Every summer around 42 million Americans vacation in state and national parks to enjoy the great outdoors and camp.
The San Juan Islands are some of the most beautiful islands in Washington State, and camping in the San Juan Islands is a popular choice in the summer months.
One of the most popular places to camp in the San Juan Islands is on Orcas Island, specifically, camping in Moran State Park.
Home to some of Washington’s best beaches and whale-watching, the Orcas Islands are a great place for any kind of outdoor loving traveler, whether you prefer a relaxing weekend chilling in Moran State Park camping or glamping or getting active kayaking out on the water.
Info About Moran State Park
In 1921, Robert Moran, a former mayor of Seattle and shipbuilder, donated the land for Moran State Park.
It is Washington’s first State Park and its fourth-largest!
There are over 5,000 acres to explore and many of activities in the park, like 38 miles of hiking trails, 11 miles of biking trails, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and five freshwater lakes for fishing, all easily accessed from any Moran State Park camping or glamping site!
A trip to Moran State Park isn’t complete without driving up to Mt. Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands.
Atop the 2,409-foot peak, is a tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. On a clear day, Mt. Baker, Sucia Island State Park, and other many other islands can be seen.
If it is rainy and cloudy at the campsite don’t let that deter you from driving up to the top, it might be clear, which is what happened on our trip.
Moran State Park Camping
There are a grand total of 124 standardized campsites, plus 6 hiker/biker-only camping spots available in Moran State Park for camping!
For RVs, there is one dump site, but note that there are no electrical hookup sites anywhere in the park… so enjoy your time off-the-grid!
There are 5 different campgrounds in Moran State Park spread across the park’s 5,000+ acres (so plenty of distance between you and your fellow Moran State Park campers!). Here are the different campsites and what is available at each.
This section of the campgrounds in Moran State Park is located close to the entrance of the park and close to the swimming beach and day use area.
It’s more popular amongst RVs and campervans since it has a greater amount of larger sites and is also close to the dumping station for RV graywater.
These Moran State Park campgrounds is located on Cascade Lake (12 of the sites are actually on the shore of the lake itself!). The others aren’t on the shore, but they do have a nice view regardless!
If you don’t have a kayak or canoe, seasonal rentals are available on Cascade Lake.
It’s a great place for those looking for a boating adventure out on the water since it’s right on the boat launch.
This is the most popular place for Moran State Park camping since virtually all of the sites are located on the shore.
For campers needing ADA accessible grounds, there is one ADA-accessible site as well as an ADA-accessible restroom and toilet.
Mountain Lake + Group Site at Mountain Lake
This is where you’ll find the six hiker/biker only campsites in Moran State Park.
It’s located 1 mile up Mount Constitution Rd., and the sites are located on the shores of the beautiful Mountain Lake (largest in the park!).
There’s also a group campsite that accommodates up to 56 people and 14 cars. There is a restroom, but no showers at the group site.
Located past Olga Road, there are a handful of primitive campsites which are not suitable for RVs or campers but are good for tents, hammock tents, etc.
There is parking available, so you can drive-in, but you can also bike in or hike in as well.
Tips for Camping in Moran State Park
The maximum site length for all the campsites in Moran State Park is 45 feet.
However, note that some campsites will not be appropriate for larger caravans and RVs, so be aware of this when booking your site.
Come with your Discovery Pass.
Moran State Park is, well, a state park, so it requires a Discovery Pass for camping or day use.
Don’t have a Discovery Pass already? No worries. You can pick it up at the automated pay station at the park, where you can buy a one day or annual pass.
Reservations are required.
There are no walk-in campsites available at Moran State Park, so be sure to call ahead in order to reserve camping at Moran State Park.
The number is (888)-226-7688.
Glamping in Moran State Park
But, what if you don’t have the camping gear? Or enough vacation time to sort, pack and set-up camp. Maybe, you want a real bed. That’s where glamping is the perfect solution to your camping dreams.
I highly recommend Leanto at Moran State Park near the small town of Eastsound on Orcas Island.
Prices range from $99 to $239 depending on the time of year and site size. Their online booking calendar makes it easy to understand prices and availability, and there is a two-night minimum.
Leanto has a handful of glamping sites, two for couples, one for three people and two accommodates a party of four. Each site is stocked and includes a canvas tent, a real bed, linens, towels, soap, table and chairs, a dresser, mirror, lanterns, flashlights, a cooler and water jug. The sites are tucked into the woods up on a hill with peek-a-boo views of Cascade Lake.
The bathroom/showers are at the base of the hill, and your stay covers the State Park fee, which is $10 a day or $30 for an annual Discover Pass. When you arrive, everything is set up and ready, which means there is more time to enjoy the park.
If you want to cook on-site, you’ll need to bring cooking gear and dinnerware. Each site has a fire ring with a folding grill for cooking basic camping fare, but that’s it. If you don’t want to bother with bringing plates, cookware, etc., you might want to consider their add-ons.
“Dish It Out” supplies guests with dinnerware services like plates, silverware, and glasses for $11.
“Campfire kit” includes a bundle of firewood, two fire starters, and four roasting sticks for $9
- “Cook out kit” includes a set of BBQ tools, foil, a cast iron frying pan and pot, and a cooking fork for $11.
- “Morning coffee” consists of a two-liter carafe and two mugs delivered to your glamping site for $9.
If you decide to cook at your campsite, I suggest stopping in Eastsound to purchase groceries at Island Market before entering the park.
The park is about a ten-minute drive from here, so if you happen to forget something, it’s a quick trip back.
Where to Eat Near Moran State Park
Don’t want to cook while you’re camping at Moran State Park? No problem!
There are plenty of dining options on Orcas Island. While we were there, we stopped by Rosario Resort, the former mansion of Robert Moran, for a pre-dinner drink at the Moran Lounge.
The Mansion Restaurant, in the original veranda, serves breakfast and dinner and has water views.
The seasonal Cascade Bay Grill & General Store offers lunch and dinner and has outdoor dining.
Getting to Moran State Park
Traveling in the San Juan Islands means a ferry ride, which is part of the fun when visiting small island towns.
You’ll need to make your ferry reservation to Orcas Island and back. It’s important to note the ferry fills up in the summer so be sure to do this in advance.
For the ride have your camera ready, as you might see seals, whales, waterfowl and, of course, lots of green-backed islands!
Food can be purchased on the ferry, but it’s usually pricey, so I’d suggest bringing your own, a pack of cards, and of course — your camera.