Far, far away, in a land called West Seattle, there is a magical place. A place where you can actually go camping… in the city! For nearly 80-years now, Camp Long has been a hidden gem in Seattle where families can easily enjoy all the perks of going camping, but without the travel time. No more “are we there yets” and no need to budget gas money into your camping expenses – could it get any better? The camp is on 68-acres, literally in the middle of West Seattle, but you’ll forget that city living even exists when you’re at Camp Long with your kids.

Nitty Gritty Cabin Details
Camp Long has 10 cabins that you can rent for $50 a night. While this is a far cry from glamping (that’s glamorous camping, FYI), sleeping in a cabin is no doubt a step up from sleeping in a tent, especially when it comes to camping with kids. Each cabin has six bunk beds, although they are pretty large and you could easily double up a couple of young kiddos or a parent-kid duo on each bunk, if you wanted to share a cabin with friends. Want to hear the best parts? Each cabin has a locking door and electricity! Parents, rejoice! Outside of each cabin, there is a fire pit that is surrounded by benches for evening s’mores sessions and sing-a-longs (Kumbaya, anyone?), running water, an outdoor stove and picnic tables. Some cabins are closer to the bathrooms than others, so if that’s a priority for you, be sure to ask for one when you make your reservation. Other things we love about the cabins at Camp Long? There are gates that lock at the entrance of the camp for extra security, the showers in each bathroom are clean enough to actually use and each cabin has its own little spot in the woods of Camp Long, so your family won’t be on top of the family in the next cabin over.

Camp Long Packing List
If you’re the Packing Parent for your household, you’re probably wondering what you need to bring for your weekend at Camp Long. Here are some things you won’t want to miss on your must-pack list…

1. Sleeping Bags & Bedding: The mattresses on each bunk are bare. If you’re going for sleeping bags, we’d suggest a cozy layer to go underneath you too, as some of the mattresses are covered in plastic.

2. Fire Starters: You’ll need supplies to not only get your evening campfire going, but also to get some red hot coals under your cooking oven/stove. Those cool quick-start charcoal briquette chimneys are perfect for this, if you have one at home.

3. Coolers: We love that you can lock your food inside your cabin at Camp Long while you’re out exploring to keep it away from the critters, but you’ll still need to keep it cold. Some cabins have more room inside than others – ask for a bigger cabin, if you plan on bringing a lot of snacks and goodies.

4. Awesome Shoes: Camp Long is hardly a sit around type of camping trip – there are just too many cool places to explore. Bring solid, sturdy shoes for the entire family. In fact, bring two pairs for everyone, just in case the first pair gets wet. Flip flops to wear in the shower would probably be a good idea too.

5. Flashlights: For walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Also a lifesaver when your toddler’s last pacifier falls somewhere outside in the pitch of night and you know that nobody will sleep until you find it.

Climb It, Hike It, Explore It
Being over 60-acres, there is plenty to do to keep busy at Camp Long. From hiking trails that are great for little hikers (nice and flat in most places), but still interesting enough for older kids, to a huge open field for playing frisbee, capture the flag and more, to the traditional fun that you know and love when camping – it’s all there. Don’t miss Schurman Rock – a man-made rock climbing structure that has routes that range from beginner to expert. Your kids will love climbing on it (it’s about 20-feet high) and finding new ways to get to the top, and you’ll love taking pictures of them once they get there. You can sign up for lessons at the front desk when you check-in, or chat with the Camp Long staff about the lesson options when you make your cabin reservation.

Getting There
You’re going to love how close Camp Long is to home and how easy it is to get there. If you come into West Seattle via the West Seattle Bridge, go up the bridge towards Fauntleroy Way, then stay left onto 35th Avenue Southwest at the stoplight at the top of the hill, just past the Trader Joes. Continue on 35th Avenue Southwest for less than a mile before turning left on Southwest Dawson Street. There is parking at the bottom of the block, to the right, inside the gates. (Psst! There’s a Starbucks just before you turn onto 35th– stop and grab one last latte before you’re roughing it.)

Contact Information
For reservations, we suggest calling Camp Long directly. Please note that the office is closed on Mondays.

Camp Long
5200 35th Avenue Southwest
Seattle, Wa 98126
Phone: 206-684-7434
Email: camplong@seattle.gov
Online: More information and photos on the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department website

Have you taken your kids to Camp Long? Tell us about your experience and leave tips for other families in the comments below!

— Katie Kavulla