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Campground Review: Deception Pass State Park

Why we chose here: This area was recommended to us by some fellow travelers that we met a few weeks earlier. We managed to snag the last spot in this park for a few days with just a week's notice.  

Location The campground is split between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island.  Most of it is on the Whidbey side.  Deception Pass itself is stunning, you can view it from the road bridge, but also the beaches in the area are great too.

Sites:  There are hundreds of sites here. The forest loop and lower loops in the Cranberry Lake area, are very wooded and anyone with as big rig may struggle to naviate here.  Also solar energy is hard to come by. All sites have a picnic table and fire rings - but unsurprisingly Washington has a state wide burn ban in effect.

Facilities: There is fresh water, toilets showers and trash. No recycling- In fact there is a sign that says "please take your recycling home" WHAT?  There is a dump station on site.

Groceries: Oak Harbour has Safeway.

Reservations: Yes for all sites - I think this is a shame because it doesn't give spontaneous people a chance to take advantage of the parks.  And even though the campground was "full" when we were there there were lots of empty spots presumably reserved by people many months before.  I wish they would follow the lead of other states and at least leave some sites first come first served.

Cell Coverage / WiFi: We had good signal with both AT&T and Verizon.

Price Paid: $30 a night for a basic site, plus reservation fee and non-state resident fee (AYFKM Washington?)

Date of visit: August 2015

Noise: I don't normally comment on noise, having lived in the centre of a city we are not sensitive about it. But it would be remiss to not mention the nearby naval base here. The jets are incredibly loud and came over every evening. They were loud enough that we had to stop the movie we were watching and certainly would scupper a campfire conversation. They warn you about it and honestly it didn't ruin our enjoyment of the park, but you should have the expectation that your cozy camping experience may not be as peaceful as you want.

Other: I really did like this park. It's location is great but I do have some grievances with the Washington State Park system . First it is expensive: I don't mind paying for premium beach locations like this one, but they have the same fees for much less impressive spots.  It's complicated - 6 types of sites: (economy, basic, premium with and without power) , 3 seasons (high, low and shoulder) in some parks, 2 season (high & low) in others and then a reservation fee for online booking, a different fee if you book by phone and fees for out of state residents. If you need a PDF with a 10 point font to explain your camping fees - it's too complicated.  And finally no First Come First Served sites

Would we come here again? Yes, I would even though I do have a bit of a downer on the Washington State Park system. But this is a beautiful spot and well worth a few days.

Link to campground website

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