Cape Disappointment State Park – Ilwaco, WA


Three stars for this delightful state park as it has just about everything, including a new name. It use to be called Fort Canby State Park, but now I guess in honor of the area, they changed the name.

Located on the southwestern point of the State, just 2 miles from town, Cape Disappointment has 152 standard campsites, 83 utility sites, five primitive campsites, one dump station, eight restrooms and 14 showers and some are handicapped access. The maximum site length is 45 feet but all the sites are well spaced in a wagon wheel design so that you don’t look into your neighbors window. Tons of stuff to do and see including miles of beaches, two lighthouses, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and some great trails. Wildlife is plentiful, we saw deer, coyotes, racoons and there was also some awesome birding in the area. They were clamming the weekend we were there, fishing in the surf. and one hearty soul was even surfing.

Right outside of the park there is a tiny store and laundromat. This is a great place to bring you bikes.


  1. We just visited Cape Disappointment State Park for our first time, last weekend in May *before* the Memorial Day weekend. It was pretty full over the weekend but the weekdays were quieter.

    We were so close to the ocean, it was really awesome. Great kite flying by the way. No cell reception at the campsite but if you go to the lighthouses or even the store in the park, you can get reception no problem. TV reception was spotty… Astoria broadcasts a couple stations in old analog (yes, as in not digital). Fox, NBC and ABC. We were also able to pick up their HD PBS station most of the time.

    As mentioned in other reviews, the park is big…lots of things to see, lots of trails, etc. The bathrooms and showers are nice and clean, although the lights are on automatic timers that seem to shut off after 10 seconds of no motion.

    No problems with our sewer hose… it’s towards the back of the site but we reached okay with a 20′ hose. If we didn’t have 20′, we’d have been in trouble though, so have enough sewer hose available. 50A as well as 30 and 20, so no probs there. Good water pressure, but we had a regulator to limit us to 50 psi, so not sure what it actually was coming out.

    The store is cute and has typical camping supplies as well as convenience store items, so they probably have what you need in general. The laundry is right next door. We didn’t check it out but it looked nice and clean.

    The pizza place in the park is open Thu-Sun only and the guy running the place is super nice. It’s not at all what I expected…this is honest to goodness gourmet pizza and they have a few other things. He did advise that you should put in orders early in the day if you expect to have dinner because it’s so popular they may sell out early in the day.

    We looked at the tent and yurt sites and they looked nice too, so if that’s how you roll, you should be fine too. All in all, it was a really nice 1st experience and we’ll definitely plan to return. Sites 11-20 have nice beach access, but maybe I shouldn’t tell you that so we’ll have a better chance at reserving those. They all offered decent privacy, but of course some more than others.

  2. I finally visited it. Here are my comments:

    No TV reception (via antenna), and Verizon cell phone and air card do not work here. What a disappointment. Ah! Hence, the name “Cape Disappointment.” Ok, all joking aside….. This is a HUGE state park. The road up to the park is very winding. If you have a pet, it may get car sick (my cat sure did, poor thing). Unlike other parks in Washington State (where you get some “acreage” with your sites), the sites are kind of close together, but there are some trees to provide “separation.” Each site gets a fire ring and a decent picnic table. The first 60 sites are full hookup (including sewer), the next 30 sites are water and electric only, and the rest are dry camping. The full hookup sites were on paved pads, NICE! Not sure if all the spots are paved. The sites are in lots of little circle loops called “pods.” Each “pod” has about 10 spots. In each “pod,” two of the 10 spots are right next to the “Beach access” trail. Not bad for April when I was here, but if it’s “high season,” you would get no privacy in those spots. Also, although none of the “pods” have any sort of ocean view, if you are in a pod that is close to the ocean, you will definitely hear it. Not an issue for me, but thought I would point it out. The rest rooms and showers were in a nice building. The restrooms were unisex, but they were private, each toilet in a separate room with a locking door. Same with the showers. Typical for Washington State, showers are 50 cents for three minutes. The park has a store, but if you aren’t towing a car, it’s a long long long walk (1.5 miles) from the campsites to the store. I did see a sign advertising “laundry available” but I didn’t walk to the store to verify it. There are some hiking trails, and a couple of them lead to beautiful lighthouses. I wanted to mention, depending on the configuration of your RV, you may have to be clever with your water hose due to the location of the sewer hole. I had to use a long hose and drape and wind it around the perimeter of my site to keep it from crossing the sewer hose. Lastly, if you have one of those RV surge protectors, it almost fits at the connection box!


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