Try one of these cool cabins at a Washington State Park this summer

It's a lot like camping, but you don't have to pitch a tent and you can sleep on a bed. Lots of state parks have cabins as well as campsites

March 12, 2019
Cabin at Moran State Park

John Fisher (yeah, me)


There are lots of avid campers in the Pacific Northwest. That's a known fact. I myself am more of a fair-weather camper -- not in the "avid" category, but I love doing it with my family, as long as it's not raining, there aren't a lot of bugs, we find a campsite that's somewhat private, it's quiet, there's a decent bathroom, and the ground is flat so we don't have to sleep on a slope. Is that asking too much? I'll also say that if you want to really test your patience with your significant other, try putting up a tent together without swearing in front of your child. It's not as easy as it sounds.

So here's a tip: if you'd like to enjoy the beauty and the escape of one of Washington's many incredible state parks without the hassles of conventional camping, you need to find a state park that rents cabins. It's really the way to go. Luckily, the intrepid explorers at RedTricycle Seattle have tracked down 15 Washington State Parks with Fantastic Cabin Rentals.

These aren't fancy places; a lot of these cabins are on the primitive side, and many provide a futon or a basic mattress on a bed frame and you plop a sleeping back on top. It's definitely a step up from a tent, you get power and heat and some basic furniture, and a little more privacy, too.

A couple of my favorites: Cape Disappointment State Park, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific in the very southwest corner of the state. Rugged, beautiful, and an easy drive from Seattle -- and you can stay in a lighthouse keeper's house!. Or check out Camano Island State Park, where simple cabins face Saratoga Passage. And like most of these spots, you get the same rugged amenities as a traditional campsite -- a fire ring, picnic table, and a grill. But at the end of the night, you can head into your little cabin, close the door, and get some solid sleep.

Oh, and don't tell anybody, but here's a secret cabin hack. Moran State Park on Orcas Island has a sweet cottage that's way more elaborate than most of these places -- the Camp Moran Vacation House comes with two bedrooms (with actual beds,) a living area, a kitchen and dining area, a bathroom, even a TV (not really in the spirit of getting back to nature, but sometimes when you have kids you gotta do what you gotta do,) and easy access to the woods and the water. It's a short drive to Eastsound if you need a taste of civilization, and the place sleeps eight, so it's a great family getaway.

The key to any of these accommodations is making a reservation in advance. A lot of our state parks do take drop-in visits, but if you want to play it safe and make some solid plans for this summer, here's the parks' reservations page.

Moran State park
John F (it's from my phone!)

We have so many spectacular places to camp in our state. If you like the idea of camping, but you don't care for, you know, the tent and stuff, there's still a way. Have fun!