We managed to get out camping 5 times since May, and I thought it would be useful to report on the places we stayed. First, a little bit about my biases. This is our first summer with a trailer and I have found that my highest priorities are natural beauty, peacefulness, and outdoor activities (and perhaps cute towns) in the vicinity. We have never used hookups of any kind and I really don't like to be in a large cluster of RV's, although I sure do appreciate clean and functional restroom/shower facilities!
On to the reports:
We stayed one night in late May at Deception Pass State Park
on the north end of Whidbey Island. This is the most popular Washington State Park for a reason. Awesome natural beauty on all sides. Beaches, forest, lake, etc. Impossible to get a reservation on a summer weekend unless you plan way in advance. We really enjoyed the pull-through tent site on the northern side of the main campground. We couldn't see any neighbors, it was very shady, and we could hear the waves at night.
We shared a pull-through site with tenting friends at Dash Point State Park
in Federal Way for three nights. It is very close to Seattle and has some wooded hiking trails and a very popular beach. We were not in the RV area, and it looked very unpleasant to me, with all the sites fairly close together. The site we were in was relatively private (although I will always make sure I have afternoon shade, as the Boler
gets way too toasty in direct sun). The bathrooms were in pretty bad shape, but there was a big utility sink with hot water which made washing dishes easy. Nice camp hosts jumped my car battery
. There were quite a few vacant sites, as it was the middle of the week, but there were also quite a few people who looked a little sketchy.
We spent three nights at Flowing Lake Park
, which is part of the Snohomish County Park system. We had a wonderful wooded campsite with lots of privacy. It did have hookups, but I just used the spigot for filling our water bottle. The bathrooms and showers were brand new and really nice. The campground is very far from any major roads, so it was very quiet at night. The park itself is on a lake that gets heavy day use from boaters and teenagers, so it was pretty crazy during the afternoons. But we fished off the fishing dock in the early mornings and it was very peaceful. The town of Snohomish was about 15 minutes away and had lots of great restaurants, bakeries, and antique shops in its quaint downtown.
We also went to two private resorts that have camping and cabins, one near Mt. St. Helens and one on Orcas Island. They were both fantastic.
(ecoparkresort.com) is the closest lodging to the main visitor center in the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens. There are no hookups at all and no generators allowed, but if you can live with that, it is a great place to stay in a camper or one of their cabins. It was only $18/night for a campsite. The site we got was pretty large (back-in, with room for friends to stay in a tent in the large grassy area). There is no electricity at the resort, so everything is either propane
. The bathroom/shower was clean. There is a restaurant with serviceable food and homemade pie, helicopter rides (too expensive for us), and horseback riding. The resort is on 130 acres, so there are tons of birds, wetlands areas, a beaver lake, elk meadows, and hiking trails. And it was very convenient for all the Mt. St. Helens activities. We loved it.
Last, but not least, is Doe Bay Resort
(doebay.com) on Orcas Island. Another resort with cabins, yurts, and different types of camping. More expensive than the rest at $40-50/night, but I can't think of a more stunning setting and there are some amenities that may make it worth it. It is a "crunchy" kind of place, although not as blatantly counter-cultural as it used to be. Yoga and massages are available, and a big draw is the hot tub and sauna area (clothing optional!) that overlooks the water. There are meadows and a play structure for romping kiddoes, a secluded cove beach, kayaking. There is a general store where you can get natural foods, wine, toys, souvenirs. You can buy produce from the Doe Bay garden, or eat at the (fabulous, seriously fabulous) restaurant. If you want to cook but don't want to be stuck on the campstove, there is a large communal kitchen with refrigerators, cooking gear, two stoves, and seating. We camped with friends who shared our campsite in a tent and we bought farmers market items every day and prepared amazing gourmet meals. There is sometimes music at the restaurant, and they were having a Shakespeare performance the day we left. We actually ended up spending two extra days, for a total of 5 nights. I never wanted to leave! Blissful quiet, gorgeous island setting, roaming deer, friendly people, great food, quaint island towns. Wonderful.
We've had a great summer!