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Oregon is full of excellent camping opportunities from the coast to the mountains and offers many campgrounds that compete for the best in the country year after year. Many of the campgrounds listed below offer the comforts of home while enjoying the outdoors. Others provide little more than a place to pitch a tent while taking in the solitude and beautiful views of the Northwestern United States. In either case, there is an Oregon campground that is sure to make your next camping excursion a memorable one.
With oceanfront views located in the Siuslaw National Forest, Cape Perpetua offers 37 tent sites where campers can enjoy coastal views from the cape, a small beach, tons of tidal pools, and large Sitka spruce trees. Far enough off the US 101, campers here can enjoy the serenity of the Oregon coast from anywhere at this popular camping destination.
Located in the Cascade foothills on the site of an early mountain retreat, this campground is unique because of its historic location. Although the Geisendorfer Hotel is long gone, the site still has a nostalgic feel and even has ancient rock art that can be viewed on a ranger-guided tour of the area. Other attractions include Lower Soda Creek Falls and old wagon roads that predate US 20.
For a primitive campground at one of Oregon’s most popular wildflower hikes, look no further than the Saddle Mountain trailhead. Located about 10 miles inland from the beach, many hikers enjoy day hikes in the area in late spring and early summer, but the convenient location of these campsites shouldn’t be overlooked during a longer stay.
Moving south along the coast, South Beach State Park is located just south of Newport and provides campers with easy beach access. One of the activities that this campground is best known for is the guided paddle trip along the Beaver Creek estuary.
Located in Seaside, OR, this campground provides an assortment of modern amenities including an indoor pool, sauna, tennis court, laundromat, exercise room, and a playground. Seaside Preserve is located near Seaside’s numerous attractions and is close to the Natural Wonders of the Northern Oregon Coast. This campground is usually very busy – campers looking for solitude probably won’t find it at Seaside Preserve.
Situated on 500 acres near Florence, Jessie Honeyman Memorial State Park provides campers with access to three lakes and sand dunes nearly 500 feet high. Fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking trails are all available at this location. There is also plenty to do in neighboring coastal areas such as the towns of Florence and Newport. Miles of sand dunes are nearby in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
For those looking to get well away from civilization, Head of the River Campground is nestled deep within the Fremont-Winema National Forest. The campsites are situated around the head of the Williamson River gushes out of the ground (similar to the Metolius River located in central Oregon).
Near Christmas Valley, in the Lakeview BLM district, lies Green Mountain Campground. This campground is actually located on top of Green Mountain and provides views of a 10,000 square mile wilderness area. For the best views, campers should take short hike to the active fire lookout on the western peak and a gravel quarry on the east peak. The campsites themselves are nestled in a saddle between the peaks and are protected by large juniper trees.
This campground gets very busy and sites are only available on a first come, first served basis so arriving early is essential during peak season. Located within a short hike of Oregon’s most famous tourist attraction, campers can experience the awe-inspiring sight of Crater Lake while enjoying the modern amenities of this popular camping spot.
Another iconic attraction in Oregon is the Mount Hood National Forest. Located along the Salmon River, this well-equipped campground has hundreds of sites and exclusive access to remote areas of the National Forest and the Salmon River. Nearby Government Camp provides a more primitive camping experience in the same area. In fact, there are 86 campgrounds within the Mount Hood area and many are worth checking out.
Located right on the John Day River, this campground doesn’t offer a lot of amenities on site but makes up for it with excellent fishing and access to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (a fascinating area created by volcanic activity millions of years ago). Plenty of day hiking opportunities also exist in the area.
In close proximity to Grants Pass, the City of Grants Pass, and the Oregon Caves National Monument, Valley of the Rogue State Park is definitely worth checking out. The caves attract thousands of tourists every year and the campsite is well-equipped with amenities and activities to keep everyone entertained.
Six miles west of Hood River, Viento State Park is a pretty basic campground in the forest along the Viento Creek. Although the campground doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities, its proximity to the Hood River makes it a campsite worth checking out. Windsurfing, geological formations, and wineries are all nearby this area which also includes a natural wind tunnel.
Facing the bay along the southern Oregon coast, Sunset Bay State Park is quiet and located near many of the southern coast’s top attractions including Cape Arago, Shore Acres State Park, and the South Slough National Estuarian Research Reserve. The campground offers many modern amenities while still allowing guests to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Located eight miles south of Paisley, Marsters Spring is a small campground along the Chewaucan River. The river carries snowmelt to Abert Lake in the spring and overall the site is very secluded and quiet. In nearby Paisley Cave, the oldest human DNA on the Western Hemisphere was recently discovered; indicating that people have been camping this area for over 14,000 years.
This is one of the only campgrounds managed by the Oregon State Park system that is free but that is probably due to the fact that the campground is so remote. Located 40 miles south of Nyssa in the Malheur County desert, this small campground is situated next to Succor Creek; the only water source in this otherwise dry area of the state. A large cottonwood grove provides shade while still allowing for an excellent view of the cliffs on either side of the creek.
Nestled along the western slopes of the Cascades in the Willamette National Forest, Cove Creek sits on the shore of Detroit Lake and is surrounded by large trees to create a secluded atmosphere for visitors. Hiking trails weave throughout the area and provide many beautiful views of the forest and the campground is equipped with many modern amenities to make the stay comfortable for the entire family.
Containing the country’s northernmost naturally occurring redwood trees and located along the north bank of the Chetco Rover, Loeb State Park offers plenty of activities including a 1.2 mile hiking trail that weaves through the redwood forest. Another nice thing about this campground is that the weather is often warmer and sunnier than many popular southern coast destinations.
Thirteen miles south of Bend, Bend/Sun River Preserve offers plenty of amenities and an excellent location along the Little Deschutes River. Spread over 283 acres, the campground is quite large and includes rental yurts and cottages in addition to plenty of premium tent sites. From fishing to whitewater rafting, the Preserve is within minutes of some of the state’s best outdoor recreation areas.
This 900-acre campground is located along the shores of Lost Creek Lake just north of Medford. Boating, fishing, and hiking opportunities are available here and the campground is located at the entrance to the Rogue River National Forest. Many visitors enjoy participating in a popular rafting trip down the Rogue River.
Next time you’re planning a trip to Oregon, make sure you check out these campgrounds when you go. While camping is almost always an enjoyable experience, choosing the right campground can make the difference between a fond memory and a camping disaster.
Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival skills. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.