Published 08/24/2020 at 6:43 PM PDT
By OREGON TRAVEL DAILY STAFF
(Olympia, Washington) – More State Park free days are coming to Washington, all in recognition of the National Park System’s 104th birthday. (Photo: Mystery Bay, courtesy Washington State Parks)
Washington State Parks just released the year’s roundup of free days, and the next one happens tomorrow, August 25. Here, day-use visitors will not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks by vehicle. The National Park Service and Washington State Parks may be separate entities, but they both share a rich tradition of stewarding the lands they manage. Many state parks are located within an hour’s drive of Washington’s national parks, monuments and historical reserves and sites.
Among the state’s finds are Mystery Bay Marine State Park near Everett.
This sprawling beauty is tucked away on the west side of Marrowstone Island, where you can arrive by land or by water. Boaters will find the docks easily, and a walk along the island’s placid waters and green spaces will add much to the making of memories here.
Mystery Bay is also known for shellfish gathering or scuba diving, along with magnificent views of the Olympic Mountains.
While most state parks in Washington have reopened for day use and many have reopened for camping, the agency encourages visitors to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by recreating responsibly on free days and every day. Visitors can find out which state parks are open here.
Because of the pandemic, there are some caveats.
According to the parks department, you must:
Stay close to home.
Know what’s open before heading out.
Have a Plan B if a certain park is too crowded.
Keep a social distance of at least 6 feet between households.
Bring personal supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and face coverings.
Wear face coverings in indoor facilities, such as restrooms, and outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible.
Pack out what is packed in.
For the rest of 2020, the other State Parks free days are:
Sunday, Sept. 13 – Girls Scouts Love State Parks Day
Saturday, Sept. 26 — National Public Lands Day
Saturday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day
Wednesday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
Friday, Nov. 27 – Autumn Day
About the Discover Pass
State Parks free days are in keeping with 2011 legislation that created the Discover Pass, which costs $30 annually or $10 for a one-day visit. The pass is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Discover Pass legislation directed State Parks to designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. The free days apply only at state parks; the Discover Pass is still required on WDFW and DNR lands.
The Discover Pass provides daytime access to parks. Overnight visitors in state parks are charged fees for camping and other overnight accommodations, and day access is included in the overnight fee.
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