Are you new or moving to the Camas-Washougal area? Looking for an insiders guide to everything Camas, Washington? As someone who has moved quite a few times in the last ten years, I know that it can be difficult to become aware of the things to do in the area or resources that are available. We hope this post is helpful. I have collected a list of my favorite places to go and things to do.
10. HIKING: One of the things that makes Camas so great is its access to some great hiking trails. The Lamas Creek Trails are conveniently located just a few blocks from downtown and provide miles of scenic views and lush forest. Even if you are in the Vancouver or greater Clark County area, these trails are worth making the trip for weather you are hiking, waking or mountain biking.
9. RESTAURANTS: My favorite place to grab a slice is Twilight Pizza Bistro located in Downtown Camas on 4th Ave. The ambiance is great, the servers are friendly and the pizza is really good. The prices are reasonable, but not super cheap. If you are in the mood for something Caffeinated, Caffe Piccolo Paradiso is just around the corner on Birch Street. This little out of the way coffee shop serves soup in the winter and ice cream in the summer. It is the perfect place to do homework, or meet with friends. This gem was voted best costumer service of 2011! Another notable downtown choice would be Natalia’s Cafe on 4th Ave. This Cafe is open for Breakfast and Lunch and serves the meals up right with good sized portions and reasonable prices. Everything I have eaten here was very good and the service has always been friendly.
8. Entertainment: The Camas Liberty Theater in downtown Camas is a historic movie theater with all the charm and uniqueness you would expect from Camas. This theater was recently reopened and now plays a selection of second run movies. They also play classics and local and independent films. Or if you are in the mood for some live music or Karaoke, you can try Smeads Pub in Washougal.
7. PARKS: Camas is a great town for parks. Crown Park is conveniently located just up the hill from Downtown and is right next to the public swimming pool. The park is lined with Douglas Firs which provide plenty of shade in the Summer time. The kids will enjoy swings, slides, teeter-totters, and even an old school merry-go-round (didn’t they ban those). If you are looking for an ideal picnic or BBQ location try Lacamas Park. They have a lake, picnic tables, covered area, a playground and miles of trails. Both of these parks can be accessed by Everett Street.
6. FARMERS MARKETS: Camas and Washougal both have Farmers Markets in the warmer months. I have only been to the Camas Market. It is a lot of fun. Live music, good food and fresh produce and flowers. My favorite food are the sandwiches from the Gyro (pronounces yee-roh) stand.
5. SCHOOLS: Camas has great schools (Go Papermakers!) From Elementary to High School, the Camas School District has great programs, teachers, and curriculum. My son is at Lacamas Heights Elementary and he loves his teacher, bus driver, and mostly… the playground.
4. FOR KIDS: The Camas Public Library is beautiful, peaceful, and a great place for young and old alike. They have story times for children that are fun and educational. In the summer Camas Friends Church puts on Peace Playhouse a day camp that teaches children skills in conflict resolution and peacemaking. Through play, art, and story they explore issues of peace with self, others, and the earth. Throughout the year Camas Friends a wonderful children’s program called Godly Play that invites children to practice a healthy spirituality thought art, story, and conversation. The Boys and Girls Club is a great organization located in the heart of Camas. For a $20 a year membership your child has access to after school programs in music, games, education, fitness, and art!
3. ACTIVISM AND ADVOCACY: If you are looking for ways to get involved and help your community join Camas Friends Church in their mission to serve those in need in the Camas Washougal area. They are collecting food and resources with their One Trashcan Can Make A Difference campaign. They get even more hands on by providing aid for laundry services with the Laundry Love Project at the Riverside Laundry 1st and 3rd Thursdays 6pm-8pm. In 2011, Camas Friends won the Hope and Action Award from the Clark County Council for the Homeless.
2. Discussion Groups: The Camas Public Library hosts two adult book discussion groups. The Camas Friends Church, located two blocks from the Library on 4th Avenue and Ione hosts a Wednesday Night Discussion Group called Soup and Bread. They share a simple meal and then explore issues that range from MLK, the Occupy Movement, Spiritual Life, and Peace and Justice issues.
1. Recreation: In the summer, the Columbia River is a great waterway for boaters, swimmers, or floaters. You can access the river at Cottonwood Beach in Washougal for swimming. It is not well advertised, but in the hot Summer months can fill up fast. From Camas go East on HWY 14, turn right on 32nd street and left on Index Street. In the cooler months, you can swim at the Lacamas Swim and Sport. They have basketball, pools, and a fitness center.
I hope this has been helpful. In writing this article, I was reminded what a great place Camas is to live, work, play, recreate, and raise a family. If you are moving to the area or just want to check us out from Vancouver, Battleground, Ridgefield, Lacenter, Woodland, or Stevenson, come visit Camas, Washington “The Biggest Little City in Clark County”!
submitted by Brad Tricola