Camping on the Oregon Coast

Camping the Oregon Coast. Blue waves crash against rugged rocks and picturesque sand with green hills above.

The Oregon coast is one of those hidden gems that doesn't get as much attention as it deserves

Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors / Summer 2019

Introduction

The Oregon coast is one of those hidden gems that doesn't get quite as much attention as its neighboring coast to the south in California but is no less beautiful and no less thrilling. If you're looking for tent camping along Highway 101 on the Pacific Ocean, look no further as Oregon and its wide array of state parks offer plenty of tent sites, hiking trails, full hookup RV sites for campers, and yurts that will give you beach access. Here's a list of all the best sites for camping along Oregon's coast and a nice, relaxing video of the coast to get you started.

The West Coast's Hidden Gems

Nehalem Bay State Park

Neahkahnie Mountain / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Located on a four-mile sand spit separating the Pacific Ocean and Nehalem Bay, this park is open year-round and offers plenty of excitement. There are 18 yurts available for reservation (recommend booking well in advance), a hike along the jetty that will make you feel like you're on the edge of the world, and you may even get lucky and spot a few sea lions. You can walk about one mile up the beach to Manzanita or go crabbing, clamming, horseback riding, or hiking. The park has something for everyone.

Beverly Beach State Park

Sunset at Beverly Beach / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

This park located just north of Newport is a popular campground with beach access. Loaded with 128 tent sites and 21 yurts, the park can get crowded on weekends and holidays but is well worth the effort as it has a great beach and is just a few-minutes drive from the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Yaquina Head.

Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout Beach / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Just south of Tillamook, this park is part of the Three Capes Scenic Route along with Cape Kiwanda and Cape Meares, and features more than eight miles of hiking and walking trails,. The beach is protected by a 50 ft. cobble-sized stone revetment that visitors must walk over to access, but is otherwise unhindered and offers stunning ocean views. It's possible to even spot a whale or two at certain times of the year. 170 tent sites and 13 yurts available for reservation.

Fort Stevens State Park

South Jetty Sunrise / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Many people consider this their favorite Oregon State Park, and with camping, swimming, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, a shipwreck, and a military fort spread over 4,300 acres, it's not difficult to see why. Visitors can stay in one of the six tent sites, 15 yurts, or 11 deluxe cabins (highly recommended) and take in some of the best sunsets in the world.

Honeyman State Park

Sand Dunes / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Located three miles south of the city of Florence between Woahink Lake and the Pacific Ocean, Honeyman State Park is Oregon's second-largest state park campground with 187 tent sites and 10 yurts. Miles of sand dunes separate the park from the ocean and are great for dune buggies, but be careful with the little ones here as it can be very dangerous for kids. The park has two nearby freshwater lakes: Woahink, which has a day-use area where you can boat and fish; and Cleawox, which is ideal for swimming.

Sunset Bay State Park

Sun Setting on the Bay / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

One of the most scenic places on the Oregon coast, but the camping areas (65 tent sites, 8 yurts, 30 full-hookup sites) are very close together which can get a bit crowded on holidays and weekends. Interpretive staff offer guided tide pool tours, nature walks, and living history walks. A network of trails connects this park with nearby Shore Acres and Cape Arago State Parks. These trails are great for hikers as they offer excellent ocean views atop rugged cliffs with glimpses of Gregory Point and Cape Arago Lighthouse. Picnic tables are located along the bay.

South Beach State Park

Bike Trail / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Just south of Newport across the Yaquina Bay Bridge, South Beach is another favorite for many visitors as there's a lot to do here. The paved jetty is ideal for biking and jogging. There's an equestrian trail to the beach that begins at the South Jetty equestrian trailhead. There's also disc golf, a playground area, and horseshoe pits. Kayak tours are offered from July through Labor Day at nearby Beaver Creek. There's even at lighthouse, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, available for viewing. 60 tent sites and 27 rustic yurts.

Harris Beach State Park

Harris Beach / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

A smaller park that has the largest island off the Oregon coast, Bird Island or Goat Island, which is a National Wildlife Sanctuary. There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife sightings, from whales in the winter and spring, to seals, and even sea lions. 59 tent sites and six yurts.

Washburne Memorial State Park

Washburne Beach / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Another smaller park with seven walk-in tent sites that are available seasonally and two yurts that are reservable. The park is located on the east side of Highway 101 but has easy access to the ocean via trails that lead from the campground to the beach.

Not too far from Eugene along Oregon's central coast, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area was once a part of Siuslaw National Forest, but was designated a national recreation site by Congress in 1972 due to its large expanse of coastal sand dunes. Managed by the Forest Service, this park is a popular place for riding off-road vehicles (which you can view on Google Maps here) and also has camping available. It's open year-round, but experiences heavy usage so plan your visit in advance.

Tillicum Beach Campground

Tillicum Beach / Recreation.gov

Tillcum is one of those very small but extremely popular Oregon coast campgrounds located right on the ocean between Waldport and Yachats. It's managed by the Forest Service and open-year round, but probably best in the summer when it's also very busy. Most of the 61 campsites have beachfront views.

Bullards Beach State Park

Bullards Beach / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Located two miles north of Bandon-by-the-sea, this state park has plenty to see and do with nearby Coquille River Lighthouse and Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. The park has 13 yurts and no tent sites, unfortunately, but does sport a horse camp with eight primitive sites. The nearby town of Bandon, the "Cranberry Capitol of the World," has shops, galleries, and restaurants available.

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

Beach Trail / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

A beautiful state park located just south of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area with 23 tent sites, two rustic yurts, two rustic log cabins, and six deluxe yurts. This campground is mostly a well-kept secret with Umpqua River Lighthouse, which has an adjacent museum and is managed by the Douglas County Parks Department, nearby.

Oswald West State Park

Oswald West State Park / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

This park does not offer camping but is worth mentioning due to its incredible ocean views and miles of trails. Take a short hike up to Cape Falcon or down to Short Sand Beach for views you will not soon forget.

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Again no camping but lots of hiking and incredible views. Take a short hike down to the secluded Crescent Beach, check out the view of Cannon Beach, or stop by Indian Beach for a nice, relaxing day. This park is popular, so get there early.

Arizona Beach State Park

Arizona Beach / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

RV camping only at this relatively hidden gem. Great place for a picnic or day in the sand.

Devil's Lake State Recreation Area

Devil's Lake / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

A lakeside campground located near the ocean and right in the heart of Lincoln City, there's plenty of privacy despite the close quarters and with all the action in nearby Lincoln City, who could pass this up. 54 tent sites and 10 yurts.

Beachside State Recreation Site

Beachside Beach / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

A small campground located just north of Tillcum Beach Campground, this area has 42 tent sites and two yurts with plenty of ocean views nearby.

Cape Blanco State Park

Cape Blanco / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Located along Cape Blanco on the southern Oregon coast, this park is located on the state's western-most tip and is home to many historic sites, including the Cape Blanco Lighthouse and Historic Hughes House. There are eight miles of hiking trails and a seven-mile trail for horses as well. No tent sites but four reservable standard cabins and one horse camp.

Cape Arago State Park

Cape Arago Lighthouse / Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Located at the end of Cape Arago Highway around 15 miles south of Coos Bay, this gem is a beautiful place to visit and spot wildlife. No camping is available, unfortunately, but you can stay at nearby Sunset Bay State Park.

Just south of Yachats and one of the most beautiful places you will ever see. The campground is located along Cape Creek with nearby access to Haceta Beach and 23 miles of trails surrounding the campground.

Final Thoughts on Camping the Oregon Coast

Sun sets against rugged cliffs and crashing waves on Oregon's coast.

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

— John Muir

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Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors / Summer 2019

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