Get Outside at One of Washington’s Stunning State Parks
National parks, like the iconic Mt. Rainier National Park, get a lot of attention in Washington state. But, Washington’s state parks are equally impressive, and there are tons of them to explore.
No matter what you’re into — camping, hiking, boating, picnicking, star gazing, you name it — there’s no shortage of outdoor fun to be found. The landscape is as varied as the possible activities, with heavily forested mountains, rugged and untouched coastlines, river valleys, and so much more.
With more than 100 state parks to choose from, picking a park can be an overwhelming process. Luckily, there are plenty of resources that make choosing (at least a little bit) easier. If you’re ready to explore the lovely Washington State Parks system, here’s how to find the perfect park!
1. Washington State Parks Guide app
- Photo galleries.
- Each park’s policies, contact information, activities, trails, park maps, and more.
- Detailed maps of every park and its facilities, including campgrounds.
- An online reservation system for booking overnight stays.
- Weather updates and other helpful on-the-ground information.
That’s just a sampling of the app’s features, too — both versions contain a surprisingly robust amount of information and are packed with features.
2. Official State Parks Guide
If you prefer to plan your outdoor adventures the old fashioned way, grab a copy of the newly created Washington State Parks Guide. Similar to the app, this guide book includes descriptions for every Washington state park, including information about popular activities and amenities. There’s even a special section devoted entirely to the San Juan Islands, which are home to some of Washington’s most beloved scenery.
In 2018, you can purchase the guide in-person at State Parks headquarters and certain state parks for $6, or online for $13.80 (which includes taxes and shipping costs). There are hundreds of beautiful, high-quality photos in the book, too, so you can enjoy the book long after your trip.
3. Benchmark Maps Washington Road & Recreation Atlas
This atlas covers more than just state parks, including BLM and Forest Service lands. If you’re looking for detailed landscape maps that show complete road and topographic details, this is the guide you want. Thumbing through the pages wouldn’t be a bad way to pass time on long road trips, either.
Benchmark Maps has a whole suite of comprehensive maps and atlases for a number of states, so if you’re a fan of playing outside, be sure to check out the rest of their fantastic resources.
4. Washington State Parks website
Not surprisingly, the state park system’s website has tons of helpful trip planning info. If you have no idea where you want to go, check out the Find a Park page’s ‘Parks by region’ section first.
There are 13 different regions throughout Washington, which should help narrow your search (though we won’t be surprised if picking a park is still a tough decision).