Part 3: Camano Island
Camano Island, just a short drive north of Seattle, is connected to the land by bridge, so there are no ferry lines! Camano is a small quiet island, but there is no shortage of hikes, views, water to kayak, and good eats. Our first stop was Cama Beach Historical State Park. We took a short stroll past the Cama Beach Café down to the waterfront to discover a delightful vacation destination – the beach is lined with small family bungalows that can be rented, which first opened in 1934. It was indeed like stepping through a time machine. There is a camp store at the north end of the beach and four firepits for group sing-a-longs and marshmallow roasting.
We also visited the Center for Wooden Boats near the store. Today they were offering classes in toy boat building, and the kids were sure enjoying themselves. They offer many other crafting activities; beach walks with a naturalist, Cama Beach Bingo, and other great events. You can also rent a boat to get out on the water. There are 15 miles of hiking trails accessible from the park; one we enjoyed was Cranberry Lake, a short 2.3 miles with minimal elevation gain - perfect for families.
After exploring the beach, we headed back up the hill to the Cama Beach Café. The Café has been featured in Edible Seattle magazine and has been named one of the top ten brunch restaurants by Best of Washington. The food, and the view from our table, were excellent. Their extensive menu offers everything from Eggs Benedict to Swedish Pancakes for breakfast to a vast selection of sandwiches and salads. They even have homemade bagels and lox! They are open a few days and close at 2 pm, so check the website for their hours before you go.
There is another State Park just a 7-minute drive down the road. Or hike the short 1-mile trail along the coast during low tide from Cama beach to Camano Island State Park. The park has 3 miles of hiking trails and a boat ramp, so it is a great place to launch your kayak or Standup paddleboard (SUP). It’s also an excellent place for saltwater fishing, crabbing, and water sports.
Today our focus was on hiking trails, so we drove 15 minutes to the northeast part of the island to the Iverson Preserve Spit. The parking lot for the trail is at the north end, in a residential cul-de-sac. Once on the trail, you’ll enjoy views of Port Susan and the Cascade Mountain range, including Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mt. Pilchuck. The preserve is part of the Great Washington State Birding Trail, so bring your binoculars, more hikes here.
Another great park for family hikes is Barnum Point County Park. This park is just a 10-minute drive from the spit. The park offers twelve short trails, including a beach trail accessible only at low tide. There are also trails to the bluff for spectacular views. Click here for a trail map.
After a full day of fun in the sun and water, it was time to find our accommodations for the night. We found this gem through Flying Fish Island Rentals. Affectionately known as “The Boathouse,” it is a charming studio with a full kitchen and a stunning view from your bed.
The Boathouse also has a jetted tub and a lot of beautiful, well-appointed backyard waterfront space. There is a dining area with a gas grill, fire pit, deck chairs at the end of the lawn, and panoramic views of Port Susan Bay. We enjoyed our stay immensely and can’t wait to go back; it’s the perfect place to relax and wait for the whales and seals to swim by.
Camano Island is an excellent destination for kayaking, canoeing, or standup paddleboarding. These are just some of the launch sites on the island. We launched at Cavalero Beach, which offers lots of parking and beautiful views.
We are so fortunate to live in the Puget Sound area and are grateful to the people and organizations who work to maintain the beauty and sustainability of our home. One such organization is Sound Water Stewards of Island County. The mission of this group of trained volunteers is to work for a healthy, sustainable marine environment through education, science, and stewardship. Volunteers for SWS commit to 100 hours of training and then use their skills to monitor marine species, collect water samples to detect toxins and algae blooms, run educational programs, and organize beach clean-ups. Michael and I dedicated this particular trip to show gratitude for all they do. We created a “Paddling for Dollars” Facebook event to encourage donations to this worthy cause. You can donate here.
Editorial disclosure: lodging, beverages, and food generously provided.