Amazing Beach Campsites on the Oregon Coast

summer campers around a campfire Bobby Burch via Unsplash
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It may be hard to believe, but summer is just right around the corner and Oregon’s gorgeous beaches are about to become hot spots for family fun. While a quick day trip to the beach is possible, why not make a weekend of it. An overnight trip to the beach doesn’t require booking expensive hotel rooms. Camping next to the ocean is not only possible…it’s epic! We’ve rounded up the best coastal campsites near Portland, from north to south. These spots are chock full of beaches, hikes, freshwater lakes and sand dunes, and are all worthy locations to pitch your tents anytime. Read on to find out more.

Fort Stevens

Located near Astoria, Oregon, this huge campground is one of the best family friendly spots around. The campsite is chock full of activities for history lovers, nature buffs, or recreation-seekers, not to mention being right near the beach. You can tour a real military installation and hear it’s history, swim in the ocean or nearby freshwater lakes, check out an actual shipwreck, or ride nine miles of paved trails (and hike 6 other miles). You’ll need to stay all week! Campsite options include hookup sites, campsites, cabins and yurts! There’s something available for every family. Pricing varies according to site type and location. Booking in advance is highly recommended.

Distance from Portland: about 2 hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Nehalem Bay State Park

Just outside of Tillamook, located on a 4-mile sand spit between the Pacific Ocean and Nehalem Bay, this campground has a whopping 265 tent sites, situated in a grove of shore pine. Stroll over the dunes to the beach for a day of playing in the surf or hunting for agates, shells, and sometimes glass floats. Other activities include crabbing, clamming, or kayaking on the calm bay. Because of the nearby Neahkanie Mountain and the way the winds blow, Nehalem Bay and the town of Manzanita get thirty-five to forty more days of sun per year than other parts of the coast. Booking in advance is highly recommended. 

Distance from Portland: 1 hour 45 min
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Cape Lookout State Park

With over 170 tent sites, 38 full hook ups and deluxe yurt and cabin rentals, this locations is a dream beach camping site option. Sprawled between the sandy dunes and dense forest, this campsite has something for everyone. The beach is easily walkable from all sites, making a whole day on the sand easy and fun. For those that want more of a challenge, tackle the nearby Cape Lookout Hike that takes you to a spit of land that’s one of the best places for whale watching in the state. The 5 mile round trip hike is relatively easy and family-friendly, just be aware that there are some steep ledges. Shorter nature walks are around, as well.

Distance from Portland: 1 hour 45 minutes
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Devil’s Lake Campground

This campsite is located in the middle of Lincoln City, at the mouth of the D River making it the perfect base camp for exploring Lincoln City’s offerings as well as the city’s beaches. Along with providing easy access to the beach towns’ amenities, this campsite is the perfect spot for finding summertime fun. Kayaking on the lake is one of the most popular activities here, with the chance to view wildlife like herons, loons, or elk. And don’t worry– the beach is a mere 10 minute walk away, so you’re kids can still get sand in all the wrong places.

Distance from Portland: about 2 hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Alternative:

South Beach State Park for better beach access, and kayaking trips up the nearby Beaver Creek estuary.

Distance from Portland: 2 1/2 hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Beverly Beach State Park

One of the state’s biggest and most beautiful campground, this site is nestled in a forest between some of the most dramatic sights on the Oregon Coast, Yaquina Head and Otter Rock/Devil’s Punchbowl. The campground is full service, with a visitor center selling firewood and souvenirs, a playground, and all the amenities. Sites are tucked back in the shelter of the coastal forest, and a short walk along Spencer Creek takes you under Highway 101 and directly onto 5 miles of beautiful beach. If you’re still in need of more to do, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is nearby, too! 

Note: Yurts require reservations.

Distance from Portland: 2 ½ hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

This epic coastal camping spot is located near the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Small and charming, your family can check out the lighthouse and and take in the gorgeous views. When you’ve gotten your fill of lighthouse adventures, head to the nearby Lake Marie and enjoy fishing, swimming and boating. You can camp in a tent, RV, yurt or a cabin!

Distance from Portland 3½ hours
Online: stateparks.oregon.gov

Jessie M. Honeyman State Park

The second largest campground on the coast with 350 sites, these sites are for dune hunters and lake riders. Tucked in the dunes three miles south of the city of Florence and two miles from the ocean, make sure to bring your sandboards for some wild rides, or launch your canoe onto the freshwater lakes to explore. This place gets busy in the summer and trekking across the dunes to the beach is discouraged, but with plenty of trails to hike and lakes to swim in, you’ll never be bored.

Distance from Portland: 3 ½ hours
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Alternative:

If you’ve got your heart set on the Pacific, try the quieter Carl G Washburne State Park for spacious sites in old-growth forest. Trails lead to the beach, nature viewpoints, and Heceta Head lighthouse. You must reserve all of these sights.

Distance from Portland: 3 hours 10 minutes
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Eel Creek Campground

Located within a non-motorized section of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, this quiet campground has secluded sites and a peaceful vibe. Explore the nearby trails and the scenic dunes as you hike to the beach, or head out to nearby Eel Lake, or Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.

Distance from Portland: 3 ½ hours
Online: fs.usda.gov/

Champoeg Park

Spending your days and nights playing and sleeping alongside the Willamette River is dreamy and Champing Park makes the perfect base camp for your outdoor adventurers. This park was the site of Oregon’s first provisional government formed in 1843. It features a visitor center, Newell House, and the Pioneer Mothers Log Cabin museum to explore the Oregon pioneer life. There’s even a four-mile bike trail your young bikers will love! The campsite features showers and flush toilets.

Distance from Portland: Approximately 30 minutes
Online: oregonstateparks.org

Wright’s Campground

Located near the famous Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, wright’s is a family-owned and family oriented campground. I mean, who wouldn’t want to camp out where The Goonies movie was filmed? This campground only allows tents and has 22 camping sites. The campground offers a comfortable outdoor experience as they provide showers, water and a laundry site! Everything a family could dream of. 

Distance from Portland.  Approximately 1.5 from Portland
Online: wrightsforcamping.com

—Annette Benedetti

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