Winter Recreation

Do you think RVing is just a summer activity? With a little planning and preparation, you can enjoy your RV year-round even in the depths of winter. First off you will need to find a place to camp that isn't snowed in or closed. Mild winters in Western Washington allow many campgrounds to remain open. A great place to start searching for a winter campout destination is "winter schedule page" on Washington State Parks website.

Here you will find a listing of campgrounds, including which ones close for the winter, when they close, when they reopen and which ones are open or partially open in winter. Additionally, under each park listing you will find notations of reduced services such as closed campground loops, where to obtain potable water in freezing weather, if the dump station is closed for the winter, snow restrictions and other loss of day use services such as docks removed for the winter, closed concessions and closed interpretative centers. Once you have selected a campground and know the restrictions it is just a matter of prepping the RV accordingly, like filling the water tank before leaving home, obtaining firewood in advance if none will be available at the park, etc.  The best part about winter camping is not having to deal with the crowds of other campers like in summer. If your schedule allows you to camp on weekdays, you are likely to have the whole place to yourself. Seniors, if you are not already winter campers, now is the time to start! Washington State seniors (62 and older) can buy an off season pass for $75. The pass offers free nightly camping from October 1 to March 31, and Sunday through Thursday in April. There is a $10 per-night fee for utility sites.

Looking for some winter fun beyond camping? Washington offers all sorts of other snow play, from snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to snowmobiling, dog-sledding and tubing. The Washington State winter recreation program makes access to all that easy by providing plowed parking areas from which groomed (and some backcountry) trails begin.  Roughly 120 sno-parks are scattered through-out the state, some along main highways. Many are designated for snowmobile use offering access to more than 3,000 miles of groomed trails while others are for non-motorized use only providing access to about 300 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, etc., while some sno-parks offer access to both. There’s a group of sno-parks just off Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass including Crystal Springs, Cabin Creek and Kachess offering winter fun for all users. Many of the sno-parks allow overnight camping at no additional charge making for an economical and close RV escape from the Puget Sound region.

At the 2016 Seattle RV Show you will find both Washington State Parks volunteer program and Washington State Parks winter recreation program exhibiting.  At the host booth you can gather information about hosting in Washington State Parks, pick up a map and  learn more about the campgrounds that are open in winter. At the winter recreation booth you can learn more about sno-parks, camping opportunities and the various recreational activities available.
Get details on Washington Sno-Park locations and permits here.

By attending the show you will also be supporting Washington State Parks as $2 ($1 by the show and $1 by WSECU) of every regular priced ticket purchased at the box office will be donated to our parks.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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