecosh is the least crowded of the majestic national park’s three campgrounds. Nestled along a peaceful river on the southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park, the site allows visitors to experience the wonder of an old-growth forest rife with 1,000-year-old firs, red cedars and western hemlocks. Learn more about Mount Rainier National Park.

Hoh Campground
Olympic National Park, near Forks
Number of Sites: 88

The magic of a temperate rainforest surrounds this campground as visitors slumber amid ancient trees and emerald-green swaths of flourishing mosses and ferns. The 0.8-mile Hall of Mosses Trail is ideal for hikers of all abilities and offers a close look at the area’s wonders, including thriving epiphytes (plants growing on other plants).

Convenient Basecamps

Seaquest State Park
Castle Rock, near Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Number of Sites: 88

Located within walking distance of 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
Mount Rainer National Park, near Sunrise
Number of Sites: 112

Views of Mount Rainier’s snowy summit and proximity to the national park’s super-scenic Sunrise area make a stay in this busy campsite worthwhile. Plan to visit in late July or early August to catch an eyeful of Sunrise’s colorful wildflowers.

Excellent Fishing

Tucannon Campground
The Umatilla National Forest, near Pomeroy
Number of Sites: 18

Tucked within southwest Washington’s idyllic Blue Mountains, Tucannon is near several ponds stocked with trout by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Sites are first come, first served at this intimate campground, so arrive during the less-busy midweek to claim the best spots.

Pearrygin Lake State Park
Methow Valley, near Winthrop
Number of Sites: 174

Choose from multiple campsites at Pearrygin Lake, an angler’s haven that’s heavily stocked with rainbow trout. Visit in June and September for the best fishing; two boat ramps are available, and kayak and watercraft rentals are available at Silverline Resort.

Learn more about camping in Washington State.

Photo credit: Flickr/miguelvieira