Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Camano State Park

Summer kicks in and our 80 Days of Summer had to take back seat for 2 weeks. Swim lessons and magic camp jumped into the fray. Then the 4th of July. And then free once again to go explore. We had errands to run on the main land and took an early ferry over. On the way back we decided to visit the other half of Island County, Camano Island, which while it sits just across the water from Whidbey Island is completely unconnected to Whidbey. It should have never been part of Island County due to the driving distance to get there. I wouldn’t normally drive all the way there, due to the distance and time (it takes nearly 2 hours each way, and 150 or so miles roundtrip), but it was a fun way to spend a few hours. We took the boys to Camano State Park and checked out the beaches.

One note on this park. The roads are narrow in many spots with drop offs, but the speed limit is low. The roads are also steep, to get down to the water.

The park faces West, looking out onto the Saratoga Passage and Whidbey Island – mostly north and south of Greenbank. The park has a popular campground with cabins and plenty of hiking trails to enjoy.

We first visited the day use area, which has many picnic areas on a lawn area, with views of the water from the bluff.

There is a beach access trail that is a steep set of stairs. If you have small children or mobility issues, do not take this trail. However, it is well worth heading down.

The stairs come out to a headwall of creosote soaked logs.


The beach is mostly rocks, but it is worth the visit for shells and many small sea creatures. The water in Saratoga Passage is not open water, and is more protected than the west facing beaches near our home on Whidbey Island.

Tiny crab.

Barnacles on rocks.

A large crab that lost to a hungry sea bird.

A tiny sea star, that was above the high tide line, attached to a rock. We put it back into the water.

After enjoying the area, we drove to the main area of the park, Lowell Point. The parking area at the base of the hill is a good stop. The vast parking lot has a lot of boats, due to the dock so park at the far end to avoid it. Follow the path and take any of the side paths to the water. This beach is considerably easier to access if there are limitations.

Alistaire playing near a driftwood shelter.

The views across to Whidbey were great here, and I could see the opening of Holmes Harbor (Freeland, where we live, sits at the end of Holmes Harbor).

Mussel shell. They always make me think of wings.

Barnacles love to attach to most anything. Even broken shells.

It was a great outing, even with no hard hiking. There is the Al Emerson Nature Loop trail for the younger set to check out, up high in the park.

The park has great potential for finding bird feathers, shells and lots of little pieces of driftwood – so a child’s dreams come true. Bring a picnic and binoculars to look across the water. If you need any supplies, stop in Stanwood before you cross the river to Camano.

Cama Beach State Park is a mile away (which we also checked out), but while a very pretty park, isn’t as accessible due to the popularity. It has parking lot after lot, and requires walking quite a bit to get to the beach. For children, I’d suggest Camano SP for beach time.

Parking requires a Discover Pass ($10 a day or $30 per year).


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