Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors / Summer 2019
Camping on the Oregon Coast
The Oregon coast is one of those hidden gems that doesn't get as much attention as it deserves
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Final Thoughts on Camping the Oregon Coast
There you have it - As you can see Oregon has a lot to offer, so get out there and enjoy the coast. Most parks have hot showers and restrooms, but check the oregonstateparks.org website of each site for additional information.
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