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Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 12:01 a.m.

Cama Beach cabins a quiet, cozy delight

  • Leann and Ken Knappe of Camano Island check out a restored cabin at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island in June.

    Darren Breen / The Herald

    Leann and Ken Knappe of Camano Island check out a restored cabin at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island in June.

Watch the sunset, see boats sail by, hunt for agates or collect shells.
It's all on the agenda at Cama Beach.
There have been oodles of stories recently about our newest state park, located at the south end of Camano Island, but what was it like to spend the night?
We found out.
It was amazing.
I can't wait to go back to the historic 1930s-era Puget Sound fishing resort again next summer with my grandchildren.
Or maybe we'll visit again in the fall, when rates are lower and everyone can huddle in cozy, warm coats to watch the waves.
We took our best friends, Tom and Jackie Williams of Lynnwood, to Cama Beach one recent Friday night. We were lucky to get reservations for side-by-side waterfront cabins, as rentals sold out for the summer. The back row of cabins is cheaper but doesn't have the bulkhead and full view out the front door.
Elger Bay Store has a shop at the beach stocked with everything you forgot. We bought hot coffee, bug spray (which we didn't end up needing) and paper plates for fried chicken we bought at Haggens in Stanwood.
It's been ages since I've been on Puget Sound. Kids flew kites, families gathered around well-placed grilling pits and we used a very nice bathroom, equipped with showers, right behind the cabins.
But we never did find out where to get tokens for the showers.
A minor thing easily solved with a small sign.
We paid less than $50 per night for each cabin. Rates drop as low as $17 each night after Oct. 15. They also have deluxe cabins with bathrooms for $56 per night in the summer season.
Our restored wooden cabin had a refrigerator, microwave and two full-size beds. A sweet part was unique quilts, made especially for each bed at the park.
Tom and Jackie's cabins had mesh over part of a window for ventilation. My husband, Chuck, and I did not have a window that opened. It's all in the rustic theme, keeping the cabins original. We slept with our front door open to the bay breeze and felt perfectly safe.
Amenities at the park include an interactive museum by the Center for Wooden Boats aimed at teaching the art of making and sailing wooden skiffs.
We walked on trails constructed and managed by Friends of Camano Island Parks and listened to nature talks given by park staff.
We played games, strolled along the shore and took plenty of sunset pictures.
When you arrive at Cama Beach, turn at the sign and head into the woods. A cute welcome center is staffed with all the park news, and they give you keys attached to wooden rings. Drive a couple blocks down a steep hill, unload bedding, food and games, park the truck, then wait for a shuttle van to take you on down to the cabins.
I was the only one of our foursome who found that rigmarole a bit annoying, but the other three thought it was well worth piling gear in a large van. Part of the beauty of the cabins is savoring no traffic noise or dust.
Here is something all may agree is vexing: Right now, they are only booking cabin stays through April 15.
I'm sure I'm not the only happy camper anxious to secure reservations for next summer.

Columnist Kristi O'Harran: 425-339-3451 or
Story tags » Camano IslandParks

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