Weathering the storm in a cozy cabin: A winter adventure
Cape Disappointment State Park is home to some of the most spectacular — and dangerous — surf in the world.
Dec. 18, 2019
The steady sound of surf crashing on a rocky shore. Icy white waves thundering and curling into dramatic arcs against high black cliffs. Steely skies and curtains of rain sweeping across choppy waters.
The drama and power of Washington’s waters in winter are nothing short of awe inspiring.
Storm watching is a popular pastime here when winter weather hits our coastal and Puget Sound waters from October to April. And state parks are home to ideal — and safe — vantage points for witnessing the raw drama, power and beauty the of Pacific Northwest storm season.
This season why not plan to rent a cabin or yurt at one of these five parks and have a cozy retreat to snuggle up in between runs to watch the weather go wild! Here’s the scoop on some dynamic destinations with cabins.
Bay View State Park
Watch the rains wash over the San Juan Archipelago from this tiny gem of a park. Small and easy to navigate, this park on the shore of Padilla Bay offers wide-open views of storms rolling up on the shore. When you are weary of the wet and wind, retreat to one of Bay View’s six charming cabins. Each of the park’s cabins have ample room for up to four campers. Some are pet friendly, and two are equipped with private bathrooms. All have a porch to further enjoy the weather (with not as much moisture), and fire ring and barbecue if the weather allows. Bonus: Visit the Breazeale Padilla Bay Interpretive Center half a mile from the park and learn about the protected estuary reserve bordering the park through displays and hands-on interpretive activities.
Bay View State Park's rocky shore is the perfect vantage point to watch storms roll in over Padilla Bay.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Cape Disappointment is widely considered the crown jewel of storm spectating in Washington. Set high above some of the most dangerous waters on the planet — the coast guard trains here — it is home to two vintage lighthouses, dramatic cliffs and stirring surf. If weather permits, get pictures of the powerful waves crashing below Cape Disappointment Lighthouse from Waikiki Beach. Or visit the high cliff setting of the newly restored North Head Lighthouse, which offers expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and the powerful surf crashing below. Note: The North Head Lighthouse is closed for interior tours until May, but visitors are welcome to observe from the outside.
Imagine the shipwrecks below the surface where the mouth of the Columbia River meets the ocean while exploring Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. The park rents classic cabins in the alder forest on the shore of Lake O’Neil, and yurts that sleep six in the campground loop. Looking for a truly unique experience? Stay in one of the Victorian-era Lighthouse Keeper’s Residences!
Deception Pass State Park
This classic and well-loved park on Whidbey Island offers a brilliant vantage point for watching storms roll in from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and across the San Juan Islands. Watch the wild waves from the park’s windswept cliffs. While you are there, check out the park’s signature bridges and interpretive center for a break from the weather. You’ll find cabins, some with kitchenettes and bathrooms, and amply sized yurts to stay in at Deception Pass.
Outside or in, the cabins at Deception Pass State Park are a simple, cozy retreat!
Grayland Beach State Park
Experience an uninterrupted vista of the North Pacific Ocean! Don’t forget the camera — whether it’s stormy or calm, Grayland’s sandy shore is a great spot for a wide-angle shot. In good weather, you may get an unparalleled sunset. When the wind and rains come, watch waves mound and crash on the shore. Yurts tucked into the forested camping loops offer a great place to dry off. Sip a hot drink on the covered deck as you watch the downpour. All yurts have heat, light, a picnic table and grill and some are pet friendly and ADA accessible.
Snow is rare on the coast, but it makes for some amazing photographs! Score some images like this of your own at Grayland Beach State Park.
Twin Harbors State ParkJust up the road from Grayland Beach, Twin Harbors offers more of that classic oceanside experience. See the whitecaps peaking during a windy afternoon. Drive up to nearby Westport for some seafood and the spectacle of surf crashing against the seawall. Twin Harbors has modern cabins with a fold-out futon and a bunk bed for sleeping five happy campers. Bring along up to four favorite friends and stay in a yurt for an evening — or two.
Bonus: Winter rates are in effect now, and the crowds are low. Take advantage of the lower prices and higher availability today!
Book one of the new cabins at Twin Harbors State Park today!
A note on renting cabins or yurts at Washington state park:
All cabins and yurts include beds and/or futons, heat and light. Some even include a kitchenette and bathroom. You’ll find pet friendly and ADA accessible options as well. They do not include bedding or food storage options. Check carefully when making your reservation that your rental has everything you need to for a fun, warm and comfortable stay. Oh, and don’t forget that raincoat!
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