Distance: 57 miles
Come for the tidy state park camping spaces, stay for the giant old military installation to climb on. Port Townsend’s historic peninsula park is so crammed with beaches, historic houses, museums, and a boat launch it deserves a multi-day visit. The park boasts two campgrounds—a forested one and beach sites with better views—but they both book out months in advance and can be reserved up to a year ahead.
Distance: 169 miles
The tiny finger of land that pokes into the Columbia River just north of I-90 includes a campground managed by the county. The 55 newly remodeled sites boast ample distance, clearly designed by someone who doesn’t like bumping slide outs with the neighbors. A golf course takes up much of the rest of the peninsula, though swimmers may prefer the Thousand Trails campground just inland, home to a pool and hot tub.
Distance: 120 miles
Even better than this campground’s proximity to the Bavarian-ified town of Leavenworth is that it’s not too close to Leavenworth—a good three miles from the packed downtown. Besides the year-round Oktoberfest vibe and Nutcracker Museum, the area offers hiking, mountain biking, and river rafting. Founded in 1946, the resort has 10 primo campsites that back right onto the banks of Icicle River.
Distance: 219 miles
The term “rock” undersells the enormity of the basalt butte that rises out of Banks Lake in the middle of Grand Coulee. Boaters flock to the sizable campground—with 136 full hookup sites with water—that can handle some longer RVs. Trails trace Northrup Canyon across the highway, and the towering Grand Coulee Dam and its summertime laser light show is a short drive north.
Distance: 199 miles
What is the opposite of a full-service destination? Probably this rustic enclave in North Cascades National Park, accessed only by a drive through Canada (so the border must be open) and a rough dirt road. Work for it, though, and earn a free campsite and views of remote, snowy peaks that rise over the top of Ross Lake.
Distance: 102 miles
The north end of Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park is the quiet side, opposite the bustle of the park-operated lodge. With bike and paddleboat rentals on-site, plus a seasonal restaurant serving breakfast and dinner, there’s little reason to wander far. The full-service hookups are a rarity for a national park campground.
Distance: 151 miles
Rimrock Lake makes a case that we should appreciate the southern half of Washington’s Cascades for more than volcanoes like Rainier. The six-mile lake west of Yakima doesn’t look man-made, though it was created by damming the Tieton River. Plentiful kokanee salmon make for good fishing, and Silver Beach Resort boasts its own swimming spot and boat launch. Waterfront sites, all non-hookup, make a case for going unplugged.
Distance: 240 miles
It makes sense that the popular chain campground in one of the state’s most charming mountain retreats, the Methow Valley, overdoes it on extras: Pool, bike rentals, lawn games, space for vehicles up to 70 feet long. It even rents Conestoga wagons for all your Little House on the Prairie cosplay needs. Wedged between the highway and the Methow River, the sites retain some privacy thanks to tree cover. An on-site gemstone mining station for kids literally digs into the area history.
Distance: 223 miles
As at Maryhill State Park next door, the rolling Columbia serves as this private campground’s main attraction, albeit with a bit more shade—some peach trees remain from its orchard days—and a private swimming lagoon. More than two dozen sites abut the river. Stars and even the Milky Way pop in the night sky in these parts—thanks to a dearth of city lights—particularly a few miles up Highway 97, near the newly refurbished and public Goldendale Observatory.
Distance: 133 miles
Prime waterfront spots on the Pacific coast remain elusive, even with Washington’s ample shoreline. More than a dozen pull-ins face the wide sandstrip south of Westport, with dozens more a short ramble from the waves. Surfers flock to the break, and constant winds keep kites aloft year-round.