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If you’re looking for a Pacific Northwest adventure to remember, you’ve come to the right state. Just pack your gear and head out into a Washington state park.
Here are just a few of the adventures that await you – kayaking along a marine trail from Puget Sound to Canada; hiking through an old-growth forest in the mountains; wind surfing the famous Columbia River; climbing a rock named by the Lewis and Clark expedition; swimming in sun-baked lakes formed by glaciers and ice-age floods and cross-country skiing in a snowy, winter landscape.
Beautiful settings and diverse locations throughout Washington offer many opportunities for relaxation, adventure and fond memories.
• Camping or RVing in lush forested settings
• Strolling on miles of sandy Pacific Ocean beaches
• Picnicking on expansive lawns or along tranquil streams
• Hiking, biking or horseback riding on an historic railroad trail
• Watching orca whales swim through the San Juans
• Stargazing at an observatory far from city lights
• Fishing, swimming and boating on pristine lakes
• Digging for shellfish
• Viewing prehistoric rock paintings
• Downhill skiing or snowmobiling
• Learning about the region’s history and environment
• And more!
With so much to do, it’s no wonder Washington’s state parks received nearly 48 million visits last year.
You’ll find a variety of overnight options available at Washington’s state parks. From simple, backcountry camping spots to a splendid Lighthouse Keeper’s Residence overlooking the Pacific Ocean, there’s a destination to fit every style.
• Lovely historic vacation houses with stunning views and modern facilities — You are bound to find your sweetest of dreams among the great selection of locations and reasonably priced accommodations. Vacation houses are scattered throughout Western Washington, from the world-famous San Juan Islands to the mouth of the spectacular Columbia River.
• Conference centers — For business or pleasure, Fort Worden State Park and Hyak Lodge offer group facilities at affordable prices. Fort Worden, located near the charming town of Port Townsend and on the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, has dormitories, Victorian vacation houses and meeting rooms for both small and large groups. Hyak Lodge, a comfortable mountain inn set in beautiful Snoqualmie Pass, is an ideal spot for smaller business meetings, corporate retreats and other group events.
• Yurts and cabins — These “convenient” camping structures offer an outdoor experience with the luxury of electricity, heat, futons and bunk beds and locking doors.
• More than 6,500 campsites in 80 parks, with standard, primitive and full RV hookup site — Reservations can be made year-round for more than 40 campgrounds up to nine months in advance for May 15 to Sept. 15. Other campgrounds are first-come, first-served.
• Group camps for 20 to 500 or more people — Group camps statewide in beautiful park settings are great places to make lasting memories with friends and families.
• Lodges and cabins (environmental learning centers) offer private settings for group getaways in rustic, natural environments. Popular for weddings and receptions, family reunions and school and church activities.
• Moorage for boats. The gentle waves of a peaceful lake or a cove tucked away on Puget Sound will rock you to sleep after an active day on the water.
Washington state parks are perfect for daily excursions, from casual picnics in the park to planned group activities.
• Event facilities. There are 10 reasonably priced facilities in scenic Washington locations that offer ample space for weddings, anniversary parties, family reunions, company picnics and business meetings.
• Interpretive centers. Washington State Parks’ 13 interpretive centers provide opportunities to learn about historical, cultural, geological and natural wonders with interactive exhibits. Two popular visitors centers include Mount St. Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Fort Canby State Park.
• Picnic shelters and tables. With thousands of picnic tables statewide, there’s always a spot for picnic baskets, barbecues and group gatherings.
• Sno-Parks. Those of you who are winter sports enthusiasts can ski, snowshoe or snowmobile at various locations across Washington and take advantage of Sno-Parks (parking lots cleared of snow) near trailheads.
• Marine parks and boat launches. Visit 21 marine parks and launch watercraft at more than 140 statewide locations.
Experience the Lewis and Clark Adventure
Visitors can trace Lewis and Clark’s steps through Washington’s state parks and take advantage of unique and interesting interpretive opportunities, while enjoying the natural beauty of state parks.
• Lewis and Clark Trail State Park – Living history depictions of the story of Lewis and Clark take place Saturdays at 8 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Other interpretive programs are available upon request. Subjects include history, botany, animals and astronomy.
• Sacajawea State Park – Tour the Sacajawea Interpretive Center, which features Lewis and Clark information and a large display of Native American tools.
• Beacon Rock State Park – Climb the rock or hike up a trail and enjoy a breathtaking view from the top.
• Fort Canby State Park – Stand on the edge of the Pacific Ocean to discover for yourself the wonders documented by the expedition. A newly renovated interpretive center includes rare expedition artifacts and a half-scale replica boat carved from a cedar tree similar to those made and used by the expedition’s crew.
• Station Camp State Park – Located near Fort Canby, this is the famous site of the Corps of Discovery’s Station Camp, where a black servant and an Indian woman were allowed to vote for the first time in American history.
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