Camping is a fun and nostalgic part of summer for many families. It’s hard to name a better place to camp than the state and national parks of the Pacific Northwest? With its lush green landscapes and close proximity to nature, camping should be part of any visit to this area. The three states that make up the PNW are Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Among these three, you’ll experience completely different climates and landscapes without having to hop on a plane. Here are six campgrounds to try next time you’re in the upper left corner of the United States.
Riverside State Park, Eastern Washington
Riverside State Park is a popular destination for campers, hikers, and other outdoorsy adventurists. Located just 9 miles from Spokane, Washington, its easy access, 24 trails, and 10,000 acres make it perfect for camping!
Riverside Park has over 50 campsites for use with tents, RVs, horses, and boats. Plus, it offers event centers and cabins for group use. Information on hikes, day trips, guided activities, and reservations can be found online.
Hoh Rain Forest Campground, Western Washington
The Hoh Rain Forest is located in the Olympic National Park on Washington State’s Peninsula. It’s one of the most popular destinations the state has to offer. Filled with a vast landscape of lush green forests, staying here feels like stepping into another world.
The park boasts nearly one million acres of land at your disposal—the hardest part is deciding what to do first! This campground is located within easy walking distance of the visitor’s center and offers 88 sites available for tents. Consider leaving your furry friends at home, though, as pets aren’t allowed on the trails in this national park and must be on leashes anywhere else—although there are plenty of areas for your pets to tag along if you plan ahead!
Hoh Rain Forest is open year-round due to its consistent climate, so you’re sure to find an available camping site.
Farragut State Park, Northern Idaho
Idaho is the second state in our tour of the PNW, and Farragut State Park is an excellent example of what Northern Idaho brings to the table. Previously a World War II training station for the U.S. Navy, Farragut now offers 220+ campsites, 10 cabins, and 7 group facilities.
It truly has something for everyone, including swimming, horseback riding, hiking, disc golf, boating, and fishing, just to name a few. This is a popular destination among locals for everything from paddleboarding to wedding venues, and many choose to visit year after year.
City of Rocks National Reserve, Southern Idaho
The City of Rocks National Reserve is about as south as you can get in the PNW without hopping into Utah, and it’s worth the trip. The reserve’s trademark is the incredible rock formations that form spires stretching toward the sky. This ancient ancestorial home to the Shoshone Native Americans is still claimed by several modern tribes.
The City of Rocks reserve has 64 standard campsites and 3 group sites and can be booked in advance. While visiting, plan on hiking one of the 22 trails that showcase the geological marvels made over thousands of years, or bring your camera and shoot pictures of the amazing birds and other wildlife that make this place their home.
Crater Lake, Southern Oregon
Crater Lake is one of the jewels of Oregon’s parks, not to be confused with Crater Lake, Washington, on Mount St. Helens. Located in Southern Oregon, the park boasts over 150,000 acres of pristine PNW nature. Declared a national park in 1902, Crater Lake has received protection from deforestation and development for over 100 years—and it shows!
The main attraction, of course, is Crater Lake itself, which is the deepest lake in the United States, and the ninth deepest in the world! Created nearly 8,000 years ago when Mount Mazama exploded and collapsed, the blue waters show the purity and depth of the lakebed.
Crater National Park has two settled campsites, with 230 plots available on a first-come, first-serve basis in the month of June. July–September reservations can be made for all campsites. To read more and reserve your spot, visit the website here.
Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon Coast
Our final destination in the PNW is on the famed Oregon coast, which no trip to Oregon is complete without. Fort Stevens State Park is located on the northernmost tip of Oregon, almost bordering Washington State. What used to be a military base from Civil War times all the way through World War II is now 3,700 acres of hiking, fishing, biking, horse riding, and camping fun.
Fort Stevens has over 500 accommodation spaces for RVs, tents, or cabin/yurt rentals, and is available year-round. Most campsites have direct access to the beach … no need to hop in your car to drive over! Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance and fill up quickly, so plan ahead! Learn more about the park here.
The Pacific Northwest is a prime tourist destination for nature lovers and adventurists. With so many state and national parks available, boredom isn’t an option. Get out this summer or fall for camping, hiking, and so much fun in the sun (and the occasional misty ocean morning!).