Camping in the Northwest - From a family who thought they'd share notes
Dosewallips State Park
 
Reservations through Washington State Parks.
 
Dosewallips State Park is a 425-acre, year-round camping park with 5,500 feet of saltwater shoreline on Hood Canal and 5,400 feet of freshwater shoreline on either side of the Dosewallips River. The park is unique in that it offers both freshwater and saltwater activities. All camp areas are grassy and located in scenic, rustic settings.
 
Overall.
We always enjoy this state park that is situated at the foot of the Olympic Mountains with views of Mount Rainier and Mount Constance.  It's clean, and really offers a lot in the park:  nice paved roads to ride bikes, scooters or go for a walk, trails, Dosewallips river and a beach nearby. 

This is a campground with a split personality..... with one foot in the saltwater of the Hood Canal and the other along the freshwater shoreline of the river.   It is a great spot for families looking to clam or crab, or even fish. 

 
Campsite.
The RV campsites (full hookup) at this park are nicely laid out in a "cul de sac" way -- paved roads leading into each cul de sac and offering 10 sites around a circular pathway.  There are 8 of these cul de sacs throughout the park and all are very nice spots.  Definitely keep in mind that Highway 101 runs right by the State Park so there are some of the sites along that road that are closer to the highway than others  (8, 9, 15, 16, 36, 37 and 55, 56).  Our first visit to the park we stayed in site 6 - very close to Hwy 101 however protected by trees so the noise was minimal. 
 
Tent sites and non-hookup sites are closer to the river in a nice area.  There are some great sites at the river's edge - and campers and tent trailers are mixed throughout these standard sites.
 
Group sites: 
Meadow Group Camp 1
accommodates up to 80 visitors who can pitch tents or park RVs on a large grass field. There is a large campfire pit, a covered eating area, several picnic tables and a barbeque. There is water and primitive toilets available. A trailhead and the Dosewallips River are easily accessible.
 
River Group Camp 2
accommodates up to 20 visitors. Pitch your tents in a clearing surrounded by woods and a few steps from the river. There are several campfire pits and picnic tables available
 
Beach.
There is Beach within walking distance of the park (or by bike) -- with a nice protected path for a short distance along Highway 101.  The beach is along the Tidal Area of Hood Canal and very popular amongst shrimpers. 
 
There is a wildlife viewing platform, and vast areas are open for field sports. Freshwater activities are nearby on the banks of the Dosewallips River, and saltwater activities can be found on nearby Hood Canal.
 
Swimming and Boating.
The park does not have a formal swimming area, but park visitors may enjoy swimming in the river. Please note the river can be swift and not suitable for young children.
 
There is a watercraft launch seven miles south of the park at Triton Cove State Park.  A daily watercraft launching permit for $7 and a trailer dumping permit for $5 is available at the park. 
 
Trails.
There are miles of walking trails within the State Park that are nicely maintained and utilizing foot bridges throughout.  Taking my 4.5 year old daughter on the walk - turned into a hike for both of us at some times during the adventure!  It was a welcome challenge for us both - with some climbs up hill and narrow ledges descending at part of the trail. 
 
The trails are nicely marked with signs pointing to the different trails: 
North Tidal Area
Maple Valley Trail
Steam Donkey Loop Trail
Rhody Cut Off
 
Bikes or No Bikes?
Bikes recommended for those that want to explore the park.  They are a great means to get from here to there -- especially to the front check-in office and to the recreation areas such as the Beach and the River.
 
Note that bikes are not allowed on the park trails.
 
Yes, we are camping.  But we still need the Electronics.
      Cell phone service:  decent coverage
      Air Card: very limited
 
Check In Office.
Nice and friendly staff.
 
Vicinity.
There is not much along Highway 101 after you leave Shelton.  Outside of the park you will be able to find a gas station with a small convenience store.  Also, there is a GeoDuck Restaurant and Lounge right outside the entrance to the park.  In addition, thee is a Visitor Center and Liquor Center nearby.
 
A couple miles south of the Dosewallips State Park you will find Pleasant Harbor Marina which offers a nice cove on the Hood Canal and some basic needs such as restrooms with showers, a pizza place, etc.  Moorage here is on a first-come, first-served basis.  Visitors may enjoy fishing, rafting, motor boating and scuba diving. There are no services or potable water at the park.
 
Variety of Lodging.
This park is set up to host families that aren't necessarily tent or trailer campers.  There are a few options here at Dosewallips:
Platform Tents - total of 3 heated platforms tents are offered.  They feature a wooden floor, covered with a fabric shell made of Army Duck canvas that is water repellent, mildew resistant and flame retardant.  Each Platform Tent offers a double bunk bed, futon, table and chair.  These 3 platform tents are located back by the group camp and tucked into the forest a bit for privacy.
Cabins - total of 3 cabins are offered and are located right amongst the utility sites.
 
 
 
 
Dosewallips State Park
PO Box 969
Brinnon, WA 98320
360-796-4415
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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