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I can usually find the positive in whatever is going on, no matter what's happening – it's fairly easy for me.  But this time, I really had to look harder and dig deeper to find anything that was not disappointing in our one-night stay at Cape Disappointment State Park in southwestern Washington State.

Why did they ever change the name of this campground from Fort Canby to Cape Disappointment State Park?  They should have left it alone.  Now it's just so… disappointing.

The difference between Oregon State Parks and Washington State Parks is as clear as day is from night. After spending two amazing nights at Fort Stevens, I somehow thought that staying at Cape Disappointment, just a few miles north across the mouth of the Columbia River and part of the same Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, would be a similar experience.

I could not have been more mistaken.

I don’t even know where to begin.  Maybe a matrix will help sort it out.  So here we go:

Now in case it sounds like it was all disappointment, let me just say that the sights are still amazing, regardless of what the management of the park does or doesn't do.  North Head Lighthouse is not to be missed, even though you can no longer go up into the lighthouse without paying a fee. 

North Head Lighthouse

The log-strewn beaches are spectacular to walk on or see the sunset fromLog-strewn beach, looking north towards North Head Lighthouse And of course, go right ahead and have a fire in your campsite's fire pit – roast a few marshmallows.

As a Washington State resident, if Cape CampfireDisappointment is any indication of the quality of state parks elsewhere in Washington, I’m very disappointed.  (I actually stayed in several Washington State Parks last month when I was touring the Olympic Peninsula up near Seattle, and while my assessment of those parks was not quite as dire as Cape Disappointment, I was not impressed, either.  Washington really needs to do something about the quality of its state parks.)   It is painfully clear to me that Oregon has far surpassed Washington in its handling of state park monies and deserves the five stars, whereas I would give Washington only one or two stars, and that’s just for being there.

If you find yourself in northwest Oregon or southwest Washington, looking for a state park campground to spend the night in, and you have a choice, head for Oregon.  You won’t be disappointed.


Cape Disappointment State Park ~ What a Disappointment!

5 thoughts on “Cape Disappointment State Park ~ What a Disappointment!

  • June 10, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I agree! Oregon State parks are so well kept.  Its always a pleasure to stay.

    Pretty views tho in Washington.


    • June 10, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Hi Debbie!

      I know Oregon funnels its lottery money into the state parks… I think they’ve got the system figured out!  Go Oregon!

      Thanks for the comment!

  • June 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    yes, that is hard to believe that you couldn't find anything positive, but I can see why. 

    However, this is a good experience to have. You will appreciate other awesome parks and the next park to come will ligth up your face…

    • June 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

      I know, huh, Dace!  I usually can always find the positive!  So the positive at Cape Disappointment was the view of the lighthouse and the beaches – I always like the beaches 🙂  What a weird experience for me…

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