The entrance to Cama Beach could well be a doorway to an earlier time. Set on Camano Island, an hour north of Seattle, the original family resort had its heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s. This place has retained the feel of a bygone era, with rows of cabins, a park store and a large campfire circle for evening socializing.
The current state park also features a great hall and café, as well as boat-building classes offered by The Center for Wooden Boats on scheduled weekends in the boathouse.
The porch of your west-facing cabin is the perfect place to spot a marine mammal, watch the sun set and gaze at the stars before turning in for the night. Traveling in winter? The cabin’s front window offers prime storm watching over Saratoga Passage, along with a cozy escape from the rain.
When morning comes, breakfast aromas beckon sleepy guests to the Cama Beach Cafe, where omelets, baked goods and lattes await (open Saturday and Sunday in fall, winter and spring; daily during the summer).
While the park invites you to slow your pace and unwind, you will still be engaged at Cama Beach. Between boat rentals, interpretive programs and events, you and your family will be busy. The historic cabins provide a built-in social life, like the camp resorts of old, with kids playing and riding bikes and families gathering for beach exploration and card games.
Need solitude? Take a hike along the bluff, have a swim or find a fishing spot and cast out your line. Make sure to soak up this remnant of the past before heading back to the modern world.
Cama Beach Historical State Park is set in a spectacular, 486-acre waterfront location against a forested backdrop. It is connected by a mile-long trail to the 244-acre Camano Island State Park, which also is open for day use and overnight stays year 'round.
Discover Pass:A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
Cafe': breakfast and lunch Saturday and Sunday from September through May, and seven days a week from June through Labor Day
15 miles of hiking trails
Water activities & features
Boat rental (row, sail and motor)
Other activities & features
Fire circles (4)
Toy boat building
The Center for Wooden Boats offers toy boat building from 10 a.m. until noon each Saturday. Classes are free, however, a suggested donation of $3 is appreciated.
Kids and family programs include painting and drawing nature scenes, "Build-a-Bird," nature journaling, crafting tree-ring-ornaments and necklaces, creating baskets from natural materials, and many other activities for kids (and adults) of all ages.
From mid-June through Labor Day, programs are offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Additional programs are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays when presenters are available. Beach walks, Cama Beach Bingo and other activities led by naturalists are presented during the summer. Please check with the Historic Park Store for more information.
Cama Beach offers multiple options for an overnight get-a-way. You can choose a cozy beach bungalow or a rustic cabin on the beach.
Reservations & fees
Cabin and bungalow reservations can be made by calling (360) 387-1550; reservation staff are available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There is a two-night minimum required for stays covering a Friday, Saturday or holiday.
Cama Beach Historical State Park features a park store at the north end of the waterfront cabins, just east of the historic gas pumps. As a busy fishing resort the store was the "Social Hub" - guests would stop in to buy their supplies and enjoy a visit with resort staff and old friends.
Today the park store is once again the hub of activity at the park. Visitors can purchase a variety of supplies at the store, including snacks, groceries and souvenirs. The store also has a lending library with books, games and toys for all guests to enjoy.
The store also is home of the Cama Beach Foundation, a non-profit organization with volunteers who are eager to answer questions about the park and help visitors enjoy their time at Cama Beach.
Cama Beach Historical State Park sits within the traditional territory of multiple Coast Salish Native American tribes, whose people have fished and harvested shellfish in the area for more than 10,000 years.
The Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855 and subsequent privatization of the land, logging operations and tourism restricted the native peoples’ access to the shoreline.
The first Euro-Americans to explore the area were members of British explorer Captain George Vancouver’s 1792 expedition. Vancouver’s ships, the HMS Discovery and the HMS Chatham, approached Camano Island from the south and turned back after reaching the southern end of the island. Crewmembers Peter Puget and Joseph Whidbey, Vancouver’s lieutenant, led a smaller group that explored Saratoga Passage, passing the present-day park site.
Euro-American settlement of Camano Island began in the 1850s. Logging came to the island as early as 1858, but it took off in the 1890s. Records document 18 separate logging operations on Camano between 1895 and 1920.
The deforestation gave way to agriculture and grazing, but in 1910, after an auto bridge was built between Stanwood and Camano Island, tourism became a viable industry for the island.
Car ownership changed the way Americans traveled. The phenomenon offered economic opportunities for entrepreneurs who opened “auto parks” and camps.
The Great Depression leveled the tourism playing field, and auto park vacations increased among all classes of people during the 1930s.
Cama Beach Resort opened as an auto camp in 1934; it was operated by one family for 55 years, the Stradleys, their daughter Muriel and her husband Lee Risk. Families returned year after year to vacation, where activities included fishing, boating, swimming, tennis, group campfires, singalongs, movies, ping-pong, dancing and card games.
When prosperity returned to the United States during World War II travel habits changed and American auto parks declined. Once one of 14 resorts on Camano Island (in 1953), Cama Beach was the only such destination on the island by 1964. The resort closed in 1989.
The daughters of Lee and Muriel Risk sought to preserve the property, and Washington State Parks began acquiring the site through purchase and donation in 1994. The Risk sisters were part of the master planning process and, at their behest Washington State Parks has continued the tradition of Cama Beach as a place of rest and renewal.
In 1999, the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.