Fall and Winter Camping Inspiration in Washington

Backpacks to Cabins to Glamping

 
Fall and winter camping - Pacific North Wanderers.jpg
 

The temperatures have dropped, the leaves are falling, the rain is here, and winter is coming. With all of that being said, now is still a great time to get away and spend time with nature. Don’t let the change of seasons get you down, there are opportunities for all comfort levels, from backpacking in with the proper gear to sleeping in a cozy cabin at a state park. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind, unique, maybe even luxurious experience, there is also the option of “glamorous camping” through Glamping Hub. No matter your preference, there are plenty of late-season camping  options favorable for all. We have put together a list of ideas to get you started.

Time camping isn’t spent, it’s invested.
— Anonymous
 

 

Car Camping

The most popular type of camping for us falls under this category. This is one of the more convenient and cost-effective options, and it always leaves us with a great experience. Pack your vehicle with your gear, drive to your campsite, set up without much work - simple. Washington State Parks has recently announced their winter camping schedule with more than 100 parks remaining open through the season. National Parks also have some camping opportunities, but be sure to check them out on their respective park pages for seasonal closures.

 

 
 

Bridgeport State Park

Photos by Pacific North Wanderers

Looking to stay dry? Head east where the rain most likely isn’t falling. Bridgeport State Park is an excellent spot nestled up on the Columbia River. The park provides lush lawns, spacious campsites, and spectacular views of the night sky.

 

 
 

Olympic National Park - Sol Duc (Closes Oct. 29)

Photos by Pacific North Wanderers

Sol Duc campground, located in an old-growth forest of Olympic National Park, has many nearby hiking trails, including the favorite Sol Duc Falls. The campsites are situated right along the river and provide a pleasant, quiet experience. Plan early for this one as it closes later this month. If you do not make it in time, have a look at the park’s remaining campgrounds which are open throughout the year.

 

 
 

Potlatch State Park

Photos by Pacific North Wanderers

Located at the southern end of Hood Canal, Potlatch State Park is a 125-acre park with 5,700 feet of saltwater shoreline. Last time we stayed here, our site was edged up to a recently restored forested creek which made for pleasant trickling water sounds throughout the night. Walking across the road to the day use area gives you the opportunity to explore the shoreline of the canal and all its diverse water life.

 

Backpacking In

Quite the opposite from the last category, backpacking all your gear into an area and setting up camp will take a lot more planning and work. However, it is still possible, and it gives you that remote, off the grid experience - indeed, one with nature. We must admit, we need to do more of this type of camping. Luckily, a couple of our friends provided us with two of the suggestions below. Backpacking will require permits, so check the parks for that information before you head out.

 

 
 

Shi Shi Beach

Photos by Pacific North Wanderers

One of the most beautiful camping experiences we have had is at Shi Shi Beach in Olympic National Park. Sleeping right on the sandy beach of the Pacific Ocean is something unforgettable. From the sunsets and sea life to the towering Point of Arches; this is a beautiful trip and one of our most recommended.

 

 
 

Enchanted Valley

Photos by Tracy Durnell of Cascadia Inspired

If you are looking for more of a workout, you may be interested in Olympic National Park's Enchanted Valley which runs 26 miles roundtrip. Tracy Durnell of Cascadia Inspired provided this suggestion, along with the beautiful photos above. In this valley, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you will find the Enchanted Valley chalet which was built in 1931.

 

 
 

Ozette Triangle

Photos by Steve Weileman of Essex Media & Explorations

This triangle consists of Cape Alava Trail, Sand Point Trail, and a walk along the Pacific Ocean. There are many beautiful sites to see along this stretch which include Ozette Lake, the state's largest unaltered natural lake; Ahlstrom's Prairie, 160-acre wet meadow; Wedding Rocks, ancient petroglyphs carved by Makah tribe ancestors; and more. Much gratitude to Steve Weileman of Essex Media & Explorations for providing this suggestion and the great photos above.

 

Cabins & Yurts

On the other end of the spectrum, one that provides a bit more comfort, we have cabins and yurts. These will keep you warm in the late months as these shelters are heated. They also come with beds, chairs, and other furnishings. You will need to supply your linens, and there is usually no running water within them - so a middle of the night bathroom break will have you taking a short trek outdoors. Overall though, this is a great and fun option for the whole family.

 

 
 

Cape Disappointment State Park

Photos by Pacific North Wanderers

We originally planned to tent camp here a couple of years back. However, the pouring rains and gusty winds convinced us to upgrade to a yurt upon arrival. Lucky for us, there was one still available. We stayed dry through the night and had a warm place to recoup after our explorations of the park during the next two days.

 

 
 

Potholes State Park

Photos by Pacific North Wanderers

Not to be confused with the above mentioned Potlatch, Potholes State Park is located out east and provides a handful of cabins for overnight visitors. Our cabin was situated close to the reservoir and offered a lovely relaxing couple of nights. The picnic table and fire pit were each put to good use during our stay. This far-from-the-city park is an excellent spot for night photography.

 

 
 

Bay View State Park

Photos by Pacific North Wanderers

Are you looking for gorgeous water scenery? While looking out at Padilla Bay and the San Juan Islands, Bay View State Park is a beautiful choice for colorful and reflective sunsets. The cabins here are cozy and nestled within tall trees. If you are not looking to get too far from the city, this park is in an ideal location.
 

Bonus Option

How about a castle? Yup, a castle in Washington where you can be king or queen for a night or two. 

 

 
 

Fort Worden Historical State Park

Photos by Pacific North Wanderers

Alexander’s Castle is located atop a small hill in Fort Worden Historical State Park. It was built in 1882 by Reverend John Alexander as a gift to his bride to be. However, she ended up marrying another, and he occupied the castle alone for a short time before moving on. Although it is not the most “castly” of castles, it is still a unique structure for the Pacific Northwest.

 

Get Out and Camp!

We hope you were able to find our suggestions helpful for your fall/winter overnight outings. If you are in need of something a little different - treehouses, tipis, and more - Glamping Hub has a whole page of options for Washington weekend getaways. Let us know some of your favorite spots to camp in the comments below. Happy Camping!

 
 

Before heading out to the cabin or tent for a few nights, consider purchasing the Jetboil MicroMo Cooking System on Amazon. This is a lightweight system which provides a quick way to warm up your meals or to boil water. We take these with us on every overnight trip. Also, an easy way to pack food with you is by picking up some ready-to-eat food pouches from Mountain House. Boil water, pour into the pouch, stir and enjoy. If you buy through our links, we'll earn a small commission, and you won't pay a penny extra. Thank you for your support!

 

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