When spending time in the great outdoors, who doesn’t love being near water? There are many activities to do, including swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, etc. Even if all you want to do is feel the breeze and watch the waves roll back and forth on the shore, you’ll rarely feel more at peace.
As a camper, then, you may feel especially drawn to lakes. With more than 8,000 in the Evergreen State, however, how do you know which to choose?
Easy–just let us recommend all the best spots for lake camping in Washington!
Best Lake Camping Sites in Eastern Washington
Covered in rolling prairies and forests as well as deserts, the eastern side of the state may be less wet than the western side, but that doesn’t mean it lacks its own beautiful bodies of water. Here, you’ll find many of the most worthwhile lake camping sites in Washington!
1. Sullivan Lake
Colville National Forest, WA
The Colville National Forest draws visitors every year for its awesome opportunities to hike, bike, hunt, drive off-road vehicles, and/or ride horses. Sullivan Lake–the largest one in the forest–adds to the fun by offering a place to go swimming, fishing, and boating while surrounding yourself with entrancing scenery!
2. Moses Lake
Moses Lake, WA
Though it’s a small town, Moses Lake is well known among lake camping sites in Washington, especially around the Spokane area. The eponymous body of water has a reputation as an attractive and versatile lake. Thanks to the homes, resorts, and campgrounds surrounding its perimeter, it’s well maintained and frequently used for boating, fishing, and swimming.
If you want more variety, check out the nearby golf courses, bowling alleys, museums, art galleries, and water parks!
3. Loon Lake
Loon Lake, WA
With great spots for fishing, boating, skiing, swimming, and even cliff jumping, Loon Lake has long been popular for lake camping in Washington. Just choose from an assortment of wonderful resorts, parks, and cabins to enjoy the water. Not far from the lake, you’ll also find a distillery, casino, and lots of mom-and-pop restaurants to spice up your vacation!
4. Liberty Lake
Liberty Lake, WA
Admired for its understated beauty, Liberty Lake is an oasis of calm nestled within the busy Spokane area, an underestimated gem among lake camping sites in Washington. In keeping with the lake’s relative quietude, paddleboards and kayaks are more common than speed boats and jet skis, and the docks are typically used for fishing.
There are also hiking/biking trails, golf courses, numerous restaurants, and other activities close to the lake, in case you’re hoping for more to do!
5. Long Lake
Nine Mile Falls, WA
Also known as Lake Spokane, Long Lake enjoys countless loyal visitors each year, ranking it among the top lake camping sites in Washington. In addition to the accessible beaches, gorgeous hiking trails, multiple boat launches, and diverse fish stock, you get a great view of the remarkable Long Lake Dam. You may even get to see bald eagles and other wildlife!
Best Lake Camping Sites in Central Washington
Like the eastern side of the state, central Washington is known for its wave-like plains and desert landscapes. However, it’s also home to some of the loveliest lake camping sites in Washington!
6. Takhlakh Lake
Mount Adams, WA
As if the solitude and sublime were not enough to call this one of the best lake camping sites in Washington, Takhlakh Lake has the advantage of a location right next to Mount Adams. Consequently, the mountain views are stunning, particularly at sunset. This also means that there are lots of opportunities for hiking, biking, and rock climbing when you’re not fishing or boating on the lake!
7. Banks Lake
Electric City, WA
Steamboat Rock State Park is already prized for its prime tent and RV camping. Considering the fact that it borders the north end of Banks Lake, it’s no surprise that the area is an excellent option for lake camping in Washington. When you’re not hiking, riding horses, or playing sports in the park, the water is a refreshing place for swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, and boating.
8. Lake Chelan
With its richly blue waters and enchanting mountain scenery, Lake Chelan is an exquisite choice for lake camping in Washington. Many visitors love going there to swim, boat, or fish, but if you’ve ever wanted to try using a jet ski or pontoon, there are nearby facilities where you can rent them. Parasailing is another possibility if you’re not afraid of heights!
9. Lake Wenatchee
If you’re looking for year-round lake camping in Washington, Lake Wenatchee is worth your consideration. During the summer, the water is great for swimming, tubing, and boating. The beaches are shaded well by the trees, and they offer volleyball courts and horseshoe rings. There are hiking and horse riding trails nearby, too.
In wintertime, however, the area is ideal for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Eagles can be spotted anytime. There’s always something to do here!
10. Colchuck Lake
Bright and beautiful as a tropical ocean, Colchuck Lake holds the distinction as the bluest lake in the Evergreen State. As it’s situated within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness part of the Cascade Mountains, you can only get there by hiking, but it’s worth the trip.
From this point, the rest of the Enchantment Lakes are reachable with a day-long hike, but why not camp at Colchuck to rest, swim, and bask in the breathtaking scenery?
Best Lake Camping Sites in Western Washington
11. Buck Lake
Buck Lake Park is made to accommodate campers who want to appreciate the very lake that graces its landscape. Many visitors love to spend time swimming, paddle boarding, or fishing in the water in addition to hiking, playing basketball or volleyball, or using the playgrounds throughout the park. This makes it a first choice for families and athletes looking for lake camping in Washington.
Not far away stands the Point-No-Point Lighthouse, which history buffs might love to tour as well!
12. Baker Lake
The water’s clarity and the stunning scenery–especially around the mountain bridge–are what make Baker Lake so widely loved among lake camping sites in Washington. As long as you get there early, you’ll have plenty of space to set up your supplies and then go swimming, fishing, kayaking, or hiking. Just remember that only small vessels will fit on the boat ramps.
13. Diablo Lake
Whatcom County, WA
Despite the name, there’s nothing devilish about Diablo Lake. Actually, with its vivid blue waters cupped inside treed mountains, it’s one of the most heavenly lake camping sites in Washington! The hiking trails will also give you impressive views of the gorge, waterfalls, and the Diablo Dam. You can also go kayaking or opt for a professional boat tour of the area!
14. Lake Cushman
Mason County, WA
In recent years, Lake Cushman has gained fame both for its attractiveness and a boulder on the northwestern shore that visitors love using for cliff jumping. However, you’ll also find the water cool and refreshing for swimming and boating. The area is also prized for its delightful hiking trails–especially the Staircase Rapids Nature Trail–and proximity to wine tasting and distillery tours.
15. Lake Crescent
Olympic National Park, WA
Formed by glaciers in the Olympic Mountains, Lake Crescent is deeply cold, but it’s still one of the most impressive places for lake camping in Washington. After exploring the numerous hiking trails around the area, take a dip, jump from the Devil’s Punchbowl, or rent a kayak or canoe to do more sightseeing on the water. For more structure, embark on a guided professional boat or kayak tour!
16. Lake Quinault
Olympic National Park, WA
When relaxation is your priority, then Lake Quinault would be among your ideal lake camping sites in Washington. Located in the south side of Olympic National Park, it boasts several lovely hiking and biking trails nearby, but the lake and shores themselves are manicured and pleasant–perfect for swimming or just unwinding. Plus, there’s lots of open space to run around flying a kite if you still want a little exercise.
17. Kachess Lake
Snoqualmie Pass, WA
Is kayaking one of your favorite things to do? Then Kachess Lake could be one of your favorite lake camping sites in Washington. Most visitors agree that the kayaking opportunities stand out for being challenging but doable, and they pay off because of the lavish scenery. If you’re hiker, you can also conquer the many trails around the lake and then cool off with a swim afterward!
18. Alder Lake
Thanks to the Alder Lake Dam, which created this splendid reservoir, Alder Lake has been able to prove itself as a marvelous place for lake camping in Washington. On its shores, you can see the impressive dam itself, but you can also go hiking, swimming, fishing, sailing, or boating. Just watch out for tree stumps submerged near the shoreline.
Also, Eatonville has theaters, museums, restaurants, and other attractions to keep you busy if you want a change of pace!
19. Cascade Lake
Moran State Park, WA
Cascade Lake is among the most magical lake camping sites in Washington if your goal is to let your innate creativity or whimsy run wild. Secluded within the astonishingly beautiful Moran State Park, the lake already offers excellent options for swimming, boating, and cliff jumping. There’s lots of wildlife to spot, too.
However, check out the Mt. Constitution tower, a stone replica of a Russian watchtower! The 360-degree views from up there are incredible, sparking your imagination and sense of wonder!
20. Mowich Lake
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Though the very picture of serenity, Mowich Lake is popular among hikers and backpackers for lake camping in Washington. This is partially because it’s located in Mount Rainier National Park, known for its magnificent geologic scenery. Let the lake serve as a stopping point where you can swim, kayak, canoe, or paddle board.
21. Battle Ground Lake
Battle Ground, WA
Thickly treed and featuring charming, easily walkable trails around the perimeter, Battle Ground Lake is one of the friendliest lake camping sites in Washington for young families and seniors. You can enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking, boating, casual walking, or even horseback riding on the equestrian trails. However, if you don’t like crowds, avoid camping during holidays or weekends.
22. Silver Lake
Cowlitz County, WA
For the adventurous, Silver Lake is a dependable choice for lake camping in Washington. The alluring lake itself is great for swimming, fishing, boating, and paddle boarding, and it borders Seaquest State Park, teeming with great hiking and biking trails for people at all fitness levels. However, you can also go golfing and ziplining, so you’ll never be bored!
You’ll Love Lake Camping in Washington!
As you can see, there are numerous wonderful sites for lake camping in Washington, no matter where you go in the state. After experiencing them once, you’ll likely want to visit them every year, like so many other Evergreen State campers.
However, if you don’t consider lakes to be a necessity for having a good time, then consider more than 40 other amazing camping sites throughout Washington for your next trip!
- About the Author
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With a bachelor’s degree in history and several years of professional writing experience, Ashley Morales believes there’s a story in everything. It’s her passion to tell each one that she can.
She has been camping and nurturing a love for nature since childhood. Sharing her knowledge is just one of the many ways that she likes to encourage others to enjoy the outdoors. Waterfronts are always her favorite places to camp or relax, no matter the time of year!