Home Away from Home for the Holidays

Home Away from Home for the Holidays
November 2, 2015
The Adventure...
Winter holidays are right around the corner! Are you looking forward to the fun but not the same old routine? Imagine hosting a gathering in an historic home with plenty of room for the whole gang to relax after a big home-cooked meal. How does a cozy getaway with the kids, complete with hot chocolate beside a roaring fire, sound? Craving a romantic soiree for two in a rustic cabin?

If escaping for the holidays yet retaining your ability to relax and cook a traditional meal sounds like just the thing you have been looking for, you’re in luck! Washington state parks have vacation houses, cozy cottages and comfortable cabins in stunning locales. Reserve one now for your family’s unforgettable holiday adventure. Plus, winter is a great time to save with off-season rates.

Here are a few suggestions for starting a whole new holiday tradition!
Adventure Samples

The Elegant Family Gathering: Up to 12 guests


Does cooking a dream dinner for your family in a historic home and serving it around a Victorian-style table sound like your cup of cheer? Check out these stately destinations!
Imagine chatting with family and friends in a comfortable living room after dinner in the stately di
Scarborough House
Fort Columbia Historical State Park
Chinook, near the Astoria-Megler Bridge

This lovely, well-furnished 1902 home has room for 12! Enjoy dinner in the dining room, then reminisce with the family on the ample porch overlooking an old-growth forest. Don’t have a large group but like the idea of staying at Fort Columbia? Check out the Steward’s House, which accommodates up to four guests. While you are there, hop on over to the nearby Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and check out the cool displays on the Corps of Discovery and the regional maritime history.

Head and Assistant Lighthouse Keeper’s residences


Cape Disappointment State Park
Ilwaco, where the Pacific Ocean meets the mouth of the Columbia River

At the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean these century-old manors are the picture of cozy elegance. Just bring your family and favorite foods to cook in the fully stocked kitchen complete with modern appliances. After dinner, watch the waves crash against the cliffs!

Tip: Each house accommodates six guests. Rent two or even all three residences to double or triple your family fun!

The Cozy Family Getaway: Up to 10 guests

Modern — yet woodsy! You’ll find all the comforts of home at the Retired Ranger Vacation House in Ri

Retired Ranger House

Riverside State Park


Nine Mile Falls, Spokane County

Mid-century in its style and décor, the Retired Ranger House is a sweet retreat any time of year. Enjoy a winter evening sitting around the modern fireplace (firewood included) and swapping stories with your family while dinner cooks in the fully equipped kitchen. View the park from the comfort of the indoors through tall windows. Three snug bedrooms sleep up to 10 guests, and you’ll need to bring your own linens. Before bed, pop some corn and watch a movie on the flat screen TV or just listen to the sounds of the nearby Spokane River.

Rustic Ranger Bunkhouse
Dosewallips State Park
Brinnon, Hood Canal

Modern comforts with a hint of rustic charm—that’s the pleasure of the Rustic Ranger Bunkhouse! Bring yourself and seven of your favorite people. Make a nice meal in the ample kitchen and enjoy the weather—rain or shine—on the covered back porch. Have breakfast by the fireplace. Take a walk on the beach, and if you’re feeling intrepid—and have a license—bring back some fresh shellfish to eat.


Lakeside Cottage


Millersylvania State Park
South of Olympia in rural Thurston County

Tasteful, casual, comfortable—Lakeside Cottage is all of that and more! Enjoy a peaceful getaway for six in this charming 1920s home in the idyllic park, built largely by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. And you’ll be close enough to civilization for a run to the store! Enjoy breakfast in the sunny kitchen before a walk through the stunning forest!


Waterway House


Fort Flagler Historical State Park
Marrowstone Island, Jefferson County

Simple and spacious, this World War II-era house on Admiralty Inlet offers commanding views of Puget Sound. Bright and cheerful, the house features four bedrooms and two baths to comfortably accommodate up to eight guests.

A little bit of cheer: Up to five guests

What a view — the Non-Commissioned Officer’s Quarters at Fort Flagler State Park are not only gorgeo

Engineer’s and Hospital Steward’s Houses, Non-Commissioned Officer’s Quarters
Fort Flagler Historical State Park
Marrowstone Island, Jefferson County

Like the idea of staying at Fort Flagler but don’t have a big crowd? Here are some options for up to four guests. These turn-of-the-century staff residences turned elegant getaways are snug, charming and economical. Cook, rest, relax and enjoy views of the Admiralty Inlet in the Engineer’s House, built in 1896. View the old army parade grounds and the Marrowstone Point Lighthouse from the porch of the Hospital Steward’s House. Or enjoy the HUGE kitchens and claw-foot bathtubs in the Non-Commissioned Officer’s Quarters. A

Tamarack Cabin


Fields Spring State Park
Anatone, Asotin County
Do you crave simplicity? This wee cabin in the woods is definitely no frills. But it makes for a comfortable getaway to the woods and sleeps four for the unbeatable rate of $40 a night! You can’t cook indoors here. The cabin does have a sink and toilet, however. If you’re up for a bit of (mostly) roughing it, this is a wonderful escape in a gorgeous setting!

Rasar Cabins


Rasar State Park
Concrete, just off the North Cascades Highway

Rustic charm at its finest! Once again, no indoor cooking here. But Rasar’s three cabins feature room for five, heat, light, hot showers and a sink! Use the charcoal grill or your own propane stove on the porch, then enjoy dinner—and maybe a few rounds of cards—at the log table.
Image graphic - Travel Tips
Weekend reservations for these popular retreats do fill up quickly, so it’s best to get a jump on your planning. Not finding the day you want? Weekdays are often wide-open at your state parks. You’re more likely to find the place you want and have the park practically to yourself if you plan a midweek getaway.

If you just can’t swing it, there’s always next year. Remember, you can make your reservations up to nine months in advance. Set yourself a reminder for March and make those holiday plans happen!