Large wood signs like this indicate campsite locations on Long Island/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

A refuge-rarity, camping is permitted in designated locations on Long Island. Because Long Island can only be accessed by boat, the challenges of navigating the shallow and tidally-influenced waters of Willapa Bay are factors that must be included in your trip planning.


There are five primitive campgrounds on Long Island with a total of 20 campsites. Each campsite includes a picnic table, fire ring and access to a toilet. Cutting of live trees or standing dead trees is prohibited because they provide homes for wildlife, but collection of fallen wood is allowed. Because wood may not be available near the campsites, we recommend that you bring your own. No potable water is available at the refuge. To maintain the quiet, remote nature of the island, gas and diesel powered equipment is prohibited on Long Island.

Download a map of Long Island (PDF 1.1 MB)

Download Long Island Campground Maps


Campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis only. Campers are required to register and obtain a free camping permit for specific campsites during the early elk archery season. The permit must be affixed to the campsite post during your stay. Registration is not required the remainder of the year. Early elk archery season generally takes place for three weeks in September, but exact dates vary. Leaving items unattended to hold a campsite is prohibited. Due to the high numbers of visitors during this period, no individual or group may camp for more than 14 days. A maximum of five people are allowed per campsite.

The Neighbors

Many different species of wildlife make their homes on Long Island, including numerous raccoons and black bears. Camp "bear friendly" by hanging food and trash, or bringing a bear-proof canister. Adopt the "Leave No Trace" ethic to ensure a fun visit for yourself and those who follow. Do not burn or leave trash (items such as aluminum, tin and glass do not burn). Please return oyster and clam shells to the beach.


Be aware of privately owned land and tidelands.

Long Island Access

Access to Long Island is by private boat only. Most of the campgrounds require a 6 ft (1.2 m) or higher tide to access them from the water. The landing directly across from Refuge Headquarters launch can be accessed at any tide height (although we recommend you use caution with extreme low tides). Additional launch facilities are located at the Nahcotta Mooring Basin on the Long Beach Peninsula. Day use on Long Island is encouraged to minimize impacts on wildlife and their habitat; however camping is permitted on the Island. Learn more about boating to Long Island...


Tidal fluctuations and currents, coupled with extensive mud flats and rapidly changing weather can make getting to and from the island difficult and potentially dangerous. Carry a tide table and check weather forecasts. Walking on Willapa Bay mud flats is difficult, messy and potentially hazardous. The fine silty mud can act much like quicksand. We highly recommend that visitors always carry a tide table, weather radio, and some form of communication when camping on Long Island.

Mainland Camping is Prohibited

To minimize disturbances to wildlife and their habitats, no camping is permitted on the mainland portion of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. For those interested in camping on the mainland, sites are available at the many area state and county parks and commercial campgrounds.