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Take This Scenic Road Trip Along The Hood Canal

Washington State has several beautiful shorelines for camping between the Pacific Coast, Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the many lakes and rivers, and the Hood Canal, a long and narrow fjord part of the Salish Sea.

Hood Canal
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The Hood Canal separates the Kitsap Peninsula and the Olympic Peninsula, home of Olympic National Park. U.S. Route 101 follows along the western shore of the canal and connects over to Kitsap via the Hood Canal Bridge.

This scenic road trip could be done over the weekend, or last a full week if you want to explore more of each park. The saltwater shores are known for many activities like fishing, clamming, boating, and swimming in the summer.

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1. Scenic Beach State Park

Kick off your trip on the eastern shore of the Hood Canal, just west of Silverdale at Scenic Beach State Park in Seabeck. This park gets its name from its beautiful rocky beach overlooking the Hood Canal with the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop.

Hood Canal
Scenic Beach State Park. Photo by author (Nikki Cleveland)

The campground has 50 standard sites including 18 pull-throughs that can accommodate RVs up to 32 feet long. It also includes a dump station, ADA-accessible restrooms, and showers.

2. Kitsap State Park

Head north from Scenic Beach SP and make Kitsap Memorial State Park your next destination. This park makes a great home base while visiting the nearby Norwegian village of Poulsbo. It likewise faces the Olympic Mountains and gets some amazing sunrise and sunset views.

Hood Canal
Sunset at Kitsap State Park – Photo via TripAdvisor

Have a picnic or take a walk on the rocky saltwater beach. The campground has 20 standard sites, 3 with partial hookups and 15 equipped with full hookups. Four cabins are also available for those traveling without an RV.

3. Dosewallips State Park

Continue over the Hood Canal bridge and south along Route 101 towards Dosewallips State Park in Brinnon. This huge park offers camping, fishing, and more along the Dosewallips River as it flows from the Olympic Mountains and empties out into the canal.

Hood Canal
View of Mount Constance and Dosewallips River – Photo by Blue Canoe

The park is open year-round with hiking trails, picnic areas, and shoreline for fishing and seasonal clamming. All of the campsites are reservable including 48 full hookup sites, 75 tent sites, and twelve cabins.

Rocky Brook Falls makes a great side trip about four miles from the park. It’s also very easy to reach at only about 200 yards from the trailhead.

4. The Waterfront at Potlatch

South of Brinnon, The Waterfront at Potlatch provides a more luxurious place to camp overlooking the deep blue Hood Canal waters. This resort has full hookup RV sites in addition to furnished suites and cabins.

Hood Canal
Front row view at the Waterfront. Photo via TripAdvisor

Their Deluxe and Premier Waterfront Sites have 50-amp service and parking for your tow vehicle. They also have smaller standard sites with great water views. These sites have full hookups, cable TV, and WiFi.

Potlatch State Park is less than a mile south of the resort with a large campground, picnic area, and beach access.

5. Twanoh State Park

Wrap up your Hood Canal trip at Twanoh State Park just east of Union. This large park has warm saltwater for swimming and about two-and-a-half miles of trails for hiking. Two kitchen shelters and over a hundred tables are also provided for picnics.

Hood Canal
Twanoh State Park – Photo via James K

The campground has 25 standard sites and 22 full hookup sites that can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet long. There are also two restrooms and a shower. Lots of little shops and restaurants are nearby in Union. I recommend grabbing a bite to eat from Robin Hood Restaurant Pub at the Village Resort.

Route 101 on the western shore can also serve as a gateway to the Olympic National Forest. Branch off to the Staircase area or Lake Cushman while you’re exploring this part of the Pacific Northwest.

Keep in mind you will need a Discover Pass to visit the Washington State Parks. A day pass is available for $10/day, or you can save money by purchasing an annual pass for $30. They are available at retail locations, at some state parks, and online. Learn more here.

See also: Take A Road Trip Along The Strait Of Juan De Fuca

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