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Cabin and Yurt Camping in Washington: What It is Like

Our first experience of cabin and yurt camping in Washington during late November. Why we liked it so much and would go again even during off-season.

I could never imagine myself camping in the middle of November, during the rainy season in Washington. Until I accidentally found a campground with “waterfront cabins with a swing on a porch” at Bay View State Park. I was immediately hooked up. “Cabin, Yurt Camping in Washington” is about our experience and what we liked/disliked.

I called cabin and yurt camping “lamping: “lazy” + “camping”. The only things we needed were bedding and cooking stuff. That’s considerably less baggage than going tent camping but it still filled the entire trunk 😀

Views from Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, Cape Disappointment
Views from Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, Cape Disappointment

Cabin Camping: Washington, Bay View State Park

Bay View State Park is a relatively small park, equipped with only 6 cabins. (Two of them are “luxury”: with a toilet and a sink ;). Price ranging from $45/night off-season and often doubling during peak season.

All cabins in the park have an incredible view over Padilla Bay, the mountains, and the San Juan Islands. Space around each cabin gives plenty of privacy, making it a nice gateway for a couple or for spending a day or two by yourself:

View from the window in the morning:

Some of the most important gear for camping in Washington in November was tarp and ropes. It was mostly just very light rain and overcast: good for a walk, but not for sitting outside or making an open fire.

We were able to play table games, grill, eat and chat for hours thanks to this huge (10’x10′) piece of plastic:

Being a parent to young children is when you dream about swinging on a porch but totally forget to try it out… 😀

Heating in cabins was great: kids were constantly running in and out, but inside remained cozy and warm.

Cabins come furnished with one double bed and two single bunks, have heat and electricity. Restrooms and showers just a short walk from the cabins.

The cabin inside seems pretty home-like: clean, nearly new, with small nice things like regulated lights, table lamp, etc. There are also a small table and two chairs, a bench, and a nightstand.

With linings from home, it felt even cozier. Kids (and us) loved our “little cabin in the woods” and would be glad to spend there a night or two again:

That’s exactly how we feel about camping in general: messy, shaggy and full of joy:

Cabin and Yurt Camping in Washington. Attractions at Bay View State Park

There are a lot of things to do around the Bay View State Park. We enjoyed the beach (a 5-minute walk from the campground). It’s really wide and covered in pebbles, with plenty of picnics tables. Nice place to fly a kite.

Padilla Bay Interpretive Center is just a few minutes away by car. It has great trails, a museum, and an aquarium.

The museum and aquarium aren’t big, but very informative and have a lot of stuff for kids and adults to explore. We were lucky to witness how a huge sunflower seastar… ate a herring head.

The small coastal city of Bellingham is Washington’s hidden gem. It is in 40 minutes drive from the camping and full of activities for an entire day or two. We liked the most: Boulevard Park (deserves a separate post), Whatcom Museum, and Marine Life Center:

Bellingham Marine Life Center
Bellingham Marine Life Center

Yurt Camping at Cape Disappointment

I knew nothing about camping in a yurt until my friend told me about their experience. They camped at Mount St. Helen and loved it a lot: it was a great gateway (during their visit it was covered all around in snow) with little effort.

On Thanksgiving long weekend, we decided to visit the Oregon Coast again, with a stop at Cape Disappointment State Park. Luckily for us, several yurts were still available the night right before the holidays. These yurts are in a lovely setting: surrounded by evergreen forest and within a few minutes walking from the Pacific Ocean.

A campsite with a dream view at the beach:

The beach is huge in both directions. I bet it’s gorgeous here in summer:

Kids running from the waves of the Pacific
Kids running from the waves of the Pacific

We were blessed with clear and sunny weather during the entire trip – so unusual during this time of the year in the Pacific Northwest. There was a downside, though, to clear skies: it was cold. At the end of November, temperatures dropped below freezing at night.

Yurts weren’t warmed for our arrival (unlike cabins at the Bay View Park). The temperature inside was pretty much the same as outside. It was already late and we were afraid our yurt would never warm-up. The old heater seemed helpless considering the yurt size. Thankfully, there was an additional portable heater in the yurt. Together, they made the yurt feel cozy in about 2 hours.

Yurt at Washington State Park. photo credit: snohomishcountywa.gov

Andrew trying to warm his hands on a chilly morning: this portable heater and the white one behind his back was all we had to heat the big yurt:

We didn’t have to open the windows (see the green square in the upper right corner above). The skylight gave so much light, it’s hard to believe!

Yurt’s “window” is the square above the steps:

Late nights guests: raccoons
Cape Disappointment local mafia
Cape Disappointment local mafia

As cabins, yurts have a lot of space between them, surrounded by forest and sounds of crashing waves.

Yurts come furnished with a single and a double bed, a futon, and have heat and electricity. Restrooms and showers just a short walk from the yurt. The interior seems dated and worn-out compared to the cabins at the Bay View Park. Still better than messing with a tent that time of the year 😉

Attractions at Cape Disappointment

Cape Disappointment State Park is a must-visit place at Washington. It has so many things to do, it would be hard to see everything in a single day: forts and bunkers, an interpretive center, beaches, great trails, and lighthouses.

Old water tower hidden in the old-growth forest at Cape Disappointment

Enormous piles of driftwood at one of the beaches here: the scenery we had never experienced at the US East Coast:

Washington Yurt/Cabin Camping Packing List

Bedding: pillows, linens, and blankets (or sleeping bags).

Since you are not allowed to cook inside (in either cabin or yurt), you’ll need everything for cooking outside, at the fire ring or upright pedestal grill: firewood/coal, cookware, food, plates, cutlery, garbage bags, etc.

Tarp and ropes to attach it to nearby structures and trees.

Weather-appropriate clothes and shoes. We always have rain boots (especially for kids), rain jackets, and warm clothes for chilly weather just in case (jackets, hats, gloves).

Regular camping gear like camping chairs, headlights, lanterns, insect repellent, toiletry, towels, first aid kit, etc.

Joy of burning 100 matches
The joy of burning 100 matches :). Cape Disappointment, Washington

Thanks for reading, friends!

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By Mrs. Grazy Goat

I am Ira, the author behind Grazy Goat. My husband and I run this blog and share our experiences about thrilling places and cultures. Our son Artem recently joined us and helps with editing.

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