We did it… Roscoe and I survived our first Washington state winter! For those who haven’t read our previous articles, Roscoe, is my partner in adventure, who also happens to be a dog. Having lived in Florida my whole life, I’d like to say I handled the transition fairly well. There were phases: September – October, “WOW, I don’t know what people are talking about? The weather here is great!” October – November, “Okay yeah, it rains, but like not all the time.” December – February, “IT LITERALLY NEVER STOPS RAINING, WHAT IS THIS DARK WET PLACE?!”
All this to say, we are overjoyed it’s springtime. We’ve been enjoying watching the leaves come back and the flowers bloom. By far, our favorite is the sun setting later and later into the evening. With Washington State Parks reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown we’re ready to begin our adventures with enthusiasm.
Washington State Parks
Washington state has the best state park system I’ve ever encountered. The abundance of public land, the beauty of that land, combined with the fact they are all dog-friendly, made it a no-brainer when planning out our summer adventures. Our goal is to visit a new Washington park a week, leaving a couple weeks open for some exploration of the national parks and historic sites we also have in Washington! Today, we’re sharing our first: Kopachuck State Park
Some of the other parks we have on our bucket list:
Make Your Own Bucket List
Interested in making your own Washington state bucket list? Here are some things I’ve already learned about Washington State Parks.
Get a Discover Pass. You’ll need a Discover Pass to park at all Washington State Parks. A single day pass is $10 and an annual pass is $30. You can find out if the park you’re going to has a pay station here.
Do your research. With over 100 State Parks in Washington there’s bound to be several that fit your adventure style. Do your research and find the ones that most interest you. Once you’ve started your list cross check it here, to confirm it’s open and operating with COVID-19 considerations.
Be flexible! Always have a plan b, and plan c. Parks may be limiting capacity and having a plan B allows you to still have a great day even if the park is at capacity or closed.
Exploring During COVID-19
There are some new signs hung around our state parks that read “Crowded parks will lead to closed parks.” In order to ensure our parks stay open it’s vital to recreate responsibly. Below are my personal guidelines on hiking in our current climate:
Research local guidelines. It’s important to know what both the state and the local guidelines are for the community you’re visiting.
Stay close to home. There’s nothing I want more than to explore new cities and parks, but for the time being I’ve decided it’s best for the locals in those communities if I stay away.
Pack it in, pack it out. I’m making sure I bring everything I might need with me so I can avoid extra stops. Bring snacks for the day (for humans and pups), water, hand sanitizer, masks and a full tank of gas. I’m also exploring with only my household. I miss my friends and our adventures, but for the time being we are only exploring with our current household.
This is a brand-new situation for everyone involved. Stay informed. Continue to research to make the most informed decisions, keeping in mind the health and safety of those who monitor and protect our beloved parks, and the communities these parks are in.
Kopachuck State Park
Our latest adventure took us to Gig Habor, Washington to walk around Kopachuck State Park.
If it is a nice sunny day and you’re looking for a place to park your beach chair, this is the place! The park is 280 acres, but the hiking options are limited at this park. It has about 2 miles of hiking trails. Its crowning jewel is, by far, its 5,600 feet of shoreline on the Henderson Bay.
There is a decent downhill trek from the parking lot to the beach, but it’s well maintained and has several places to stop and rest. I would categorize this park as less adventure and more hanging out. It even boasts over 50 picnic tables throughout the park! The beach is mostly rocky, so I advise bringing some beach chairs. It seems like a popular place for boating as well. If you have a boat you can check out Cutts Island, a half mile from the Kopachuck beach, reachable only by boat. On a clear day you can even see some mountains on the horizon. While we didn’t stay that long, I bet the sunsets would be breathtaking.
Planning Your Visit
Some things to remember when planning your visit to this park:
The restrooms are close to the parking lot and it’s a decent uphill walk to reach them once you’ve settled down at the beach.
- The beach is rocky so water shoes would be a great addition to your beach bag when packing.
- This park does have an automated pay station to purchase a day or annual Discovery Pass.
- If you plan on fishing or harvesting selfish make sure to check out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for season and licensing information.
I recommend this park for: a low-key day relaxing by the water, a picnic or and adventure for families with little ones or furry friends who enjoy spending time in the water.
Kopachuck State Park is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. Roscoe and I hope you get out there and enjoy all Washington has to offer!
Please remember, COVID-19 has changed the way we should explore Washington. Don’t forget to research state and local guidelines before embarking.