We wound up the summer trailer camping season at Belfair State Park, at the tip of the Hood Canal. Wanting to explore more of this area, and feast on some of the yummy oysters from Hamma Hamma, the closeness of this park and the availability (last one left!) of a site for our rig was perfect for what we call a “2 Nighter”, leaving work at 5PM on Saturday and arriving before sundown to get set up. That schedule makes for a longer Saturday, but gives us a full Sunday and a healthy part of Monday to explore, making it feel somewhat like a 3 day weekend.
About 2 hours (on a Saturday evening), we arrived right at 7PM and were enjoying a great little camp fire as I grilled burgers by 7:30. The sites are a little cramped (this campground heavily favors tent camping), but they have full hookups, while many State Parks are electricity and water only, and the utilities are recent and modern. We easily fit into the 70′ deep site, with a nice private campfire area at the back, but the maneuvering to get into the space was challenging. Next time we’ll shoot for one of the pull-thru sites, although I did like the privacy of ours.
There is a huge playground area on the north side of the park, with easy access to the beach along the canal to the east. The playground has a large play structure, climbing structures, swings, and large bathrooms with plenty of picnic tables and barbeques. When we visited there weren’t many families because school was back in session, but we found ample evidence that our site had recently been inhabited by a whimsical family. They left some painted rocks (camp fairies) that we discovered on the ground and tucked into a tree.
It was 2010 the last time we went anywhere near this part of the Hood Canal, and at that time we visited Hama Hama Oyster Company, a small retail store located on the oyster farm at the outlet of the Hamma Hamma River. I don’t have a clue as to the difference in spelling, but the oysters couldn’t care less. These are the tastiest I have ever had, hands down my favorites. I think it has something to do with the right mix of fresh water flowing into the saltwater right over the beds themselves, imparting a sweetness that is just perfect with the natural saltiness.
In 2014 they added the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon, a restaurant that serves up raw and cooked oysters fresh from the farm, other seafood (as available), and local craft beers and wines. Even though it was an hour drive to get there, we added the Saloon as a stop to our exploring and made a late lunch out of a few dozen raw and baked oysters.
The Saloon has transformed this small store into a destination, with license plates from Oregon readily apparent on a beautiful Sunday, including the one on this totally cool 1928 Bentley Sportster. I’m an “LBC” (Little British Car) fan, owning a 1968 MG Midget, but this tops anything I would ever hope to have, especially within my budget. I couldn’t find a reliable value for this online, but I would have to start my guess well into 6 figures. It is, after all, a Bentley.
The entire Hood Canal is prime shellfish country, and Belfair State Park is no exception. It’s considered one of the best oystering beaches in Washington, and there is ample evidence that campers and visitors here have harvested plenty, because the harvest rules call for shucking your catch on the beach and leaving the shells behind. I’m guessing many are also bringing along a picnic basket and making the whole affair a feast. We didn’t jump into our boots and head out with a bucket to pick any, but our stop at the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon made up for it.
Our take on Belfair State Park: a nice stop, with a very clean park and plenty of amenities for the kids. Like other Washington State Parks, it books up solid for the summer, so make your plans, and take Tippy’s advice!