Typically, when people think of camping in a recreational vehicle, they think of a trailer or motorized vehicle or some other machine with wheels. However, in Puget Sound, it is fairly popular to "camp" on a boat. To that end, a number of Puget Sound state parks have "camping" facilities for those wishing to spend the night on their boat.
The "boat camping" facilities here include a single 158 foot (48 meter) pier. There is a pit toilet near the entrance to the pier, but if you walk up the hill a short ways you can get to the campground toilets that have showers.
There are a number of picnic tables right at the entrance to the pier as well, including a number of them with barbecue stands. There is one picnic table that has a shelter over it, but it is located at the top of a small hill. You have to climb a steep paved trail to get to it.
Scattered along the coatline around the park there are also a number of moorage bouys, for those who do not need the facilities offered by the park, or who would like to spend time away from land, but nearby. See photo 5 for a look at a map of the location of the moorage bouys.
To pay the fees, you need to use the self-service pay station at the entrance to the dock. Fees for using the dock are $0.50 per foot per night, with a $10 minimum. Use of the moorage bouys are $10 per night. $10 per night additional is charged if you are keeping your vehicle in the park overnight, associated with the use of the moorage or dock. If you decide to use one of the on-shore camping sites, it is $21 per night. Annual moorage permits are $3.50 per foot, with a minimum of $50.
The park is fairly out of the way in terms of busy noisy nearby roads. There is a marina across Mayo Cove for providing additional boat services, if required.
Set back in the woods, but very close to a beach and not very far at all from the park's all year restroom facilities, Penrose Point's only camp site on the Cascadia Maritime Trail is simply a forest clearing with a picnic table, and a reminder that the camp site is reserved for those who arrive in a human-powered beachable watercraft.
Overflow Camp Sites are only available in the standard campground up the road, which is close by, but still some distance from the beach.
As it is far from the rest of the camping facilities, the camp site is very much secluded, and since it is located right in the forest, the environment is quite a bit more remote-feeling than it actually is.
While the campground isn't directly on the beach, the beach is a very short walk away, and hiking trails go from the campground to all locations inside the park.
Camp site alternatives include:
+ The Standard Campground (discussed here) - standard single-vehicle camp sites, with a very small selection of double wide camp sites for somewhat larger groups. Includes tent and vehicle spaces but no power or water hookup. Showers are pay per use showers in two of the three restroom facilities. The roads through this part of the campground are NOT designed for extremely large vehicles.
+ Group tent or vehicle camp sites - again no water or power hookup. Generally intended for groups in the 20 to 50 people range.
+ Primitive Campsite ("Cascadia Marine Trail Camp Site") with no vehicle access. Restrooms are nearby, but showers are located in the standard campground up the road a ways. There is only one such camp site in this state park, and it is really intended for the use of pull-ashore non-motorized water craft. Thus, it is located as close as possible to one of the beaches.
+ Boat camping, including a dock to tie up to. Facilities are limited to a bathroom and trash receptacles, but there is a marina across Mayo Cove with fuel and other amenities.
All of the campsites here are in full shade, in the forest. They are really intended for vehicle (trailer, RV, etc.) or tent camping, but if you are used to tent camping with a grass field available on which to stake your tent you will not find such places here.
Water and electrical hookups for vehicles are not available, except when one of the host camp sites is vacant for the winter months.
There are three restroom facilities, two of which have coin operated showers.
There are 82 spaces, but only a very few of them are open during the winter months.
Also, during the winter months, the campground operates on a self-service pay station basis - follow the instructions given at the pay station at the entrance to the campground. More facilities, and more people, are around in the warmer months. You will find that the campground is a nice, quiet place in the winter.
With three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a full kitchen, a dining room, and a living room with a wonderful view, this vacation rental house has quite a number of things to recommend it. It is not located inside the state park itself, but the entrance to the state park is located approximately 1/4 of a mile (approximately 0.4 km) from the lodge. This makes the lodge a great place to stay if you have a group, and would like somewhat more equipped facilities than offered by the campground at Penrose Point State Park itself.
You will need to bring your own food. Board games, a selection of DVD movies, and certain other entertainment options (including board games) are also available on the shelves in the living room.
February marks the peak breeding season for the Pacific Tree Frog in this area, and so every time I went out the door I was greeted with a chorus of frog sounds from the lake.
It should be noted that while the lodge has access to the lake, the access to the lake isn't a sandy beach. Instead, it is grass. If you want sandy beaches, you will find a few in the state park itself.
The location proved to be absolutely wonderful, as it is quite distant from the roads, and what roads there are aren't very busy.
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