Get Away: 5 Epic Northwest Camping Spots

Words by Matthew Vanatta
Photos by Jake Hanson

With summer in full swing, many outdoor enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest are planning their warm weather adventures. The PNW is world renowned for its abundance of outdoor recreation, awe-inspiring nature, and long warm summer days.

One of the most most radical aspects of the Northwest is it’s natural diversity, with the North Cascades running down the center of both Washington and Oregon both states offer a wide array of adventure opportunities including fun days surfing in the North Pacific, hiking above the treeline on craggy peaks, and fly fishing in trout hungry waters east of the Cascades.

While plenty of nature lovers will head the call of the wild during the winter months, there is no better time to enjoy the great outdoors than summer. Summer camping offers clear and vibrant skies, epic views, and chance to wake up in a dry tent. If you have been looking to plan your escape from the city, check out one of these 5 epic Northwest camping spots.

1. Hobuck

Situated near the Northwest tip of the Continental United States camping at Hobuck can feel like camping on the edge of the world. Hobuck is located in the Makah Indian Reservation just outside of the small seaside town of Neah Bay and has long been a favorite weekend getaway for Seattle surfers and beach lovers. The drive out from Seattle trails the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Salish Sea and Canada to the right and Olympic National Park to the left. Bring a surfboard, pack your cooler, and tent or car camp in one of the most epic beachside camp spots in the Northwest.

2. Crater Lake

If you follow any Instagram famous outdoor photographer there is a good chance you’ve seen a picture or two of the dramatic beauty of Crater Lake, Oregon. Situated four and half hours south of Portland, Crater Lake is remote and stunning caldera lake and is the primary feature at Crater Lake National Park. If you want to make all of your friends who are stuck in the city jealous with jaw-dropping imagery, then Crater Lake is an epic choice.

3. Cape Kiwanda

Oregon’s coast resembles Washington’s coast in its rugged beauty, but it is definitely more developed. While surfing, camping, and hiking on the Olympic Peninsula can feel like a true wilderness experience, hanging out on the Oregon coast is a mix of natural beauty and cool beachside hamlets. Lots of people summer on the Oregon Coast, so the likelihood of you finding any solitude is rare, but the upside is that there are funky little towns where you can replenish, recharge, and grab a cold beverage or two after a long surf or hike. One of the most epic places to camp and explore is Cape Kiwanda or Pacific City, a cool little coastal town that offers great surfing, good eats, plenty of epic camping options.

4. Icicle Creek-

Just outside of Leavenworth, Washington, on the eastern pitch of The Cascade Mountains, is Icicle Creek, one of the Pacific Northwest most diverse outdoor recreation areas. Offering easy access to many of the activities that Leavenworth plays host to, Icicle Creek is the perfect getaway for avid climbers cyclist, anglers, and kayakers. Grab your fly-rod, load up the bikes, and head east of the Cascades where the fish are hungry, the vibes are good, and the stars shine bright in the clear nights sky.

5. La Push

La Push is located on the south side of Ozette Lake, as the crow flies it is directly south of Hobuck, but there is no coastal road connecting the two beachside destinations. This makes La Push its own unique experience as most campers choose one or the other if they are listed on time. La Push does offer some car camping opportunities at different campgrounds, the real magic of La Push is hiking into one of the beach camping zones at 1st, 2nd, or 3rd beach. Hike in, set up camp, and enjoy a weekend of roasting weenies and surfing frosty waves.

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