Camano Island State Park | My adventure

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Memorable…

…is the best way to describe my weekend getaway to this beautiful state park. I went with my boyfriend for two nights since I couldn’t take too many days off work but wanted to get far enough away that I could enjoy serene ocean views.

Camano Island is always the first to come to mind since my parents and grandparents each have a house there that hold fond childhood memories.

About our campsite

We found the perfect campsite, spot 27. Spacious and flat enough to hold our two person tent but could easily handle a larger tent (I’d guestimate 8-person). The fire pits have a round plate for the pit and a grate that can go over the fire. I recommend bringing an oven mitt if you’d like to lift the grate on and off (there’s a handle). Across the tiny road is a water spout that seems to put out decently clean water. There is a on/off handle on the spout that’s great for washing dishes but also a smaller handle for a water fountain feature that seems to dispense filtered water (fancy!). It was so convenient to have it this close to our site; made cleaning up less daunting. We even saw some smart campers that stopped by to clean their dishes with two buckets, sponges, and soap; they had perfected cleaning systems that inspired us to add a bucket to our camping list.

our camp site with our tent and gear set up with Joe cooking.

Campsite noise

None of our camping neighbors were visible from our site but during the day you can easily hear everyone. This site is very kid friendly so we often saw packs of 2-3 little ones roaming on their bikes and scooters. One little girl had a sweet rainbow unicorn helmet! If you’re looking for a quiet getaway, I don’t know if this campground is for you.

Bathrooms

The bathroom facility was close to our spot, maybe 15 seconds to walk. This was perfect when I had to go to the bathroom night; anyone who knows me knows I am afraid of the dark! Luckily our campsite was surrounded by tall shrubs and trees so even though the bathroom was so near, we couldn’t see or hear it from our spot. The only  exception to this were the hand dryers in the bathroom because you could clearly hear them. The hand dryers made up for it though by warming me up while drying my hands at night! Never kept us from sleeping nor did it ever wake us up so ultimately it didn’t matter.

These bathrooms are deluxe; clean, well lit and regularly maintained. The bathrooms had six stalls, three sinks, each with a shelf and power outlets. Two shower ROOMS with plenty of hot water and a solid bolt-lock on the door (the “occupied”/”vacant” kind).

Shower rooms

These shower rooms seem to be ADA standard for our disabled friends; they were very spacious, had two benches, and a detachable shower hose… thing (I don’t remember if there was a button to open the door though). If I remember right they had storage inside so that you could keep some clothes in a dry space (it might have just been a bench though).

At first we thought we had to pay because there is a quarter slot but discovered a quarter lodged in it so showers were free with no time limit! Although obviously I encourage everyone to be friendly to our earth and be as sustainable as possible and take short showers. Also consider other campers who may need to use the facility!

Trip logistics

We left Bothell around 4 p.m. on a Friday and hit the expected amount of traffic on I-5 north. After stopping for coffee, food, groceries, ice and some wood, we arrived at our campsite around 6:30 p.m. With no traffic you can typically get from Bothell to Camano Island in roughly 60-70 minutes. A GPS app will be your friend in helping you navigate to this campground. Screenshot the steps though since service can be patchy in some spots.

State park beach

Camano Island State Park and the nearby Cama Beach State Park both have rocky beaches worth visiting (although I recommend a mat and/or think blankets to sit on). Cama Beach has cabins so it tends to be busy. Each park requires a Discovery Pass or you need to pay $10 for parking. We saw a ranger stop by on the hour so they definitely check regularly.

Campsite options

This campsite has three types of sites and charges accordingly.

  • Economic – $25/night
  • Basic – $30/night (our site was this level)
  • Premium – $35/night

The majority of the premium spots had huge spaces with amazing ocean views. All of them were taken by the time we arrived Friday night and some looked like they lived there.

Camping tips

  • We packed everything into storage bins so that it was very easy and quick to unpack the car and set up our site.
  • Joe (boyfriend) and I split up duties; he prepared dinner while I started the campfire.
    • I was able to easily start it thanks to my mini duraflame fire start log! I’ve used these since I was kid when my dad took my sister and I camping so I tend to gravitate towards this brand.
  • Always over buy wood. Save what you don’t use or have leave it behind for another camper.
    • The campsite wardens usually sell wood too but if not, there is a nearby convenience store (15 min drive) that sells fire wood, alcohol, snacks, food, etc.
  • They say they offer free wifi but it wasn’t easy to find (nor did I try hard to find it). While I recommend unplugging while camping, sometimes there’s just that one thing you saw on YouTube that you mentioned and now you really want to show them.
  • I have T-Mobile and generally have decent connect everywhere I go. The service, in general, on Camano Island is patchy but once we arrived at the campground it seemed to be fine.

Campfires

Keys to a good fire for new fire builders (which I basically was):

  1. Bring or use cardboard to create a little fan to help you get as much oxygen into the fire as possible. Cardboard is a solid fan to keep the embers hot so that a proper fire can start.
  2. Have material for kindling and material for long-term burning.
    • Kindling – Dry wood chips and actual kindling are the best to get the tiny flames going. Dried up leaves, twigs, and evergreen branches are great in a fix.
    • Dry logs are key –  don’t always rely on finding wood at the campground in case it rains because obviously wet wood can’t maintain a flame. Be sure to put them in a formation that allows oxygen to get to the embers; don’t pack your logs too tight!

New to building fires? Highly recommend searching “how to build a fire” and follow instructions. I’m sure YouTube has some videos! I believe the campground has free wi-fi too if you don’t have a good connection.

Dura flame fire start mini log

Our food

Joe had precooked some meat before we left so he only needed to cook up the rice and reheat the meat on the gas stove top. We added this delicious, tangy teriyaki sauce on top and it was amazing. We also brought fixings for quesadillas to make an easy meal over the campfire; we wrapped up the ingredients in aluminum foil and used tongs to flip it every 2-3 minutes. We kept our food options cheap and simple; hot dogs cooked over the fire and some easy mac ‘n cheese cooked over the stove top satisfied us for lunch!

The views

After sitting by the fire and peaking at what we could see of the ocean, we decided to take a walk to get a better view. There’s a great cliff that faces the ocean and mountains making it a prime sunset-viewing spot. The view below is a viewing area in the campgrounds.  Across the road are premium campsites that clearly have the best fireside view.

Panoramic shot of Elger Bay at sunset.

The next day we explored the campground and discovered a walking path along the cliff that had lookout points at various spots. We found our favorite though.

View of eldger bay from camp grounds walking path along the cliff.

Rating

  • It’s my favorite campground so 5/5 stars!
  • Worthy of being an annual trip
  • Kid friendly
  • Animal friendly
  • Clean
  • Safe
  • Would recommend
    • but beware campsite 22 with its noisy crows!
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