Camping At Saltwater State Park

Caution: Low Flying Aircraft

Sunset at Saltwater State Park - Pacific North Wanderers.jpg

Saltwater State Park is a park that is easy to access. Close to city and highway, it is an oasis in the midst of urbanity. Trails wind through lush patches of forest, creeks, streams, beachfront, views of the Olympic Mountains, interpretive paths, and camping is just a handful of the possibilities here. As an adult, the noise of air and ground traffic can be a significant annoyance, but as a child....... As a child, you are surrounded by wonder and adventure. 

I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then...
— Bob Seger


Getaway Without Going Far


Camping at Saltwater State Park


First off, if you're looking for a meditative escape, Saltwater State Park is not the place to camp. The campsites lie directly in the flight paths of jets departing SeaTac Airport, and the roar of their engines is experienced at regular and frequent intervals. Now that that is out of the way let's talk about what is great about the park. This is our second visit to this park, but the first time we camped here.

Finding the time to pack up the whole family, all the camping and beach gear, etc. can be a consuming and even overwhelming endeavor. The prospect of spending hours in a vehicle after all of the aforementioned prep might keep many families from seeking to spend time in the great outdoors. The convenient location of this park eliminates an abundant portion of that travel burden. 


While sure, as a kid you can camp out in your backyard and have a grand time. The excitement and adventure of pitching a tent near a creek, cooking your meals on a grill and snuggling cozily in a sleeping bag in the "wilderness" create memories that linger long into adulthood. This park reminds me, Stacy, of some of the camping trips I enjoyed as a kid. I do not remember any noise, how near or far we were from town; I only remember the joy of the experience.


On this Memorial Day weekend, many families were camping or spending time in the day use areas. Whiffs of charcoal smoke and grilled meats filled the air. Music, laughter, and conversation came in, and out of earshot, as we passed each party. These were families, relatives and friends spending time together and from the looks of it, enjoying themselves! 


The majority of this post is from the perspective of a child. Do not let that dissuade you as an adult. Children in tow, or not, there are plenty of activities to occupy your time here. There is a maintained trail system winding its way through the park. The trail is broken into sections, North Rim, South Rim and Interpretive trail.  The journey into the forest is a nice respite from the noisier areas of the park. The Interpretive trail offers some decent views of mountains in the distance and the beaches below. Informative signs are posted alongside trees and plants in this section.


The sun setting over the water is a delight to take in too. Scouring the shore at low tide or just breathing in the salt air from a bench while soaking in some vitamin D are all worthy ways to pass your time.



Final Thoughts


Olympic Mountains seen from Saltwater State Park


While this is not our ideal camping situation, it was still wonderful to be outside. To grudgingly climb from our warm sleeping bags and emerge into the chilly damp morning, trek down to the bathrooms, clean up a bit, return to camp and make coffee and breakfast--even now, at midday the thought brings a smile to my face. 

So, my point is; go camping, take your family! Showing them your love of the outdoors is a terrific way to teach them to love and respect the nature around them.  A couple of days "roughing it" might be just the getaway the entire family needs!


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Helpful Information and Additional Links

Coordinates: 47.373119, -122.323662
Hiking Trails: ~1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Pass Required: Discover Pass


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