Though one of the newest additions to Washington State Parks, this old-fashioned fishing resort has been a family destination for decades. After the arrival of the automobile in the early 1900s, Camano Island began to see development when a bridge was built between the mainland and eastern shore. Muriel and Lee Risk found their way to a stretch of beach on the southwest side of the island where they first opened the resort in 1934. It operated for 50 years before the Risk daughters took over in 1990 and began donating and selling the land to the state. Today, the park remains an easygoing place to take in the island’s rich history and beautiful scenery.
Set on 433 acres of diverse forests, Cama Beach State Park offers 15 miles of hiking and biking paths for exploring the natural world. Meander along wooded bluffs and look down upon the Puget Sound from the Loop Trails, or check out the lively wetland wildlife on a day hike to Cranberry Lake. Adventures can also be carried over to neighboring Camano Island State Park via the 1-mile Cross Island Trail.
If you’re looking to enjoy the park on a more relaxed note, book a night or two in the Cama Beach Cabins. Soak in the simple life and some waterfront views out to Saratoga Passage, where you get a splendid panorama of the Olympic Mountains hovering above Whidbey Island. Let the kids play just a few doors down at the Center for Wooden Boats, where they’ll get a chance to build a toy boat while learning about maritime culture. On the north end of the waterfront, a variety of supplies and groceries can be purchased at the park store, which has long served as the resort’s social hub.
Note: For preservation purposes, visitors must leave their vehicle at one of four upper parking lots and either take a shuttle or walk down to the cabin and beach area. The shuttle is on call from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Fridays.