Camping is a popular activity in the Pacific Northwest, which isn’t really surprising given the enticing mountainscapes, lakes and coastline Washington state provides. We’ve asked our local insiders to recommend their favorite, most scenic spots – read on for suggestions that you and your camera will love.
Just a short drive from Seattle, this back-to-basics campground is a beautiful place to spend a few nights under the stars. If you’re comfortable with sparse facilities (there are toilets but no showers or camper hookups), Kalaloch’s coastal forest setting and the views out over the Pacific Ocean are well worthwhile. It’s a great spot to explore the surrounding beaches and shoreline – keep your eyes open for sea otters, puffins and occasional pods of dolphins offshore. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman
Lake Wenatchee should be high up on your to do list for those classic Northwest views over deep blue lagoons, lush green forests and looming mountains. The park’s campground is well maintained and incredibly scenic, with easy access to paddleboard and kayak hire for those wanting to spend a relaxing day on the lake. Alternatively, head off into the depths of the forests following the extensive network of hiking trails. Lake Wenatchee boasts near-universal appeal – it’s a favorite for both groups of friends on road trips and families on weekends out with the kids. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman
Right on the water’s edge, a short drive from the awe-inspiring Deception Pass Bridge, Cranberry Lake Campground offers campers a secluded spot in the Deception Pass State Park to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Activities available nearby include hiking, paddleboarding, biking, fishing, swimming and wildlife watching, and while out of the way, the campsite offers full bathroom and shower facilities. Campfires are permitted, so bring marshmallows and prepare for long evenings under the stars. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman
Colonial Creek is definitely one for animal lovers. The site is dog-friendly, and there are great wildlife watching opportunities nearby (including bears, which are great to observe from a distance, but make sure you take suitable precautions while using the campground and the hiking trails). It’s remote, but hugely popular with holidaying Seattle folk due to its proximity to the city; while this means it gets busy at peak times, it also means that the campground is equipped with all modern conveniences, including a fishing pier, boat ramps and trailer parking, paved roads and even an amphitheater. With access to Lake Diablo, it’s the perfect place to enjoy long dusky evenings by the water’s edge. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman
Mount Rainier National Park is arguably the jewel in the crown of Washington’s natural wonders, with thousands of visitors a year venturing up and around the huge, glacier-clad volcano and its beautiful surroundings. Camping is a great way of making the most of your time there, and Ohanapecosh Campground offers this in the most beautiful surroundings possible. Encircled by old-growth forest and dissected by a small mountain river, it’s a scenic and convenient base from which to explore everything the national park has to offer. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman