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Rent a Tent! (or Cabin, or Yurt...)

Enjoy camping with your family, but without the soggy clothes and wet gear.

Spending the night outside with kids can be overwhelming, particularly for first-time parents. Luckily, state parks, national forests, and even some local parks have rental options, so you can rest easy knowing you'll have somewhere dry and warm to retreat at the end of the day, rather than wrestling with tent poles and changing diapers in the rain.

Staying in a cabin, yurt, lookout, or other historic structure is a memory in the making, and a fun time for the whole family. Photo by Heath Jones. 

This type of overnighting is particularly luxe, since in addition to shelter from the elements, you can enjoy heat and light well after the sun sets, and packing up on the last day is far easier than when you're camping. Simply tidy up and sweep the structure out, then throw your gear (and kids) in the car and hit the road. 

But you need to plan ahead to snag that cozy spot. Some locations fill up as early as January, though cancellations or no-shows often mean you can still get to stay somewhere cool. It's worth it to sit down now, if you haven't already, and reserve what's available so you can enjoy a new adventure with your family when you get outside next.

Base Camps for Budding Hiking Families

If you're new to camping, just learning to get outside with a new little one, or simply want to drive to your base camp, consider staying at a state park. There are 31 parks across Washington with rental options. We've included three here that we've explored first hand, as well as links to others. Find one you'd like to visit, then use our Hiking Guide to select a few trails to explore while you're there.

Cape Disappointment State Park

Location: Southwest Washington - Long Beach Area
: $59.00 - $69.00 per night, seasonally dependent

Cape Disappointment has a multitude of short and long trails with lots to see, making it a perfect destination for the family.

The yurts at Cape Disappointment provide access to a plethora of trails, including two lighthouses, a nearby fort, and the dynamic mouth of the Columbia River nearby. You might want to take an extra-long weekend to fit it all in. Read one parent's review of her long weekend with her kids.

Find other yurts for rent around the state.


Cama Beach State Park 

Location: Puget Sound and Islands - Whidbey Island
Cost: $67.00 - $113.00 per night, cabin dependent 

Cabins lined up along the beach at Cama Beach State Park. Photo by geezerhiker.

Cama Beach State Park boasts a sweet little lineup of cabins right on the beach. No matter the season, there are trails to wander, and you can count on beach walking and a little historical discovery during your visit. 

Find other cabins for rent around the state.


Dosewallips State Park

Location: Olympic Peninsula - Hood Canal
Cost: $40.00 - $59.00 per night

The Beach Trail at Dosewallips State Park provides a wonderful place for children to discover and wander. Photo by Lincoln4. 

With a selection of kid-friendly trails, Dosewallips also offers platform tents so you can stay dry at night. These are made from white canvas so they're light even on cloudy days, but when it gets dark, just flip on the area lights. During the day, explore the Steam Donkey trail or the Maple Valley trail, or head to the beach area across Highway 101.

Find other shelters for rent around the state


Hamma Hamma Guard Station

Location: Olympic Peninsula - Hood Canal
Cost$60.00 per night

Photo by Nutmeg (2).jpg
The historic Hamma Hamma Guard station tucked among rhodies. Photo by Nutmeg.

Tucked in among rhododendrons, the Hamma Hamma Cabin is an historic, CCC-built structure that provides families a cozy place to stay dry on the usually-wet Olympic Peninsula. Explore many trails in the area, including Murhut Falls, Ranger Hole - Interrorem, and the long but rewarding Duckabush River Trail


Bonus: Glamping at Tolt MacDonald Park

Location: Puget Sound and Island - Seattle Area
Cost: $50.00 per night

Ever wanted to emulate the Boxcar Children? Now you and your whole family can, by staying in a shipping container in Carnation's Tolt-MacDonald Park! It's well-appointed and comfortable. Former WTA staffer Lauren Braden has a review at Northwest TripFinder, or go straight to the King County website to rent it!

Challenge Your Family to Take the Next Step 

Cabins and Guard Stations for rent on national forests or other federally managed lands let you experience history and enjoy a roof over your head at night. These structures are usually more remote, so it's a more rugged experience. Below are some suggestions good for families with ambitious youngsters, and some more appropriate for advanced hikers. 

Conquer a summit - Evergreen Mountain Lookout

Location: Central Cascades - Stevens Pass West
Cost: $50.00 per night plus deposit 

A family preparing breakfast inside Evergreen Mountain Lookout. Photo by HikerFromSnoqualmieRidge.

Perched on the summit of Evergreen Mountain off Highway 2, Evergreen Mountain Lookout is one of only two lookouts in the state the public can reserve. Several families have had successful overnights here, thanks to the relatively kid-friendly trail (and despite the not-so-car-friendly road). If the trip is a success, your next stop can be the Clearwater Lookout Cabin in the Umatilla National Forest for a more challenging outing.

Learn more about reserving Evergreen Mountain Lookout.

Be all-season adventurers - Mount Tahoma Trails System

Location: Mount Rainier Area - Carbon River/Mowich
Cost: varies

Photo from inside the cozy High Hut cabin lookout. Photo by TimsToursNW.

For families wanting to embark on a multi-night trip without foregoing creature comforts like a bed, a full kitchen, and occasionally, a road to the top, check out the Mount Tahoma Trails Association. You can reserve all four locations year-round, though snow in winter makes the outing a bit more challenging. 

Set your sights higher

If you really want a challenge (and a good shot at solitude), these remote outposts on the east side of Washington are just the ticket. 

Snow Peak Cabin

Location: Eastern Washington - Okanogan Highlands
Cost: $30.00 per night

Folks arriving to the Snow Peak Cabin after a hike through the snow. Photo by Eastside Anne.

Accommodating up to six people in the wild Okanogan Highlands, the Snow Peak Cabin offers remarkable sunsets, peace, quiet, and miles of trails to explore, all at just $30 per night. Learn more about reserving the cabin here.

Wenatchee Guard Station

Location: Eastern Washington - Palouse and Blue Mountains
Cost: $50.00 per night

The Wenatchee Guard Station involves quite a trek, but having a quiet outpost to share with your family makes it worth it. Photo by David Inscho. 

In the southeastern corner of the state, the similarly appointed Wenatchee Guard Station offers a chance to soak in the views across the border to Oregon, and experience the wild Umatilla National Forest, for $50 per night. Learn more about reserving the cabin and plan your next trip!