14 Top-Rated Campgrounds near Seattle

Written by Brad Lane
Updated Dec 23, 2023
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Author Brad Lane lives in the Pacific Northwest and often opts for campsites when visiting Seattle in the summer.

The best way to experience the natural splendor around Seattle is to go camping and spend the night. Iconic Washington landscapes surround the city, all within a three-hour drive or scenic ferry ride. This includes Washington's three national parks: Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic.

State parks near Seattle also deserve attention, including their ample campgrounds. Throughout these state-run public spaces, expect to encounter retired military barracks, deceptive bridges, and capes far from disappointing. These parks also support a variety of camping styles, including walk-in, car camping, and RV traveling.

The best campground close to Seattle depends on the intended adventure. Rugged seashores, glaciated mountains, and verdant forests wait to be explored, sometimes in a single day. If traveling in the summer, especially on the weekends, consider making reservations well in advance if available.

Both state park reservations and national park reservations can be made online.

1. Deception Pass State Park, Oak Harbor

Deception Pass Bridge
Deception Pass Bridge

This stunning state park spans Deception Pass between Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, fifty miles northwest of Seattle. It was originally home to Coast Salish tribes for thousands of years. And it was later named by English explorers, who mistook the passageway for the mouth of the Columbia River. It's an 80-mile drive to the park from Seattle without taking a ferry.

Deception Pass has been one of the most popular state parks in Washington for almost 100 years. The Civilian Conservation Corps developed much of the infrastructure of the park in the 1930s. Much of that work is still on display today in the park's many hiking trails, interpretive displays, and camping areas.

Deception Pass State Park has more than 300 campsites spread across three campgrounds, accommodating tent camping and RVs. Most campsites are at the Cranberry Lake Campground, including a collection of hiker/biker sites.

Fun things to do from all the campsites include hiking the scenic trails, fresh and saltwater boating opportunities, and great tide-pooling at places like Rosario Beach. Shower houses, restrooms, and interpretive programs are also nearby. And with over two million visitors a year, camping reservations are recommended.

Read More: Best Places for Camping at Deception Pass

2. Kalaloch Campground, Olympic National Park

Second Beach at Kalaloch Campground
Second Beach at Kalaloch Campground | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

On the opposite side of the Olympic Peninsula from Seattle, Kalaloch is the largest campground on the rugged Olympic Coast. It's open year-round and accommodates tent campers and small RVs, with all 170 campsites in earshot of the ocean.

The sites feature walk-up access to Second Beach, and campers at Kalaloch can also reach the sterling Ruby Beach just a short drive north along the coast. Flushing toilets and potable water are available. Reservations can be made ahead of any summer visit.

Driving south from Seattle through Olympia, it's just over a three-hour drive to reach the campground. Alternatively, visitors from Seattle can take a ferry to Bainbridge Island and drive along the peninsula's north side. This route takes a little longer, but with towns like Port Angeles and Sequim along the way, it's great for extended adventures.

With plenty to see on the Olympic Peninsula, it's recommended to check out some of the other top campgrounds in Olympic National Park for an extended trip.

Location: Route 101, Forks, Washington

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3. Cougar Rock Campground, Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Mount Rainier is an active stratovolcano surrounded by gorgeous alpine scenery, visible from the Seattle skyline. It's one of the biggest natural attractions of the entire Pacific Northwest. And this behemoth of a mountain is accessible from Seattle with a two-hour drive.

The National Park Service operates four prominent campgrounds within the park boundaries. And, several surrounding US Forest Service campgrounds comprise many of the other best campgrounds at Mount Rainier.

One of the most sought-after campgrounds at Mount Rainier is the Cougar Rock Campground. It's on the south side of the park, near the Nisqually River, and part of its popularity comes from its proximity to the renowned Paradise area of the park.

Skyline Trail at Paradise
Skyline Trail at Paradise | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Mountain meadows, streaming waterfalls, and furry woodland creatures define much of the experience at Paradise, all backdropped by expansive views of Rainier's contours and glaciers. And it's home to some of the best hiking trails in Mount Rainier National Park, including the awe-inspiring Skyline Trail and Muir Camp.

Over 170 campsites are available from late May through early September at Cougar Rock Campground. Advanced reservations are recommended. An equally nice alternative nearby in the park is the Ohanapecosh Campground, which accommodates tent campers and small recreational vehicles.

Address: State Route 706/Paradise Road, Ashford, Washington

Read More: Best Campgrounds in Washington State

4. Cape Disappointment State Park, Ilwaco

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment State Park is steeped in Pacific Northwest history and just over three hours from Seattle. It's on the far southwest corner of the state, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.

Despite its dreary name, coined by explorer John Meares after his futile attempts to locate the Columbia River entrance, Cape Disappointment is a lovely place consisting of lighthouse views, ocean vistas, and plenty of adventure.

Over 200 campsites are at Cape Disappointment, catering to tent campers and RVs. Yurts, cabins, and dedicated hiker/biker sites are also available. All overnight visitors have access to flushing toilets and coin-operated showers.

Picnic tables and great views enhance the entire park, and other popular recreational activities include hiking, beachcombing, and exploring history at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The nearby city of Long Beach is also well worth a visit, if not only for its namesake stretch of sand.

Location: Route 100, Ilwaco, Washington

5. Colonial Creek Campground, North Cascades National Park

Diablo Lake near Colonial Creek Campground
Diablo Lake near Colonial Creek Campground | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

For a great weekend getaway in the North Cascades, Colonial Creek Campground is located at the heart of the national park, near one of its most iconic bodies of water. The campground is accessed via the seasonal State Route 20, better known as the North Cascades Highway. And at two-and-a-half hours from Seattle, it's worth the drive for the panoramic views alone.

Colonial Creek Campground is split between two loops with over 140 campsites total, catering to tent camping and small RVs. Flushing toilets and potable water are available for all overnight users. All sites on either the South Loop or North Loop are reservable ahead of time on a six-month rolling basis.

A notable quality of the campground is the boat access it provides to the aquamarine waters of Diablo Lake. And popular hiking trails stem from either campground loop, including the trek up to Thunder Knob. The campground also accesses Thunder Creek to Fourth of July Pass, one of the best hiking trails in North Cascades National Park.

Location: State Route 20/North Cascades Highway, Sedro-Woolley, Washington

Read More: Best Campgrounds at North Cascades National Park

6. Lake Wenatchee State Park, Leavenworth

Lake Wenatchee
Lake Wenatchee | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Lake Wenatchee State Park is within Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, east of Seattle, and accessible via a scenic, two-hour drive on Highway 2. The massive lakeside campground at Lake Wenatchee is split between a north and south section with over 200 reservable sites available.

Recreation is found throughout the year at Lake Wenatchee State Park. Popular activities include swimming, boating, and hiking throughout the warmer months, and cross-country skiing and dogsledding come winter. Showers, boat docks, and an amphitheater are popular facilities at the park, and a small camp store nearby provides last-minute supplies.

Winter camping is also available at Lake Wenatchee State Park. The heated restrooms really help in this cold-weather endeavor, and the miles of groomed cross-country trails keep the blood flowing.

For an extra adventure, the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, one of the best small towns in Washington, is only a half-hour drive from Lake Wenatchee State Park.

Location: State Park Road, Leavenworth, Washington

Read More: Best National Forests in Washington State

7. Fay Bainbridge Park, Bainbridge Island

Fay Bainbridge Park
Fay Bainbridge Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

On the northern tip of Bainbridge Island, this municipal marine park takes advantage of the stunning surrounding scenery. It has abundant beach space overlooking Puget Sound with Cascade and Olympic Mountain backdrops. And it's within easy reach from Seattle with a ferry ride from downtown and a short drive across the island.

Fay Bainbridge Park offers opportunities to explore the scenery via hiking trails, beachcombing, and a boat launch near Fort Ward Park. The campground has 14 tent sites, 26 RV spaces, and two cabins to rent. The RV sites are closest to the water, which helps give a view of the long, drawn-out summer sunsets.

Reservations are available but must be made 14 days in advance. Flushing restroom facilities, hot showers, and potable water are located close to all campsites.

Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do on Bainbridge Island

8. Larrabee State Park, Bellingham

Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park

Larrabee State Park delivers excellent views of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands along the scenic Chuckanut Drive in northern Washington. This scenic state park holds the title of Washington's first state park and is still one of the most popular today. It's less than 10 miles south of Bellingham and a 90-minute drive from Seattle.

Larrabee has over 80 campsites along the seaward slope of the Chuckanut Mountains. The sites best accommodate tent campers and include access to showers, potable water, and restroom facilities. The Burlington Northern Railroad runs adjacent to the campground, rumbling with appeal for locomotive enthusiasts and young children alike.

Location: Chuckanut Drive, Bellingham, Washington

Read More: Top Things to Do in Bellingham

9. Sequim Bay State Park

Sequim Bay State Park
Sequim Bay State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Sequim Bay State Park is on the north end of the Olympic Peninsula, accessible via a downtown ferry and drive across Bainbridge Island. This commute takes two hours if the timing of the ferry is right. And, this ferry ride itself is part of the scenic adventure.

Sequim Bay has 45 standard sites and 15 partial-hookup sites available. The parkland is adjacent to the bay of its own name and set amongst a lush coastal environment. All sites at Sequim Bay are reservable six months in advance. And, each overnight guest has access to flushing toilets and coin-operated showers.

The campsites are split between two loops, with the Olympic Discovery Trail running down the middle. This non-motorized path spans the northern peninsula, allowing bicycle travel to the state park. Hiker/biker sites are available.

Address: 269035 Highway 101, Sequim, Washington

Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Sequim, WA

10. Fort Ebey Historical State Park

Fort Ebey State Park
Fort Ebey State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Fort Ebey State Park is near the center of Whidbey Island and accessible from Seattle via a ferry ride from Mukilteo. Whidbey Island beckons multiple travel days, and Fort Ebey makes an excellent base camp for exploring. And the park itself, with over 25 miles of hiking trails and a scenic retired military battery, is worth the trip on its own.

Fort Ebey has 50 sites available, and fewer than a dozen have water and electrical hookups. All sites are reservable ahead of time, which is the recommended way to go during the summer. Overnight guests have access to flushing restrooms and coin-operated showers. And, thanks to the lush coastal landscape, each site has a sense of privacy.

Fort Casey is an alternative option for camping on Whidbey Island. This smaller state park has 22 standard sites and 13 partial hookup sites available. Reservations are also recommended. The retired military battery at the park overlooks Admiralty Outlet and a stunning coastal scene.

Address: 400 Hill Valley Drive, Coupeville, Washington

Read More: Things to Do in Whidbey Island

11. Alder Lake Park, Elbe

Alder Lake
Alder Lake

Seventy miles south of Seattle, near the small community of Elbe, Alder Lake Park is a popular city park with year-round camping opportunities on the banks of the man-made lake. Popular recreational activities stemming from the campground include water skiing, beachcombing, and swimming at Sunny Beach Point.

Camping at Alder Lake is split between four areas with nearly 175 sites available, including tent camping, full and partial RV hookups, and designated group camping areas. The Rocky Point Campground, four miles east of the main park area, is one particularly popular spot.

Reservations are available up to nine months in advance, and the summer season often fills up. Alder Lake is a popular day-use destination as well.

Address: 50324 School Road, Eatonville, Washington

12. Willaby Campground, Olympic National Forest

Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail
Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

For rainforest surroundings close to Seattle, Willaby Campground delivers a dense world to discover. It's on the shores of Lake Quinault within Olympic National Forest, near the Quinault Ranger Station. Commuters from Seattle can reach this lush destination with a three-hour drive. And, it's a great jumping-off point for a long weekend exploring the rest of the peninsula.

Willaby features over 20 reservable campsites to pitch a tent or park an RV. Flushing toilets and potable water are available to all overnight guests. Outdoor recreation abounds in the immediate vicinity, including non-motorized boat rentals on Lake Quinault and exploration of the neighboring Quinault National Recreational Trail System.

Lake Quinault
Lake Quinault | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Quinault area of Olympic National Park is easily accessible from the campground. This region has other campgrounds and the Lake Quinault Lodge for indoor stays. It's also dense with spectacular hiking trails, including the East Fork Quinault River Trail to Enchanted Valley.

Willaby is generally open from April through November, weather dependent, with advanced reservations available and recommended.

Address: S Shore Road, Quinault, Washington

13. Camano Island State Park, Camano Island

Sunset on Camano Island
Sunset on Camano Island

At the northern end of Puget Sound near Whidbey Island, Camano Island hosts a 244-acre state park with a plethora of campsites. Over 80 campsites are available to pitch a tent, and five cabins are available ahead of time.

Camano Island State Park provides quick access to activities like boating and swimming and land-based endeavors such as hiking, cycling, and sunset watching. And many of the campsites overlook the water and ample rocky shoreline.

The Al Emerson Nature Trail is a popular route throughout the park, and the neighboring Cama Beach State Park provides another scenic place to visit. Both Camana Island State Park and Cama Beach can be reached via a 70-mile drive from Seattle.

Address: 2269 Lowell Point Road, Camano, Washington

Read More: Best Beaches in Washington State

14. Tinkham Campground

View from Tinkham Peak
View from Tinkham Peak

Tinkham Campground is within Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, next to the south fork of the Snoqualmie River. It's a 45-minute drive east of the city on Interstate 90, approximately 12 miles west of the Summit at Snoqualmie.

Tinkham Campground has 47 sites, all of which are reservable on a six-month rolling basis. Some sites cater to trailers and RVs, but none provide electrical hookups. Vault toilets are available for all overnight guests, and each campsite is equipped with fire rings and picnic tables. The campground operates seasonally between late May and mid-September.

The location of this campground opens a world of adventure. Popular activities nearby include hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. And, Mount Rainier National Park is only an hour away, making Tinkham an excellent jumping-off point for even bigger adventures.

Location: Tinkham Road, North Bend, Washington

Read More: Best Places for Camping at Mt. Baker, WA

Where to Stay in Seattle after Camping

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • If you are looking for a slightly upscale hotel that won't completely deplete the vacation budget, The Paramount Hotel delivers a classy stay. Located near downtown and Pike Place Market, the Paramount features stylish rooms and quick access to many shops and restaurants.
  • Neighboring the Paramount, the Hyatt at Olive 8 is another four-star option with surprisingly affordable rates. With an unbeatable downtown location, Hyatt at Olive 8 receives much of its accolades from friendly and helpful staff.
  • Near Seattle University, Silver Cloud Hotel – Seattle Broadway is within the trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood and delivers an accommodating staff, excellent location, and superior service.

Budget Hotels: Affordable hotels can be found throughout Seattle, typically farther from the city center, with some hotels achieving a higher level of value and cleanliness than others.

  • For a budget hotel north of downtown, Days Inn by Wyndham Seattle Aurora is known for clean and comfortable rooms and offers a good night's sleep.
  • Farther south and closer to downtown, the Travelodge by Wyndham Seattle North of Downtown features a continental breakfast, friendly front desk staff, and self-service laundry.
  • A good place to stay downtown that is a fraction of most hotel prices in the area is The Green Tortoise Hostel. Appealing to international and out-of-state visitors, the Green Tortoise is a well-reputed hostel in the heart of the downtown district that features bunk rooms, private rooms, and always someone new to meet.

Map of Campgrounds near Seattle

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More Campgrounds in Washington: Campgrounds in Olympic National Park are as wide and varied as the park itself, and the best campgrounds in North Cascades National Park provide perfect views of the surrounding scenery. For more ideas on where to pitch a tent or set up your RV, see our articles on the best campgrounds at Mount Rainier National Park and the best campgrounds in Washington.


Adventures in Washington: Waterfalls, hot springs, and awesome hiking trails can be found throughout the state of Washington. The best hiking trails at Olympic National Park are nothing short of spectacular, as are those around Mount Rainier and in North Cascades National Park. For powder hounds, the best ski resorts in Washington deliver on miles of slopes, and white-water enthusiasts should see our article on the state's best kayaking adventures.


Exploring Cities in Washington: From Seattle to Spokane, Washington has many great cities to explore. On the west side of the state, places like Bellevue, Bellingham, and Olympia all have plenty of great reasons to visit. For extra special places to visit, the best small towns in Washington all deliver on scenic appeal. To the south, the city of Vancouver, near Oregon, also has many fun things to do.