The 20 Best Campsites near Seattle

From Puget Sound to the old-growth rain forests, emerald alpine lakes and stunning mountain peaks, the Seattle area has a campsite for you!

Located down the road from the San Juan Islands and kitty corner from Olympic National Park, Seattle is a mecca for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Seattle’s infamous rain shadow allows the flora and fauna to flourish and creates some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever lay eyes on. We’ve compiled a master list of the 20 best campsites in the greater Seattle area, so get stoked to spend a night or two (or seven!) under the stars of the Pacific Northwest.


90 Minutes or Less

For the nature lovers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life without spending too much of your precious time in the car, behold! The following campsites are the best bang for your buck: arrive at a gorgeous landscape within 90 minutes or less.

 

Photo: Gustavo Aquiros

Only an hour and a half from downtown Seattle, this campsite is in close proximity to the hundreds of miles of beautiful trails off Mountain Loop Highway. After enjoying the gorgeous evening alpenglow on Big Four Mountain, you’ll fall asleep to the sound of the Stillaguamish River - and you’ll wake up refreshed and ready for adventure!

 

Photo: Nic Morgan

After a short and scenic ferry ride from downtown Seattle, you’ll arrive on Blake Island. Enjoy a dose of the freshest air that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, and bask in an amazing vista of Mount Rainier. Blake Island is a year-round camping destination, with over 8 miles of hiking trails and amazing views of Seattle and Bainbridge Island.

 

Photo: Yumian Deng

Want to enjoy the great outdoors, but don’t have the time or means to leave Seattle? This secret camping spot is the one for you! Hidden in West Seattle, this campground sits on a 68 acre park with rentable cabins, clean showers, and bathrooms. Guaranteed fun for the whole family.

 

Photo: Michael Wigle

One of the most unique camping locations in Washington, Treehouse Point is the perfect combination of secluded wilderness and access to town. Enjoy a night spent amongst the trees, and spend your day exploring the plethora of nearby trail options (Snoqualmie Falls is just down the road).  

 

Photo: Ben Matthews

Kayak from Seafarers Memorial Park to a free campsite on Cypress Island. This is an unforgettable camping experience as you’ll likely have most of the island to yourself. Pick up s’mores supplies before you head out, and keep your eyes peeled for pods of orca and sea otters!

 

Photo: Gemina Garland-Lewis

Deception Pass is the penultimate Puget Sound camping experience. Choose from three different campsites: Cranberry lake, Quarry Pond, or Bowman Bay. Deception Pass is the perfect location for camping in close proximity to the water, with minimal transportation efforts.

 

2.5 Hours or Less

To fill the hearts of those with wanderlust and the willingness to complete a moderate drive, the following campgrounds are calling your name. Some of the best camping locations in the state are under 2.5 hours from Seattle! 

 

Photo: Gemina Garland-Lewis

Just north of the Summit at Snoqualmie, Goldmyer Hot Springs is a year-round luxury. Getting there is half the fun - enjoy an easy backpacking route, and reward yourself with a soak in the secluded hot springs. Be sure to make a campsite reservation well in advance!

 

Photo: Matt England

Jonesing for a winter backpacking trip? Jade Lake is the ideal destination. Your efforts on trail will payoff as you sit back and enjoy a winter sunset over the emerald lake.

 

Photo: Mikaela Tangeman

French Cabin Creek Road offers dispersed camping on Lake Cle Elum. With no permits needed, this tends to be a secluded camping location. The lake is an easy half mile walk from the campground - enjoy paddle boarding, swimming, kayaking, or fishing! Before heading home, stop in Cle Elum and try some local food and drinks.

 

Photo: Eric Harris

The two hour drive to reach Cooper Lake feels effortless with abundant forest scenery to enjoy along the way. The Owhi Campground is located on the north end of Cooper Lake in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Several campsites have access to small, ‘private’ beaches, so get there early to snag one of these first-come, first-serve tent sites.

 

Photo: Jason Zabriskie

For a genuine Pacific Northwest alpine lake experience, look no further than Spade and Venus Lakes. This is a more advanced backpacking trip, but the time you spend on the trail will allow you to reach the true prize: a view of emerald colored waters all to yourself. The trailhead is easily accessible for campers coming from Seattle or from Eastern Washington.

 

Photo: Nick Garia

Nothing beats camping in the glorious shadow of Mount Rainier herself. White River Campground is Mount Rainier National Park’s highest front country campground - you’ll wake up eye to eye with the most beautiful mountain in the state. Enjoy the many trails that the park has to offer, and make sure to watch for the abundant wildflowers and wildlife that the park is famous for.

 

Photo: Derek Cook

Only two hours from Seattle, Park Butte is an incredible beginner backpacking route with enough incredible scenery to drop jaws on even the most experienced backpackers. Set up camp facing the west slope of Mount Baker, enjoy sleeping under the milky way, and bring binoculars to watch mountaineers on the ascent!

 

Photo: Megan Trudell

Stunning Diablo Lake is an absolute gem on the outskirts of North Cascades National Park - easily accessible from Seattle and Eastern Washington. Enjoy lake and trail access, along with gorgeous overlooks of the surrounding mountain scenery. Bring the whole family and stay for a while!

 

3 Hours or More 

For the steadfast adventure seekers who love the open road and have the time to spend driving - any of the following campgrounds will undoubtedly satisfy the needs of your next camping trip near Seattle.

 

Photo: Rachel Christiansen

Deer Park Campground is a hidden gem in Olympic National Park. At 5,400 feet, this campground offers incredible views of the park’s old-growth forests and adjacent mountain peaks. Deer Park offers easy access to many of the most stunning trails in Olympic National Park, including Hurricane Ridge.

 

Photo: Angela Service

Takhlakh Lake is a family-friendly campground, truly one of the best that Washington State has to offer. Enjoy unsurpassable views of Mt. Adams, convenient lake access, and a true feeling of serenity and oneness with the earth.

 

Photo: Angela Service

Cape Disappointment is the South Western most point of Washington State, driving distance from a variety of locations in Washington and the greater Portland area. Cape Disappointment offers year-round camping, along with some of the most rugged coastal scenery that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

 

Photo: Ian Tyley

La Push is simply majestic. First Beach is an incredible place to catch your breath and practice mindfulness while escaping from the bustle of daily life. Bring wood for a beach bonfire, plenty of tasty snacks, and warm blankets - trust us, you won’t want to leave.

 

Photo: Aaron White

A gateway to the San Juan Islands, camping at Orcas Island's Obstruction Pass State Park is a holistic Pacific Northwest camping experience. Check out the top of Mount Constitution for one of the best views in the entire state. Your trip isn’t complete without enjoying locally made beer and ice cream!

 

Photo: Garrett Schmidt

Fairholme Campground is situated at the north end of Lake Crescent, on the outskirts of Olympic National Park. Apart from the gorgeous campground scenery and the abundance of activity options at Lake Crescent, there is a host of nearby options including a short hike through an old growth forest to Olympic Hot Springs

 

Cover Photo: Ian Tyley

Published: March 8, 2018

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Hi-Tec

Portland

Hi-Tec is committed to making rugged, durable footwear for outdoor trails and urban life, authentically inspired by everyday outdoor experience.