Indulge your outdoor passions with state parks concessions

Big Foot Surf crop

Feeling brave? Want to wave from a wave? Learn to surf with BigFoot Surf school! You'll be olioli iho la lakou (glad) you did! Photo courtesy of BigFoot Surf

                                                                                                                                                             Aug. 1, 2017

What do you want to do this summer?

Maybe you would like to try kayaking through the San Juan Islands or standup paddleboarding on a pristine lake? A horseback ride in a deep northwestern forest, or even riding some killer waves as you learn to surf on Washington’s coast?

Whether it’s a budding interest or ongoing passion, your Washington State Parks are chock full of opportunities to try a fun new recreational pastime—or indulge an old favorite!

Check out this broad array of exciting rentals, tours and lessons available at state parks. Our concessionaires are hard-working small, local businesses that work closely with parks through lease agreements, bringing visitors memorable recreation experiences. Get out and try one today!



Big Foot Surf 3

Keep your Baywatch—we'll take Sasquatch! Learn to surf this summer at Westport Light State Park with BigFoot Surf school! Photo courtesy of BigFoot Surf.

BigFoot Surf

Where: Westport Light State Park
When:  Approximately April to November, weather permitting
The skinny: Surfing? In Washington? Totally!

If you long to learn to surf and think you will need to book a flight to Hawaii, get ready to be stoked! There are killer (read: awesome) waves at Wesport Light State Park in Westport. BONUS: There’s an equally gnarly (also read: awesome) surf school just waiting to teach you how to go from kook to Kahuna.  

Westport is a great place to learn to surf, says Shaun Wolden, an avid veteran surfer and BigFoot Surf school co-founder. Yes, you will need a wet suit, he says. The waters are far from tropical, and it is a tough physical sport, he adds.

Nevertheless, BigFoot Surf is attracting students of all ages and walks of life, from grade school kids to veterans. They base their teaching method on snow sports coaching, which they do when not surfing. Students are up and surfing in a day on high-performance longboards. Westport Light features a jetty and three surf breaks, which means…

“We always have waves at Westport,” Wolden says. “The jetty never stops working.”

Lessons are all-inclusive and fill up quick. Book your experience today, and you’ll be "hanging 10" before you can count to five!

Check out this great video of BigFoot Surf students catching some waves!

Water Tours

Deception Pass Tours 2

Look out from below! You can get a fish-eye view of the Deception Pass Bridge when you board a Deception Pass Tours jet boat! Photo courtesy of Deception Pass Tours.

Deception Pass Tours

Where: Deception Pass State Park, Oak Harbor
When:  Year round, though tours vary by season
The skinny: Enjoy one of Washington’s most iconic and beautiful places from a new perspective—the water! Board one of Deception Pass Tours’ jet boats right at the park, then take a turn through the roiling waters below the Deception Pass Bridge and beyond! Go for a one-hour tour, or book a longer whale-watching run!

Every tour is a little different. You’ll learn a lot about regional history and may even spot orca, minke whales, herons, seals, eagles and more of the flora and fauna at Deception Pass State Park. During the spring you can even sign up for a gray whale-watching tour! For a relaxing, fun and informative tour, this is the way to play!

Anacortes Kayak Tours

Where:  Bowman Bay at Deception Pass State Park, Oak Harbor and Anacortes, with excursions to Sucia Island Marine State Park, San Juan Islands
When: May to September, weather permitting
The skinny: Prefer paddle power? Check out Anacortes Kayak Tours for a gentle, family-friendly tool around Bowman Bay and the Deception Pass area. Even on the guided, 11/2-hour tour, you’ll get to see why this is one of the most popular parks in the state. Like all water tours in this area, every excursion is a potential to see anything from porpoises to plumose anemones. BONUS:  Your guides are also beach naturalists and can answer many of your questions about the incredible flora and fauna in the region.

Looking for something a little more challenging? Consider taking to the open waters for a multi-day guided excursion from Orcas Island to Sucia Island Marine State Park—a gorgeous park accessible only by water.  

Water Sports

Two guys paddling at Manchester

Get your paddle on! Renting a small watercraft is a great way to spend an afternoon with your friends and family! Photo courtesy of Water Rentals.

Issaquah Paddle Sports

Where: Lake Sammamish State Park, Issaquah
When: Year round, weather permitting
The skinny: Near Seattle? Seeking a perfect day of paddling? Head over to Lake Sammamish State Park! Operating from Tibbets Beach, Issaquah Paddle Sports is truly a one-stop shop for a great day on the water. Want to try a standup paddleboard? They have them! Kayaks and canoes also are available.

Take a tour, take lessons, enroll your kids in a kayak camp or even take a yoga class on a paddleboard! Go for a two-hour guided tour of the lake, and you may run into herons, osprey, beaver and otter as your kayak cuts gently through the placid lake waters. It doesn’t get more peaceful—or easy to get to—than this!

Water Rentals

Where: Manchester State Park, Port Orchard
When: May to September, weather permitting
The skinny: New this season! Rent a kayak or a standup paddleboard at Manchester State Park, and enjoy some stunning views of central Puget Sound. This small business is no frills and does not offer lessons or guide service, so paddlers go at their own risk. What they do offer is a great way to enjoy the Seattle skyline from the water. EXPERIENCED sea kayakers can visit Blake Island Marine State Park. Remember that this is a busy body of water with ferry traffic, recreational boats and commercial vessel traffic. The water can can get choppy and averages around 55 degrees Farenheit. Boat safely and brush up on your knowledge of paddling in busy waters here!

Lakeside Grill and Boats

Where: Millersylvania State Park, Olympia
When: April to October
The skinny: A spin around a lake in the quintessential Northwest camping park? Yes please! Cozy up in a  paddleboat which is great for a giggle while you learn to coordinate your pedaling. Lakeside also rents kayaks, paddleboards, tubes and more. Millersylvania is a peaceful and pleasant lake in a park built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). And if you get hungry, join family and friends for a snack at the Lakeside Grill.

More boating and water adventures…

Outdoor Adventure

Where: Spencer Spit State Park, Lopez Island
The skinny: Go on an island adventure by car! Then rent a bike or kayak, and do a bit more exploring with this comprehensive outdoor recreation company. Explore lovely Lopez Island by bike or sea kayak. Outdoor Adventure staff will even teach you how to operate a sea kayak, with classes taking off April to October from Spencer Spit and Bowman Bay at Deception Pass State Park!

Orcas Adventures

Where: Moran State Park, Orcas Island
The skinny: Kayaks, canoes, paddleboards—and a whole lot more!  You’ll also find good things to eat, wood for that campfire and healthy activities to enjoy at Moran. There's even standup paddleboard yoga, at Orcas Adventures!

Horseback Riding and Trail Tours

True West Trail Rides

You put your left hoof in, you take your left hoof out... Trotting on the trails by horseback is a classic and relaxing way to enjoy your state parks. Photo courtesy of True West Trail Rides at Riverside State Park. 

True West Trail Rides

Where: Riverside State Park, Nine Mile Falls
When: May to October, weather depending
The skinny: Even if you have never been on horseback before, you can take a relaxing ride on gentle steeds through an amazing Eastern Washington park. Sheila Anderson, owner of True West, takes pride in matching horse and rider and providing some instruction before setting out. Trot along the banks of the Spokane River, through wide-spaced pines and up to a high ridge for long vistas of the Spokane Valley. Make a reservation (weekends fill up quickly), and bring your camera. You are sure to get some great shots from the saddle!

Icicle Outfitters

Where: Lake Wenatchee State Park, Leavenworth
When: May to October, weather depending
The skinny: A Lake Wenatchee institution! Icicle Outfitters has been a part of the Lake Wenatchee experience for decades. It operates out of the park’s riding stables and offers dozens of rides of varying lengths every day when the weather is fine (you’ll find them driving sleighs in Leavenworth during the winter). Enjoy an hour or even a whole day exploring this little piece of paradise amount an easy-going steed

Orcas Island Trail Rides

Where: Moran State Park, Orcas Island
When: Year round, weather permitting
The skinny: This is a horseback adventure of a different color! Another popular long-time riding adventure company, Orcas Trail Rides takes visitors through the fairytale forests within Moran State Park. Explore groves of enchanting old growth, lush with fern and lichen drenched in dappled sunlight as you mosey along astride gentle trail horses. Meander through grassy meadows, then climb to the top of Mount Pickett for stunning views of the San Juan Islands. You’ll find  rides (and horses) to please any skill level. Make your San Juan Island vacation complete with a great trail ride!


SUrfside Golf Course

Fore! At Surfside Golf Course on the Long Beach Peninsula guests may  have the fairway to themselves. Photo courtesy of Surfside Golf Course

Surfside Golf Course

Where: Skating Lake, a state parks property, Ocean Park
When: Year round, weather permitting
The skinny: Is your golfing dream to find that verdant, out-of-the-way nine-hole course where you can play a great round and don’t even need a tee time? That’s exactly what you will find at Surfside. This lesser-known course is located  by a state parks property near the center of the Long Beach Peninsula, close to Oysterville and within earshot of the roaring Pacific tides. The fairway, greens and traps are well kept, the prices are a bargain, and you won’t likely have much competition (if any) to get on a tee. It is a challenging course, but there are multiple tee lengths and you can play at your own pace. You’ll find an onsite café, a pro shop and golf cart rentals. If you golf and are visiting the peninsula, this is a not-to-miss-stop.

Tree Climbing

Jack Hartt tree clim crop 3

Are you "pine-ing" to try some tree climbing? Get out to Deception Pass State Park and reach for the sky with Adventure Terra.

Adventure Terra

Where: Deception Pass State Park, Oak Harbor
When: Year round, weather permitting
The skinny: You can see the forest from the trees—and the Deception Pass Bridge, and the San Juan Islands and…
Brand-new to state parks, Adventure Terra is an experienced climbing guide service that is taking its skills to new heights this year with a fun tree climbing adventure. Interested in a physically and mentally challenging, yet memorable, experience? If you are age 7 and older, you can climb 20 stories into the Deception Pass canopy courtesy of a evergreen tree and a canopy climbing guide. Learn more here!

What fun new activities have you tried at a Washington State Park?
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