Jackson House State Park

This place is split between the idea of a State Park and Historical Marker. The sign does say it is managed by the State Parks, and my GPS said it was too. So we stopped and marvelled at this little cabin and milked it for all it was worth. I even took the time to read all the signs posting about its significance to my historical ancestry. Shockingly I found no connection to this being part of my actual ancestry, and considering I never met any of my great-great grandparents I could actually be completely wrong.


The bad news for you, or good news if you’re a half empty kind of person and want to keep it that way, is that I can’t really recall what any of the signs said. There are two possible explanations for this. One, I didn’t focus my razor-sharp memory skills while I was reading. Or two, I spent far to many weeks since I actually visited the site and writing this review. Since I would never blame my memory of lacking I’ll go ahead and say my wife didn’t remind me what they said. Sidenote: The cabin is made of wood.


Since that definitely threw you off what I did there I’d like to mention that there is a small picnic area next to the house. It is mostly a Come-here-and-watch-your-dog-poo kind of park spot, as it is smaller than a football field, and of course that being said means there are no cheerleaders present either. This means you should bring your own entertainment.


Conclusion: 2 out of 5. It would be a three star place for a lunch break IF it was not right next to Highway 12, so it is VERY noisy here. This park is only about 5 miles from Lewis and Clark State Park. This means stop here on the way to Lewis and Clark State Park so you don’t feel bad about the 5 minutes you spent reading and gazing. However, if you make this your prime destination, I’m afraid you’ll end up cursing about the time wasted and the gas guzzled.


Ike Kinswa State Park

Located near Mossyrock, Washington, is this large state park with a silly name. It’s not really silly, as it was renamed from Mayfield Lake State Park to Ike Kinswa in honor of a local indian chief. This place is out of the way from anything. You’ll really have to make a conscious decision to visit this park. It’s not hard to find, but I know if it wasn’t part of our project, we would have never taken the time to get here. Anyways, enough of the simpleton banter! What did we find? The first thing we found was the sunshine, since that was everywhere when we visited. That’s not helpful to you is it?


This place has the largest picnic zone we have seen yet. It can definitely accommodate a throbbing crowd of people. Thankfully we were there in early spring so there was all of about 10 other people in the whole park. Ample grassland for both the frisbee throwing people and the football group at the same time. As with many of the state parks we have visited, this place probably gets pretty packed in the height of summer. Also I would recommend this park in fall time as there are absolutely tons of deciduous trees.

Horse Shoes

It’s a unique park as it is situated at the river entrance to the lake. It is annoying that the trail following upstream isn’t close enough to the river to keep a view of it while you’re walking. On the plus side, if you take a spur trail you’ll be secluded from others and you could have a hot steamy make out session with your partner. Although you would have to worry about the boaters on the river, so you may need to put on your exhibitionist side to do this.


The scenery here is wonderful, but like I mentioned it needs to be summer or fall to get the full explosion of impressiveness. It was just alittle to brown and barren without the leaves when we were there. Maybe that is your thing though… brown and boring. HEY! I don’t judge! The river is a beauty though, and kept us engaged during our visit. Also it should be noted that this is a calm river, not a raging rapid of death type of place. Think soul soothing instead of heart attack, that would keep your mental pictures correct.


river 2

Before we left we took a quick drive into the camping zone. It appears to be well maintained and has great privacy in the individual campsites. They aren’t open and sitting right on top of each other. There is also a trail along the lake from here. The real surprise though, came in the way of wildlife; we met a deer on the road, and clearly he was used to humans as he just stopped and stared at us like we were the weirdos. The other thought that passed my mind was that he was likely playing scout for some vicious birds. Thankfully the birds didn’t get the message as our car was not pooped on.


Conclusion: 4 out of 5. However, if you have kids, this place will easily be 5 as it is just super kid friendly. The roped off swimming area and playground would be a happy wonderland to any child. You’d likely be making a lasting memory for them here. And for boaters this place is probably at the top of their list.

Grayland Beach State Park

If I say the word, “beach.” What would come to your mind? If your mind lacks imagination and you have never browsed an article called, “Greatest Beaches in the World.” Then the likely conclusion is that all you’ll come up with is wind, waves, and sand. Welcome to Grayland Beach State Park. It’s not that it isn’t pretty here, or that there isn’t ample activity going on by the hustle and bustle of people. It just lacks any real wow factor. There is sand to your left and right for about as far as the eye can see.


Straight away we were rushed by a rabidly happy golden retriever. Following closely behind was its owner who saved us from his slobbery intentions. We skipped the option of flipping a coin to pick a direction of travel and headed left. A slightly poor choice since that put the wind into our face, but once our mind is made up we couldn’t change it. Not true ofcourse, but more likely we just didn’t put enough thought into it after the pleasant interaction with the dog.


And so we wandered. Slowly, methodically, decisively. Crushing the various shells under our shoes we marched down the beach with great purpose. The purpose was not actually known though, we just wanted to be confident people walking down the beach. Who wants to be the embarrassing city folk at the beach? Not this group. Speaking of group, we were fortunate to bring along my mother to this barren landscape. Infact, we could blame her for the destination, as it was her idea to go to the beach. I may make it sound like she beat us with a willow tree branch, but we actually consented in a free will sort of way. And we did say “All” state parks didn’t we?


There was actually plenty of things to see on this beach. Dead carcases from crabs and sand dollars where every where. Finding a whole sand dollar was near impossible, but my mom kept picking them up as though it was a challenge that must be overcome. Success was granted to her mission after a mile or so, and a childish smile of happiness glistened in her eyes. No reward beyond satisfaction though; as it just led to even more walking.


What do you find at the end of the beach? probably another beach. We can’t know for sure as you can’t bring your legs to continue when there is no hope on the horizon. Coming up to a small river, we decided it looked like a solid place to end our journey and turned back towards home. This time we stayed up away from the beach and followed a small water bog that lines the upper edge. It was eerie to walk beside it, I could feel my feet sink about two inches as the ground literally caved under my feet. All I could think was a sinkhole could form any minute. I’m actually shuttering alittle bit just thinking about it.


The normal birds were out around the beach as well. Some seagulls, crows and some other tiny birds. They are there to both collect your drops of food and crap on your car. Drive with caution, they are of vicious intent indeed.


So what is the conclusion of the matter? You’ll be shocked to see a 3 out of 5. But this beach has trimmings you need for a lazy beach vocation. This beach allows driving on the beach, and has ample wind for your kite. I didn’t go with 2 stars, cuz I know there will be more barren beaches than this one. (I’m looking at you Long Beach!)


Deception Pass State Park

This is going to feel very, and I mean very, anti-climactic. I mean doing Deception Pass second seems like a joke. Anyone who knows about big attractions in our state of Washington knows about Deception Pass State Park; It’s right there with Pikes Place, Mt. Rainier, Space Needle and ofcourse Forks. I do feel alittle sadness come to me by putting Forks on that list, but Twilight did just that didn’t it? Enough about things familiar! Lets talk about the complexity and awesomeness that is Deception Pass State Park. The first thing you’ll notice and be drawn to is the bridge. Its old, its famous, and it makes you want to vomit when you walk across it. But the best part about it, is being able to go on the island that supports the two bridges. It’s a complex structure of steel and definitely a man-made marvel. Take time to wander this plot of land.

Complex Steel

Now it was just a bit of bad luck to be camping there on the tail end of winter in 50 mile an hour winds. That thankfully did not stop the beauty of the park from shining for us. Infact the wind enhanced the experience and brought wonderful tears of joy to our faces. This is ofcourse not true. The tears came from the wind blowing in our faces and making us squint like a mad scientist in a lab. It didn’t impede our progress to find fascinating things to snap pictures of. Best part about the wind was the awesome and powerful waves crashing in the rocky surf.

Tree Bottom

There is a nifty little beach that sits at the foot of the bridge for those who like to lounge about like lifeless beach rocks, and it is just long enough to take the breath out of your lungs if you go for the full walk down its breadth. It handles some pretty good angles of the bridge for pictures, and while we were there some crazy surfers tried to even catch a wave. It was pathetic to watch them in full wetsuit regalia trying to ride a 6 foot wave, but they did succeed, and their smiles showed they really didn’t care about the lack of heated water or the tiny waves. It also gave me a chance to be amused about the idea of a surfer in Washington. I say this in lightness though, as I do have a friend that enjoys the sadomasochism of surfing in Washington. Kudos to you Jesse.

The bridge


As you can see we were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous sunset. It was pink, blue, and splattered the entire sky. For a forecast of 90% chance of rain we really got the best case scenario out of the trip. Likely this is one of those State Parks that will get a revisit long before this whole project is wrapped up. It is a gem of the Northwest, and is inconceivable of a person in Washington to never get out and see this incredible landscape. Book your reservation now, or you’ll be missing out on some summer camping. And what if you miss a sunset like this!!!!


Conclusion: I think I already concluded my statement in the last paragraph. But here is the official standing: 5 out of 5 for sure. Stay the night at this park. You won’t regret it.

Waves Crashing

~Me. Greedy