Urban Camping at Dash Point State Park

 A raised staircase makes way for a small creek below at Dash Point State Park. Photo by  OnceAndFutureLaura via Flickr  (Creative Commons  license )

A raised staircase makes way for a small creek below at Dash Point State Park. Photo by OnceAndFutureLaura via Flickr (Creative Commons license)

by Carrie Krueger, marketing director

Hiking, beach walks, boating, camping and wildlife – all minutes away from a bustling city. Sound too good to be true? It’s exactly what you will find at Dash Point State Park in Federal Way. It’s just a few miles off the busy I-5 freeway and accessible via the 187 bus line from the Federal Way transit center.

The park and campground are set on a hill above Puget Sound. Hiking trails wind through lush forests, over bridges and rushing streams, down to the beach. Depending on the tide, the beach can be vast with people digging for shellfish and peering in tidepools, or tiny with kids digging in the sand and families splashing in the shallow water.

The high tide is the best time to kayak, canoe or paddleboard. Though Puget Sound is bustling with shipping traffic, the bay in front of the park is reasonably calm with only the occasional wake from a recreational boat. Look for heron and other birds along the shoreline!

 The beach at Dash Point offers a great space for scouting seabirds, spotting shells, or pushing off for a paddle. Photo by  vikisusan via Flickr  (Creative Commons  license )

The beach at Dash Point offers a great space for scouting seabirds, spotting shells, or pushing off for a paddle. Photo by vikisusan via Flickr (Creative Commons license)

The campground is a classic state park experience – designated campsites each with a flat area for a tent, a picnic table and a fire ring. While the campsites are not large, they are situated amongst to give privacy. There are also a few tiny cabins and space for RVs. Enjoy the wildlife in the campground including crows and racoons that will tear up your campsite if you leave food out. (Learned that the hard way.)

You can visit for a day for free (Discover Pass required to park) or overnight with reservations encouraged.

The most remarkable thing about this park is that it is nestled into an urban environment in Federal Way. Campers may hear road noise as well as plane noise from the nearby airport. But where else can you hop a bus and have a true camping experience without the long drive? Turns out you can get away from it all, without getting too far away.

Banner photo by CJ Oliver via Flickr (Creative Commons license)