Best Camping in Washington

Washington State, with its stunning Pacific coastline, majestic mountain ranges, and lush rainforests, offers an unparalleled camping experience that captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest. From the rugged beauty of the Olympic Peninsula to the volcanic landscapes of the Cascades and the serene islands of the Puget Sound, Washington provides a diverse backdrop for adventurers seeking both solace and thrill amidst nature.

For those enchanted by coastal wilderness, Olympic National Park is a treasure. The park encompasses several distinct ecosystems, from its rugged coastline dotted with sea stacks to the temperate rainforests and the alpine environments of the Olympic Mountains. Campgrounds like Kalaloch and Mora offer easy access to the beach, where you can explore tide pools, hike along the coast, or simply enjoy the sunset over the Pacific. The Hoh Rainforest, with its moss-draped trees and fern-lined trails, offers a magical camping experience beneath its ancient canopy.

In the heart of the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier National Park is a magnet for campers and mountaineers alike. The park's campgrounds, such as Cougar Rock and White River, provide stunning views of Mount Rainier, the tallest volcano and most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S. Trails from these campgrounds lead through wildflower meadows to panoramic vistas and crystal-clear alpine lakes, offering a range of hiking opportunities for all skill levels.

For a volcanic adventure, the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument allows campers to explore the aftermath of its 1980 eruption. Seaquest State Park, located just across from the visitor center, offers a convenient base for exploring the monument's blasted landscape, lava tubes, and regenerating forests. The Ape Caves and Johnston Ridge Observatory are must-visits for a closer look at the volcano's power and ongoing recovery.

The San Juan Islands, accessible by ferry, offer a serene island camping experience. Moran State Park on Orcas Island features campgrounds set among old-growth forests and freshwater lakes, with opportunities for hiking, biking, and paddling. The view from the top of Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juans, offers breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding islands and the mainland.

A few tips for camping in Washington: The state's climate can vary greatly, with wet conditions common in the west and drier conditions in the east, so pack accordingly. Booking in advance is highly recommended, especially for popular destinations during the summer months. And, whether you're exploring a national park, a volcanic monument, or the islands, practicing Leave No Trace principles is crucial to preserving Washington's natural beauty for future generations.

Washington's camping destinations invite you to explore the state's diverse landscapes, from the oceanic wonders of Olympic National Park and the towering presence of Mount Rainier to the volcanic landscapes of Mount St. Helens and the tranquil beauty of the San Juan Islands. Whether seeking solitude, adventure, or a journey through the natural world, camping in Washington offers an experience that embodies the wild spirit of the Pacific Northwest.