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 and 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 😀
Location of the cabins and yurts on the map:
Cabin and Yurt Camping in Washington
1. Cabin camping at Bay View State Park
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 families, couples, or for spending a day or two by yourself:
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 $55/night off-season and around $85 during peak season.
View from the window in the morning:
Being a parent to young children is “when you are coming for a swing 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.
2. How the cabins look inside at the Bay View Park
Cabins come furnished with one double bed and two single bunks, have heat and electricity. Restrooms and showers are 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:
Pictured below: how we feel about camping in general: messy, shaggy, and full of joy:
We loved Bay View and will go camping there again at the end of November 2021.
3. 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 sea star (pictured below) … 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:
4. Cabin camping at Dash Point State Park
Dash Point State Park has the same pleasant cabins as the Bay View Park, and it’s relatively close – near Tacoma/Seattle. Park also located at the “salt water”, this time – Poverty Bay. We love the trails there, especially during fall: the foliage is exeptional. Price is around $70 per night.
Cabins have electricity, heat, and equipped with single bed, double bed, and futon. Outside look slightly different than the ones at Bay View:
We liked the place, it was our 2-d time at those cabins (November 2021).
5. Attractions at the Dash Point State Park
Dash Point is one of the top spots for skimboarding in the area (during summer), has mountain biking and hiking trails, good for fishing/shellfish harvesting. We also met happy foragers (with full bags of honey mushrooms). 🙂
Other places we liked nearby: Browns Point Lighthouse Park; parks and museums in Tacoma. Lighthouse keeper house now can be rented out.
6. Yurt Camping at Cape Disappointment
Once, on the Thanksgiving long weekend, we decided to visit the Oregon Coast, with a stop at Cape Disappointment State Park. Luckily for us, several yurts were still available the night right before the holidays.
The yurts are located in a lovely setting: a few minutes of walking from the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by evergreen forest:
7. How the yurts look inside at the Cape Disappointment and … some disappointment
Yurts weren’t warmed for our arrival, unlike cabins at the Bay View/Dash Point State Parks. The temperature inside was pretty much the same as outside – around 8C. We were afraid they 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 place feel cozy in about … 2 hours:
Yurts at Cape Disappointment come furnished with a single and a double bed, a futon (and have electricity). Restrooms and showers are just a short walk away. Price is around $70 per night.
The interior seems dated and worn-out compared to the cabins at the Bay View/Dash Point. But, still better than messing with a tent 😉
Interesting point: we didn’t open windows covers during the day (the green square in the upper right corner, pictured below). The yurt’s skylight gave so much light, it was hard to believe!
Cape Disappointment local mafia:
8. Attractions at Cape Disappointment State Park
As well as the cabins, yurts have a lot of space between them, surrounded by forest and sounds of crashing waves. Kids had a lot of fun and space.
Pictured below: the short trail to the beach and one of the campsites that will be booked instantly for the summer season:
The beach is huge in both directions. I bet it’s gorgeous here in summer:
Kids running from the waves of the Pacific:
Cape Disappointment State Park is a must-visit place in 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:
Cabin and yurt camping in Washington: Essentials
Some of the most important gear for off-season camping in Washington are … tarp and ropes. During all our trips it was raining at some point: 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 a huge (10’x10′) piece of plastic:
Other things you’ll need besides ropes and tarp:
- Bedding: pillows, linens, and blankets (or sleeping bags).
- Everything for cooking outside, at the fire ring/upright pedestal grill: firewood/coal, cookware, food, plates, cutlery, garbage bags, etc. (It’s forbidden to cook inside the cabins or yurts)
- Weather-appropriate clothes and shoes. Rain boots (especially for kids), rain jackets, and warm clothes for chilly weather (jackets, hats, gloves).
- “Regular” camping gear: camping chairs, headlights, lanterns, insect repellent, toiletry, towels, first aid kit, etc.
- Food and drinks 🙂
Thanks for reading, friends!
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