Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of camping season in the Northwest, even though many unwillingly become soggy blue-tarp campers.
Weather forecasts project it should be generally warm this weekend, although many towns on both sides of the Cascades expect showers on Friday and/or Saturday.
Bucking the usual trend, some Olympic Peninsula locales look to stay dry through Memorial Day. Sequim is famous for its rain shadow, but Forks, Ocean Shores, and Aberdeen definitely are not. Yet they're projecting no precipitation for the coming week. Same with Astoria, Seaside, and Cannon Beach.
If you plan to camp over the holiday, this might be the year to head for those often-damp coastal campgrounds. Many sites are reserved well in advance, but the majority of sites typically are first come, first served. So maybe it's time to aim for gems like Mora (near Rialto Beach), Kalaloch, or Pacific Beach in Washington, or Cape Blanco or Washburne in Oregon.
My family usually drives east to the warm and dry side of the Cascades to camp. Two Forest Service campgrounds in particular are popular because of their proximity and easy access from the Seattle area – Lake Kachess, which actually sits near the Cascade crest, and Salmon la Sac. But I've been drenched at both despite dry-weather forecasts.
Your odds of finding sun and warmth should improve if you target these Washington campsites, which rank high on my list for overall appeal:
Alta Lake State Park
Curlew State Park
Lake Chelan and 25-Mile Creek state parks
Sun Lakes State Park
Steamboat Rock State Park
Kettle Falls Campground
Central Ferry State Park.
Nice dry-side campgrounds in Oregon include:
Wallowa Lake State Park
Page Springs Campground
Cottonwood Canyon State Park
Emigrant Springs State Park
Little Crater Campground.
What? You say you're not a camper? Or your idea of camping is a 2-diamond motel found in the AAA TourBook? You'll likely enjoy fun, sunshine (based on annual climate data for May), and maybe even some entertainment if you find accommodations in these Northwest cities:
Wherever you go, plan now to avoid peak traffic. Washington's Department of Transportation has tracked and charted holiday traffic volume for years, enabling these
current traffic projections.