Five favorite state parks in honor of Washington State Parks’ 106th birthday

by Badgley Phelps | Mar 18, 2019

Did you know that March 19 is a 2019 Washington State Parks Free Day in celebration of Washington State Parks’ 106th birthday? That’s right, you can get out and enjoy all that our state parks have to offer at no cost. In honor of the day and the beautiful state we live in, here are five of our staff’s favorite state parks in Washington to visit with their families.

1. Fort Flagler State Park

Recommended by Cal Spranger

Close to Port Townsend, on the tip of Marrowstone Island, is Fort Flagler State Park, a former United States Army fort. The park features 1,451 acres for hiking, boating, kite-flying, beach exploration, saltwater fishing, clam digging and crabbing—and several of the park’s camps are available for retreats of up to 250 people. With views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Peninsula and Whidbey Island, Fort Flagler State Park is well worth a visit.

2. Lake Chelan State Park

Recommended by Mitzi Carletti

From camping to boating to beach exploration to fishing to waterskiing to birdwatching to a playground for the kids, Lake Chelan State park has it all. Families reserve their spots early for summer camping near the 50.5-mile lake surrounded by beautiful hiking trails for novice and skilled hikers alike. The four-hour drive to Lake Chelan from Seattle is part of the fun, taking you over Snoqualmie Pass and near picturesque Leavenworth where you can take a short detour for lunch.

3. Lake Sammamish State Park

Recommended by Paul Horng

Grab the family for a state park visit closer to home at Lake Sammamish State Park. With two lakefront beaches, picnic tables, kayak rentals, and plenty of trails for biking, exploring or geocaching, there’s something for everyone. Little ones will love the brand-new, state-of-the-art playground, and the park hosts year-round community events including obstacle courses, birding, dog walks, holiday boat parades and the annual Parkadilly Fair.


4. Jarrell Cove State Park

Recommended by Julie Parisio Roy

Accessible only by bridge or by boat, Jarrell Cove State Park is a gem of a park that not many people are aware of. Surrounded by Case Inlet and Pickering Passage on Harstine Island, the park is a saltwater haven, with 3,500 feet of shoreline and opportunities for swimming, diving and boating. Roast marshmallows over the campfire, play volleyball, go crabbing or stage your own talent show at the one-of-a-kind amphitheater. A visit to Jarrell Cove is not one your family will soon forget.

5. Deception Pass State Park

Recommended by Jeff Walters

Located on the northern end of Whidbey Island and offering six miles of horse trails, whitewater kayaking, coves and cliffs, hiking, swimming and one of the most jaw-dropping bridges around, Deception Pass State Park is one for the bucket list. It’s no wonder that, according to Washington State Parks, it’s the most-visited state park in the state. With 38 miles of hiking trails and boat docks to spare—plus a memorable name and an iconic selfie backdrop—Deception Pass State Park is worth a day…or two.

If you aren’t able to take advantage of the free day on March 19, here are the remaining Washington State Parks Free Days for this calendar year:

  • April 20 — Spring day
  • April 22 — Earth Day
  • June 1 — National Trails Day
  • June 8 — National Get Outdoors Day
  • June 9 — Fishing Day
  • August 25 — National Park Service 102nd Birthday
  • September 28— National Public Lands Day
  • November 11 — Veterans Day
  • November 29— Autumn day



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