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Great Pierce County camping sites

Sleep outdoors close to home

Alder Lake Park in Eatonville is the perfect destination for water sport lovers. Courtesy photo

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What part of the country is more beautiful than the Pacific Northwest? We are surrounded by a unique and exciting environment, so why not spend a night or two inside it? In Pierce County alone, there are various options for camping, and here are our top five spots to pitch a tent and roast weenies on the fire.

1) Kopachuck State Park: If you love camping, but don't necessarily enjoy the long drive to a suitable location, Kopachuck is the perfect choice. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Gig Harbor, this little State Park is the best of both worlds: isolated and woodsy enough to provide the ideal wilderness experience, yet close enough to actual civilization to make a McDonalds run if critters take your food. It's also right alongside Carr Inlet, so a trip to the beach is readily available. 10712 56th St. NW, Gig Harbor, WA, 253.265.3606

2) Cougar Rock Campground: Now, if you actually want to be far removed from the hustle and bustle, Cougar Rock might be more up your alley. Located on the side of Mt. Rainier, just south of the famous Paradise camp, Cougar Rock is over 90 minutes away from Tacoma, and promises a truly rustic feel. The Wonderland Trail runs through the camp - a strenuous but scenic trek of 93 miles - for those who are a bit more adventurous. Cougar Rock also features a breathtaking viewpoint of Mt. Rainier, and interpretive programs at their on-site amphitheater, where visitors can learn about the natural and cultural history of the region. A must-visit for mountain lovers. Loop C, Ashford, WA, 360.569.2211

3) Ohanapecosh Campground: This site is as fun to visit as it is to say! Ohanapecosh is located on the river of the same name, and thankfully it's very calm, making it ideal for those with kids who love splashing around all day. Being on the eastern side of Mt. Rainier, it's a bit of a drive, but it also happens to be much drier than the west half of the mountain, so the extra half-hour stuck in the car might be worth it to avoid a soggy tent. 208 Ohanapecosh Rd., Randle, WA, 360.569.2211

4) Alder Lake Park: This is the ultimate site for those obsessed with water sports, given the idyllic lake allows motorized boats. The extensive Alder Lake campground is a bit less rugged than the average wilderness location, featuring certain sites with electricity, running water, and even sewer hookups! Of course, those cost extra, but Alder Lake is still a fantastic option for people who don't wish to leave all the comforts of home behind. 50324 School Rd., Eatonville, WA, 360.569.2778

5) Rainier View RV Park: Finally, for the RV campers, Rainier View is a fantastic spot that, like Kopachuck, is not too far out from civilization, being only a few minutes away from Graham. Rainier View has a stellar view of Mt. Rainier, and is close by to Northwest Trek and many other activities, including golf. Sure, you could find another RV park right in the Tacoma metro area, but that would barely qualify as camping, wouldn't it? 25015 Meridian Ave. E., Graham, WA, 253.875.9999

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