Whether you’re new to Washington state or you’ve lived here your entire life, you’re probably well aware that Puget Sound is a place like no other. Stretching a full 100 miles from Deception Pass south to Olympia, the sound is a beautiful, lively body of water that offers residents nearly limitless experiences, from hiking and boating to birding, whale watching, and whitewater rafting.
With countless state parks, beachfronts, islands, and intriguing coves, it should be no surprise that Puget Sound is also home to some incredible camping spots. So pack up the kids this summer or fall, and start exploring these perfect camping spots for families.
Blake Island Marine State Park
This expansive marine park covers more than 1,100 acres and has five miles of saltwater beach shoreline. Blake Island is only reachable by ferry or private boat, which adds to the secluded, peaceful feeling of the park. Campers love the hike-and-bike trails, gorgeous mountain and city views, quiet beaches, and unforgettable experiences offered at the Tillicum Excursion—which is also great for kids.
Camano Island State Park
Near the far north end of Puget Sound, Camano Island offers fantastic camping and recreation opportunities just outside of bustling Seattle. The 244-acre camping park includes 6,700 feet of picturesque rocky shoreline, as well as a beach. Camano Island has a little for everyone: hiking trails, fishing and boating, sailboarding, bird watching, crabbing, and more. The views of the sound, as well as the Olympic Mountains, can’t be missed. During the summer, park officials host different family-friendly interpretive programs that rotate throughout the months. You can find details on current programs at the entrance to the campground.
Fort Flagler Historical State Park
For campers who love history, Fort Flagler is a must-see. The 1,451-acre state park is surrounded on three sides by saltwater shoreline, providing incredible views of the sound. Visitors can tour Fort Flagler, which was an important coastal defense site built in the 1890s to guard the entrance to Puget Sound. The military museum includes guided tours of the fort’s gun emplacements and other facilities, including a circa 1905 military hospital. The park also offers five miles of hike-and-bike trails and incredible water sports opportunities.
Hope Island Marine State Park
If seclusion is what you’re after, set aside a weekend to explore this quiet island, which is only reachable by boat. The secluded campsite has just four tent spaces, so get there early to claim your spot. Then enjoy the well-maintained trails, 1.5 miles of peaceful beaches, and stunning views of Mt. Rainier. But be sure to plan ahead: The campsites are fairly basic, and depending on when you visit, fires may not be allowed.
Penrose Point State Park
Toward the south end of Puget Sound, Penrose Point offers campers an ideal mix of forest and water. The 165-acre park includes more than two miles of tranquil shoreline, hiking and mountain biking trails, horseshoe pits, and more. A special self-guided trail called A Touch of Nature was built by Eagle Scouts in the ’80s, and Junior Ranger Program events are held there on Saturday mornings during the summers. The park is located close to Mayo Cove and Carr Inlet, which are popular spots for boating and water skiing. Penrose Point has more than 80 campsites, all of which are tucked into the trees for shade and privacy. To top it all off, each site has its own picnic table and fire pit with a grill.
As you set out to explore these and other camping areas in Puget Sound, we know you’re in for a treat. Parks like these are some of the best perks of living in Washington, and we should all be making the most of them.