Seattle's Child

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State Parks: Yurt in Cape Disappointment State Park

A yurt at Cape Disappointment

How to stay at Washington state parks without ‘roughing it’

Washington State Parks’ yurts, cabins and houses are waiting for you.

Update, July 11: Many more “roofed accommodations” now are accepting reservations for this summer. Go here to check on the site that piques your interest.

Did you know that you can enjoy Washington’s many and varied state parks without sleeping on the ground and cooking over a fire? (Unless, of course, you want to.)

At least two dozen state parks, most of them on the west side of the state, rent what they call “roofed accommodations,” which include yurts, cabins and houses, both historic and contemporary.

Where might you go? That depends on your family’s travel style, and what you’re looking for in a not-quite-roughing-it getaway:

Cama Beach State Park

This park on Camano Island has simple, cozy waterfront cabins. You can wear yourselves out trooping along the many trails and, of course, exploring the beach. (The park next door, Camano Island State Park, also has cabins for rent, but not as many.) Then you can roast hot dogs and marshmallows on the grill outside your cabin, and fall asleep to the sound of the waves.

 

Fort Worden and Fort Flagler

At these two state parks near Port Townsend, you can rent the homes where military officers once lived with their families. Send the kids out to march on the parade ground, and look for deer, while you enjoy the view from a big front porch. Fort Flagler also has an extensive network of bunkers built into the ground.

 

Cape Disappointment

This ocean-front park on the Long Beach Peninsula has both yurts and a former lighthouse keeper’s quarters, right in the heart of Lewis and Clark territory. (There’s an excellent Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.)

 

Kanaskat-Palmer State Park

Have you heard of it? Neither had I, until recently. It’s gorgeous, located on the Green River in southeast King County, and it has yurts!

 

Pro tips

Pack food and goodies and games and get ready to enjoy nature (and very likely some history, too) while not venturing very far from home.

Having your own family cabin is conducive to social distancing, but you’ll need to take care on beaches and in other potentially crowded public areas. (And if you’re like me, you’ll dream of renting one of the old houses for a big family get-together or moms’ weekend. Maybe next year!)

Availability may vary as facilities gradually reopen this summer. Also, read the fine print about the property you’re interested in. Each one is different: You may need to bring your own linens, or there may be limits on how much cooking you can do indoors. Your rental may or may not have a bathroom. Pets are allowed in some places; smoking is not. A few even have TVs, and many are stocked with games.

More on yurt camping: Why you’ll never go back to tents after camping in a yurt.

About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is the website editor for Seattle's Child. She is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 12-year-old girl.