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Snohomish County offers activities, camping for families on a budget

The Marysville Globe of Marysville, Washington

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Is the economy taking its toll on your family's summer vacation budget?

If so, it may surprise you to learn that many there are a variety of parks and recreational activities available within a short drive from northern Snohomish County residents' homes.

Here are a few - locations — all within driving range of Arlington and Marysville — that offer scenic view s and outdoor opportunities.

Most importantly, they won't break the bank.

Cama Beach Stae Park

About a 30-mile c rive from Marysville, Cama Beach offers visitors miles of hiking trails and waterfront acreage for swimming, fishing or crabbing. The park is perfect for day trips — it's welcome center is tions include beach cabins, which vary in price from $65 to $159 per night depending on the amount of people and level of luxury you want.

The best value are the park's standard cabins. Those cabins feature either two double beds or one double bed and a set of bunk beds, electric heat, a refrigerator, microwave, sink and coffee pot.

Those cabins do not have showers or restrooms, but those amenities are located nearby in the park.

Keep in mind that you must bring your own bedding, cookware and dishes.

Reservations for Cama Beach must be made in advance. Call 360-387-1550 for more information.

Wenberg County Park

If cabins aren't your thing, Wenberg has you covered.

This park, located on the eastern short of Lake Goodwin, used to be operated by the state. But that changed in summer 2009, when Snohomish County Parks took over the park.

New visitors will find that so far there haven't been too many changes to the park.

Wenberg still features water access and camping opportunities for residents.

The park has 465 feet of shoreline swimming access, a concrete boat launch and a total of about 90 campsites — some of which have water, sewer and electricity hookups.

Wenberg is great for day trips, but families need to be aware that vehicles parked in the park's day use area are subject to a $5 parking fee.

Additionally, the park charges a $5 boat launch fee.

Both fees can be paid at the park's Welcome Center pay station. That station only accepts credit/debit cards.

Campers may also want to keep in mind that the park will be replacing its septic system at the park. That project is slated to be completed by the end of May, but campers may want to discuss which sites could be affected by the construction when making reservations.

"Most of our campsites are unaffected," said Snohomish County Parks and Recreation Director Tom Teigen.

Park hours are 7 a.m. to dusk.

Cost for standard sites is $20 per night. Utility sites run $25 per night, while sewer sites are $28 a night.

Reservations for overnight camping can be made at online by visiting or by calling 425-388-6600.

Cascade and Mountain loops

Camping may not be an option for your family.

Luckily, two stretches of highway near northern Snohomish County boast scenic vistas that can be viewed by car or by stopping off at a variety of locations along the way.

The Cascade Loop — 440 miles of roadway that includes State Route 20 to the north, Highway 97 to the east, State Route 2 to the south and roads near Anacortes and Oak Harbor to the west — gives "stay-cationers" plenty of ways to customize their own route and be home by dinner time.

Nancy Trucano, executive director of Cascade Loop Scenic Highway, said that she recommends that day-trippers check out North Cascades National Park in Newhalem.

About an hour and a half northeast of Marysville, the national park gives families stunning views without leaving their cars, Trucano said.

Other places to stop by on the northern loop include the Diablo Lake overlook and — for those willing to make longer trips — Winthrop, which offers old-timey shopping and restaurants.

The Mountain Loop Highway, which follows State Route 530 from Arlington east to Darrington and loops south and eventually west of Highway 92 through Granite Falls.

From the loop, drivers can stop off and view the north fork of the Stillaguamish River (mile 38 of State Route 530 east), take some time to hike along the loop's many stop-offs, or continue driving through the Mount Baker - Snoqualamie National Forest along Barlow Pass.

Both loops offer extensive bang for relatively little buck, and depending on a family's timeline, can be enjoyed without having to make camping reservations.

For more information about the Cascade Loop, visit More extensive details on the Mountain Loop Highway can be obtained at

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Original Publication Date: June 2, 2010

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