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Recreation Parks in Washington

If you are an outdoor enthusiast looking to adventure in Washington State, you will be thrilled to learn that there are 140 options to discover in the Washington State Parks system. If you are unsure how to tackle your next park outing in Washington, you can narrow down your options by searching through each region. Parks in the state of Washington are organized into the following regions:

  • Columbia Gorge
  • North Central
  • North Puget Sound
  • Northeast
  • Northwest
  • Olympic Peninsula
  • Pacific Coast
  • San Juan Islands
  • Seattle/Tacoma
  • South Central
  • South Puget Sound
  • Southeast
  • Southwest

If you visit the Washington State Parks website and select a region of interest, you will then be able to navigate through a virtual map that highlights the different parks within that area.

What is a Discover Pass?

If you are interested in driving through state parks in Washington, it is mandatory to purchase a Discover Pass. Any landmark that falls under the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources or the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is subject to this law. Note that you can transfer one Discover Pass between two vehicles, and the fees are:

  • Annual pass: $30
  • One-day pass: $10

Add a $5 transactional fee when dealing with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. You can purchase both an annual Discover Pass, as well as a one-day Discover Pass at the designated parks’ automated pay stations.

Note that there are certain exemptions when it comes to purchasing a Discover Pass, including:

  • Renting overnight accommodations/camping at a specific state park, while staying in:
    • Vacation houses.
    • Environmental learning centers.
  • Those who are disabled veterans.
  • Other Washington State Park pass holders.
  • Those who want to launch a boat from a state park boat launch, so long as they hold an annual Natural Investment Permit.
  • Sno-Park season pass holders at designated Sno-Parks between November 1 and March 31.

Keep in mind, there are several Discover Pass Free Days scheduled annually in Washington. Those dates for the year 2016 are as follows:

  • January 1 – State Parks’ First Day Hikes
  • January 17 and 18 – Martin Luther King Day
  • March 19 – State Parks’ 103rd Birthday
  • March 26 – Saturday Spring Day
  • April 22 – Earth Day
  • May 8 – Sunday Spring Day
  • June 4 – National Trails Day
  • June 11 – National Get Outdoors Day
  • August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24 – National Public Lands Day
  • November 11 – Veterans Day

Discounted Park Passes and Permits

If you are interested in visiting a Washington State Park, note that you may be eligible for a discounted park pass. So long as you are not scheduling accommodations at yurts, cabins, vacation houses, recreational centers, picnic shelters and roofed housing, you may be able to collect a reduced pass. Below is a list of discounted passes and permits:

  • Senior Citizen Limited Income Pass – Free
  • Foster Home Camping Pass – Free
  • Disability Pass – Free
  • Disabled Veteran Lifetime Pass – Free
  • Off-Season Senior Citizen Pass – $75

Obtain your application online through the Washington State Parks website, and be prepared to provide proof of the following to qualify:

  • Residency
  • Age
  • Income
  • Disability
  • Disabled Veteran Status, if applicable