Some food-centric camping families love nothing more than chopping fennel and yams into tinfoil pouches for hobos, foraging mushrooms, or keeping grass-fed beef patties chilled over ice before cooking them on a portable stove. And while there's little denying that authentic culinary experiences are to be made roasting and toasting on open flames, there's no good reason not to camp at a site located a short drive from a decent restaurant.
A speck of a town, Glacier bumps up to the edge of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The Doug Fir campground is a quick bike ride or less than five minute drive from a condensed restaurant row, including an Italian spot and the Wake 'n Bakery, a hippy dippy coffee shop with very good breakfast sandwiches. But the place to go in Glacier, especially with kids, is Chair 9. There's occasional live music, good beer, and pizza. Pizza is better than a hot shower when you've dragging from a day of hiking or skiing. And while Chair 9's pies are above average, the plain Jane toppings transform into luxurious morsels when consumed directly after an afternoon in the wild.
The South End campground at Moran State Park on Orcas Island is 20 minutes away from Doe Bay Cafe at Doe Bay Resort. The contrast of eating trail mix or marshmallows by the fire one minute and nettles and scapes on top of house made ravioli at Doe Bay the next could be too ridiculous to handle. Everything about the cafe, housed in a big wooden room overlooking the water, is a weird blend of old-fashioned, ramshackle, cute, and forward-thinking. Thanks to the fresh food, it makes total sense. Note: The annual Doe Bay Festival is August 9 to 12. Expect the cafe to be jammed.
Cougar Rock campground near Mt. Rainier is less than 20 minutes from Wildberry Restaurant in Ashford. If you're eating with picky kids, feed them burgers and huckleberry pie from the American side of the menu. If you're full-grown, it would be a shame to miss the "traditional Sherpa" menu featuring colorful thali plates and spiced hot tea. You can only find thali a few places in Seattle proper, and with climbers passing through on their way up Rainier, offering Nepalese dishes that channel Mt. Everest in the Washington boondocks is very smart indeed.