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Old 06-13-2021, 04:12 PM   #1
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Looking for Base Camp in PNW

Hello,

Looking for something central to Seattle, Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainer NP. Would prefer state park as opposed to private campground. 40 foot MH. Going to stay about 4-5 days and use it as a base camp to explore the national parks and other areas. Any suggestions?

Thank you,

Andrew
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Old 06-13-2021, 06:52 PM   #2
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The drive to those parks don't really lend themselves to a base camp. You would enjoy your days more by doing three separate spots. Fot Mt Rainier, I would suggest Taidnapam, a Tacoma Power camp on SR12 on the west slope. There are quite a few other campgrounds in that area, but that's the one we been to a couple of times.

South on Seattle and just north of Tacoma, our recommendation would be Dash Point State Park. Its reasonably handy to either city.

Our favorite spot near Olympic NP is Salt Creek. This is a county park on the Straughn of Jan de Fuca with views of ships and Victoria. It is a good central location to visit the north side of the park plus the Hoh Rain Forsst as well as Neah Bay, and Forks.

Have fun in our area. 4-5 days will not be nearly enough, but enjoy what you can in the limited time you have.
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Old 06-13-2021, 08:37 PM   #3
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The drive to those parks don't really lend themselves to a base camp. You would enjoy your days more by doing three separate spots. Fot Mt Rainier, I would suggest Taidnapam, a Tacoma Power camp on SR12 on the west slope. There are quite a few other campgrounds in that area, but that's the one we been to a couple of times.

South on Seattle and just north of Tacoma, our recommendation would be Dash Point State Park. Its reasonably handy to either city.

Our favorite spot near Olympic NP is Salt Creek. This is a county park on the Straughn of Jan de Fuca with views of ships and Victoria. It is a good central location to visit the north side of the park plus the Hoh Rain Forsst as well as Neah Bay, and Forks.

Have fun in our area. 4-5 days will not be nearly enough, but enjoy what you can in the limited time you have.

Thank you for the info. Anything else you suggest we see while we’re up there?
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:20 PM   #4
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Thank you for the info. Anything else you suggest we see while we’re up there?
It depends on your interests and amount of time. Paradise at Mt Rainier is one of the popular spots, but can be crowded. Its been a long time since we've been up there.

In my opinio,, there's actually more to see on the Olympic Penninsula. You will want to drive up to Hurricane Ridge. There is also Sol Duc Hot Springs. We haven't visited there but it's on my list. Out at Neah Bay you are at the most north east corner of the continental US (check to make sure they are allowing access). If you like a beach hike of about 5 mikes, go out to the New Dungeness Lighthouse. We were keepers there for a week several years ago. Also in the area, is a drive through wildlife farm that was begun with movie set animals like Gentle Ben.

Seattle has the normal museums, the Seattle Center, the Waterfront, etc. Pikes Place Market is a historical favorite. There is also air museums 8n Seattle (Boeing), and several further north in Everett, if that is of interest.

Tacoma has the Le May Americas Auto Museum (our favorite), the Chihuly Art Musem, and a historical museum. Both Seattle and Tacoma have great zoos.
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Old 06-13-2021, 11:00 PM   #5
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Personally, I feel it's a waste of time to base camp and spend hours in a car trying to tour multiple places.

I'd recommend staying at Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula for one of your stays. Tour Olympic Nat'l Park. It's a fun area. We stayed at Fort Worden State Park.

From there you can drive the car to the ferry at Bainbridge Island for a day trip to the Seattle waterfront - aquarium, take the monorail to the Space Needle, Pike Market to shop before getting on the ferry for the return.

Then move to Mt. Rainier area. We stayed at Iron Creek Nat'l Forest campground off Hwy 12 around Randle and did a day trip coming into Mt. Rainier from the back side. You can also drive up to Mt. St. Helens - Windy Ridge Viewpoint from the back side close to Iron Creek.

What you want to see will take more than your allotted 4-5 days. I'd highly recommend reservations this year. It sounds like it'll be extremely busy for RVers.
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Old 06-14-2021, 01:52 AM   #6
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Avoid the downtown Seattle area. Unless of course you like enjoying the sights and sounds of droves of homeless junkies galore.
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Old 06-14-2021, 10:50 AM   #7
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You have already received some good advice especially from Mr. Coupeville. Just a word of caution, if you do know the area very well or are not with a local resident I would be VERY careful after dark. The night life in Seattle has really taken a turn for the worse in recent years - a shame really.
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Old 06-14-2021, 01:43 PM   #8
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Old 06-20-2021, 10:04 AM   #9
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Millerslvania State Park just south of Olympia would be a great spot in which to explore the areas you’re interested in. Getting in to any state park can be difficult especially during the summer season
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Old 06-20-2021, 10:20 AM   #10
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Millerslvania State Park just south of Olympia would be a great spot in which to explore the areas you’re interested in. Getting in to any state park can be difficult especially during the summer season
Millersylvania is one of our local favorites too, and convenient to Mt Rainier and Ocean Shores/Westport for day trips. Even though we live less than 60 miles from Millersylvania we find it convenient to camp with our family from Portland there.
Then, time permitting, Salt Creek Campground, Port Angeles, Port Townsend are also great places to knock around.

Sadly I must agree with Seattle not being what it used to be. Plus the majority of the waterfront is currently under construction. Chances are very good you'll come back to your toad "smash n grabbed". I wouldn't even bother.
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Old 07-11-2021, 10:14 AM   #11
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Thank you all for the suggestions. This looks like it's going to be our trip for 2022. I like the idea of moving every few days as opposed to base camping. The drives seem to be pretty far away and a waste of time. My wife wants to see the Seattle area. I can take it or leave it. We live near Los Angeles so I've seen my fair share of homeless. Don't need to see it on vacation!
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Old 07-12-2021, 07:23 PM   #12
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If you're out near Olympic NP I'd highly recommend Elwha Dam RV Park just west of Port Angeles. It's a private park but family run and in a great location. Our son used to live nearby so we stayed here for about 6 weeks, up in their overflow area without hookups, each summer for the last couple years. Someone already suggested Salt Creek and that is great as well. Further east in Port Townsend there's Fort Warden which is awesome if you can get reservations. We've also stayed twice at the marina right in town and liked it a lot although the sites are basically like a parking lot. The key here is to get one of the two no hook-up sites which are off by themselves at the far end. These are right on the water with amazing scenery. As for hook-ups, we never had them out in that area as summer weather is perfect, in my opinion, highs about 70, lows mid 50's, and sunny nearly every day! Our son moved back east but I miss going to the PNW a lot!
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