Summer. Camping. Time away from the pressures of home. No television or cell phones. Real quality family time. S’mores, camp fires, nature in abundance… Really, what’s not to love?
Well, I will admit I am a reluctant camper. More specifically, I love camping in my mind’s eye, in theory, and in the planning stage. And, to be fair, it does always end up being fun. The awkward stage for me happens somewhere between setting the plan and the time when I relax enough to realize we are all going to be covered in dirt and that is totally okay. Can you relate?
Recently, we had an experience that far exceeded my expectations of camping. The spot is a well-kept secret that I feel so excited to have discovered. I even debated a bit about sharing it with you…
We went to Cama Bay State Park on Camano Island and I am hooked!
I want to go back every year. I want to call now to reserve our next ten years of camping trips (not allowed, unfortunately). This in and of itself is different for me. Usually camping is fun, but I am not ready to sign up for more camping immediately upon our return to civilization. (Let me be clear that at this point, the camping we are doing as a family of five with children under the age of six is definitely “car camping”.) We do not pack lightly enough to attempt anything more adventurous than this. But, even with all this in mind, Cama Bay hits a very sweet spot!
First off, Camano Island is a 90-minute drive from Seattle – no ferry schedule required. Once you have arrived, there is a shuttle service that brings you and your stuff down to the waterfront (for us this meant multiple Rubbermaid totes, copious amounts of bedding in Ikea blue bags, large cooler of food, friend’s paddle board, etc… ). There are no cars allowed at the campsite. This is a wonderful feature once you have gotten settled. Camping occurs in small rustic cabins that were built as a 1930s-era Puget Sound fishing resort. There are amenities such as electricity and running water, but no heat. The website describes Cama Bay as a “time capsule” experience and I can’t think of a more apt description. The location is absolutely lovely and feels relatively untouched by time. We felt so far away, not only in location, but in time.
Our cabin was right at the edge of the beach, which made this event feel even more like a vacation (clearly not how I would typically describe camping). Once settled, there was also very little schlepping. This definitely added to our overall feeling of relaxation. The kids spent the entire weekend in their swimsuits, exploring the beach. We discovered shells and wishing rocks aplenty. We created our own play structures with driftwood. We tested our comfort zones with a caterpillar colony. Because of the beach, it wasn’t even that dirty! There were loads of families present and it truly felt more like “summer camp” than “camping”.
We had an amazing weekend at Cama Bay. The weather was spectacular. The company was fantastic. The memories are forever. And I’ll be calling in 3 months to book our time for next year. I encourage you to do the same.