Overnight camping adventures abound in Washington state. Lush rainforests, rugged coastlines and pristine alpine environments await discovery, as do wild and scenic rivers, stunning archipelagos and one of the most diverse petrified forests in the country. With such a variety of landscapes, campgrounds in Washington appeal to all outdoor enthusiasts.
Camping in famous national parks like Mount Rainier and North Cascades attracts international tourists and resident campers alike, and the places to camp in Olympic National Park are as diverse as the surrounding landscapes. These three national parks not only represent some of the best camping experiences in the state, but are also considered top spots to experience nature in the United States.
Washington’s state parks are also inviting for camping trips. These parks dot the state and include islands, mountains, alpine lakes and petrified forests. Most campgrounds in state parks also offer flush toilets and coin-operated showers.
Plan your next outdoor adventure in the Pacific Northwest with our list of the best campgrounds in Washington state.
1. Cougar Rock Campground, Mount Rainier National Park
On the southern flank of Mount Rainier, Cougar Rock Campground offers the closest access to the park’s stunning Paradise area. This area of Mount Rainier is aptly named, and with a 16-kilometer scenic drive from the campground, visitors can experience Rainier and its many glaciers up close. Here, the Skyline Trail traverses the mountain meadows, babbling brooks and surreal alpine setting that defines this scenic region of the park.
With more than 170 reservable campsites, Cougar Rock often fills up early and quickly during the typical May through October operating season. Campsites are close together, but the old-growth stands of hemlock and Douglas fir provide an added sense of privacy.
An extensive amphitheater area in the campground offers educational programs throughout the season, and flush toilets and drinking water are available
2. Hoh Rainforest Campground, Olympic National Park.
Located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington, the Hoh Rainforest is an international tourist destination and a unique environment found in few other places in the world. While much of northwest Washington is green, the Hoh offers endless shades of green with ferns on mosses in every inch of the forest.
The Hoh Rain Forest Campground offers 78 campsites to help you explore this lush and inviting landscape over several days. As of 2020, sites have been changed from first-come, first-served to reservation-only. Showers are not available, but flush toilets and drinking water are nearby. And the real draw of this popular campground is its proximity to famous trailheads in the area.
In less than a five-minute walk, next to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, visitors can hike through the Hall of Mosses or the Spruce Nature Trail. This trailhead is also the beginning of the 17-mile Hoh River Trail, which leads all the way to Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus.
3. Colonial Creek Campground, North Cascades National Park
Colonial Creek Campground is one of the most popular starting points for exploring Washington’s rugged North Cascades. It is located next to the aquamarine waters of Diablo Lake and is accessible via the seasonal North Cascades Highway.
The campground is divided into a north and south loop with over 130 sites available. These sites are best suited for tent campers or small recreational vehicles. No showers are available, but all campsites have access to flush toilets and drinking water.
4. cranberry lake campground, deception pass state park
Deception Pass is one of the most popular state parks in Washington. It includes both Whidbey and Fidalgo Island, including the historic bridge that spans the two. Part of the park’s popularity is its proximity to Seattle, which is an 80-mile drive from the city.
Deception Pass was heavily developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and inhabited by Coast Salish tribes for thousands of years before that. Today, this expansive state park offers dramatic vistas where Skagit Bay meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This landscape beckons visitors with lush coastline, generous tide pools, and dense scenery through which to hike.
Deception Pass offers more than 300 campsites spread across three areas of the park. Although there are several campgrounds near Deception Pass, most of the camping is at Cranberry Lake Campground on the Whidbey Island side of the park. Cranberry Lake is suitable for tent campers and RVs with hookups partially available.
On Fidalgo Island, Bowman Bay also hosts campsites and provides easy access to the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretive Center where visitors can learn more about the park.
5. Lake Wenatchee State Park Campground, Leavenworth.
Lake Wenatchee State Park is a 20-mile drive from the Bavarian mountain town of Leavenworth. With high cascading peaks to match the alpine-inspired decor, the town is a great year-round recreation spot. And Lake Wenatchee is one of the top campgrounds in the area.
Lake Wenatchee’s North and South Campground Loops offer a total of more than 150 campsites for tents and RVs. All sites are a short walk from the beach, as are restroom facilities with showers. Drinking water is also available.
Hiking, biking and horseback riding are available on the park’s many trails, and Lake Wenatchee’s shallow lagoon is ideal for young swimmers and first-time paddlers. Other recreational opportunities on the five-mile lake include fishing and non-motorized boating far from shore.
6. Bowl and Pitcher Campground, Riverside State Park, Spokane.
Riverside State Park spans 11,000 acres along the Little Spokane and Spokane rivers and is a central natural attraction in eastern Washington. The state park is divided into several regions in northwest Spokane, and the Bowl and Pitcher area is arguably the most scenic.
The 32 campsites at Bowl and Pitcher Campground are the most desirable in Riverside State Park. The campground offers direct hiking access to the area’s namesake: an impressive collection of basalt structures jutting out of the Spokane River. And it offers space for tents and RVs with access to hot water showers and flush toilets
Riverside State Park appeals to a variety of outdoor interests. Common activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, swimming and off-highway vehicle operation. Other areas worth exploring include Deep Creek Canyon, Nine Mile Recreation Area and Little Spokane River Natural Area, all within a short drive of Bowl and Pitcher.
7. Moran State Park, Orcas Island
For an excellent San Juan Islands adventure, Moran State Park has it all. Hiking, biking and equestrian trails run through this 5,000-plus-acre state park, and five freshwater lakes invite fishing, swimming and non-motorized boating.
The sprawling Moran campground has 124 sites spread across four different areas of the park. Views and privacy vary among the different camp areas at Moran, and the South End Campground tends to be the most popular, as all sites are located on the shores of Cascade Lake.
A special experience when visiting Moran State Park is the climb to the top of Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands. Visitors can walk, bike or drive to the top, and a stone tower at the summit provides a breathtaking 360-degree view. Try booking one of the 10 coveted sites at Mountain Lake Campground to find the closest campsite to Mount Constitution.