The West's best camping
Northwest: 27 best campgrounds
Our favorite campgrounds in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia
1. Cape Disappointment State Park, Southwest of Ilwaco
The campground launches you into 1,880 pristine acres at the end of the Long Beach Peninsula. Wander 27 miles of beach, or go clamming or fishing. Sites 104 and 105 have great beach access. $19; 360/902-8844; book at parks.wa.gov/reserve.asp
2. Lone Fir Campground, Okanogan National Forest, Northwest of Winthrop
A wooded spot along Early Winters Creek offers a cool base for exploring the northern Methow Valley. On hot days, head to the swimming beach at Pearrygin Lake State Park, near Winthrop. $12; no reservations; 509/996-4003.
3. White River Campground, Mt. Rainier National Park
Keep an eye out for mountain goats near this campground (accessed from the White River entrance) on Mt. Rainier. For wildflowers, hike 3 miles to Glacier Basin or 4.2 miles up, up, up to Summerland via the Wonderland Trail. $12 (plus $15 park entrance fee per vehicle); no reservations; 360/569-2211.
4. Curlew Lake State Park, Northeast of Republic
This 5.5-mile-long lake in the state’s northeastern corner is famous for its trout fishing and swimming. Bring your passport and take a day trip to the historic mining and railroad town of Grand Forks, British Columbia, 27 miles north. $17; no reservations; 360/902-8844.
5. Moran State Park, on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands
After you summit 2,400-foot Mt. Constitution or conquer the park’s bike trails, cool off by Cascade Lake at this shaded campground. Skip the long car-ferry lines and walk on with your gear; the Orcas Island Shuttle ($6 one-way; www.orcasislandshuttle.com) runs all summer long. From $20; 360/902-8844; book at parks.wa.gov/reserve.asp
6. Penrose Point State Park, Southwest of Purdy
On the Key Peninsula, Penrose is the best of two worlds ― Northwest forest and Puget Sound beach, with a Frisbee-perfect lawn connecting the two. The group campsite near the playfield and beach can sleep up to 50 people. $19 (from $40 for group site); 360/902-8844; book at parks.wa.gov/reserve.asp (group site: 888/226-7688).
7. Salt Creek Recreation Area, West of Port Angeles
Awe-inspiring views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and colorful tidepools at Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary make this a standout. Choose a spot with a view over the strait―we like site 63. $18; clallam.net or 360/928-3441; book by mail (details on clallam.net).
8. Doe Bay Resort, on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands
The best spot at the eclectic, 38-acre Doe Bay Resort with its 27 sites on Orcas Island isn’t a crunchy cabin, one of the yurts, or a Buckminster Fuller–like dome. It’s a simple tent site called Seal Landing: The grassy bluff on the point of Otter Cove has a front seat to sunrise, and it’s just steps from the new soaking tubs, a sauna, and a cafe serving organic, locally sourced food, from scallops to foraged nettles. From $45, including spa access; doebay.com
9. Second Beach, Olympic National Park
Hemmed in by rugged headlands and bookended by natural arches with keyhole views, Olympic National Park’s broad Second Beach—reachable by a quick 0.7-mile hike—is the coast’s crown jewel. Pitch your tent on the sand and unzip to views of seals, bald eagles, and the Quillayute Needles, a half-dozen surf-battered islets. $5, plus $15 park entrance fee and $2/person/night; no potable water; nps.gov/olym