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Camp on the Sunny Side: 8 Eastern Washington Camping Adventures

Seattle-area families: Head over the mountains for sun and fun

Lauren Braden

Published on: February 07, 2023

Columbia Hills State park
Columbia Hills State Park. Credit: Tara Schmidt/Flickr CC

Sunny side camping adventures

Over the Cascade mountains from Seattle, camping season starts in spring and lingers late into fall for one big, blazing reason: sunshine. In this land that’s part desert, part open forest, the clear sapphire-blue sky stretches for miles overhead. Rivers twist their way through narrow basalt canyons as they race to shallow lakes that sparkle in the sun. Rolling hills dotted with sage and wildflowers are crisscrossed with gentle hiking trails. The Eastern Washington landscape is warm, dry and very different from its western counterpart.

Camping over the mountains is delightfully different as well. Imagine your family waking up from a tented slumber to watch morning sunlight polish the surrounding basalt cliffs, or noshing on s’mores around an evening campfire on a desert plateau beneath a massive sky full of stars.

We’ve uncovered eight of the best sunny camping adventures for families in Eastern Washington where you can have this experience.

Tips: If you go, pack extra sunblock and wide-brimmed hats to protect your kids’ skin and eyes from the sun’s rays. You’ll want to be aware of the increased possibility of encounters with ticks, rattlesnakes and poison oak over the mountains, too, all hazards that we seldom worry about in the Western Cascades and Olympics. Be prepared for the chance of windy evenings, too, by packing along things to weigh down your tablecloth and tent.

First sunny stop: Lake Chelan

Image credit: Tara Schmidt/Flickr CC

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