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HomeCampingA Information to Washington State Parks Tenting

A Information to Washington State Parks Tenting

Washington has a number of the most breathtaking surroundings in all the United States, and the proper option to expertise it’s by visiting–and tenting at–one of many state’s parks. From excessive desert landscapes to rocky seashores and snow-capped mountains to dense forests, you’re positive to discover a Washington state parks tenting spot that awes and conjures up.

Learn extra to be taught the fundamentals about tenting in Washington state parks, in addition to some suggestions to make sure you have the most effective journey potential!

View of Mount Rainier in Washington State. Washington State parks camping.

Making Washington State Parks Tenting Reservations

Discover a park

The sheer variety of state parks in Washington could be overwhelming! Begin your search with a common space in thoughts. The space you’re prepared to journey would be the first issue to slim down your selections.

Subsequent, check out the official Washington State Parks webpage. It’s a useful useful resource for planning your state park tenting journey! The primary web page incorporates a “Discover a Park” hyperlink that may assist you to slim down your search by area.

After getting a working listing of potentialities, seek the advice of a web site like Tripadvisor, the place you’ll be able to see a number of the options of the parks in your listing and browse useful opinions from previous guests.

Make an inventory of your high 3-5 Washington state parks earlier than you start the reservation course of. Think about what sort of tenting you wish to do, as effectively. Would you like a fundamental tent web site? A spot with house on your RV? A yurt or cabin?

Along with having an inventory of parks picked out, it’s a good suggestion to get an thought of what websites in every park you would possibly prefer to camp in. Seek the advice of a park map and have just a few choices able to go earlier than you ebook.

View of a waterfall in Palouse Falls State Park.
Palouse Falls State Park.

Reserve and pay

Washington state parks enable guests to ebook on-line or by cellphone (reserving on-line means you pay much less in charges, so it’s a extra budget-friendly option to go if you are able to do it).

You can also make reservations as much as 9 months upfront, and the most effective websites replenish quick. Attempt to plan your journey as far upfront as potential. If you happen to can’t get right into a Washington state park campsite however you discovered a park you’re dying to go to, strive discovering a close-by campground on a reserving web site like Campspot.

In Washington, state parks on the central reservation system are open for reserving between Might 15 and September 15 every year; nonetheless, a number of parks have prolonged, and even year-round, reserving home windows. You possibly can see which internet sites are open for which home windows on the state parks webpage.

You could pay in full to ebook your reservation at a Washington state park. If it’s good to mail your fee in, make the reservation a minimum of 28 days earlier than your requested arrival date. The state reservation middle should obtain your full fee inside 7 days of when the reservation is processed.

Drop-ins are welcome at Washington state parks on a first-come, first-served foundation.

View of lush green forest with a creek running down a hill in Washington State.

Passes and permits

One good factor about tenting at Washington state parks is that you just don’t want a separate allow for the state park by which you’re tenting. If you happen to do select to enterprise to a different state park throughout your journey, you’ll must buy a move for that park. Most parks mean you can purchase the move on the gate if you arrive.

Washington additionally provides some good reductions for folk, as effectively. Washington residents who’re disabled (together with, however not restricted to, veterans), licensed foster mother and father, seniors with restricted revenue can all qualify for reductions on passes to Washington state parks.

For a lot of of those reductions, guests will nonetheless must pay a small reservation charge when reserving a campsite. Remember to have proof of eligibility prepared to point out park employees if you examine in.

Adjustments and Cancellations

Examine every park’s change and cancellation guidelines earlier than you make your reservation. Life occurs and plans can change; it’s greatest to know what to anticipate if you happen to do must make a change to a reservation.

You’ll forfeit your reservation when you’ve got not checked into your web site by 1 p.m. the day following your scheduled arrival. If you happen to assume this can be a problem for you, merely name the park and ask them to carry your spot, giving employees an estimate of your new arrival time or day.

What to Do When You Arrive

A brown and white campground sign.

Once you get to your park vacation spot, examine in on the entrance workplace or kiosk and make any wanted adjustments to your reservation departure date, as wanted. Present proof of eligibility for any reductions, and present your move and movie ID.

Washington state parks do cost for additional autos. In case you have any, you’ll pay for them if you check-in.

Issues to Do at Washington State Parks

View of mountains in Washington State.

Now comes the enjoyable half! There’s a lot to do whereas tenting at Washington state parks, and such stunning surroundings, that you could have an equally superior time doing nothing.

Though some actions are solely applicable for sure parks, there are a number of actions that you are able to do at any Washington state park.


Geocaching is a enjoyable exercise for all ages and skills. Utilizing a world positioning system (GPS) or smartphone, gamers search out hidden caches (referred to as geocaches) shared by different customers on-line. When gamers discover the sought-after landmark or hidden treasure, they signal a logbook on the web site and may even submit about their search on-line. Ginkgo Petrified Forest has a number of the greatest geocaching within the state!

If you happen to plan to geocache, examine the park’s guidelines on the place it’s allowed and what sorts of treasures you’ll be able to depart behind.

Mountain climbing, Steel Detecting, Wildlife Viewing, and Mountain Biking

A hiking trail in Washington State.

Whatever the state park you find yourself in, you’ll discover trails of all difficulties the place you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the world’s wildlife.

Camano Island State Park simply exterior Seattle options a straightforward, 2.6-mile roundtrip hike with placing views of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier. For tougher trails, strive Deception Go State Park, the place you’ll be rewarded with coastal, lake, or waterfall views. If you happen to’re headed to the southeastern a part of the state, Fields Spring State Park is a pleasant place to soak up views of the Wallowa Mountains.

Most Washington state parks enable metallic detecting. Beacon Rock and Mount Spokane are two in style locations for this exercise.

A number of parks, like Olallie State Park and Riverside State Park, additionally provide scenic and difficult mountain biking trails.

Lakes, Seashores, and Ocean

Head to a Washington state park on the western facet of the state if you happen to’re on the lookout for breathtaking coastal views. There, along with scenic hikes, you’ll discover actions like tidepooling, fishing, diving, and shellfish and seaweed harvesting at Fort Flagler, Fort Ebey, or Fort Worden, or windsurfing, boating, kayaking, and fishing at Shine Tidelands or Larrabee.

Washington additionally boasts some stunning lakeside state parks, like Lake Chelan,the place you may also get pleasure from boating, fishing, scuba, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming.

A dock with a chair looking out on a lake in Washington State.

Interpretive Facilities

With reveals to learn, watch, contact, and listen to, state park customer facilities have one thing for everybody in your tenting occasion. Go to the interpretive middle at Cape Disappointment, the place guests study Lewis and Clark from atop a cliff overlooking the Graveyard of the Pacific, the place the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean and numerous ships have wrecked.

Paragliding and Dangle Gliding

For skilled paragliders and hold gliders with their very own gear, Fort Flagler, Fort Ebey, and Steptoe Butte state parks provide wonderful views. (You possibly can paraglide in any respect three, however solely Steptoe Butte permits hold gliding.) Be aware that you will need to have a allow for these actions.

All-Terrain Autos

If you end up on the northeast facet of the state close to Spokane and also you prefer to go off-road on a mud bike or different automobile, Riverside State Park provides a 600-acre space so that you can get pleasure from.

Rock Climbing

Round a dozen Washington state parks boast difficult areas to rock climb, both throughout the park or close by. Among the finest spots for climbing is Peshastin Pinnacles State Park within the Wenatchee Valley, which is known for its 200-foot sandstone spires and sweeping views.

What to Carry

No matter the place you’re within the state, be ready for something! The climate throughout Washington can change within the blink of a watch. Pack layers (significantly one or two which can be waterproof), as temperatures might soar through the day however crash in a single day. Bug spray and sunscreen are additionally a should.

With all of the wonderful surroundings you’re positive to see at any campground within the state, it would be best to ensure you have a pair of binoculars and a digital camera available!

A camera placed on a log in a wooded setting.

Take a look at this household tenting guidelines for a information on what to deliver to your Washington state park tenting journey!

Particular Issues


There are some security tricks to bear in mind when tenting in Washington state parks.


The sorts of harmful wildlife you would possibly encounter in a Washington state park will depend on the area. Seek the advice of the guides on the Washington Parks and Wildlife web site.

On the flipside, remember to shield the wildlife, as effectively! Chorus from feeding or making an attempt to the touch any of the wildlife you come throughout.

On the Water

View of a boat in Puget Sound at Tolmie State Park.
Tolmie State Park.

Normal boating security measures must be taken if you happen to plan to hit the water in a Washington state park. Remember to learn the rules if boating is in your to-do listing! If you happen to’re taking part in in or on the water, all the time have the suitable security gear–US Coast Guard-approved life vests, flotation units, and the like) available.


What’s a camp with no campfire? Seek the advice of the web site of your particular campground to examine for burn bans and laws. Some parks in Washington enable wooden, charcoal, gasoline, and propane, however not all, and never on a regular basis.

Mountain climbing and Biking

Use widespread sense when mountaineering or biking in a Washington state park. Don’t hike alone, however if you happen to should, let somebody know the place you propose to go and if you plan to return.


Meals at a state park in Washington require some planning and we’ve bought a Tenting Meals part that can assist you there. Test your state park campground earlier than you go to see what–if any–facilities can be found for prepping and cooking meals.


Most Washington state parks provide bathe services, for a value. Showers are 50 cents per three minutes. You should buy tokens at some state parks whereas others require you to make use of quarters.


Test your particular park for guidelines on canine and different pets, however, normally, well-behaved canine are welcome throughout the state parks in Washington.

A dog wrapped in a blanket by a campfire.

The state even has a BARK Ranger program (BARK stands for “Bag your pet’s waste, At all times leash your pet, Respect wildlife, Know the place you’ll be able to go”) that rewards good girls and boys–and their house owners–for good conduct! If you happen to and your pet are seen training the BARK Ranger rules, park employees will reward you with a BARK Ranger canine collar tag.


You possibly can study campsites with Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility options on every campsite’s webpage. Nonetheless, as a timesaver, if you happen to want an ADA-accessible web site, Washington State Park Service has a helpful webpage the place you’ll be able to seek for campsites with ADA options.


Washington has extensively expanded high-speed Wi-Fi in its state parks. If being linked is a precedence on your group, remember to examine together with your park of selection to verify its Wi-Fi suits your wants. Presently, Potholes State Park and Pacific Seashore State Park each have their very own Wi-Fi (learn: greatest) service.

Washington State Parks Tenting for the Win!

Two wooden chairs on the shore of a lake in Washington State.

With so many alternative experiences to select from, there’s one thing to awe and encourage everybody on a Washington state parks tenting journey!

Need to increase your search past Washington state parks? Take a look at our different State Tenting Guides for concepts!

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