Wanderlust Camps: Glamping on Orcas Island

by Lara Dunning

Wanderlust Camps’s glamping moto is “Take the easy way out with us.” There’s no need to pack camping gear. No tent hassle. No hard rocks under your sleeping bag. It sounds like camping heaven—I’m all in. Even better, Wanderlust Camps has the only glamping sites inside Moran State Park on Orcas Island. A ferry ride, a twenty-five minute drive, and you’ve arrived at Washington’s fourth largest State Park.

Moran State Park Arch_WEB

The first thing I notice about the park is its accessibility and beauty. Kayaks, paddle boats, and canoes can be rented on Cascade Lake. Sun worshipers are welcomed at the day use beach. Trails weave in and out of the woods. And, each campsite seems to be perfectly situated in the woods or lakeside.

Cascade Lake Rentals_WEB

We make our way to Southend Campground, where Wanderlust Camps is located. Scott Hale, the fresh-faced and tall owner of Wanderlust Camps, greets us and, after brief introductions, puts a piece of paper on our car’s dashboard. This lets park staff know we are guests and serves as a day pass for the duration of our stay, which means there is no daily park fee or Discovery Pass needed.

Hale leads us up a short trail to glamping site 3. Tucked into the woods with peek-a-boo views of Cascade Lake it doesn’t disappoint. It features a twelve by fourteen foot canvas tent, a covered picnic table, two lounge chairs and a fire pit. Inside the tent is a queen bed with two nightstands, a table and chairs, a dresser, a coatrack, flashlights, lanterns, extra blankets, a cooler, water jug, dish tub, soap, a stocked shower caddy, towels, and breakfast starters like cocoa, tea, cider, coffee and granola. Scott says, “It’s the perfect hybrid between a hotel and camping experience.” Looking at the set up I have to agree. Even the bathrooms and coin-operated showers, which are next to the parking lot and maintained by the park, are pleasantly clean.

There are five sites in total. Sites 3 and 4 have one queen size bed. Site 5 has a larger tent with a queen and trundle bed. Sites 6 and 7 have two tents, one with a queen bed and one with two twin beds. All of sites will be ready for reservations.

After we settle in, which takes less than five minutes, we are off to explore. We drive up to Mt. Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands. The clouds are low and occasionally spitting rain, but as we near the top the clouds disappear. We park and hike up to the 2,409 ft. overlook. Below us, a thick layer of white clouds rushes by. In the distance, Mt. Baker sits above the cloud layer and shows off its white-capped top. We climb up the tower constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. From there, Sucia Island State Park is visible to the north. We head back down and decide to get a pre-dinner drink at Rosario Resort & Spa, which is less than ten minutes away from the campsite.

CCC Tower_WEB

Afterwards, we head back, start a fire and lounge in our chairs. Other campers have arrived and are setting up their tents and campsites. We have nothing to do but relax under the towering trees and warm up our dinner over the fire. For a little more luxury Wanderlust Camps offers add-ons like “dish it out” which supplies guests with dinnerware service like plates, silverware and glasses for $11 and groceries can be purchased at Island Market in Eastsound. For an additional $9, guests can add-on a “campfire kit” which includes a bundle of firewood, two fire starters and four roasting sticks, the “cook out kit” includes a set of BBQ tools, foil, a cast iron frying pan and pot, a cooking fork, and for those that want their cup of joe delivered, they offer “morning coffee” service which consists of a two liter carafe and two mugs.

Inside Tent 2_WEB

When the night air cools, I cozy up with a blanket and continue to watch the fire. We snack on nuts and chocolate and as darkness sets in head into our tent and zip up the windows and doors. We turn on the small lanterns on each nightstand and soon the room lights up with a bluish glow. With plenty of room to stand up and move around we easily get ourselves situated and slip into bed. It’s soft, and the thick, plentiful covers take the chill off the night air. Soon rain patters against our tent. I think about all the times I’ve camped and had to pack up a wet tent in the morning. Knowing I won’t have to do that tomorrow makes the sound even lovelier.

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