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The state of Washington is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Not only is Washington home to epic destinations like Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier National Park, but there are also lots of state parks that offer even more opportunities for recreation and activities. No matter where you are in Washington, you aren’t far from a state park that might just become your new favorite place to spend time. Here is a sampling of the amazing state parks to visit in Washington.
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Deception Pass State Park
The most popular state park in Washington, Deception Pass State Park is also one of the best places to visit in the Pacific Northwest. It is in the Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island area and has an interesting history that you can learn about at the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretative Center. You’ll love experiencing the Pacific Northwest landscapes here with the park’s boat ramps, hiking trails, and fishing at the lake. You can camp overnight at the state park with your tent, camper using electrical hookups, and cabins available for rent. It is a huge park spanning over 3,854 acres with 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline.
Sun Lakes Dry Falls State Park
A unique place to visit in Eastern Washington is Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park, which is where one of the largest historic waterfalls once formed. If the water was still flowing, these falls would be much larger than Niagara Falls. Today, locals and visitors come here to go boating on the lakes, hike on the trails, and enjoy the sightseeing experience. The Vista House Overlook is an excellent viewing area, and the whole park offers opportunities to learn about natural history and geology. Camping is available here with full-hookup sites and a dump station.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Despite the name, you won’t be disappointed when you visit Washington’s Cape Disappointment State Park. The park features beautiful lighthouses, an ocean coastline, and lots of hiking trails. It was named after a trip that Captain James Meares took to find the Columbia River that was unsuccessful. You can learn more about local history by visiting the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center onsite. There are different kinds of campsites available here, as well as yurts and cabins.
Columbia Hills Historical State Park
Columbia Hills Historical State Park is a 3,637-acre park made up of four distinct sites for your Washington exploration. Horsethief Butte is a favorite spot among rock climbers, while Horsethief Lake is a great place to camp with your tent and RV after checking out the Native American petroglyphs and pictographs in the park. You can access lots of trails from Crawford Oaks Trailhead for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Meanwhile, visitors can learn about local history at the homestead ranch called Dalles Mountain Ranch. There are about seven miles of hiking trails at the park, as well as boat ramps, ranger-led tours, fishing, and swimming in the lake.
Palouse Falls State Park
You can also experience dramatic landscapes in the southeastern part of Washington when you visit Palouse Falls State Park. There is one of the region’s most iconic waterfalls here and wide-open spaces in the high desert for some peace and solitude. The park is small compared to others on this list, yet it provides some of the best views in the entire state. Limited first-come, first-served tent camping is available at Palouse Falls State Park if you’re looking for a primitive experience out in nature.
Lake Wenatchee State Park
The Lake Wenatchee area of Washington is beautiful and near the popular Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth. Here you can enjoy scenic views, boat rentals on the lake, hiking, horseback riding, biking, and cross-country skiing in the winter. There’s also a sledding hill and snowshoe trails for your cold-weather adventure. Camping is available at this state park if you want to bring your tent or RV along to make a weekend adventure out of this state park trip. Camping is available year-round in standard and partial hookup sites.
Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park
A more obscure state park in Washington is the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park near the small town of Vantage. It is an Eastern Washington destination that has some of the best-preserved petrified wood anywhere in the U.S. This state park has camping available for your weekend trip is also near the Gorge Amphitheater that is popular for summer concerts. The park is made up of three areas, which are the Wanapum Recreation Area that has the campground, an interpretative center with day-use areas, and a museum and interpretative trails with three total miles of hiking.
Rasar State Park
This North Cascades state park in Washington is along the Wild and Scenic Skagit River and has a great campground for overnight trips. It’s a smaller park with 4,000 feet of freshwater shoreline. Camping is available here for tents and in well-appointed cabins, some of which are pet-friendly so you can bring your dog along for an overnight stay. Many people come here for the wildlife watching opportunities, especially for eagles. The park offers 3.7 miles of hiking trails, freshwater fishing, junior ranger programs in the summer, and some playground equipment for kids.
Saltwater State Park
For a beach getaway, plan your trip to Saltwater State Park, which is just two miles from Interstate 5. It’s on a stretch of shoreline between Seattle and Tacoma, making this a popular destination for city-dwellers craving a dose of nature. It’s the only state park in Washington with an underwater artificial reef for diving enthusiasts to enjoy. You’ll also find campsites, a dump station, and campground restrooms with showers.
Camano Island State Park
In the Whidbey Island area, Camano Island State Park is a lovely state park with coastal bluffs and views of Puget Sound. It’s close to Seattle and has standard campsites and cabins for your overnight trips. It’s a quieter park than the neighboring Cama Beach State Park and has three miles of hiking trails and a mile-long bike trail to get outdoors and active.
Beacon Rock State Park
Beacon Rock State Park is a wonderful place for rock climbing and hiking to waterfalls. There’s a popular switchback trail to get you to the top of this 848-foot iconic rock. Other park activities include cycling and horseback riding. Take in the views of the Columbia River Gorge and set up camp at the 4,458-acre year-around campground at Beacon Rock State Park. It’s in close proximity to Portland and Vancouver and includes over 26 miles of roads and trails for recreational use.
Twanoh State Park
Twanoh has been a state park since 1923 and is a favorite among Washington locals. It has 2.5 miles of hiking trail and opportunities for boating, saltwater fishing, oyster harvesting, swimming, and waterskiing. This scenic park offers standard campsites and full hookup sites for your weekend trips. It is one of the oldest state parks in Washington and is a great example of a Great Depression-era park. Other activities you can do in the park include badminton, bird watching, horseshoes, volleyball, and tennis.
Moran State Park
Visit the beautiful Moran State Park on Orcas Island to enjoy some relaxation and expansive views. You can bike, hike, or drive to the summit of Mount Constitution to see the San Juan archipelago from here. There are five lakes in the park where you can kayak, SUP, fish, or swim. It’s also easy to get active here on the 38 miles of trails for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. The large park spans 5,424 acres and has camping sites. Various types of sites are available depending on what you’re looking for here, including ones that are 45 feet for RVs.
Battle Ground Lake State Park
You’ll also love this forested camping park in the Cascade Mountains that’s close to Portland and Vancouver. Lots of people from the city and suburbs come here for their outdoor recreation. It’s a 280-acre park with trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. There’s also a primitive equestrian camping area and spring-fed lake for paddling, fishing, and swimming here. Other features of the park include a badminton area, softball and baseball field, volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Permits are required to use the two watercraft launches at the park. Come here for your family fun on the weekends.
Riverside State Park
Riverside State Park is about nine miles from Spokane. It’s a great place for horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking. There are 55 miles of trails, including the 40-mile mixed-used Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail. The park spans 9,1,94 acres of land and nearly 200,000 feet of shoreline. Meanwhile, the park is also conveniently close to local restaurants, shops, and cafes. Camping is available at the Bowl and Pitcher campground, an equestrian campground, Nine Mile Recreation Area, and Lake Spokane campground.