Camping in Washington State
Camping Experiences and Ideas to Share
I wonder if there are any boys out there who don't get excited about going camping. My boys sure love it and almost every summer since I've been back in Washington with my family, we've tried to get away together for a few days at least, a way for us to experience some quality family time. It's nice for everyone to have each others undivided attention, not competing with television, computers, friends who "rate" higher than us parents, etc. Of course, the cell phone does have to come along, for emergencies and urgent business communication, but that's about it.
Exploring new areas and playing in and near water is typically an enjoyable way to spend some time. The water in Washington tends to be a bit chilly, but when the weather is hot enough, (90 plus degrees) it certainly can be refreshing and invigorating to plunge right in! We like to bring fishing poles and our ocean kayak - we brought it with us from Hawaii and it performs well on lakes too!
There are usually towns nearby to discover and explore....this year, so far, we've been to Ocean City State Park at Ocean Shores and visited not only the beach but the interpretive center and met some lovely senior volunteers and learned a great deal about the history. Last year it was Easton, Roslyn, Cle Elum and Ellensburg just east off I 90...what a great museum Ellensburg has. In 2006, we went camping at a lake near Winthrop and checked out that old western town. In 2005 we camped at the State Park at Lake Chelan. Lake Chelan is quite long and super deep; a place I spent time with my family as a kid. It has a really nice beach, the water is a deep blue, clean and clear; the lake is glacier fed so it's quite crisp. There is a water park in Stehekin, about a 10 minute drive from the campgrounds. Right across from the campgrounds is a fast food and icecream chalet - every bit as good or better (and different) than Dairy Queen.
We also bring a deck of cards since our boys like to play "go fish," "crazy 8's" and "blackjack" too, and when camping we do play several hands.
So far, Lake Chelan and Ocean City have been my favorite campgrounds. Remember to bring bug repellent since if we hadn't had it at Ocean City, the mosquitoes would have feasted on us. At Chelan, one has to watch out for the bees. The only thing which could have made camping at Ocean Shores better was if the sun had shone. There are lots of opportunites when the season is open, to harvest several varieties of clams and Dungeness crab. My husband will want to go back for that reason in itself.
Which leads me to share menu ideas. For us, breakfasts include pancakes and breakfast meat one day, a one skillet bacon (or sausage), eggs and potato fritatta on another. We may bring cereal and milk....for lunch, we'll have fruit and sandwiches; for dinners, Brats or hot dogs one night, one pot spaghetti another, and marinated chicken one evening. I may bring potato and/or pasta salad for a side, and chips and guacamole is good anywhere, anytime. Oh, and don't forget the smores! This last time, we used chocolate graham crackers instead of the regular.
I suggest if wanting to stay at a nice state park campground, make reservations early. Last year, although we spent a lot of time at Lake Easton, the campsites were booked so we stayed a few minutes away at Silver Ridge ranch. Now the facilities at Silver Ridge were fine enough, but this is a place where people can also camp with their horses for $5/horse, per night, having individual corrals for each horse. For me, seeing all the people there who DID bring their horses, but we chose to leave the horses home (it was our first time exploring the area), it was like dangling candy in front of a baby. Anyway, Easton, Roslyn, and Cle Elum are located near one another and if coming from the west, I90 is probably the best way to get there.
Camping is a little bit of work and planning and may not be for those who are high maintenance. Even for those who have difficulty wrapping their minds around how "roughing it" can be fun, be assured many campgrounds have hot showers available and even outlets for blow dryers. Amusingly enough, I have seen some doing their make up in the campground bathroom! Hey, I give anyone credit who makes the effort to try something different and please other members of their family. Be assured, It is possible to eat well and sleep comfortably and have fun. It just takes the right attitude in addition to the proper equipment.