Post Summary: Gorgeous spots for spring camping in the pacific Northwest
Ready to get outside and go camping? You don’t have to wait until summertime!
We actually think that spring camping destinations in the Pacific Northwest are some of the coolest spots you can snag!
Fewer crowds, quieter campsites, less demand – I mean, can it get any better than that? (It actually can!)
In this post, we’re sharing the best spots for spring camping in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll cover actual campgrounds that we would recommend for spring camping, their costs (if any) and cool things to do nearby.
Let’s get packing!
The 11 Best Spring Camping Spot In The Pacific Northwest
Looking for more camping resources? You have to check out these blog posts too:
Destinations For Springs Camping In Washington State
1. Cape Disappointment State Park
Cape Disappointment State Park is located in the southwest corner of Washington State.
This place is steeped with Northwest history – lighthouses, sweeping cliffs, nature centers, and even whale watching opportunities are abundant here. You can wander among the old-growth forest in the morning, and watch the sunset at the mouth of the Columbia River by sunset!
Cape Disappointment State Park is about a 3-hour drive from Seattle, and a 2-hour drive from Portland. It’s also a great starting point if you are starting an Olympic Peninsula road trip. It’s also at the northernmost starting point of an Oregon Coast road trip!
Along with regular tent and RV campsites, Cape Disappointment offers yurts, cabins, and historic homes for reservation as well! This comes in handy during spring camping. By renting a shelter, you can protect yourself even better from the possible rain and cold nights.
This spring camping destination is great for folks who like to do a variety of activities. Clam digging, military bunkers, interpretive centers, and short hikes are in abundance here. Spend the day exploring the town of Long Beach and driving up and down the Peninsula for a great day adventure!
2. Bear Creek Campground – Olympic Peninsula
One of our absolute favorite spring camping spots in the Olympic Peninsula is Bear Creek Campground. Why? Because it’s absolutely FREE for up to 14 days!
This spot is extremely popular and hard to snag in the summer. This is why the spring season is the best time to go and visit.
The spring camping destination is about a 1-hour drive from Port Angeles. It’s close enough to grab things in town, but far enough away to escape from it all.
Bear Creek Campground is a simple camping loop. It has 16 primitive sites nestled among the old-growth trees widely known to Washington State. There aren’t any RV hookups, but RVs are still able to get through (albeit a tight squeeze – be careful!). The bathrooms are pit toilets, with no running water – you’ll have to pack your own!
All sites are first-come-first-serve. You can’t guarantee a spot, but you can up your chances of getting! This is by coming in the early afternoon after others have already cleared out of their spots for the day.
Bear Creek Campground is great for travelers who are on a budget. It’s also great for people who are completely prepared for essentially off-grid camping. Campers have to bring their own water, pack out their garbage, and bring in their own firewood.
Come visit here if you are looking for things to do in the Olympic National Park! Sol Duc Falls trail is very close for a day trip. You can also easily reach Lake Crescent, Mount Storm King, and Marymere Falls from here too.
3. Frenchman Coulee Backcountry Campsites (The Feathers)
If you’re looking to escape the rain but still stay close, we’ve got you covered. Frenchman Coulee Backcountry Campsites are an Eastern Washington gem. This area is part of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area.
You can reach Frenchman Coulee Backcountry Campsites near Vantage, Washington. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Seattle, and a 2-hour drive from Spokane (and a perfect stop on an Eastern Washington road trip!). Right in the middle of the state!
Amenities are extremely limited. You will find maybe 10-15 undesignated spots among two separate areas next to one another. There are no signs for spots – you just find a clear dirt path and pull in! There are no picnic tables, or running water.
Basically, you need to bring everything you need and remember to pack in and pack out.
Often called “The Feathers” this is a prime camping spot for climbers. Just steps away from your care are 30-40 foot cliffs with a high concentration of 5.10s and 5.11s.
This is a prime spot for dirt bagging campers who want to climb! There are debates as to whether it’s free or not. Some say you need a Washington state park Discover Pass – if you have one bring it just in case!
If you want to explore the area, check out the nearby Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. It’s just across the Vantage Bridge on I-90. Also nearby are the Ancient Lakes, one of the coolest beginner backpacking trips in Washington.
4. Ancient Lakes
Just a 40-minute drive from Moses Lake, Ancient Lakes is a stunning recessional-cataract canyon found in Central Washington’s Pothole Region. The Ancient Lakes Trail is an easy 4.6 miles with 288 feet elevation gain. The best time to take this backpacking trip is in April, May, and early June. This is when the weather isn’t too hot.
The Ancient Lakes are fairly easy and can be done even in early spring. This is why it’s one of the best Pacific Northwest spring break ideas for groups, couples, and individual adventurers!
Camping at the Ancient Lakes looks like a lot of other backpacking camping. There will be primitive campsites with fire pits overlooking the lake.
You’ll want to bring your own tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag, and also pack some yummy backpacking meals to fuel your hike. There is little shade in this area, so you’ll want to bring a good hat and some sunscreen. You will also have to pack in your own water!
The easy hike to the Ancient Lakes will be soooo worth the extra effort. There are stunning Washington views and unique geological history here!
Looking for inspiration for fun day trips near Ancient Lakes? Check out the Lenore Caves, Dry Falls State Park, and the Grand Coulee Dam for a full day of fun.
5. Washington Coast Beach Camping
To celebrate the coming of spring in the Pacific Northwest, take a weekend getaway to the Washington coast!
When camping on the Washington coast in the spring, you’ll beed some rain gear. Bring a rain jacket (April showers bring May flowers, right?) and a solid pair of waterproof hiking boots. Even if it does rain during your trip, the views, epic hiking, and awesome things to do in the area are still worth it.
One of the best things about camping on the Washington coast is that there are tons of campgrounds spanning the coastline. For camping right along the Washington coast, La Push Second Beach camping is a wonderful and affordable way to camp with friends and family.
Camping on La Push Second Beach is primitive, and requires a hike in. It’s just $8 per person per night, but you must obtain a permit. You can find them at the Port Angeles Ranger Station or the Lake Quinault South Ranger Station. This makes it great for those adventuring on a budget and one of the best spring break ideas in Washington State for college-aged kids and families with kids!
The La Push Second Beach is just a 20-minute drive from Forks, within Olympic National Park. It’s also just under 4 hours from Seattle, making it a perfect long weekend trip or summer vacation for Seattlites.
Visiting Shi Shi Beach Camping and Ozette Triangle Beach Camping are other popular areas to stay overnight on the coast. Both of them require special permits and a hike in!
More Spring Camping in Washington
Because of their no-fuss campsites, these campgrounds are perfect for families with kids, large groups, couples, and individuals. Really, camping on the Washington coast is perfect everyone! If you’re camping on the northern Washington coast in the spring, check out the mind blowing Skagit Valley Tulip Festival or stroll through the charming town of Bellingham!
One of the coolest aspects of this area of Washington is that you can take WSDOT ferries to any of the islands in the San Juans.
Destinations For Spring Camping in Oregon
6. Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is hands-down one of the most stunning places in the Pacific Northwest.
The Columbia River Gorge is located on the border of Washington and Oregon, making activities in both states easily accessible. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Portland and a 2-hour drive from the Tri-Cities in Central Washington.
There are so many things to do in the Columbia River Gorge. Some of the best activities in the area include hiking the Oneonta Gorge Trail and driving the Hood River Fruit Loop.
For all the adrenaline junkies out there windsurfing is another popular Columbia River Gorge activity! You can take a lesson and rent them from Hood River Waterplay, with rates starting at $139.
Camping in the Columbia River Gorge
After hiking and adventuring all day, check out Viento State Park and Ainsworth State Park for epic spring camping. Rates at these state parks start at $29, making them one of the more affordable places to camp in the PNW! These campgrounds are great for seniors, because they’re chill, paved, and easily accessible. They’re also the perfect place to stay for families, couples, and individuals looking for a place to park the camper and explore the area for a while.
The Viento State Park Campground has 56 electrical sites (with water), 18 tent sites (water nearby), and two ADA accessible campsites. There are flush toilets and hot showers here!
At the Ainsworth State Park Campground you can find 40 full-hookup campsites (1 is ADA accessible). There’s also a hiker/biker camp (no reservations). Here, you’ll find flush toilets and firewood for sale!
Check out our complete list of campsites near the Columbia River Gorge that are perfect for a spring camping trip in the PNW (found at the end of that post).
7. Cape Lookout State Park
From yurts, group campsites, and campsites by the ocean, this place is one of a kind! If you love the ocean, this is the place for you.
Each campsite is a short walk to the beach. They are also separated by lush greenery, so even though you are among others, it still feels tranquil and private.
There are 35 RV hookup sites, 170 tent sites, and 13 yurts, and 6 tents available for reservation. Coming with a big crowd? You can also rent 2 big group sites.
The amenity we like most about Oregon state parks is their showers! Each state park campsite is required to have free showers on-site. (Which is a nice perk when you are choosing spring camping destinations!)
Cape Lookout State Park is good primarily for families and large groups, based on the space available. However, Berty and I recently rented a yurt, and it was such a lovely getaway for just the two of us. We were able to explore nearby and come back to a peaceful and quiet site.
If you love the coast, this is the Pacific Northwest spring camping destination for you. Nearby, you can drive a short way to Cape Kiwanda and spend the entire day exploring the sandstone cliffs and Pacific City.
You can also drive just a 15-minute drive north of Cape Lookout to reach quiet and secluded beaches like Short Beach, Tunnel Beach, and Cape Meares.
8. Southern Oregon Coast
The southern Oregon coast is stunning.
Offering visitors beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and its sea stacks, this is one of best photography locations in Oregon! Better yet, the southern Oregon coast is just a 1.5-hour drive from Bandon and is 35 minutes from Crescent City, CA. (Perfect for if you’re tacking it on a Northern California road trip!)
Harris Beach State Park is one of the best places to camp in the southern Oregon coast. Not only is it beautiful, it’s affordable…and huge! Harris Beach State Park has 65 RV hookup sites, 59 tent sites, and 6 yurts, and group camping. There’s also a hiker/biker camp and many of the sites have water or are near a water station. One campsite has an accessible design.
You’ll find flush toilets, hot showers, firewood for sale, an RV dump station, and a playground here! Rates start at $23 at Harris Beach State Park. Because of all the options for lodging at this campground, people of all ages can enjoy Harris Beach State Park.
Some of the coolest places to see in the southern Oregon coast are the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Area where you can visit popular (but still private) attractions like Natural Bridges and Secret Beach. Another fun day trip in the southern Oregon coast is spending a day in Gold Beach.
Another great aspect of visiting the southern Oregon coast is that you can easily reach Redwoods National Park, as it’s just a 1-hour drive from Harris Beach State Park.
Destinations For Spring Camping in Northern California
9. Redwood National Park
If you’re looking for what to do for spring in the Pacific Northwest, a trip to Redwood National Park is the perfect way to go! With tons of beautiful hikes through vast groves of ancient redwood trees, GIANT trees (and–no joke–one that’s literally named “Big Tree”), and tons of things to do, the drive to Redwood National Park is worth it.
Redwood National Park is a 6-hour drive from Portland, 6-hour drive from San Francisco, and 3.5-hour drive from Redding, CA, making it the perfect longer adventure for PNW natives and visitors. It’s also a great stop on a larger Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary!
There are numerous campgrounds in Redwoods National Park that are easily accessible and affordable.
These include: Jedediah Smith Campground, Mill Creek Campground, Elk Prairie Campground, and Gold Bluffs Beach Campground. There are tent sites, RV hookup sites, cabins, group camping, ADA accessible sites, and canvas tents available at many of these Redwood National Park campgrounds!
In the park, drive the 31-mile-long Avenue of Giants Scenic Drive, hike the Fern Canyon Trail, and hike to Endert’s Beach.
10. Sue Meg State Park
For fun spring camping in the Pacific Northwest, Sue Meg State Park in Northern California is the place! You’ll want to stay for a while, because of its stunning views and magical vibes. It’s one of the most scenic places to camp in the PNW!
To camp at Sue Meg State Park, you can choose to stay at one of three campgrounds in the park. They are called Abalone, Penn Creek, and Agate Beach–all are lovely! These three campgrounds have 124 campsites total with firepits, picnic tables, and food cupboards.
The day-use fee for Sue Meg State Park is $8 per vehicle. Note: that does not include the fee for camping, and can be paid at the entrance into the park.
Sue Meg State Park camping is extremely popular and fills up quickly. This is especially true for the summer and fall months, so you’ll want to track any last-minute openings on The Dyrt sooner than later!
Visiting Wedding Rock is one of the most popular attractions in Sue Meg State Park. And yes, you can get married there for $250 with 25 guests!! Abalone Point is another beautiful viewpoint that’s easily accessible from the Abalone Campground.
Spring camping at Sue Meg State Park is the perfect activity for those looking for PNW vibes while still on the California coast. It’s also definitely worth the drive for those in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho who are looking for a unique road trip destination!
Spring Camping in Montana
11. Glacier National Park (Going to the sun road biking)
You may think of Glacier National Park as a summer/fall-only destination, but it’s booming with adventure possibilities in the spring! The iconic Going To The Sun Road opening times are a few months out, but you can still access both sides of the park via Highway.
It’s a great destination in the spring season because you get to enjoy the park without all the summertime crowds. It’s important to remember though, that fewer amenities are available in the spring. Campers need to be prepared to be self-sufficient, with plenty of water, fuel, and warm layers.
Glacier National Park is pretty far from a lot of major cities. You can opt to fly into Kalispell and drive 1-hour to the west side of the park – Lake McDonald. If you’re up for a drive, Glacier is 3 hours away from Missoula, MT, 5 hours away from Spokane, WA, and 9 hours away from Seattle, WA.
Spring Camping Locations Near Glacier National Park
Apgar and St Mary Campgrounds are open year-round. There are no running water or flushing toilets during the winter. Water generally gets turned on after the last frost date, which is sometime in May.
You can also opt to find free camping spots in the nearby Hungry Horse Reservoir or Flathead National Forest. If you do this, be VERY sure that you have a 4WD vehicle and have a winter road trip emergency kit in case you encounter snow in the backcountry.
This is an excellent destinations for spring camping in the Pacific Northwest for people who like solitude, and are a little scrappy too! Spring camping in Glacier National Park requires a lot of preparation, so experienced campers are encouraged to visit. In the springtime, you can bike the Going To The Sun Road, and hike the trails that are on the edges of the park. Click here for updated trail statuses and closures.
What are some of your favorite destinations for spring camping in the Pacific Northwest? Share them in the comments!