Best Places To Camp In Washington State With Dogs – Snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, dense forests, driftwood beaches and hiking trails… there’s so much beauty and adventure waiting for you in Washington State. If you love to surround yourself with beautiful ecosystems and incredible hiking opportunities, you’ll definitely want to spend a few nights (or a lifetime) at one of Washington State’s many amazing campgrounds.
While I generally enjoy camping in state parks, the Washington State Park system is not one of my favorites because it is expensive and the reservation system is not as user-friendly as Reserve America. I love their locations, so the immersion is such a beautiful natural environment. If you’re traveling off-season, you can usually save money by not booking in advance and just paying for your site when you arrive. During the busy season of July and August, you may want to book in advance.
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This is one of our favorite campsites to stay at because it has so many elements – forest, beach, lake, mountain – and so many amenities. Surrounded by the beautiful Cascade Mountains and only 30 minutes from the famous town of Leavenwoth, this alpine lakeside campground is great for water sports, motor boating, swimming (still cold) or just lounging on the sandy beach. The lower campground has a playground and a shop to rent kayaks, SUPs and more. Although not the best trails, there are trails directly from the campground for mountain biking and hiking. If you choose winter camp, there are heated shelters and bathrooms. Be prepared because there aren’t many options for nearby restaurants. Also note that there is a north and south campsite. The north is geared more toward RVers, but we travel in RVs and prefer the south campground.
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I love this beach campground because it’s close to great mountain biking in the cute town of Ferndale. The Interurban Trail is an easy 6.7 mile route from the campground to Ferndale. In addition to lots of great mountain biking right from the campground, the views of Samish Bay and the San Juans are incredible. It’s a great place for fishing and paddling, and kids will love playing in the water and enjoying the tides. Note that the train comes several times a day. There is also rock climbing in the area but we didn’t find it. My kids love the rocks at Camping A24 though!
If you love beach camping, this is the campsite for you. Capground itself is a huge car park with a very small patch of grass next to your site, it sits right on the sand and the beach here is huge, making it a great place for kids and beach lovers. There is a small town within walking distance with a small grocery store and cafe. This is a great stop if you’re on a trip to the Washington coast.
Beautiful but cold. Driftwood beaches, dense forest, and an abundance of aquatic wildlife make Deception Pass a great destination for camping and relaxation. The sunsets here are amazing and there are miles of hiking trails and coastline that you will love. Make sure you cross a long, high bridge.
Do you have a boat Then this is the place. This is a very popular campground for boaters, fishermen, fishermen, water skiers and windsurfers, making reservations difficult to get. It’s also close to downtown Chelan, which has many great restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries. You can take a boat ride to the end of the lake and hike for miles and miles in North Cascades National Park. The campsite has excellent facilities, a playground and SUP rentals.
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I really enjoyed the unique wildlife here and the density of the jungle camp. The campsite is just above Mount St. Helen’s Visitor Center. My kids love the playground and easy hikes from the campground. This is a great campsite for a relaxing weekend in nature or a great educational experience. It’s also great if you’re traveling downtown Washington, as it’s just a short detour from Interstate 5.
We love camping in national parks and it’s wonderful if you love forest trails, playing on the beach and learning about nature. Campsites are a short walk from the beach. I loved that the campsites were nestled in the trees, which made them very private. The night guard program was one of the best I’ve been to. Although the nearest facility is 9 kilometers away, there is plenty to do in nature, including nature watching, tidepools, beach trips and hiking. This is a very popular campsite for a reason so make your reservations early.
Camping is a must on the second beach in Olympic National Park. It’s a short 0.7 mile walk to the beach where you’ll find dozens (if not hundreds) of tents on the beach. This is a great beach covered with grass dunes and driftwood and is suitable for overnight stays. Here you have to use a beer can and get permission to camp overnight. Where the forest meets the beach there is a pit toilet and a stream to filter the water. Don’t forget your hydroblue jerry can. As this is a popular adventure, it is very difficult to get a permit in the summer.
While North Cascades National Park looks great, it’s not one of my favorite national parks because everything is so spread out. I prefer national forest areas east of the North Cascades (see Lone Fir below). However, if you plan to camp in the North Cascades, this is the place to camp. This is a lovely campsite surrounded by an old forest. There are different ways to camp. You can access the blue waters of Lake Diablo by walking across the road. There are no facilities in the area so pack accordingly.
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This campground sits in the heart of Mount Rainier National Park, making it a great jumping off point for hiking the many trails in the Mount Rainier Paradise area. Mount Rainier is a must see in my opinion. Regardless of how impressive the mountain actually is, the park’s subalpine meadows, waterfalls and lakes are incredibly beautiful. If you like geology, you’ll love learning all about the volcanism here, and kids will love the junior ranger program at the campground.
National forests don’t get enough attention in my opinion. National forests offer the best camping sites and are very cheap. For adventurers like us who like to go off the beaten path, we’re glad there are so many opportunities to camp in our national forests. There are too many great national forest campgrounds to list them all, but these are two of our favorites. If you have a favorite, please share it. with us in the comments.
The east side of North Cascades National Park on Highway 20 is stunning. The mountains seem to go on forever and there is so much hiking and mountain biking that you can spend a lot of time here and not get bored. The disadvantage (or advantage) is that you are 30 minutes from the nearest town, so be prepared with supplies. There is water here but the closest dump is in North Cascades NP or back in Winthrop. Don’t forget to stop at Washington Pass for photos and head to Blue Lake or Heather-Maple Pass, two of our favorite hikes.
This is a very large campsite near Cle Elem. This is a great entry point for hiking in the South Cascades. We hiked to Wapatus Lake and from our YouTube video it looks like we didn’t enjoy it because we were tired of doing so many huge hikes and were really hoping to move to Spade and Venus Lake. (Unfortunately, the trail was still covered in snow in June). You’re sure to love hiking here, whether you want a short hike or a long backpacking trip!
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Eight Mile Campground could easily be added to the list of best national forest campgrounds above, but we prefer camping for free on the way to Leavenworth. If you go up Icicle Creek toward French Creek Campground, there is a large gravel lot that allows RVs to camp overnight (there is a large sign that says “Free Overnight Parking. RVs Only”). I loved the sound of the stream splashing over all the rocks below and how it was usually empty. There is great rock climbing and hiking all the way, and if you have strong legs, you need to do the biggest hikes.