Next week, my girlfriend and myself are renting a car and driving from Seattle to Portland (we are visiting from the UK). Despite the current rainy weather we would love to go camping along the way. We have 3 nights to camp (all weekdays), and ideally would like to visit two different places - one in Washington and one in Oregon.

It seems like a lot of the main campgrounds with facilities in the major national parks (e.g. Mt Hood, Mt Rainier parks) are closed for the off season and don't re-open until May. Apparently wild camping is permitted in Oregon, so there is always the option to do that, but ideally it would be good to go to a maintained campsite.

Are there campsites near either Seattle, Oregon or in between that are open during the off-season (for future reference, this is early April), or areas where the weather will not have closed the campsites? Ideally, we would prefer to be in a forest - if it's possible to camp (or wildcamp) at low altitude in the Mt Hood national forest that would be great!

Thank you for your help!

  • 3
    Instead of asking Are there campsites... this question would be more valuable if you asked How can I find campsites...
    – user40521
    Mar 29, 2017 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


I would suggest that there really is not much of an off season in that part of the country. Rain hits most days, so really only cold weather is a factor. Seattle is known to experience 50 degree F/10 C in the middle of July, so really you have to be prepared for cold weather anytime.

Some high elevation campgrounds can be closed for the season due to snow. Mt Baker allow skiing until May, and highway 20 closes from early November until early May. Depending on storms snow chains could be required on highway 90, but they are probably provided with your rental car. However most campgrounds stay open year round, and there should be plenty between Seattle and Portland. You can find and reserve your camp spots using this website for Washington.

Using the website it looks like Millersylvania would be perfect for your needs. I've never camped there so cannot comment on the facilities, but most places are pretty darn nice in WA state.

If I was you I would push my trip out to the Olympic peninsula and drive the coast rather than I-5. I'd look to camp in places like Cape Disappointment and Fort Columbia. The beauty is stunning. You may have heard much about driving up the California coast, and the same geological formations continue into Oregon and Washington.

But reading your question you might want to push for the interior and hit places like Alder Lake and Mossyrock.

I would advise making reservations for your trip. Campground can sell out if a bout of nice weather hits the area.

My own experiences are mostly in the NW section of Washington state. I've frequented places like Spencer Spit, Rasar, Deception Pass, Baker Lake, Fort Ebey, and Fort Casey. Although this was about 20 years ago, I feel that they are just as amazing.

  • 1
    Dear Pete, sorry to reply to this so late but thank you for some great recommendations! I think we're going to go for Olympic National Park and drive down maybe to Cape Disappointment (partly because it has a great name). Thanks again!
    – Alex Saad
    Mar 31, 2017 at 5:14
  • I think you will really like that trip. I did some really difficult military training out in Seaside, OR which made the difficult a bit pleasant. Have fun, and I kind of wish I was making the same trip!
    – Pete B.
    Mar 31, 2017 at 12:14

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