Washington maintains more than 80 state parks with campgrounds, offering clean and scenic accommodations across the state. Tent sites are around $14, RV hookups (not available in all campgrounds) cost around $20. Note: if you pitch a tent in a site with electricity, you will be charged the RV rate. Some state parks also offer more primitive campsites for $6 that attract hikers and cyclists. Most park sites include a picnic table, barbecue grill, nearby running water, garbage removal, a flush toilet, and coin-operated hot showers. Many state parks are closed October–March; those that remain open often have limited winter camping facilities. Most campground gates close at 10 p.m., so get there early!
Campground reservations (888/226-7688, www.parks.wa.gov) can be made for nearly half of the state parks and are available as little as two days in advance, or as much as 11 months ahead of time. A $7 reservation fee is charged in addition to the first night’s campground fee and can be paid by credit card or check. The general state parks phone number is 360/902-8844.
The state also maintains 40 or so marine state parks in the San Juan Islands and around Puget Sound. Moorage occupancy is limited to 72 hours and cannot be reserved in advance. The Cascadia Marine Trail System includes more than 35 campsites around Puget Sound available to sea kayakers and users of other small human-powered or sailing vessels. Get maps and information from the Washington Water Trails Association (206/545-9161, www.wwta.org).
Other Public Campgrounds
Campsites at national forests and parks are scattered across Washington. Some sites are free, but most campgrounds charge $8–12. More than 60 Forest Service campgrounds are reservable for an extra fee of $9. Call ReserveUSA (877/444-6777) or make reservations on the Web at www.recreation.gov. With a few exceptions, Park Service campgrounds are not reservable, so get there early on busy summer weekends!
Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR; 800/527-3305, www.dnr.wa.gov) manages millions of acres of public lands in the state, primarily on a multiple-use basis. Campsites can be found at DNR forests throughout the state; DNR produces a helpful map showing more than 80 free public campgrounds on its land.
Private RV Parks
Every town of any size has at least one private RV park. These private campgrounds generally charge $3–5 for showers if you’re not camping there. People traveling in RVs often find that they prefer private parks to state and national parks, since they have better amenities.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition