Unless you are from the region, Oregon coast camping may be one of the best-kept secrets of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon’s entire 363-mile coastline is free and public, so there are endless opportunities to explore beaches, whale watch, go fishing, and just relax while taking in the beauty of the area. There are campgrounds up and down the coast, so whether you want to camp beachside or in one of the state’s beautiful forests, you can find the perfect spot to pitch your tent or park your camper.
Know Before You Go
Oregon coast camping is most popular from May when spring rains have mostly moved out of the area until October when nights get cold and winter storms are possible; however, most of the campgrounds are open year-round. While only a handful of the state parks offer Oregon coast camping, there are a total of 95 state parks along the coast. Many of them are within easy driving distance from each other, so you can take day trips to nearby parks or explore Oregon coast camping by making your way along the coast and camping at different parks along the way.
In addition, there are 11 lighthouses and two national forests along the Oregon coast, so there are endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. There is an abundance of wildlife in the area, providing ample opportunities to see some extraordinary things. Twice a year, gray whales migrate along the entire Oregon coast. In addition, resident whales can be seen year-round. Elk, deer, osprey, otters, eagles, and a variety of sea and shorebirds including tufted puffins, pelagic cormorants, and black-bellied plovers are also typical residents of the coastal area.
While on your Oregon coast camping adventure, you can also see the remains of a 1906 shipwreck in Fort Stevens State Park, visit an old ghost town around Tillamook Bay, and visit the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America.
Where to Stay for Oregon Coast Camping
If you are looking to explore Oregon coast camping, there are plenty of great options along the entire coast. On the southern end of the coast is Alfred A. Loeb State Park. It is a quiet park tucked away in a grove of Myrtlewood trees along the Chetco River only eight miles inland. Although this campground is not directly on the coast, it is not one to overlook when searching for Oregon coast camping because of all the things it offers. Camping is available here year-round. Most of the campsites can be reserved ahead of time from May through September and are first-come, first-served the rest of the year.
A number of the 43 campsites and all three of the cabins in Loeb are situated along the river, but whether you are in a site on the river or not, it offers campers some of the best salmon and steelhead fishing on the southern Oregon coast. During the spring and summer, you can often spot ospreys and river otters from your campsite.
Campers can hike the short Riverview Trail to the U.S. Forest Service’s Redwood Nature Trail to see the Pacific Coast’s northernmost redwood trees. Loeb is located near Harris Beach State Park (which does not offer camping) where you can comb for seashells or watch the nesting seabirds and other wildlife through binoculars on Goat Island, the largest island off the Oregon coast.
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If you prefer Oregon coast camping right on the coast, travel about 200 miles north to Beachside State Recreation Site. This campground is open seasonally from mid-March through October, weather permitting. It includes 32 sites outfitted with electrical and water, 42 tent sites that are near water access, and two yurts. Each campsite is minutes from the beach and whale watching, so you will get the ultimate Oregon coast camping experience with amazing views here.
About halfway up the Oregon coast is Beverly Beach State Park. It is an awesome place for Oregon coast camping because of its proximity to Yaquina Head Natural Area, Otter Rock Marine Reserve, and Devil’s Punch Bowl State Natural Area. This campground offers year-round camping. Beverly Beach is one of Oregon’s largest campgrounds, so it is busier than many of the others, but sites can be reserved ahead of time and include 53 full-hookup sites (27 of which also include cable TV), 76 electrical sites with water, 128 tent sites with access to water nearby, group tent camping areas, and 21 yurts.
Because of its location, it is one of the best Oregon coast camping options if you want to see gray whales during their migration south to Mexico in December and back north to Alaska in March. During this time, nearly 20,000 gray whales pass close to the Oregon coast.
Farther north, Cape Lookout State Park is located at the mouth of the Netarts sandspit that extends out between Netarts Bay and the Pacific Ocean. This popular year-round Oregon coast camping location offers 38 full-hookup sites, 170 tent sites with nearby water access, one electrical site with water, 13 yurts, six deluxe cabins, and two group tent camping areas. While the campsites do not have ocean views, they are just a short hike away from some beautiful spots along the coast.
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Numerous trails here, including the Cape Trail and South Trail, feature views of the ocean peeking through the spruce and hemlock trees on the way to the tip of Cape Lookout. On a clear day, you can see south 39 miles to Cape Foulweather and north 42 miles to Tillamook Head.
Nearby points of interest include Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, which features a historic lighthouse open for tours, hiking trails, picnic areas, whale watching, and the largest Sitka Spruce in Oregon. South of Cape Lookout, visitors can explore Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island where you can tour the island trail. Nearby, Sitka Sedge State Natural Area offers over four miles of trails through forest and marshland that lead to a beautiful, quiet beach.
At the mouth of Tillamook Bay is Barview Jetty County Campground, offering year-round camping in one of its six cabins, three mini mobile cabins, 73 full-hookup RV sites, and 268 tent sites. This campground is an excellent Oregon coast camping choice because of the excellent surf and jetty fishing, scuba diving, surfing, and beach access.
Nehalem Bay State Park is situated on a four-mile sandspit among shore pines, just a sand dune away from the beach. Open year-round, campers have the option of 265 electrical sites with water, 18 yurts, or one of the 17 horse camping sites that include a horse stall. A seasonal boat dock is typically open from mid-May to mid-October. A bike path through the forest provides a breathtaking view of Nehalem Bay. It is common to see deer and elk grazing in the area. Popular things to do here include kayaking, crabbing, fishing, and clamming. Plus, kayak tours and horseback rides on the beach are available from local businesses. This campground is Oregon coast camping at its best.
Finally, on the northernmost coast of Oregon is Fort Stevens State Park. It is one of the nation’s largest public campgrounds. Camping reservations for one of the 174 full-hookup sites, 302 electrical sites with water, 15 tent sites, 15 yurts, and 11 deluxe cabins are available year-round. The 4,300-acre park offers all kinds of adventures besides Oregon coast camping, including swimming and boating at Coffenbury Lake, a disc golf course, 15 miles of trails, plenty of wildlife viewing, the only Civil War-era earthen fort on the west coast, and a historic shipwreck.
Oregon coast camping offers visitors all kinds of unique and special experiences with its 363 miles of possibilities. The coast here has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a coastal hike, surfing on a remote beach, or exploring the sand dunes, camping is only just the beginning of what you can explore.
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