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Washington's Best State Parks

Washington is home to 125 beautiful and diverse state parks, and although it is difficult to select just three for inclusion in your feature, we recommend the following: 

Fort Canby State Park
Fort Canby State Park, stretching more than 1800 acres along the bluffs and beach at the southern tip of the Long Beach peninsula, is rich in history and recreation. It was here that the Lewis and Clark Expedition first touched the waters of the Pacific Ocean (November 1805). The state's first lighthouse was built here in 1856, and smooth-bore cannons placed here in 1862 to guard the river's entrance were the first generation of Coast Artillery. Today, the park features a campground, primitive camp sites, unique lodging in cabins, yurts, platform tents, and a lighthouse keepers' residence. Recreational opportunities include hiking, boating, fishing, beach walking and birdwatching. Educational facilities include a nature trail, two lighthouses (one open for tours), Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and historic Coast Artillery gun emplacements. The park is open year-round, with campsite reservations accepted in summer. For information, call 800-233-0321.

Sun Lakes - Dry Falls State Park
Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park, located just outside of Coulee City in northeast Washington, is home to one of the nation's geological phenomena. Dry Falls is the  skeleton of one of the greatest waterfalls in geologic history, carved through time by lava flows and ice age floods. Larger than the present-day Niagara Falls, it stretches across the Grand Coulee 3.5 miles wide and more than 400 feet high. The park, encompassing more than 4,000 acres, also includes 73,640 feet of freshwater shoreline on Park, Deep, Perch, Mirror, Vic-Meyer, and Dry Falls Lakes. Recreational opportunities include camping, picnicking, golf, hiking, swimming, fishing and boating. Additional amenities include a visitor center, cafe, general store, and a laundromat. In addition to RV and standard campsites, the Camp Delany Environmental Learning Center features air-conditioned cabins, a kitchen, dining hall and rec-room. The park is open year-round. For information, call 800-233-0321.

Fort Worden State Park and Conference Center
One of three major Coast Artillery forts built in the early 1900s to protect Puget Sound, Fort Worden has become a popular center for both recreational activities and corporate conferences. The more than 433-acre site located in Port Townsend includes 11,000 feet of saltwater shoreline on Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Park features include camping, picnicking, hiking, bicycling, scuba diving, beach walking, fishing, boating, tennis, basketball, volleyball and baseball. Educational facilities include abandoned Coast Artillery fortifications, Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum, Commanding Officer's House, Marine Science Center and a Centennial Rhododendron Garden. Accommodations range from dormitory-style barracks to refurbished Victorian homes and a youth hostel. Unique conference facilities include a USO, theater, schoolhouse, pavilion, chapel, kitchen shelter and a variety of meeting rooms. The park is open year-round. For information and reservations, call 360-385-4730.

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