Discover Washington State Parks’ Best Kept Secret: Cozy Cabins

washington state parks cabins in bay view state park are lit up at night with tall trees surrounding them @parks_wa

With fall on the horizon we bet you’re thinking of ways to get the kids into nature while staying dry at the same time. After a fantastic season of summer tent camping, it’s time to change up your routine and try something new—cabin camping. It’s everything you love about camping in Washington’s great wilderness, without the hassle of wet kids (and gear). When it comes to finding budget-friendly cabin rentals that aren’t too far from Seattle, nothing beats renting a sweet cabin in one of Washington’s best state parks. Even if you’ve never done it before, this glamping experience is easy to pull off. Each cabin comes with comfortable furnishings, electricity and even heat, providing the comforts you crave especially when the rain sets in. And did we mention the views? All that’s left is to figure out your fall road trip destination and make a plan.


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Cape Disappointment State Park

An 18th century fur trader and the 19th Century Lewis & Clark Expedition felt rather let down by this spot where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. But don’t worry, your 21st Century campers won’t be disappointed! The cabins are tucked into an Alder forest on the shore of Lake O’Neil. Each cabin sleeps six and includes bunk beds and a full-size futon. There’s a covered porch, fire pit and picnic table and bathrooms and showers are nearby. Take your crew on the trail to the lighthouses (there are two) or Dead Man’s Cove (if you dare). History buffs can tour a coastal fort and check out the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. For dog lovers, pets are allowed in cabins C1-C3.

Cost: $64-$79/night
Distance from Seattle: Just over three hours

Battleground Lake State Park

In the foothills of the Cascades, this park is a great spot for a family cabin adventure. Little anglers can try their fishing skills on the volcanic lake—it’s stocked with trout—and the cabins sit in a forested grove within walking distance of the lake. Each cabin sleeps five (furnished with bunk beds and a full-size bed) and includes a porch, picnic table, fire grill and deck; bathrooms and showers are nearby. There’s swimming, boating, bird watching and wildlife viewing and an awesome kids’ play area as well as hiking and horse trails. Psst! Be sure to check out the self-guided nature trail. Little peddlers can also ride bikes on the horse trails as long as they yield to horses. Cabin C21 is pet-friendly.

Cost: $55-$79/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately 3 hours

Related: 11 Easy Road Trips to Take This Fall

Bay View State Park

These cozy cabins are nestled among Douglas-firs with views of Padilla Bay and the San Juans. The beach is within easy walking distance (bring binoculars for birdwatching). Cabins sleep four and include a double bed and two single bunks. Cabins 5 and 6 have toilets and sinks; cabin 6 even has a shower. And if you want to bring Fido along, cabins 1-4 are the ones to book. There are shared restrooms nearby and each cabin has a BBQ and fire ring (perfect for roasting s’mores).

Cost: $55-$89/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately 1.5 hours

Conconully State Park

The cozy log cabins sit by Conconully Reservoir–one of two lakes in the park. Cabins sleep 4-6 people and are furnished with a double bed and bunks. All cabins have A/C, and cabin 1 is ADA accessible and pet-friendly. Outside is a fire-ring with attached grill. and restrooms are nearby. Keep your eyes out for mule deer and elk who often take a stroll through the park. When you are waterside, have the kids watch for frogs, toads and turtles who make their homes by the lakeside.

Cost: $54-$79/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately 4.5 hours

Related: 10 Nearby Vacation Rentals to Make You Feel at Home

Cama Beach State Park

This renovated 1930’s fishing resort is on the waterfront, just a skipping stone’s throw from a driftwood-strewn beach. There are lots of activities for kids including boating, toy boat building, fishing and swimming. You can also take your mini hikers on the mile-long trail to neighboring Camano Island State Park. The cedar cabins sleep 4-6 people, and have a living room, bedroom and kitchen (with refrigerator, microwave and sink); shared bathrooms are nearby. Psst! Splurge on a deluxe cabin and you’ll get your own bathroom with shower, toilet and sink. Deluxe cabin 33 is ADA accessible, and pets are allowed in cabins 12, 13, 23 and 24.

Insider Tip: If bigger is better in your book, the beachside bungalows might be the way to go. They offer more room and sleep up to eight people.

Cost: $72-$135/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately 1.5 hours

Camano Island State Park

Located just a mile down the trail from Cama Beach, Camano Island State Park has lots for young campers to do including beachcombing, hiking, and saltwater fishing. Cabins are located in a forested area with views of Saratoga Passage. Each has a folding futon that sleeps two and bunk beds that sleep three. The furniture was made by local volunteers with wood from trees cleared at the park. Each cabin has a fire ring, grill, picnic table and covered porch. Cabin 45 is ADA accessible, and cabin 44 allows pets.

Cost: $69-$97/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately 1.5 hours

Related: From Sea to Shore: Seattle’s Top Tidepooling Beaches

Dosewallips State Park

Dosewallips is an amazing park on the shores of both the freshwater Dosewallips River and the saltwater Hood Canal. It’s the place for clamming, crabbing, oyster harvesting, fishing and, if you’re really adventurous, geoduck digging (that’s GOOEY-DUCK for any non-Northwesterners reading). There’s boating and swimming and lots for the kiddos to explore. Cabins are sheltered by evergreens and look out over the Olympic Mountains. Each cabin has a living room and bedroom, with bunk beds that sleep three and a futon couch that sleeps two. Bathrooms and showers are also nearby. There’s a covered front porch, picnic table and fire grill. Psst! Elk are frequent visitors to the park; see if you can spot one. Cabin C75 is ADA accessible, and cabins C1-7 and C76 welcome pets.

Cost: $55-$79/night
Distance from Seattle: Just over two hours by road or ferry

Ike Kinswa State Park

Take a dip in clean, refreshing Mayfield Lake, then head back to your cabin, just a short walk away among the trees. Cabins sleep five and have bunk beds and a full size bed. There’s a covered front porch, deck, picnic table and fire grill; bathrooms and showers are nearby. There’s also plenty to keep everyone busy including hiking, mountain biking, boating, fishing and swimming. Looking to bring your pooch with you? Try cabins 4 and 5.

Cost: $55-$79/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately two hours

Related: 7 Scenic Washington Campsites That Welcome Groups

Kitsap Memorial State Park

A saltwater beach overlooking Hood Canal in the “Viking Village” of Poulsbo, Kitsap Memorial State Park is a great little getaway from Seattle. Each cabin, which sleeps five, has a kitchenette with mini refrigerator and microwave and is furnished with a bunk bed that sleeps three and a futon that sleeps two; bathrooms and showers are nearby. Outside is a picnic table and fire pit and all cabins are ADA accessible. After beachcombing and exploring tide pools, enjoy a picnic or head into town for fish ‘n’ chips or a tasty Norwegian pastry. All cabins are ADA accessible.

Cost: $55-$79/night
Distance from Seattle: Just two hours by road or the Bainbridge Island ferry

Lincoln Rock State Park

See if you can spot the rock that looks like Abraham Lincoln. Just the place to cool off on a hot day, Lincoln Rock State Park offers swimming, boating, hiking, bike trails, horseshoe pits, a children’s playground and more. The cabins have great views of the Columbia River and Rocky Reach Dam. And each cabin sleeps five and comes with two rooms and a covered porch, plus a picnic table and fire pit with a grate. Each cabin also has A/C, and the geocache will keep the kids guessing. All cabins are ADA accessible.

Cost: $55-$125/night
Distance from Seattle: Just under 3 hours

Wallace Falls State Park

Wallace Falls State Park lies along the shores of two rivers and three lakes and features outstanding scenery with no less than nine waterfalls (the tallest is 265 ft). Cabins are within walking distance of the Woody Trail, which leads to Wallace Falls and Wallace Lake. Each cabin has bunk beds that sleep three and a full-size futon that sleeps two as well as a covered front porch, picnic table, fire pit, and BBQ. Activities include hiking, biking, boating, freshwater fishing, swimming and whitewater kayaking. If you’re looking ahead, Wallace Falls is also a great location for snowshoeing. Two of the cabins are ADA accessible, and pets are allowed in cabin 3 and 4.

Cost: $55-$79/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately one hour

Related: 15 Easy Waterfall Hikes to Take with Kids Now

Pearrygin Lake State Park

With kitchenettes, a private bathroom (sink/toilet) and A/C, you and your campers can enjoy the good life at Pearrygin Lake (there’s even a coffee pot). Each cabin sleeps four people and is ADA accessible. Cabins are furnished with a full-size bed, full-size foldout couch, table and chairs as well as a picnic table, fire pit and deck. Rolling green lawns lead down from the cabins to the lake, where you can swim, boat, fish or just lounge in your floatie. If you’ve got more energy, try the 3.1 mile Rex Derr trail that starts just east of the boat launch. Pearrygin Lake also has lots to offer year-round, with cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and fat-tire bike rental in the winter. Psst! Impress your kids by splurging on the Vacation House with full bath and linen service.

Good to Know: These cabins are closed for the winter from November first through March 31.

Cost: $79-$89/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately 4 hours

Potholes State Park

Unlike the potholes we have to deal with in the city, these potholes are fun. The sand dune and marshy terrain makes a great splashy day for the kiddos–there’s swimming, boating, fishing and whitewater kayaking as well as a great play structure to climb on. Located a short walk from Potholes Reservoir, the cabins are quite rustic (there’s no plumbing but there is electricity and heating/air conditioning). Cabins sleep four to six people and are furnished with one double bed and bunk beds; outside you will find a picnic table and fire ring. Check out cabin 62 if you want to bring your furry friends along.

Cost: $55-$84/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately three hours

Rasar State Park

A great place for spotting wildlife, including Bald Eagles, Rasar State Park is on the shoreline of the Skagit River. The cabins are in an Alder and Fir forest, an easy half-mile walk from the river. Each cabin sleeps five and is ADA accessible. Cabins are furnished with log bunk beds, a queen size log futon, log end tables and a four-person log dining room table. All cabins have a private bathroom with shower. Outside, there’s a covered porch, two Adirondack chairs, fire pit, picnic table and stand up BBQ brazier. Park activities include hiking (3.7 miles of hiking trails and 1 mile of ADA accessible trails), fishing and a children’s play area.

Cost: $69-$103/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately 1.5 hours

Steamboat Rock State Park

You can’t miss the giant basalt butte “Steamboat Rock” as you drive the winding road to Banks Lake. This State Park features grassy areas leading to a sandy beach that’s perfect for making sandcastles and a cool lake made for splashing and relaxing. The air-conditioned cabins sleep five, and are furnished with a queen-size futon and bunk beds. All are pet-friendly. Outside, you will find a picnic table and fire pit with grate and plenty of activities to keep your crew busy. Hike, bike, bird-watch (watch out for Bald Eagles), swim, kayak and enjoy the kids’ playground. During the winter, you’ll find ice-fishing, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

Insider Tip: Check out the amazing Laser Light Show at nearby Grand Coulee Dam. The show plays nightly (through September), lasts 30 minutes, and it’s free.

Cost: $55-$84/night
Distance from Seattle: Approximately 3.5 hours

Other Washington Cabin Rentals to Consider

If cabin camping is a bit too rustic for you, the Washington State Parks Commission partnered with Wanderlust Camps to bring glamping to Moran State Park on Orcas Island. Book your stay online where luxury awaits (this is perhaps a grownups-only outing). The log cabins and glamping tents at Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes are another fantastic rustic vacay option for families, as are the two Getaway Outposts in the state (one is in Skagit Valley and the other is near Mt. Adams). These tiny house cabins are as charming as they are remote, and they sleep between two and four people.

Know Before You Go

1. Remember to reserve your spot. Drop-in visitors are welcome as long as space is available, but cabins fill up quickly in the busy months. You can reserve online for most parks, or call 888-226-7688.

2. You don’t need to buy a Discover Pass if you’re staying overnight in a Washington state park (your accommodation fee covers vehicle access). But, if you plan on stopping at other Washington state parks, we’d recommended getting the annual pass.

3. Bring the pooch! Some cabins are pet-friendly and the pet fee is $15 per night per pet.

4. Fish away! Kids under 14 do not need a fishing permit in Washington.

5. Campers must bring their own bedding, towels, cookware, dishes and utensils.

—Allison Sutcliffe & Kristina Moy

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