If you and your pup are looking to spend a few days outdoors in the Washington wilderness, but tent camping isn’t quite your style, cabins, yurts and fire lookouts can be an awesome alternative. Known as “glamping” – or glamorous camping – this way of experiencing the great outdoors means you can commune with nature without sacrificing all of the comforts of home. Since the type of facilities can range from “one step up from a tent” to a free-standing luxury hotel room in the woods, it can literally be a choose your own adventure.
Glamping is now a global trend and the number of accommodations around the country has exploded. There are many private and government-run glamping sites in most states. However, as any dog owner would know, it can at times be a royal pain in the butt to find sleeping quarters that welcome our four-legged buddies. Lucky for us, however, Washington is a pretty dog-friendly state that offers a number of cozy accommodations that welcome our furry camping companions.
Dog Friendly State Park Cabins and Yurts
Okay, I’m going to assume we all know what a cabin is, but some of you may never have heard of a yurt before. A yurt that you’ll find here in the Pacific Northwest is basically a modern adaptation of the circular, hide covered “huts” that nomads traditionally use in Mongolia.
State Park cabins and yurts are probably the least rustic of glamping options. Most are located near, or in, developed and highly trafficked campgrounds. The cabins have spacious interiors, windows, hardwood floors, covered porches and furnishings and the yurt setups are usually similar. You can drive right up to most of them and several have power and access to Wifi.
These facilities far larger than your average tent, and typically offer sleeping bunks (many even have couches), ample room for storage, as well as solid protection from the elements. Most of them offer enough sleeping quarters to fit a large family or group of friends. This eliminates the need of setting up multiple tents, as well as just generally saves a sizable amount of time assembling and dissembling camp.
Most of the facilities below range in price from $45-$93, making them (obviously) a pricier option than camping, but possibly a cheaper and DEFINITELY a far more unique experience than most hotels. Keep in mind that prices are going to range depending on the time of year you’re looking to camp out, and ALL cabins and yurts have an additional $15 pet charge fee per night that I’m not including in the prices below.
Here’s a list of dog-welcoming yurts and cabins in the state that may just be calling you and your pup’s name:
With access to two public lakes, Conconully State Park is a great getaway spot for those who love recreational water sports as well as fishing, and for dogs who love to swim. The price for cabin 1 ranges between $50-$74 per night.
Bay View State Park is a 25-acre camping park with 1,285 feet of saltwater shoreline on Padilla Bay near the City of Anacortes. This location offers a stellar view of the San Juan Islands. The cabins range in price from $45-$69 per night.
Located on the southwest shore of Camano Island, these cabins and bungalows offer the feel of stepping back into the 1930’s Puget Sound era. These cabins range in price from $57-$93 per night.
These cabins offer views of Saratoga Passage, as well as the opportunity for hiking and shellfish harvesting. They only have one cabin that allows pets, which ranges in price from $55-$76 depending on the time of year you’re looking to rent.
The steep cliffs, stretches of beaches, wind-blown forests and lighthouse tell me that your stay here will likely be anything but disappointing. Cabins range in price from $59-$69 per night.
Located on the shoreline of Hood Canal, this park offers access to both salt and fresh water activities. Cabins range in price from $45-$69 per night.
Offering oceanfront views of Southwest Washington, this is a great place to go for a quiet weekend away to relax. Yurts range from $59-$89 per night.
This 454-acre park in southwest Washington features 46,000 feet of freshwater shoreline. The cabin prices range from $45-$69 per night.
This campsite is set on a low plateau in the in the Green River Gorge, and offers great river rafting and kayaking for the experienced, extreme sports enthusiast. Yurts range in price from $40-$90 per night.
The terrain of this Eastern Washington area is desert with freshwater marshes, which could be a fun change from the heavy forested areas (not that we ever get tired of it). Cabin prices range from $45-$69 per night.
This campground is located near Mt. St. Helens, and has both wetland and heavily forested areas in close proximity. Yurts range in price from $45-$69 per night.
Definitely a site for sore eyes, this area has close access to a 265-ft waterfall, rivers and streams, and a popular rock climbing cliff nearby. Cabins go from anywhere between $45-$69 per night.
Dog Friendly Private Huts and Cabins
The glamping sites in this category all have something a little unique and special about them. Some offer a more “rustic” experience because they are located further away from civilization and take significant human power to get there. Some are completely off-the-grid. Some are non-traditional (yeah… yurts might be non traditional to some but they aren’t really in Washington State).
But heads up: These huts and cabins may be way cooler than the State Park ones but most come with a higher price tag. Still, it’s worth the splurge for you annual vacation. No matter which one of these you choose to stay in, you’ll definitely have a cool story to tell your friends.
Located in the Rendezvous Pass area in the Methow Valley, on the eastern flanks of the North Cascades of Washington, these huts (think cabin) are pretty adorable and cozy looking. They lie along an extensive, groomed cross-country ski trail system. Of the 200K of ski trails in the Valley, over 50K of them are open to dogs.
Dogs are permitted at Heifer, Grizzly and Rendezvous Huts (with an exclusive use reservation), and they even supply a cozy dog bed! You definitely have to work to get to them though. You can snowshoe or cross-country ski 8.6 miles (one way – also note that this trail is shared with snowmobiles) to the Heifer Hut; You can cross-country ski or ride a fatbike (you can rent one in town from Methow Cycles if you don’t own one) 6.1 miles (one way) to the Grizzly Hut; Or you can cross-country ski 8.2 miles (one way) to the Rendezvous Hut.
They can fit up to 10 people and are equipped with a full kitchen (not bad, not bad). They even supply cute little dog beds, so they’re obviously huts after our own hearts. That being said, they range in price from $100-$200 a night, so they’re definitely more pricey than I would like. Nonetheless, they’re cute and quaint and welcome our pups, so they’re something to consider if you want to spoil yourself for a weekend.
Do note that your dog will need a special pass to use trails in the Rendezvous system. Dog owners must purchase a $50 annual pass at the Methow Trails office or a $10 day pass from any ski pass vendor and agree to the “Conditions of Use”. All dogs must wear their numbered pass at all times while on the ski trails and a maximum of 2 dogs is allowed per skier.
Nestled against a high mountain ridge, this nine-cabin retreat provides a unique opportunity to recharge body and spirit. Pared down to the essential rustic comforts, High Camp allows you to pursue your favorite mountain activities, reconnect with friends and family, or reflect in an unparalleled natural setting. A large trail network surrounds the camp, there is a large lodge with kitchen used as a central gathering place (going up for their Thanksgiving celebration is a unique experience for the adventurous and outgoing spirit), showers in the sauna building, and you can gaze at the stars from the wood-fired hot tub (no dogs allowed of course).
The fee to stay at the camp is $85-$96 per person, per night depending on the season. You can choose to pack your own gear up the 8.5 mile logging road to the cabins, pay an additional $16-$20 to have your gear waiting for you at the top, or pay $64-$80 per person to have you and your gear shuttled to the top and back down.
Well-behaved dogs are welcome at High Camp except on winter weekends between December 15 and March 31, and the week of the holidays around Christmas and New Year’s. In Fall Season the transportation charge per dog is $10 round trip, while during Winter Season the charge is either $10 or $30, depending on how far up the mountain the dog rides.
The Sou’Wester Vintage Travel Trailers
Tucked away just minutes from the Washington coast, this luxury camping site is a dream for those who love natural scenery and peaceful settings. The trailers are very near to the famous Cape Disappointment State Park where you can spend the day exploring the 27 miles of ocean beach, and 7 miles of hiking trails, with your dog enjoying excellent views of the ocean, Columbia River and two lighthouses. After you’re both tired out, your pup can snooze in the trailer while you treat yourself in the dry Finnish sauna, spa, and cold plunge pool on the property.
Stay in one of these cute vintage trailers for $80 – $200 a night with a one-time pet fee per visit of $20. Amenities vary based on the camper that you choose.
These huts basically look like cool shipping container on stilts. Designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects in Seattle, the six huts are grouped as a herd, each with views of the mountains. Whether you’re a hiker, mountain biker or cross-country skier, these huts, located in Washington’s Methow Valley, are the perfect home-base for weekend adventures.
Each hut comes equipped with a small refrigerator, microwave, fireplace and Wi-Fi. There is a sleeping platform perfect for two, and modular furniture in the living area that can be reconfigured to sleep two more. Each hut has an adjacent portable toilet. Full bathrooms and showers are housed in the centrally located barn a short distance away. The fee to stay here is $145 – $155 per night plus a $25 per-pet fee per stay.
Dog Friendly Fire Lookouts
Fire Lookouts offer an incredibly unique camping experience, as they often give the impression that you’re “sleeping on the edge of the world”. Just 70 years ago there were more than 4,000 fire-lookouts in the United States, whereas there are now only 900 left, with a few hundred actively staffed and ready for renting. They’re a really unique glamping option if you don’t mind hiking uphill to get there 🙂
Unfortunately, Washington State doesn’t have many rent-able AND dog friendly fire-lookouts, however I was able to find two.
Note: This lookout is closed through Mon Jul 31 2017
Built in 1935, the Evergreen Mountain Lookout has been used as a wildlife detection station, as well as an aircraft warning station over the years. If you stay here on a clear day you can see views of Glacier Peak, Mt. Rainier, and Keyes Peak, only to name a few.
This lookout offers beds, utensils, pots, etc, however it doesn’t have any heating or water (aside from the natural furnace system your dog supplies under the covers, of course), so make sure you plan accordingly. The rental fee is $75 a night during peak season.
Also built in 1935, this lookout offers expansive views of the North Cascades and the tops of numerous peaks to the south and southeast, including Mount Shuksan and part of the Picket Range. The Twin Lakes Road may not be drivable to the Winchester Mountain Trailhead. In this case, parking is at the Tomyhoi Lake Trailhead, adding 2 miles to the hike.
Accommodations at this lookout are very rustic. Water is available by melting snow so only so when snowpack is gone you will need to bring water. There is also no toilet here. That’s probably why there is no fee for this one. Be aware that this facility is first-come, first-served and can be very busy on the weekends.
For a harrowing, somewhat raunchy (there might be poop involved… twice), but totally hilarious tale of one adventurers winter trek to the lookout, read this story!
Unfortunately, I searched and searched and could only find these two fire lookouts in Washington state that welcome dogs. If sleeping in the clouds in one of these lookouts sounds like a total dream to you, and you’re willing to travel the distance to Oregon, check out these pet friendly options: