The top campgrounds to reserve this summer

If you’re thinking about camping this summer, it’s best to make reservations early to get the best spot

By Brittany Hale

Given the time of the year, camping is probably the last thing on students’ minds. But getting the best camping spot requires making a reservation – something that you should do now if you plan on camping this summer. Sites fill up quickly, especially the good ones! These would be sites on the water, near the trails, or in close proximity to the bathrooms. Every year, I begin making my summertime camping reservations around January. If you wait until later, there might not be much left.

Ever since moving to Washington in 1999, my family spent almost every summer scoping out the area’s many campgrounds. My personal favorites tend to be on a lake or near a river. If you’re thinking about doing some camping this summer, here are some of the best options I’ve discovered. If you’d like more information on Washington’s campgrounds, recreation.gov or parks.wa.gov are good places to start.

  1. Lake Wenatchee State Park

Lake Wenatchee State Park is right on the shores of Lake Wenatchee, about eighteen miles outside of Leavenworth, WA. The best time to visit this campground is in July and August. Make your reservations early, though, this park fills up fast and is especially hard to reserve on the weekends.  I visited Lake Wenatchee State Park during the week and found it pleasantly deserted. My favorite aspect of this park is the beach. The water is amazingly clear and, if you’re visiting in August, surprisingly warm.

  1. Wanapum State Park

If you like camping in the heat, then Wanapum State Park is for you. The park overlooks the Columbia River, right outside of Vantage in Eastern Washington. Many of the sites have trails that lead you right to the water. The river is usually cold, but after a long day of lounging in the sun it provides muchneeded relief. If you’re planning on seeing any concerts at The Gorge this summer, you might want to look into Wanapum. It’s a reasonably short drive away from the venue.

  1. La Wis Wis Campground

La Wis Wis is located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. A US Forest Service campground, La Wis Wis is pretty remote and doesn’t have flush toilets. However, most of the campsites sit alongside the Ohanapecosh River and have spectacular views. There’s nothing better than falling asleep to the sound of the river. In addition to fishing, there are plenty of hiking opportunities in the area. It’s best to go later in the summer when the weather is most agreeable. When I stayed there, it rained the entire time.

  1. Sun Lakes – Dry Falls State Park

Sun Lakes, located outside of Coulee City in Northeastern Washington, is one of my favorite places to the visit in the summer for a few reasons. For one, it’s hot! There are also plenty of hidden lakes that you can explore, and float sessions are a must. The campsites are close to one another and there isn’t much privacy. However, this provides a great opportunity to meet with your neighbors and most campers are friendly. Make sure to bring lots of sunscreen; I’ve experienced some killer sunburns staying at this campground.