When you want a quick vacation away from Seattle that’s relaxing, you’ll want to check out Camano Island. This peaceful island is full of activities you’ll enjoy when you’re looking for things to do on Camano Island. From ax throwing to hiking to trying local food, you’ll want to start making your list of what you want to see before you go.
It took me several decades of living in Washington before I made a trip over to Camano, and as usual in these situations, I don’t know why it took me so long. My family and I spent a laidback, rainy weekend exploring the area and relaxing at our vacation rental during our downtime. I loved talking to the locals about how they started their shop, restaurant, etc.
Whether you’re thinking about coming here for a day trip or a weekend trip out of Seattle, here’s what you’ll want to know ahead of time and what to do on Camano Island.
Camano Island Travel Tips
Here are a few tips to help you plan your Camano Island activities.
Where is Camano Island?
Camano Island is in the heart of Puget Sound, nestled between Whidbey Island and Washington’s mainland. It is about an hour from Seattle by car and offers a peaceful escape away from the bustling city. While it’s called an island, you don’t take a Camano Island ferry to get there and instead drive the whole way. This makes it really easy to visit whenever you want instead of having to wait for the next ferry.
Where to Stay on Camano Island
There are a few options if you want to stay at a hotel on Camano Island.
- Camano Island Inn – This hotel has a beautiful view of the water and features a spa and wellness center on-site, making it perfect for relaxing. (rates start at $200 per night)
- Sea Mist Waterfront Inn – You’ll love this small waterfront hotel with a spa tub and access to a private beach. (rates start at $179 per night)
I stayed at a vacation rental when I visited and would recommend that if you have a large group or family so you can spread out more and cook some meals. Here are a few options:
- This one-bedroom studio is a great way to save money when with a small group. (rates start at $134 per night)
- You’ll love this studio apartment with views of the water and a deck and patio area to enjoy. (rates start at $100 per night)
- This waterfront house is both pet and kid-friendly with a fully fenced yard and the option to bring up to two dogs. (rates start at $250 per night)
15 Amazing Things to Do on Camano Island
As it is a quiet island, you might assume that there isn’t much to do here. I actually thought that myself for years, which is why it took me so long to get out here finally. However, Camano Island is the perfect place for a day trip, weekend getaway, or a stop on your Pacific Northwest road trip.
With its gorgeous beaches, easy hiking trails, a vibrant food scene, and stunning scenery, the island offers plenty to those who visit its shores. To ensure you get the most out of your visit, we will highlight some of the best things to do on Camano Island, Washington, below.
1. Walk Around Freedom Park
One of the best family things to do in Camano Island when visiting is to explore Freedom Park. Now that I have kids, getting their energy out at the beginning of the trip is key to having the rest of the vacation go smoothly!
Here you will find a cute park with a 12,000 square foot playground which your kids are sure to love. With views of Mount Rainier and Discovery Bay, Freedom Park is a great place to bring the family for a relaxing and fun-filled day.
There is also a small sculpture park here, and the Art with a Smile gallery is open on the weekends. The gallery features a number of quirky pieces done by the longtime Camano Island artist Danny Koffman.
2. Explore Cama Beach Historical State Park
Set on the southwestern edge of Camano Island is Cama Beach State Park, the original family resort that thrived between the 1930s and the 1950s. The resort was a popular Pacific Northwest family vacation spot. Here, people could enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, and other fun activities. In 2008, the state turned the resort into a state park.
While Cama Beach is no longer a resort, it still retains the feel of a bygone era. With rows of cabins, a park store, and a large campfire circle, visiting is like taking a step into the past and the heydays of auto camps.
Today, you can still rent a cabin amongst the Cama Beach State Park’s stunning scenery. You will have spectacular views of the beach from your house and may even spot some marine life. Some of these include beavers, black-tailed deer, orca whales, and various bird species.
You can also opt for day trip activities like hiking down to the cabins and heading to the waterfront for a lovely beach stroll. The waterfront is also home to the Center of Wooden Boats, which offers boat-building classes on the weekends.
3. Visit Camano Commons
Camano Commons is the heart of Camano Island as it was created to be a gathering space for people on the island. The complex of small businesses, restaurants, and shops is arranged around a courtyard, perfect for connecting over drinks or ice cream.
A popular spot here is The Baked Cafe and great when you’re looking for things to do on Camano Island to stay warm. Described as simple but way beyond the mundane or mediocre, this little cafe offers the best bread, breakfast, and burgers on the island. There are plenty of spots to spoil your taste buds at Camano Commons, including Tapped and Frozen Xplosion.
After a delicious meal, you can stroll through the marketplace for local Pacific Northwest gifts, including single-origin coffee beans from Camano Island Coffee.
4. Explore the Iverson Spit Preserve and Trail
The Iverson Spit Preserve is a delightful area that offers a little over a mile of walking trails along a beautiful beach. You will have stunning views of Port Susan Bay, the Cascade Mountains, and the serene shoreline along your walk.
The loop is also perfect for birdwatching as the area is home to over 125 bird species, so be sure to bring along a pair of waterproof binoculars. Here you can expect to spot eagles, hummingbirds, shorebirds, and many more. The beautiful melodies of the birds create a tranquil environment for a relaxing family picnic beside the beach.
The Iverson Spit Preserve is also home to the hidden Hobbit Trail. This trail offers an exciting jungle adventure, leading you through thick moss-covered trees and branches towards a canal. Here, you’ll have panoramic views of the sound as you look out.
5. Stroll Around Matzke Sculpture Park and Gallery
Camano Island is home to many of the Pacific Northwest’s best artists. You can view their work in various public spaces and galleries. One of the most popular spots on the island to discover magnificent artworks is the Matzke Sculpture Park and Gallery.
Artist and owner Karla Matzke transformed the park into a 10-acre green refuge where art fans can walk amongst sculptures, big and small. Here, she features works by various emerging artists from around the world.
Currently, the outdoor gallery features more than 150 works of art. There is also a 3,000 square foot indoor gallery where you’ll find captivating paintings, glasswork, sculptures, and other fine art.
Located in the woods, Matze Sculpture Park and Gallery is a lovely spot for a leisurely stroll. Whether to tour the grounds, visit the indoor gallery, or enjoy live music, Matzke has created a welcoming space for all to attend.
6. Take a Canopy Tour and Shop at Kristoferson Farm
Kristoferson Farm is a six-generation family farm on Camano Island that offers a variety of tours to the public, the most popular being its Canopy Tours. This is perfect when you want things to do in Camano Island that are more active.
The tour begins at the big red barn, where you will receive a safety briefing from your guide and put on your equipment. You will then hop on board a historic Unimog forest vehicle which will take you to a beautiful Pacific Northwest forest. Here you will experience zip-lines, a log bridge, and two short trails before a final 47-foot descent to the forest floor.
Kristoferson Farm also offers a unique workshop where you will learn to make lavender wands, sachets, wreaths, and soap. You can also learn to make various culinary items, including lavender tea, lemonade, and ice cream.
Note: These workshops fill up quickly, so it is best to make a reservation online beforehand.
Make sure to stop at the shop afterward, where you can buy plenty of unique gifts like lavender sugar as seen above.
7. Beer Taste at Ale Spike
Ale Spike Brewery is a small microbrewery situated inside a warehouse complex on Camano Island. This brewery is fun to add to your list of things to do on Camano Island after a day of exploring.
Ale Spike Brewery produces a variety of delicious craft beers. Their tasting room features their own beer, along with guest taps from other breweries too. Enjoy your beer on draft in the brewery or take some crowlers to go – either way, a visit here is a must.
They’re also a family-friendly brewery, so you can bring everyone along.
8. Wine Taste at Dusty Cellars Winery
Sticking to tasteful beverages, be sure to stop by Dusty Cellars Winery to taste some of their handcrafted wines when looking for relaxing
Sticking to tasteful beverages, be sure to stop by Dusty Cellars Winery to taste some of their handcrafted wines when looking for relaxing Camano Island attractions. The family-owned boutique winery sources grapes from some of Eastern Washington’s premier vineyards.
On average, Duster Cellars produces 700 cases of wine per year. The winery is only open for tastings on the first weekend of each month. Other times, tours are available by appointment to parties of six or more.
Another winery worth adding to your Camano Island itinerary is Edward Lynne Cellars. They are also open on the first weekend of each month. With an array of signature wine offerings, you can enjoy a tasting or pick up a bottle to go.
9. Ax Throwing at Arrowhead Ranch
For an exhilarating experience, try ax throwing at Arrowhead Ranch. This was my first time doing it, and I absolutely loved it. Arrowhead Ranch is the first ax-throwing venue on Camano Island and the only member of the World Axe Throwing League in Washington State.
This Camano Island activity is perfect for a day or night out with friends or a unique family outing. Simply book a lane and enjoy 90 minutes of thrilling ax throwing. Note that you must wear closed-toe shoes when doing this activity (dropping an ax on your toes would not be fun!). The area is covered so it’s a fun rainy day activity to do throughout the year.
Arrowhead Ranch also has a craftsman space that offers a variety of classes which include birdhouse, charcuterie board, and wreath-making workshops.
10. Tackle a Camano Island Hiking Trail
Camano Island offers some of the best hikes near Seattle. In addition to the previously mentioned Cama Beach and Iverson Spit Preserve, plenty of quiet state parks offer wooded and beach trails. Below are a few more Camano Island hikes worth checking out, and all of these are great for winter hiking in Washington.
English Boom Camano Island Trail
English Bloom is a lovely 1-mile waterfront trail situated on a former logging boom once owned by the English Lumber Company. The log boom once served as a barrier to collect floating logs from nearby forests back in the 1920s and ‘30s.
The interesting history of this location is detailed on various interpretive signs throughout the park. You can also expect views of the downed trees, marsh, and a gorgeous beach on the trail.
Cranberry Lake Trail
Cranberry Lake is a 2.2-mile trail located near Camano Island. The trail is lightly trafficked and is excellent for both hiking and birdwatching. It begins at Cama Beach State Park and follows a gentle and well-groomed path towards Cranberry Lake. It is an easy trail and is perfect for kids and hiking newbies – and dogs, but you will have to keep them on a leash.
Camano Ridge Trail
Camano Ridge Trail is one of the more challenging hikes on Camano Island. It’s not hard by any means, but you can expect a bit of an elevation as you meander through this wooded trail.
With stunning sword ferns and maple trees, the forest is magnificent during fall as it boasts various shades of yellow, oranges, reds, and hints of green. In total, the hike is 5 miles long, but there are options to shorten the walk as well.
11. Eat at the Best Camano Island Restaurants
Offering various tasty food spots, Camano Island is a great place to grab a meal out. Whether it’s for a Sunday brunch, a glass of wine, or an evening dinner, there are plenty of restaurants on Camano Island that are sure to please.
Cama Beach Cafe
Cama Beach Café is wildly popular, not only for its food but also for its stunning views. The café is situated in a lodge at Cama Beach and provides breathtaking views of Puget Sound, Saratoga Passage, and Whidbey Island.
You may also spot orcas, grey whales, seals, eagles, and many other birds and marine life. Here, you can enjoy all-day breakfast, brunch, or lunch, as well as dinner on the first and third Friday of each month.
For a truly hearty meal and a delicious Pacific Northwest beer, head to Tapped Camano. This brewpub is highly rated among locals and is a popular spot for people looking to mingle.
The menu is diverse, offering fish and chips, mac and cheese, lobster rolls, crab cakes, and plenty more. Not to mention, the staff and owners are friendly and make you feel like you’re a part of the Tapped family.
Rockaway Bar and Grill
Rockaway Bar & Grill is a popular restaurant among locals and tourists alike. The restaurant features American-style cuisines and is a great spot for evening dining or a refreshing drink. The dining room fire provides a cozy atmosphere during the cold winter evenings, and the outdoor patio is perfect for enjoying the summer warmth.
12. Visit Barnum Point
A viewpoint that deserves its own mention is Barnum Point. Like the Iverson Spit, this spot has amazing views of Port Susan Bay and the Cascade Mountains. The viewing platform is a well-known landmark named after the Barnum family, who lived in the area for over 100 years.
Reaching the platform takes around 30 minutes and involves a short drive and walk from the Iverson Spit Preserve. Barnum Point is a great spot for a picnic, and the views are stunning during sunrise. So if you’re a morning person, this trip is a real treat.
13. Camp at Camano Island State Park
Close to Seattle but a world away, Camano Island State Park offers visitors a unique space to explore nature and sleep under the stars. The 244-acre camping park sits before a 6,700-foot rocky shoreline and beach and offers sweeping views of the Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, and Mount Rainier.
The state park also offers plenty of opportunities for adventure when looking for things to do on Camano Island. Visitors can take wooded hikes, shoreline strolls, or visit the nearby Cama Beach State Park. It is also an excellent spot for boating, kayaking, saltwater fishing, and setting crab pots.
After a fun day exploring the Camano Island trails and enjoying the lake, you can kick back in your forested cabin, pitch your tent or get cozy in your RV.
Note: Reservations are needed for this campsite during peak season (May to September) and can be made online.
14. Relax on the Camano Island Beaches
The Camano Island’s shores comprise various sandy, rocky, and driftwood-strewn beaches. Along with the Iverson Spit Preserve, Cama Beach, and Camano Island State Park, here are some of the best beaches for you to enjoy.
Grab your beach towel and head down to Livingston Bay. This is a beautiful beach is located where Camano breaks off and becomes its own island. It sits side-by-side with the Iverson Spit on Camano Island’s southeastern shore.
The area serves as a beach and wetlands wildlife reserve and is home to an array of waterfowl and other migratory birds. This scenic and quiet Camano Beach is a great place to explore, relax, and enjoy the tidelands.
Tyee Beach is a community near the southern tip of Camano Island known for its friendly atmosphere, calm lake, and beautiful views of the Cascades. Tyee Beach is also home to some of the best vacation rentals on Camano Island.
15. Take Part in the Northwest Glass Quest
For one of the more unique things to do in the Pacific Northwest, keep an eye out for the annual Great Northwest Glass Quest event. The event involves a treasure hunt that lasts around ten days on Camano Island and Stanwood.
Each day, members of the public scour public parks and businesses for unassuming plastic balls, or “clue balls.” When someone finds one, they will read the information inside and exchange it for a glass-blown ball. These beautiful pieces are created by the award-winning father-son art duo, Mark and Marcus Ellinger.
In total, there are 400 glass balls up for grabs. If you’re lucky enough to find one, you’ll be able to take home a truly unique Pacific Northwest souvenir.
Now it’s time to start planning your trip to the area and pick out all the fun things on Camano Island that you want to do!