Lifestyle

Dash Point State Park, others popular among Washington campers

Evelyn Wemhoff, left, and her co-worker, Jan Donnelly, relax in camping chairs next to their tent and fire pit during their five-day vacation at Dash Point State Park. - Joshua Lynch/The Mirror
Evelyn Wemhoff, left, and her co-worker, Jan Donnelly, relax in camping chairs next to their tent and fire pit during their five-day vacation at Dash Point State Park.
— image credit: Joshua Lynch/The Mirror

With increased gas prices and costs of other necessities, many folks are forgoing the traditional vacation for closer locations and cheaper leisure options.

Camping is more popular this year. Reservations and attendance are up at all 120 Washington State Parks this summer, said Linda Burnett, state parks spokeswoman.

Although parks along the ocean beaches and in Eastern Washington are the most popular, Dash Point State Park in Federal Way has also seen increased reservations — and decreased cancellations and no-shows.

Camping is a cheaper alternative to vacationing at hotels, Burnett said. And the outdoors offer plenty of free activities.

At Dash Point State Park, folks can hike, bike, fish, swim, beach-comb, bird-watch, sailboard and view wildlife.

“You can find all sorts of outdoor adventures in a state park,” Burnett said. “There’s so much you can do in a Washington State Park vs. going to a hotel.”

Costs to camp at state parks vary from $17 to $29 daily.

Dash Point State Park is not among the most popular parks, making it easier to get reservations to camp there, said Don Powell, state parks senior administrator.

Parks in Lake Chelan and Long Beach typically fill up nine months in advance. Dash Point reservations can often be made just a week in advance, especially if a person is open to camping during the week.

Evelyn Wemhoff and her co-worker, Jan Donnelly, both of Renton, made reservations to camp at Dash Point a week before arriving for a camping trip last week. They were surprised by how full the campgrounds were during the work week.

“I’m amazed,” Wemhoff said. “It seems to be very well used.”

The pair said they go on vacation every year. This year, they chose a camping vacation close to home because they wanted to save on travel time and costs. They chose Dash Point because of its proximity to town and the water. They spent their week reading, walking, cooking and relaxing.

As of Wednesday, according to the Washington State Parks Web site, there were several campsites available at Dash Point State Park for Labor Day weekend and the remainder of the summer.

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