If you’re trying to plan your summer camping plans and are looking to have a truly unique experience, our state’s marine parks are an excellent choice. Their boat access only location typically makes them less busy and popular than other state parks, and the locations are obviously stunning. Here’s what to know about them.

The big catch here is that for most marine state parks you need to have a boat or a friend with a boat to access them. If neither of those situations apply to you, you can always use services like GetMyBoat or charter from a local company, in some cases private tours to certain marine parks may be available.

Like regular camping, you need to bring everything in and practice leave no trace.

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Among Washington’s 53 marine parks, Blake Island is the closest to Seattle. It’s nestled between West Seattle and Manchester and has 475-acres to explore. The island happens to be even more special because it has deep history – as it was once the ancestral camping ground of the Suquamish tribe. What’s more, it’s believed Chief Seattle (properly spelled Si’ahl) was born on the island.

Another unique offering from the island is Native American-style salmon dinners and demonstrations of Northwest Native American dancing are offered at Tillicum Village, a concession on the island.

Other nearby marine parks include Maury Island, Eagle Island and Andy’s Marine Park. It’s worth noting that you can visit other nearby marine parks like Stretch Point, Pleasant Harbor, and Camano Island by car.

If you’re curious, camping costs at Washington State Parks range in price from $12-$50 per night depending on the sites location and amenities. Keep in mind that reservations can and should be made online, especially during peak season.