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Reservations for campsites in Washington starting to fill up for summer

After increased interest in outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, campsites in Washington state are already starting to fill up for the summer.

Washington State Parks says outdoor gear and RV sales are booming, and many first-time (or returning) campers are heading to campgrounds “as a way to get out of the house while still practicing social distancing.”

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A spokesperson with Washington State Parks and Recreation told MyNorthwest that as of this week, campsite occupancy ranges from 49% to 60% for the months of June, July, and August, with the highest occupancy rates on weekends. Over the next month, they expect to see the remaining sites booked up.

Reservations for campsites, yurts, cabins, vacation houses, and group camp or day-use facilities at Washington parks are available now, which can be made online or over the phone. For those having trouble finding an open spot, or looking for a last-minute reservation, there are a few first-come, first-served campsites. Washington State Parks recommends being flexible if you don’t have a reservation, and having a back-up plan.

You can use the statewide map at this site to find availability, but do not select a park so that you can see all the options. You can also use the available dates link after selecting a site to find out when there’s availability next.

For fewer crowds and better odds of snagging a site, reserve mid-week or at off-season times.

“Weekends always fill up faster, especially at our more popular parks. Mid-week stays and shoulder seasons are a good way to go,” the parks spokesperson told MyNorthwest.

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As COVID-19 transmission still remains a risk, occupancy at group camps and day-use shelters will be limited to 50 people. Check individual park pages for more information here, or contact the reservation system online here. Washington State Parks has park status online as well, and park alerts.

Visitors may find reduced or limited restroom services, and are advised to bring soap, water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and a mask. If you’re feeling ill or have any symptoms of COVID-19, save your adventure for another day. When camping, it’s still advised to avoid crowds, practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, and follow any posted rules.

The Department of Natural Resources manages 80 campgrounds in the state as well, available on a first-come, first-served basis with no additional cost aside from the purchase of a Discover Pass. Find a list of open DNR campsites here.

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