State Park campgrounds in Washington.
From the coast to the rainforest to the high desert, Washington's state parks offer something for everyone.
Washington's state parks are something wild. Grab your Discover Pass and start at the Pacific Ocean—with its endless beaches and tidal pools—to watch the dogs and kids in the surf and the whales breaching offshore. Then move inland and get lost on the hiking trails among the ancient trees of the Olympic Peninsula's temperate rainforest. Next up is boatingRead more...
Washington's state parks are something wild. Grab your Discover Pass and start at the Pacific Ocean—with its endless beaches and tidal pools—to watch the dogs and kids in the surf and the whales breaching offshore. Then move inland and get lost on the hiking trails among the ancient trees of the Olympic Peninsula's temperate rainforest. Next up is boating along Puget Sound followed by the rugged foothills of the Cascades, carpeted with Douglas fir, ferns, and salah, where climbing adventures abound. Finally, crest the rainshadow and emerge on the other side of the range to explore the unusual offerings of the state's high desert—including a 200-foot waterfall in the southeastern section of the state.
Where to Go
From the state's tallest waterfall at Palouse Falls to its longest cave at Crawford State Park, there are surprising mysteries hidden among the scrub in the far eastern reaches of Washington. Among them are fascinating historic sites, a petrified forest, and some of America's most impressive superlatives, including its third-deepest lake (Lake Chelan) and largest dam by mass (Grand Coulee).
Kick back in the sand (the campgrounds are just a short jaunt away) to enjoy the laid-back side of the Washington State Park system. History buffs should be sure to check out the Lewis and Clark interpretive center at the southernmost park—Cape Disappointment State Park—also home to the longest-running lighthouse in the Northwest guides ships into the Columbia River.
From the saltwater Puget Sound, around the Kitsap Peninsula, up past Whidbey Island and through Deception Pass State Park, to the secluded forests of the San Juan Islands (including Larrabee State Park and Orcas Island) up to Birch Bay, the secluded Salish Sea is home to maritime and land wildlife alike. Watch closely and you might just spot an elusive member of the southern resident orca pods, which feast on the area's native salmon. Stop by the historic sites at Fort Casey to learn the history of maritime defense.
Just a short jaunt from nearby Seattle, the state parks nestled into the slopes of the Cascades encompass all of our favorite outdoor activities (the views of Mount Rainier and the other Cascade volcanoes aren't bad either). There's rock climbing at Peshastin Pinnacles, family adventure at Wallace Falls (perfect for budding hikers), kayaking at Lake Wenatchee, peakbagging at Mount Pilchuck, and an epic rails-to-trails project along the stretch of park known as Palouse to Cascades. In the North Cascades, you'll find easy access to Ross Lake National Recreation Area from some of the quietest parks in the state.
The impressive expanse of the Columbia River is worth a visit in its own right, but kiteboarders and windsurfers should make a special stop to the state park campgrounds in this area to enjoy some of the best air in the Pacific Northwest. When you're finished, head up to the Goldendale Observatory to take a peek through the country's largest public telescope.