Here are the most enchanting campsites on the Oregon coast that are sure to offer up captivating, fun-filled family adventures.
Oregon is one of those places that makes you feel like you’re really communing with the birds and the bees when you camp - even if you’re living out of a giant RV on a patch of asphalt.
The fusion of miles of hiking and biking trails in forests so thick and mysterious you wonder if you’ll cross paths with a moody teen vampire, sprawling coastlines uncongested with luxury homes and hotels, and tide pools that can captivate even the most “this is boring” of kids’ attention, make Oregon campgrounds some of the best in the world.
While there really aren’t many undesirable places to camp in this lush state, the campgrounds along the coast offer up outdoor adventures so enchanting you stop caring about Netflix and showering in a non-communal bathroom. We highly recommend packing up your family, and all that gear, and saying yes to a week, or heck, an entire summer posted up on the Oregon coast.
Note: Almost all of these campgrounds fill up fast, especially during the summer months. If you want to camp in the off-season (typically mid-September to mid-May) you’re probably safe booking six to eight months in advance, maybe less. If you’re going in the summer, book 12 to 16 months in advance. We know, crazy... but worth it.
Another Note: Most showers in Oregon State Parks are free - yay! And while firewood is almost always for sale at these campgrounds, it’s pretty expensive. If possible, pack your own wood.
Best for Swimming: Sunset Bay State Park
Located in a bay of sandstone cliffs, Sunset Bay State Park offers refuge from the rough water and blustery weather common on the Oregon Coast - aka, it’s not exhausting to have a beach day here. And there are tide pools!
A number of hiking excursions are available from Sunset Bay, such as walks to and in nearby Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park. Many of these coastal trails open to epic views of Gregory Point and Cape Arago lighthouse, and wind through dense forest splashed with the colors of seasonal wildflowers.
Much like some of the other campgrounds in this here post, the sites at Sunset Bay offer a greater sense of privacy than most car camping sites, as they’re encircled by ferns, shrubbery, maples, firs, spruces and a variety of other foliage that make you forget there are over 100 other sites surrounding you.
Amenities: 30 full hook-up sites, 35 electrical sites, over 25 tent sites, eight yurts, hot showers, not-hot toilets, and firewood for sale.
Tip: If you feel like drinking while reading this article, take a sip every time we write "sites." Bottoms up!
Best for Hiking and Biking: South Beach State Park
With the largest collection of yurts amongst Oregon state parks (they have 27!), and 227 electrical sites and 60 tent sites, South Beach is able to accommodate a bustling community of Mother Nature enthusiasts. Prime appeals include the paved path leading through quintessential sand dunes to the beach, guided hikes on the numerous trails branching off the campground, and education-masked-as-fun Junior Ranger activities.
For those wanting to take to the water, the park can set up 2.5-hour kayaking tours on Beaver Creek, 7-miles south of South Beach. Head to the Park Store to register.
Amenities: 227 electrical sites with water, 60 tent sites, 27 yurts, showers and toilets, firewood and ice for sale.
Best for Beach Walks: Nehalem Bay State Park
Nestled on a 4-mile sandspit between the ocean and Nehalem Bay, this campground is a (mostly) nature-made playground of sand dunes, wide expanses of beach for exploring and sand castle building, and shore pines that offer refuge to deer and elk. Many of the sites don’t provide much privacy from neighbors, but the abundance of unfettered wilderness surrounding the clusters of sites makes it easy to slip away for a more private rendezvous with Mother Nature.
For those wanting in-depth interactions with the ocean and its critters, kayaking, crabbing, fishing and clamming are favorite activities at this campground. Beach combing is another popular pastime, with agates, shells and (if you’re lucky) glass floats resting in the sand. In addition, a two-mile bike trail skims the perimeter of the bay, and a walking path leads to the nearby beach community of Manzanita.
If you’re planning on coming in on your private plane, the park provides an airstrip for small planes. And if this is your plan, can you please pick us up on your way? Thank you!
Amenities: Showers, toilets, 265 electrical sites with water, 18 yurts, 17 horse sites, amphitheater, playground, and ice and firewood for sale.
Best for Scenic Sites: Beverly Beach State Park
While the sites at Beverly Beach are packed tight, most are surrounded by forest and near a creek you could envision a Disney maiden singing beside. Both factors distract from the fact that your tent might just be close enough to your neighbor’s that you pray they don’t eat beans before bed.
When you crave space to roam, walk the path that leads under the freeway and onto one of the largest stretches of beach of all the campgrounds listed here. In addition to sand ideal for drip castles, the beach offers seemingly endless microcosms to explore in the tide pools. If you begin yearning for a splash of urban-ish life, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is nearby, in addition to Newport.
Amenities: 53 full hookups, 75 electrical sites, 128 tent sites, 21 yurts, showers, toilets and interpretive programs
Best for Sand Dunes: Jesse M. Honeyman Memorial State Park
This park isn’t right on the beach, but its sand dunes and lake adventures are so good we had to include it on this list. (And if you end up with a hankering for the beach, it’s super close.)
As these grounds sit on both Woahink and Cleawox Lake it’s the optimal spot to go in the summer, as you can get your dune buggy-ing and sand-sledding in during the cooler morning hours, then rent kayaks or paddle boats, or keep it simple with a swim and lakeside nap, in the heat of the day. It’s all paradisiacal and makes us think of the classic summer camp movies we yearned to recreate but never could... until now!
With all that summer stuff said, this is a great place to go during all seasons (with the exception of winter, sorry winter) as pink rhododendrons sprinkle the grounds with color in the Spring, and ripened huckleberries and blackberries offer the strangely thrilling activity of foraging for snacks in the Fall.
If you don’t have your own dune buggies or ATVs, head to Sand Dunes Frontier where you can hop on a sand rails or dune buggies tour, or rent ATVs.
Amenities: 47 full hook up sites, 121 electrical sites with water, 187 tent sites, 10 yurts, showers and toilets, and firewood for sale.
Best for History Buffs: Fort Stevens State Park
Pirate loving littles will adore the 4,300-acre Fort Stevens State Park, as the Peter Iredale shipwreck rests on its 20-mile expanse of coastline. Although the ship wasn’t actually inhabited by pirates, we can pretend.
With over 300 tent sites and 150 RV spots, this is one of the largest campgrounds on the Oregon Coast, and one of the most popular because of its awe-inspiring surroundings filled with wildlife, a swimmable lake, and the aforementioned shipwreck and massive shore that’s great for beach-combing. Also popular is the nine-mile network of paved bicycle trails, and six-miles of hiking trails.
In addition, those with a penchant for history will enjoy the onsite Military Museum, and retired barracks, batteries, and bunkers that chronicle the fort’s history from its inception during the Civil War, to its closing at the end of World War II. There are even underground tours available in the summer.
If glamping is more your speed, or you’re on an extended camping adventure and just need a few nights in a real bed, Fort Stevens (like many of the campgrounds on this list) offers 13 yurts and 11 deluxe cabins.
Amenities: Showers, toilets, running water, a 9-hole disc golf course, and an amphitheater that plays educational films.
Best for Photography: Cape Lookout State Park
All 170 sites, and other accommodation options, at this coveted campground are set in one of the most stunning natural environments in the United States, which is why it's one of the hardest to get a reservation at - book way in advance.
But the early planning is worth it, as the grounds are adjacent to a three-mile stretch of beach with dramatic views, and connected to eight-miles of hiking trails that wind through old growth forests. And make sure to look up, as hang gliding and paragliding are popular pastimes in the area, offering impromptu aerial shows for campers.
Amenities: Hot showers, toilets, an interpretive center and firewood sold between April and October.
Best for Wildlife Sightings: Harris Beach State Park
Just down the road from Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor – an extraordinary 12-mile stretch that features secluded beaches, dramatic bluffs and unique rock formations, including Natural Bridge and Arch Rock – Harris Beach State Park serves up a dynamic platter of outdoor adventure. Beyond the nearby Scenic Corridor, this state park opens to a beach that features its own intriguing rock formations, which include Bird Island, the largest island off the Oregon coast, and a breeding site for tufted puffins.
In addition, visitors can explore a variety of aquatic microcosms via the numerous tide pools scattered across the shoreline. Offering wildlife sightings on a larger scale are the gray whales (during winter and spring migration), Harbor seals, California sea lions, and sea birds that frequent the area.
Amenities: 65 full-hookup sites, 25 electrical sites with water, 59 tent sites, six yurts, a playground, toilets, hot showers, and firewood for sale.