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Halvor Tweto | 08.16.2016

The number and diversity of campgrounds in the Evergreen State is remarkable. Looking for a sea-level site with a view to the Pacific, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, or Puget Sound? You'll have several great options to choose from. Prefer to head to the alpine zone for a close-up look at the stars? Between Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades national parks, you'll have an abundance of opportunities. Of course, sometimes you just want to head out with more humble goals in mind, and Washington has a plethora of suitable campground for this purpose as well, especially on lakes and rivers. This state is a haven for those of us who love to overnight in the elements.

State and national parks in Washington provide plenty of clean, well managed facilities, and many include amenities such as showers and flushing toilets. Many campgrounds in national parks are first-come, first-served, though there are exceptions for those who prefer to plan ahead; most state parks, in contrast, accept reservations, and many smaller campgrounds that are managed by private vendors do as well. If you don't have the flexibility that allows you to move on to another site or a nearby alternative campground if you can't find a good spot, finding a campground that accepts reservations may be worthwhile. Yurt and cabin options are almost always reservation-based, as are group sites. There are, of course, plenty of remote areas where reservations may not be an issue, especially if you are willing to walk into your site and don't need the direct vehicle access. In the end, the simplicity of a Forest Service campground with a table, fire pit, and some terrific views of the stars can feel absolutely luxurious.

The number of campgrounds in Washington is staggering, especially if you add privately run campgrounds to your search of national and state facilities. Consider this guide a starting point for your investigation into your own favorite camping opportunities. We've listed a handful of options for some of Washington's most popular outdoor regions, and each regional heading is a link that will bring you to a more extensive list of campgrounds in that area. Details about each campground can be found on the individual adventure pages, and Outdoor Project members will also be able to see photos of recommended sites. Have fun, respect your site and your neighbors, and don't forget to share your photos in the Comments section of the adventure page when you return!

Western Olympic Peninsula

  • Ozette Campground. Fifteen first-come, first-served sites on the north shore of Ozette Lake just inside Olympic National Park's western edge. No hookups.
  • Klahowya Campground. Fifty-six sites set on right into a bend in the Sol Duc River. All are first-come, first-served, and there are no hookups.
  • Sol Duc Campground. Reservations are accepted at this 99-site campground, and there are 17 sites with water and electric hookups. The Sol Duc Resort is nearby.
  • Elwha Campground. Forty sites in the beautiful Elwah River Valley just 30 minutes southwest of Port Angeles. All sites at Elwah Campground are first-come, first-served, and this campground is open year round.
  • Lake Quinault, Willaby Campground. Reservations are available at this 40-site year-round campground on Lake Quinault.
  • Lake Crescent, Fairholme Campground. Eighty-eight sites ideally situated near the water and with direct access to Fairholme Beach. First-come, first-served, no hookups.

Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula

  • Lake Cushman Resort + Campground. Reservations are accepted at this 77-site campground on the banks of Lake Cushman. Tent camping is open May through mid-October, while cabins and RV sites are available year round.
  • Lake Cushman, Skokomish Park South Camp. South Camp enjoys quick and easy access to the beach, boat ramps, boat rentals, and a swimming area that make Skokomish Park a popular draw throughout the summer. Fifty-six sites with reservations and hookups available.
  • Fort Worden State Park Beach Campground. Located adjacent to the stunning Fort Worden Beach, near to the Point Wilson Lighthouse, and boasting several amenities, this campground has 80 sites, and reservations are recommended.
  • Staircase Campground. Located right on the banks of the North Fork of the Skokomish River, 56 first-come, first-served sites within Olympic National Park.
  • Potlatch State Park Campground. Reservations and hookups are available at this 73-site campground located on Annas Bay in Hood Canal.
  • Fort Flagler State Park Campground. Set on the northern tip of Marrowstone Island and overlooking Admiralty Inlet, Fort Flagler State Park Campground has 146 sites including several with full hookups. Reservations are recommended.

Southwest Washington Coast

  • Grayland Beach State Park Campground. This large campground boasts 104 sites and 16 yurts. Reservations are encouraged.
  • Pinnacle Rock Campground, Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge. One of five campgrounds on Long Island in the heart of of Willapa Bay. Five first-come, first-served sites and tremendous views of the bay and wildlife. 
  • Cape Disappointment Campgrounds A, B, C and D. With 210 sites and 11 yurts in A, B, and C campgrounds and another 53 sites and three cabins in D, this is one of the most popular coastal campgrounds in Washington. Reservations are recommended in this popular state park. Hookups available.
  • Ocean City State Park Campground. North Beach's largest campground, this 180-site campground sits under a well-shaded coastal forest dominated by shore pine. Full hookups and reservations are available.
  • Twin Harbors State Park Campground. This expansive 266-site campground is open year round and offers several sites with full hookups. Reservations are strongly recommended in this popular state park. The campground's west side has direct access to the beach.

Northern Puget Sound

  • San Juan County Day Park + Campground. Twenty-three sites are available at this beautiful campground on San Juan Island. Memorable views from every site. Reservations are essential here. 
  • Moran State Park Campground. There are 119 sites distributed between the North End, Midway, and South End sections of Moran State Park. Reservations are recommended. No hookups.
  • Lake Dale Resort + Campground. Located only 4.8 miles from Friday Harbor, Lake Dale combines the campground and resort atmosphere. Fifty-four sites, some with hookups, along with 23 yurts and six cabins. Reservations recommended.
  • Bay View State Park Campground. Seventy-seven sites and one cabin in this campground located on Padilla Bay. Arrive at low tide for excellent beach combing. Reservations are available.
  • Birch Bay State Park Campground. Located on scenic Birch Bay, this 170-site campground is great for shore- and water-based activities. Hookups and reservations available.

Southern Puget Sound, Seattle + Tacoma Metro Area

  • Fay Bainbridge Park Campground. Just an hour from Seattle, this 26-site campground is a perfect escape from the city. Reservations are encouraged here. No hookups.
  • Dash Point State Park Campground. Lush vegetation mitigates the size and density of this 143-site campground located just 45 minutes from Seattle. Reservations and hookups are available.
  • John Macdonald Memorial Campground. Located within Tolt-MacDonald Park on the Snoqualmie River. A great escape for families, this 40-site campground also boasts six yurts. Reservations suggested.

Mount Rainier Area

  • Alder Lake Park Campgrounds. Reservation season is May through September at this set of campgrounds on Alder Lake outside of Mount Rainier National Park. Sites total 173 between the various campgrounds, and they range from tent only to full hookup.
  • Mowich Lake Campground. A popular first-come, first-served, 21-site campground in Mount Rainier National Park. Near to Mowitch Lake and plenty of other adventures, and no backcountry permit is required.
  • White River Campground. The main campground serving the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park, this 108-site campground is all first-come, first-served with no hookups available.
  • Ohanapecosh Campground. A total of 195 sites are available at this large national park campground, and significantly, reservations are possible here. This campground is near to some of the most popular trails in Mount Rainier National Park.
  • La Wis Wis Campground. Year-round shade and great access to the Cowlitz River from this 70-site campground located outside of Mount Rainier National Park. Reservations are available here, and there are no hookups.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

  • Lake Easton State Park Campground. Reservations are recommended at this popular 138-site state park campground with easy access to Lake Easton. Forty-five sites have full hookups.
  • Kachess Lake Campground. Beaches, boat launches, and day use areas make this a great choice for families looking to camp on the lake. Reservations are a must at this 184-site campground, and hookups are not available.
  • Salmon la Sac Campground. Sixty-nine sites located near hiking and with great access to the Cle Elum River. Reservations are available, hookups are not.
  • Owhi Campground. A small, quiet campground on the banks of Cooper Lake, this is a good spot to get away for a short stay. Twenty-two first-come, first-served sites with no hookups, and visitors should arrive early to find a spot.
  • Denny Creek Campground. At just an hour from Seattle, this campground is a good option for a quick getaway, though reservations are essential. Twenty-four sites total, no hookups, flush toilets, and easy access to nearby trails.

North Cascades

  • Colonial Creek Campground. Located right on Diablo Lake, this 142-site campground in North Cascades National Park is all first-come, first-served.
  • Newhalem Creek Campground. Reservations are accepted at this large and popular 113-site campground in North Cascades National Park. There are no hookups available.
  • Goodell Creek Campground + Group Sites. A great alternative to Newhalem, Goodell Creek Campground in North Cascades National Park has only 19 first-come, first-served sites and two group sites available for reservation. There are no hookups here.
  • Rasar State Park Campground. Easy access to the Skagit River and nearby hiking trails. The 52 sites include 20 with full hookups, and there are three cabins as well. Reservations are recommended.
  • Howard Miller Steelhead Park Campground. Primarily an RV campground, Howard Miller has 50 sites with hookups, 10 tent sites, and two cabins. Easy access to the Skagit River make this a popular stop, so reservations are recommended.

Mount Baker Area

  • Swift Creek Campground. A good alternative to the dense Kulshan Campground, Swift Creek has 49 sites, 10 of which are group sites, and reservations are accepted. Plenty of additional amenities such as a marina and a large day use area.
  • Panorama Point Campground. One of the several smaller campgrounds on Baker Lake, Panorama Point has 15 sites that are available for reservation. No hookups here, but great views of the lake.
  • Horseshoe Cove Campground. Thirty-eight sites with excellent access to Baker Lake's Horseshoe Cove. No hookups here, and reservations are accepted.
  • Boulder Creek Campground. Ten sites situated on Boulder Creek a short distance from the crowds at Baker Lake. No hookups here, and reservations are accepted.
  • Silver Fir Campground. Located along the North Fork of the Nooksack River, Silver Fir has 27 sites without hookups, and reservations are accepted.

Eastern North Cascades + Lake Chelan

  • Glacier View Campground. Located on Lake Wenatchee, Glacier View has 23 first-come, first-served sites that are well spaced and private. No hookups here, but great lake access.
  • Lake Wenatchee State Park Campground. With 100 sites and one group site, this campground is a popular choice for visitors to Lake Wenatchee. Reservations are recommended, and there are no hookups.
  • White River Falls Campground. With only five free first-come, first-served sites, this is an easy one to overlook, but you won't regret a stay here near the falls. No hookups.
  • Napeequa Crossing Campground. Another free camping opportunity along the White River, Napeequa also has five first-come, first-served sites and no hookups.
  • Nason Creek Campground. Great Lake Wenatchee access with lighter crowds, Nason Creek Campground has 76 sites, 45 of which have hookups, and it accepts reservations.

Mount Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks

  • North Fork Campground. Reservations are accepted at this 33-site campground located at the confluence of the North Fork of the Cispus River with the main Cispus River. Open May through mid-September.
  • Walupt Lake Campground. Easy lake access and near to hiking opportunities. Forty-two sites here, and while reservations are an option, hookups are not.
  • Cat Creek Campground + Campsites. Providing great access to the Cispus River Recreation area, this tiny 11-site campground is all first-come, first-served with primitive sites.
  • Blue Lake Creek Campground. Blue Lake and Cispus River access make this a popular choice in the area. Reservations are available at this 11-site campground. No hookups.


Nice write up but....The title should be "A Guide to Camping in Western Washington." I'm from the other side of the state and we always get left out of these kinds of lists. I'm always looking for new adventures in Eastern Washington but can't find much that covers anything East of the Cascades. Share the love, we have tons of great camping over here too. Would love to see a story on this part of Washington.
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