Washington State is arguably the most beautiful state in the country. With some of the most diverse scenery and ecosystems on the continent, every season has its perks with non-stop outdoor options. The beauty of the State and National Parks here are unparalleled, and until the last few years, were relatively undiscovered. Sweeping vistas, waterfalls, and forests with canopies of lush green ferns, soft scented pine needles, wild mushrooms, and cool crisp air permeate the forests of Western Washington.
Aside from the sweeping scenery, there are plenty of fishing opportunities throughout the trails. Pitch your tent waterside, toss in a line and catch your dinner while watching the sun descend over the water.
Not only is there salt-water fishing, but crab, clams and oysters are abundant in season at over 100 State parks in Washington State;twenty of which are within one to two hours of the Seattle Area. Photographs will not do these parks justice, plan a visit to see the sweeping vistas, craggy cliffs, rushing rivers and placid waters for yourself.
With miles of shoreline, trails and water, hiking in Washington can become a bit of an addiction. You might end up needing that four-car garage to hold all of your outdoor gear once you get the bug. Your sense of well-being, happiness and health will all thank you.
One of the many great things about these parks is that they are relatively inexpensive to visit. An annual Discover pass is only $30, while most day passes range from $5-10 allowing access to trails, picnic areas and parking all without breaking the bank. Look out for the several free park days offered every year.
Recreational possibilities are abundant with a large number of the parks containing beaches, camping and fire pits. Several have stroller and wheelchair friendly trails with self-guided interpretive walks.
State Parks are not exclusively for those wanting to rough it; keep the parks in mind if you’re planning a wedding, retreat, conference, or a family vacation. There are luxurious vacation homes available with sweeping views if you enjoy the outdoors, but aren’t willing to camp. For those seeking an adventurous weekend outing, Cabins and yurts are available in several campsites. Many of the parks are for day use only with barbecue shelters large enough to accommodate company gatherings or family reunions.
Each park has its own character, all known for something different giving them a unique charm while drawing in visitors with individualized interests.
If you’re willing to book out a bit, reserve the entire Cama Beach State Park cabins, located on an island accessible by car and available year-round. Only an hour North of Seattle, it’s an easy getaway from the city for a reunion or wedding on the beach to remember.
Blake Island is a peaceful island, close to the city with views of Mount Rainier and Seattle. It’s accessible only by boat, keeping it a private oasis for an escape from the noise of the city.
Even horses have a place to go at Bridle Trails State Park located between Kirkland and Redmond. Bring your horse for a day to enjoy 28 miles of wide trails and 4 arenas with ample running space.
Saltwater State Park is only two miles from the freeway situated between Seattle and Tacoma. As one of the most popular parks in the state, it is worth knowing about as a welcome break if ever caught in traffic on the stretch of Interstate 5. Take the scenery in, watch the salmon spawn, or go diving at an underwater reef just off the coast. This beach is protected from shellfish harvesting in order to keep an untouched natural environment for divers.
Flaming Geyser State Park is located next to the Green River and is popular amongst model plane enthusiasts as it boasts a large field ideal for model airplanes. Stay to enjoy an interactive walk explaining the namesake. The walk reveals a group of past geysers whose methane supply has since dried up leaving behind clues of their past, labeled with stories of their former glory.
The Federation Forest State Park is 574 acres of old growth forest set aside to save the trees from deforestation. This park has a handful of trails and is home to large trees including Douglas firs, western hemlock, and western red cedar.
Known for water recreation, Dash Point State Park is a popular place for skim boarding when the tide is out.
The Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail is a bicyclists dream. A 110-mile trail each way connects with others for a ride all the way to Idaho if the timing allows for it. The trail starts in North Bend and ends in the Palouse region of Eastern Washington for a smooth ride along an old railway. Pack up the panniers for an epic bicycle adventure while camping along the way.
Lake Easton State Park is known for being close to the city for a quick jaunt to a sunnier climate. This park is great for a quick break, and is open year-round with snow in the winter. Come to enjoy cross country skiing, snow shoeing and even dogsledding.
Olallie State Park is packed with waterfalls, mountain biking trails, and walking trails. With over 20 miles of back country trails, this is an exciting and beautiful escape for all to enjoy.
While this list could go on, these awesome of our favorites with unique activities and attractions. Make it a goal to visit Washington State Parks; you won’t regret it!
The only thing better than a long day at the park is a well-earned micro-brew afterwards. So, go out and earn it…
*Be sure to get a Permit for watercraft, and licenses are needed before fishing or shellfish harvesting in all State Parks.