Whether you're traveling with friends, family, or solo, you can find excellent camping in these Washington state parks.
Camping is one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors, especially in states like Washington, where being out in nature is a way of life. You can spend your days hiking, fishing, boating, or simply relaxing, followed by peaceful nights with campfires, s’mores, and starry skies. But if you’re a seasoned pro, odds are you’re familiar with how difficult it can be to snag a coveted camping spot in a national park these days. While folks flock to campsites in popular national parks like Mount Rainier and Olympic, Washington’s 124 state parks have equally great camping opportunities and are often not as crowded or overbooked.
Located throughout Washington state and with options for reservations or a first-come first-served basis, the Evergreen State’s local parks connect campers to its wealth of natural landscapes, from mountains to forests to coastlines to marine environments. They’re also treasure troves of history and culture, with military ruins, 1930s-era park structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and tributes to Indigenous groups.
So, grab yourself a Discover Pass and pack your camping gear. Whether you love roughing it and prefer to camp on a remote island or you're seeking an accessible campsite for a leisurely weekend getaway, these Washington state parks are the best for camping.
Deception Pass State Park
Best known for its high-flying twin bridges linking the coastal islands of Whidbey and Fidalgo, Deception Pass State Park is Washington’s most-visited state park. And it’s easy to see why. Marrying the best of the land and sea, visitors can trek along 38 miles of trails through coastal old-growth forests, see tide pools at Rosario Beach, kayak and boat past secretive coves, and fill camera rolls with endless photos of technicolor sunsets. If you’re lucky, you may even spot whales swimming by or bald eagles soaring overhead. Spanning 3,854 acres along the rugged Pacific coast, the well-equipped park can accommodate both tent campers and RVers, with 172 tent sites and 134 partial hookup locations. Camping at the Cranberry Lake Campground is arguably the best choice, as it offers access to fishing and swimming in the lake and beachcombing and bridge views at North Beach.
Rasar State Park
This small 180-acre state park on the western doorstep of North Cascades National Park is a well-maintained, friendly option for family camping, with nearly 50 different campsites for tents and recreational vehicles, picnic spots, and play areas. The park’s lush fields and forests border 4,000 feet of the Skagit River, drawing in fishers and kayakers to enjoy this leisurely stretch. Second-growth forests blanket the surrounding hills and mountains for hikers of all ages and abilities, and you have good odds of spying local wildlife like eagles.
Larrabee State Park
Go back to where it all began by camping bayside in northwestern Washington’s Larrabee State Park. Founded in 1915, this was Washington's first state park, offering boating, sightseeing, hiking, and other outdoor fun on the moody Pacific coast. Its scenic location on Samish Bay looks out toward the San Juan Islands, and if the season is right, campers can try their hand at crabbing or shellfish harvesting along the beaches. If you tire of coastal activities, the forests of the Chuckanut Mountains make the sea feel a world away, with hiking trails to hidden freshwater lakes and designated mountain biking trails.
Lake Chelan State Park
Located in sunny, arid central Washington, Lake Chelan has been a summer staple for Washington families for generations, with groups coming back year after year to camp, swim, boat, and wine and dine on locally grown wine and produce in charming nearby towns like Chelan. Situated on the 50.5-mile lake’s southwestern shore, the 139-acre Lake Chelan State Park is a picturesque retreat with 103 standard campsites, 17 full hookups, 18 partial hookups, and facilities like showers and restrooms. Naturally, water sports like boating, kayaking, paddling, and waterskiing are all the rage here. But with 300 days of sunshine, lounging beside the blue lake and watching the scenery of rolling hills and distant mountains is equally enticing. If you’re planning a summer trip, it's best book your campsite fast.
Lake Wenatchee State Park
Surrounded by the captivating peaks of the Cascade Mountains, Lake Wenatchee and its 492-acre namesake state park draw in lake lovers from all over throughout the year. During the summer months, swimmers, kayakers, windsurfers, and boaters fill the rippling blue waters at this five-mile, glacier-fed freshwater lake. But come cold weather, an average snowfall of 150 inches transforms the landscape into a winter wonderland with ski hills, cross-country and snowshoe trails, and sled runs. With the Bavarian-inspired town of Leavenworth just up the road, it really does feel like a European holiday. But camping is the name of the game here, with 155 standard sites and 42 partial hookups, along with facilities like showers, restrooms, and a dump station.
Moran State Park
If you make the trek to this all-seasons state park on Orcas Island in northwestern Washington, you’re going to experience more than unplugging from modern life and connecting with nature. While hiking and mountain biking the 30-plus miles of forested trails, paddling and swimming in sylvan freshwater lakes, or scaling the historic stone watchtower on the summit of Mount Constitution for panoramic views of the rugged archipelago and rippling Salish Sea, you’ll get a taste of what local islanders like to call “island time.” After all, when you’re camping on a remote island that can only be reached by boat or plane, you learn to slow down and move with the rhythms of nature. Campers have four different areas and 151 campsites to choose from around the park, and reservations are required between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Beacon Rock State Park
Standing proudly over the Columbia River, the 848-foot Beacon Rock invites adventurous travelers to scale its windy, switchback trail to the monolithic summit, where some of the best views of the mighty Columbia River Gorge await. But those eager to spend more time in the area can grab one of the 28 first-come, first-served year-round campsites within the 4,458-acre park, which offers rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Surrounded by the greater Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, it’s also a great home base for exploring both the Washington and Oregon sides of the gorge.
Riverside State Park
At 9,194 acres, Riverside State Park is Washington’s second-biggest state park, eclipsed only by Mount Spokane. Hugging the banks of the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers, this wide-open wilderness full of ponderosa pine forests, surging rivers, rocky canyons, and wildlife-rich marshes and lakes is the ultimate outdoor playground for residents of nearby Spokane. Pretty much any kind of outdoor recreation you can think of exists here, from swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing on the rivers and lakes to hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and birding on land. And the fun doesn’t stop after summer, as winter brings snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The park contains smaller recreation areas like Nine Mile, and has four different camping spots for tenting and RVing. Bowl and Pitcher is especially popular, due in part to the scenic suspension bridge spanning the rapids of the Spokane River.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Although the British fur trader who named this wind-and-wave-battered headland at the mouth of the Columbia River may have been disappointed in his find, history buffs and those who love sensational coastal landscapes are sure to have a field day. Located on a peninsula where the Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean, the 2,023-acre Cape Disappointment State Park has numerous historical distinctions, like marking the end of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. It’s also the home of ruined World War II-era fortifications and steadfast lighthouses. Hiking through ancient forests, walking across briny beaches like Dead Man’s Cove, harvesting clams and crabs, and soaking up the lore of this history-drenched park are just some of the ways to explore it while camping in the 137 available tent sites or 68 recreational vehicle spots. If you’re lucky, you may even get to watch boat captains navigate the treacherous Columbia Bar or see waves jettison upwards against the cliffs on stormy days.
Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park
When the cataclysmic Missoula floods washed across eastern Washington some 13,000 years ago, they created a massive waterfall four times the size of Niagara Falls. At Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park in central Washington, you can camp quite literally in the shadow of these former falls, at the base of the 400-foot-high, 3.5-mile-wide cliffs the torrential cascade once poured over. Although the falls are now a desertscape of eerie black basalt (and a key site along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail), Sun Lakes-Dry is a veritable oasis in dry eastern Washington, with sparkling lakes cradled at the base of the cliffs and waving grasslands all around. Campers can boat and paddle on Park Lake and Deep Lake, try their luck while angling for trout in Dry Falls Lake, hike through the surrounding shrub-steppe landscape along popular trails like Umatilla Rock, and dive into the geology and history of Dry Falls at the interpretive center. The park has 96 standard campsites and 41 full hookups, as well as restrooms, showers, picnic areas, and a dump station.
Sucia Island Marine State Park
Anyone can drive to a campsite, but what about a spot you can only reach by boat? For adventurous campers who love going the extra mile, Sucia Island Marine State Park in the San Juan Islands is ideal for an off-grid stay, as it's only accessible by watercraft. Apart from 60 campsites, picnic shelters, group sites, potable water, and composting toilets, as well as two docks and ample moorage sites, this horseshoe-shaped isle is undeveloped and unspoiled, requiring all supplies to be packed in and out. The remote location, difficult access, and lack of infrastructure pretty much guarantees a thin crowd, giving those seeking a truly solitary camping experience privacy to hike the 10 miles of forest trails, stroll driftwood-strewn beaches, boat to nearby islands, and keep their eyes peeled for wildlife.
Millersylvania State Park
A name like Millersylvania conjures dreamy images of tree-lined ponds in quiet backwoods, where canoers paddle past local birdlife and rustic cabins peek out between the trees. That’s exactly what you’ll find in this tranquil, 903-acre state park near Olympia. Rimmed by tall stands of old-growth cedar and firs, Deep Lake is the park’s main attraction. Popular with day trippers and campers alike, thanks to the mix of picnic areas, restrooms, and both tent and recreational vehicle campsites, visitors can fish, float, swim, and paddle on Deep Lake’s glassy surface and hike or bike through the nearby woods. While serene nature is Millersylvania’s biggest draw, the park is also home to several 1930s-era historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.