I’ve said it before: camping has gotten so competitive. We’ve been turned away from first come- first serve campgrounds several times. In both Moab and Grand Teton National Park we’ve been left scrambling for somewhere to spend the night.
Now, I stick to campgrounds where I can make a reservation. That’s how we ended up at Dungeness Recreation Area Campground. Instead of camping three nights in Olympic National Park (I was only able to get a reservation for two last minute), we pitched our tents on this sort of-peninsula between Sequim and Port Angeles, Washington on the edge of the Puget Sound. I am glad we did.
Dungeness Recreation Area Campground
This area is also called Dungeness County Park and it’s adjacent to Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. It turned out to be a lovely spot to spend the night before exploring the Hurricane Ridge area of Olympic the next day. I would have like another night there so we could walk the 5-mile spit to the lighthouse and back.
Pros of Dungeness Recreation Area Campground
- Lots of trails, both in the county park and the Wildlife Refuge, leave right from the campground. Entrance to the Wildlife Refuge is $3/person or free with one of the America the Beautiful Interagency Passes (National Park Pass)
- Beach access and lovely views of the Puget Sound.
- Private campsites.
- Level spots for tents, some sites have more room than others for tents.
- Big, long driveways for RVs.
- Coin-op showers.
- Flush toilets.
Cons of Dungeness Recreation Area Campground
- Low-flying aircraft from nearby airport are loud! This was the biggest drawback for us.
- Some sites barely have room for a tent.
- No alcohol. This could be a “pro” because there shouldn’t be loud, obnoxious, drunks nearby, but if you like to have a beer around the campfire at night, it’s a little bit of a bummer. It’s not like they really check, though.
At the end of the 5-mile long spit sits the New Dungeness Lighthouse. Volunteers, who pay to be there, take care of the lighthouse and give tours to those willing to make the 10-mile walk there and back. I think volunteering as a family for a week, would be an amazing experience. The house has more amenities than our place, so it’s not like you are roughing it. Find out how to be a lighthouse keeper.
Should You Go?
Yes! We were just looking for a campground near Olympic National Park, but Dungeness Recreation Area Campground stands alone. I’d camp here again, even without the splendor of the nearby Olympics. The airplane noise did suck, but next time I will be mentally prepared.
For tent camping, try for sites in Loop 2: 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51, 53
Check out the website and make a reservation.
Wondering what else to do on the Olympic Peninsula?
Moon Olympic Peninsula (Moon Handbooks)
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by Christopher Chapman
by Mary Kay Seales
by Stephen R. Whitney and Rob Sandelin
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