When the rush and buzz of the city becomes too much and you need a few days of green trees and wild air to lift away your stress, there is nothing better than camping. Here in western Washington we’re pretty spoiled for outdoor recreation options, between the ocean and the mountains and the rivers running between; even in Seattle, a thriving city, it’s easy to escape the 9 to 5 grind with just a couple hours’ drive. Whether you like clear mountain lakes, easy access to river rafting or just an old-growth forest canopy for a ceiling, there’s a campground near Seattle to meet your outdoor needs. Here’s five of the best campgrounds near Seattle for your next weekend getaway.
1. Bedal Camground
Nestled in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest just off the Mountain Loop Highway, Bedal Campground boasts mountain views, quiet campsites beneath towering cedars and firs, and easy access to the Sauk River. Bedal has toilets but no water, so you’ll want to bring either a water filter or your own water jugs from home. Quiet and a bit on the primitive side, Bedal is a great wilderness getaway just a couple hours from Seattle. Triad runs a great rafting trip on the Sauk for those who want a bit of adrenaline in their weekend away.
2. Verlot Campground
Located about 10 miles east of Granite Falls, Verlot Campground is another forest gem. With a combination of reservation and first-come, first-serve sites, Verlot is great for both spur-of-the-moment adventures and planned trips. Amenities at this campground include both flush toilets and drinking water, though there are no electrical hookups. With the soothing rush of the Stillaguamish River close by this is another great spot for a weekend of relaxation. Pack your fishing rod for a chance of catching dinner at the nearby river.
3. Colonial Creek Campground
Right at the heart of North Cascades National Park, Colonial Creek has nearly 100 campsites dotted through the old growth forest on the shores of Lake Diablo. The lake itself is an unbelievable turquoise; the color is created by fine glacial sediment suspended in the water. Drinking water is available all summer, and the vault toilets are open year-round. With multiple trails right from the campground and a short drive to great river rafting on the Skagit River, Colonial Creek makes a great adventure base. Reservations are recommended for the summer months.
4. Tinkham Campground
Tucked in a curve of the South Fork Snoqualmie River a mile off I-90, Tinkham Campground is surrounded by classic Cascadian old-growth forest. With lots of hiking trails just a short drive away it makes a great base for a weekend adventure. Sites here have picnic tables and fire rings with grills, but no electric hookups.
5. White River Campground
Last but not least, White River Campground sits inside Mt. Rainier National Park at an elevation of over 4,000 feet. With over 100 campsites—all first come, first serve—this picturesque campground can accommodate a lot of adventure seekers. Threaded with tiny streams and located right on the Wonderland Trail, White River Campground is a great starting or ending point for backpackers and climbers. If you’d rather day hike, a number of trails start right in the campground, with many more accessible from nearby trailheads. During the summer there are Ranger-led activities in the main campground campfire circle on weekend evenings. If you haven’t made it out to Mt. Rainier yet this is a great place to start!