Five favorite Northwest campgrounds

By Kristin Jackson and Brian Cantwell / Published by The Seattle Times

It’s almost summertime, and that means it’s camping time.

Here are five of our favorite vehicle-accessible campgrounds around Washington and Oregon, places where you can stay relatively cheaply amid nature’s beauty.


This is a something-for-everyone campground in Cape Disappointment State Park at Washington’s southwest tip. It’s by a long, sandy beach, ideal for strolling and sunset-watching where the Pacific waves thunder in. Walking trails wind through the woods and up bluffs, leading to the park’s two lighthouses and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. A decadent touch I loved: A little general store will deliver tasty wood-fired pizza to your campsite.

The campground has more than 200 sites. Don’t have a tent? Rent a yurt or a camping cabin at the park. Rolling in the RV? Some sites have full hookups. Traveling by bike or hiking? Go for one of the walk-in campsites in the woods.

— Kristin Jackson


While I love Cape Disappointment, this 4,200-acre Oregon state park just a gull’s swoop south across the Columbia River bar is hard to beat for diversity of activities. With almost 500 wooded campsites, the place absolutely hops with happy campers in midsummer. RVers love it here.

But if you want quiet time, just jump on a bike and tour the nine miles of flat, paved paths leading from the campground through dunes and marshes and out to a river-jetty viewing tower. Along with the usual beachcombing and surf-wading, there’s Coffenbury Lake for swimming. Need more? Head for the historic shipwreck, tour the military museum, or wander the many spooky old coast-artillery gun batteries or the only Civil War-era earthen fort on the West Coast. The fort has blue-and-gray encampments throughout summer, plus the Northwest’s biggest Civil War re-enactment, battles included, every Labor Day weekend. Bored? You’ve no excuse.

— Brian Cantwell

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