As of this writing, I’ve taken two road trips up to British Columbia and back in the first part of my year of swimming and on all of my drives through the state, Washington has treated me well in terms of swims. In fact, even when I was visiting Oregon (Portland) I did my swimming in Washington. Here are my swims from South to North.
Fallen Leaf Lake, Camas
Just over the border from Oregon, Fallen Leaf Lake is in Camas, Washington. We stayed here on our April visit to Portland so Hazel could mountain bike in Lacamas Park and, lucky for me, there turned out to be this beautiful lake and welcoming open water swimming group there. The group I went with tends to go mid-day, though they were nice enough to go in the morning with me. It sounds like it may sometimes close down in the warmest parts of the summer because of algae, but, even though it’s small, it’s quite deep, so algae is not a very big problem usually. It’s beautiful, clean, peaceful, and small enough to take a couple of laps of, which made it feel like a secret outdoor swimming pool. There is a small parking lot, a covered gazebo to stow your stuff, and a nice, easy entry into the water. When I was there in April, the temperature was about 55 degrees and, though it gets much colder in the winter, there are folks that swim all year.
Burfoot Park, Olympia
It was a very hectic day of lots of driving when I swam here and I didn’t have a lot of information, so I can’t say for sure that I got in at the right spot, but the way I did it, there was a bit of a trek from the parking lot to the beach on a beautiful path through the forest. The beach was lovely, strewn with stones and driftwood. This section of the Puget Sound was narrow, with gorgeous views in every direction. It was easy to get in and the currents didn’t seem too strong, but I kept close to the shore just in case.
Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park
This is an incredibly, breathtakingly, beautiful place to swim. The Olympic National Park is already one of my favorite places on earth and this lake sits in the middle of a stunning forest. The water is impossibly clear and fresh. I went in January and it was bitingly cold. This was before my devotion to cold water swimming and I wore my wetsuit. I look forward to going back now that I am more acclimated to cold water.
Marine Park, Bellingham
This is a beautiful little beach outside of Bellingham with an active Open Water Swimming group. The day joined them, there were ten or eleven swimmers and treats afterward. There is a parking lot right at the beach and getting in and out was easy. From the stories I heard, there can sometimes be wilder days, but when I went it was quite calm and the water was incredibly clear and cold. Just gorgeous.