It’s time to get out your gear, take inventory and get ready to go camping at the Washington Coast! Midway through unpacking your tent to be sure all of the stakes are still there, that intrusive thought comes to the front of your mind: “Where to go camping near the Washington Coast?” Montesano and Elma offer great camping for those headed to the beach any time of the year. Whether you like fishing, bird watching, mountain biking, ATVing, hiking or glamping, Elma and Montesano have you and your family covered.

Set up your tent and go camping near the water at one of these Washington State parks in Grays Harbor. Photo credit: Ilona Ilyés

Schafer State Park

Water-lovers will get a kick out of a trip to Schafer State Park, it’s a great spot for camping near Elma. Bring along your tube, splash in and meander along the Satsop River. Wade into the waters and cast a line or two. Spend a leisurely afternoon swimming, picnicking and hiking the kid-friendly trails. You will need a Discover Pass for Schafer State Park.

Show up in your rig, van or with a tent and set up camp for a few nights. Schafer State Park is open to 41 campers at any given time, with hookups available at 9 sites. Past guests rave about the bathrooms with free hot showers. Each spot has a fire ring for toasting those marshmallows and baking banana boats. Free Wi-Fi and covered areas with grills for day use. Find a dishwashing station too, for a quick and easy after meal clean up.

Gear up for a game of horseshoes. Break out the binoculars for some bird watching. The possibilities are plentiful here. With this State Park, you’ll need to book your spot at least a day before arrival.

A good idea for breakfast after packing up on your last morning is Joey’s Crepes & More, just before you hit the highway home. Chow down on some of the best sweet and savory crepes around. If you’re not big on crepes, there are other delectable breakfast options like eggs benedict and biscuits and gravy.

Coho Campground

Open mid-May to October, Coho Campground is a large campground with bathrooms and showers on site, 46 pull-up sites for tents or RVs and 10 walk-in sites. Guests can rent yurts as well. Yurts accommodate up to 6 guests. With heating and electricity along with furnishings and a balcony with a view, the yurts are giving lakeside glamping vibes sure to evoke nostalgia for years to come. Have an Interagency Senior, Interagency Access, Golden Age or Gold Access pass? If so, you can save 50% on camping fees at Coho Campground!

Bring your boat or kayak too. Back your truck up at the boat ramp for an easy dip into the waters. Rods and bait are another important item to pack because there’s plenty of rainbow trout and whitefish to catch for dinner over the campfire.

The Working Forest Interpretive Trail leads families on a learning adventure on this .5-mile trail with pace-slowing exhibits along the way. Children as young as toddlers take this trail head on, happily visiting scenic overlooks and taking a peek at the Wynoochee River Gorge.

Take the whole family camping at Schafer State Park, Coho Campground. Photo credit: Tempest Love

Friends Landing

Cozy your tent up to the lake to wake up to a colorful view of the water, hugged by the deciduous trees of the Pacific Northwest. For camping near Montesano, Friends Landing offers 10 campsites and 18 RV sites nestled between Lake Quigg and Chehalis River,

Put in a kayak or paddleboard on site at one of the boat ramps. Splash and play with friends in the river. Pick one of the miles of trails and explore the rim of the lake or bike the local terrain. Try out the playground. There’s good fishing here too, so look forward to spending an evening telling stories around the fire before calling it a night and waking up to the view of the lake at Friends Landing again.

Feeling like you overdid it a bit on the camp food this trip? Stop by Organics 101 Market Deli & Juice Bar in Montesano. Their smoothies and juices should get you back on track. Alternatively, you can enjoy their homestyle sandwiches and wraps, including their popular full Monty. Add a soup or salad to the order and it’s the kind of lunch that calls for a nap afterward.

Porter Creek Campground

Photographers! Clear out the memory card and get ready to shoot some of those famous Pacific Northwest nature shots. Camp along the creek in one of the 16 spots at Porter Creek Campground. A good spot for trail running, dirt biking and ATVing. The waterfall hike takes the cake. Cool off in the swimming holes on the way to the falls with depths of up to 7 feet deep. You will need a Discover Pass for Porter Creek Campground.

Maintained by volunteers and available on a first-come, first-served basis, camping is free at Porter Creek Campground.

If you forgot your coffee, head to Elma and stop at Chehalis Valley Coffee Co. Great hot and iced coffees, energy drinks and even some baked goods. The owner is said to be an excellent host and as nice as can be.

Unload your toy hauler and run the trails on your ATVs and dirt bikes at Porter Creek Campground, just outside of Elma. Photo credit: Ronald Plett

Lake Sylvia

Lake Sylvia is closed June 10, 2024 through September 30, 2024.

One last tip: Download The Pocket Ranger app on your phone. The app provides information on more than 100 state parks and campgrounds in Washington state including maps, directions, information on amenities and access to reservations.

Skip the camping recon missions this year and take a trip to one of these camping spots near the Washington Coast in Elma and Montesano. Give yourself and your family a trip to put in the books with views, water fun and s’mores around the campfire (weather permitting).

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