Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Going Mobile

Recalling special Washington parks while awaiting their re-opening

We have many favorite spots in the Evergreen State for RV travel.  

Instead of talking about what we can't do during this unprecedented time, let's look ahead to when Washington's parks are open and our cities are welcoming visitors.  


Consider these travel ideas: 

Olympic Peninsula: We have several favorite locations on this wild coastline. We loved staying at Hobuck Beach near Neah Bay, on the tip of the Olympic Peninsula last summer. Fantastic coastal hiking is nearby at Shi Shi Beach and at Cape Flattery. Farther south, we’ve also had lovely stays at Quileute Oceanside Resort near La Push and at Kalaloch Campground in Olympic National Park. 


Long Beach Peninsula: Cape Disappointment State Park is perched on the mouth of the Columbia River, with miles of trails and great camping. The Discovery Trail is one of the state’s very best recreation paths, following in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Score local oysters from Willapa Bay and salmon from the Columbia River. This spot is also where author Michael Pollan wrote about finding magic mushrooms in his bestseller, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.” Now, that’s trippy! 


North Cascades National Park: Every year, we wait for State Route 20 (the North Cascades Highway) to open so we can explore this remote roadway. The best camping we’ve found along this scenic drive is at Klipchuck Campground, in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and at the national park campground in Newhalem


Whidbey Island: This long, skinny island is perfect for an RV trip, with one of Washington’s best state parks (Deception Pass) and two beautiful historic towns, Coupeville and Langley, both offering excellent dining and shopping options. You like to hike? The best island hike in Washington is at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.  


Mount Rainier: We’ve traveled across this nation and visited dozens of national parks. Rainier remains our favorite because, let’s face it, the mountain is simply amazing from every angle, whether you’re staying at White River on the east side or Cougar Rock on the west side. On Rainier’s wide range of hiking trails, you can choose an easy stroll or a challenging grinder -- either way, you’ll get an unforgettable view. 


Leavenworth: The Bavarian-themed village is one of our go-to escapes, and we love two RV camping options. Icicle River RV Resort is a cushy commercial option and farther up Icicle Canyon, you’ll find a series of Forest Service dry-camping spots. Our favorite sort-of secret spot is at Bridge Creek


Lake Chelan: The state’s largest lake is a summertime magnet for recreationists. The town of Chelan is hopping with activity, and you’ll find the very good city-run Lakeshore RV Park right downtown.  


Coulee country: Everyone ought to travel the route of the Ice Age floods that roared through our state 13,000 years ago. Steamboat Rock State Park is exceptional, with amazing camping and hiking at Banks Lake. Don’t miss the worthwhile free tour of Grand Coulee Dam and make sure you stop at Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park, where the floods once flowed in a torrent that was four times the size of Niagara Falls.  


The wine trail: It’s hard to choose a favorite wine region in Washington. Why not designate a driver and do a tour of several, starting in the Yakima Valley and heading east through the Columbia Valley, eventually ending up in Walla Walla. Some of our favorite stops include the Prosser area, the prized Red Mountain growing region, and the exceptional wineries of the Walla Walla Valley. When the time’s right, be sure and check out Havest Hosts for places to park for a night or two.

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.