Oregon

Coastal Camping: The Best Campgrounds on the Oregon Coast

by Arthur McMahon

oregon coast camping

The Oregon Coast is where the forest meets the sea. Who wouldn’t want to camp here?

Nearly 400 miles of beach graces the Oregon shoreline, and all of it is public land. There are a number of high-quality campgrounds dotted along the length of the Oregon Coast — far too many to detail in a single article — which is why we’re showcasing some of the best campsites you can find.

Travelers from all over the world come to visit the rugged Oregon Coast, many for a weekend getaway, and some traveling the entire distance from the California border to the mouth of the Columbia River.

RV enthusiasts and cross-country bicyclists often travel the ocean-hugging length of the coastal highway, backpackers seek to conquer the Oregon Coast Trail, and weekend travelers sometimes just want to escape the mid-summer heat of the Willamette Valley.
 
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Whatever your reason for visiting or wherever you’re from, there’s a piece of beach with your name on it. All you’ve got to do is find it.

Below we’ve broken down the Oregon Coast into its three primary sections and detailed our favorite campgrounds in each.

South Coast

Harris Beach State Park

harris beach state park
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should camp here: Bird watching galore across wave-smashed sea stacks and the Oregon coast’s largest island.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV, yurt
  • RV hookups: Full

Flush with marine life and sea birds, Harris Beach State Park is a wildlife lover’s paradise. Resident harbor seals, sea lions, and coastal birds are joined by seasonal visitors such as gray whales and migratory birds when the weather is right.

This large campground features over 150 camping sites fitted with all of the standard amenities including hot showers and universal access sites.

Rare birds such as the tufted puffin make their nests on the inaccessible islands just off the coast. Bring your binoculars to catch all of this magnificent marine life in action.

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Indian Creek Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Access to both the wild Rogue River and Pacific shoreline.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV
  • RV hookups: Full

Within walking distance to Port of Gold Beach, the sandy shoreline, and the southern bank of the Rogue River, Indian Creek Campground is an ideal place to stay for those interested in coastal activities and world-class fishing.

The Rogue River is renowned for its incredible fishing opportunities and scenic beauty. Mailboat rides are a fun family activity near the campground, offering a variety of fun trips upstream. Hop aboard a mailboat for a river excursion you won’t soon forget.

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Humbug Mountain State Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Protected campsites nestled under the protective slopes of Humbug Mountain.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV
  • RV hookups: Full

If summer winds and winter storms get you down but you still want to spend a weekend on the coast, plan your trip around Humbug Mountain State Park.

The large coastal mountain and surrounding forested hills provide comforting protection from the ocean-borne elements. The camp is only a minute’s drive from both the shoreline and Humbug Mountain Trail.

Adventurous types will enjoy scuba diving and windsurfing, and families can drive a few miles down the road to the fossil-strewn Prehistoric Gardens.

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Boice Cope Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Watch or join the acrobatic windsurfers on Floras Lake, then go for a stroll on the beach.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV, yurt
  • RV hookups: Full

This full-featured campground boasts laundry facilities, showers, and WiFi. Your lakeside stay is benefitted by its immediate proximity to awesome hiking trails and ocean beaches.

From creeks cutting through the beachgrass to cliffside views of crashing waves and agate hunting on the shoreline, Boice Cope Park has a complete Oregon coast experience all wrapped up in a neat little package.

Paved roads and a groomed lawn help to keep the campground clean and accessible. Finding the perfect spot to pitch your tent has never been simpler.

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Bullards Beach State Park

Bullards Beach State Park
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should camp here: Miles of sandy beach and a historic lighthouse to explore.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV
  • RV hookups: Full

Make your reservations early because Bullards Beach State Park rarely has vacated camping spots during the popular summer months.

Set back from the shoreline under a weathered forest of shore pines, the campground is well protected from the worst of nature’s fury. Well-constructed yurts provide additional shelter options for those who prefer more space and further protection from gusting winds.

The Coquille River Lighthouse is the main attraction of the park, and visitors love to explore the beach, forest, and marshland along the park’s numerous trails.

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Sunset Bay Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Excellent swimming, cliffside trails, and epic sunsets.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV, yurt
  • RV hookups: Full

Sunset Bay and Shore Acres State Park are among the most scenic locations on the entire Oregon Coast. The rocky shoreline is fun to explore, and unreachable spots are often covered in sunbathing seals.

The campground resides right off the shores of Sunset Bay where the tides have a dramatic effect on the water level, uncovering tidepools rich with colorful sea life at low tide and creating shallow wading waters when the tide is high.

Neighboring Shore Acres State Park is a gem, and the nearby town of Charleston is oozing with seaside character. Crabbing, fishing, and clamming are fun activities that can be had in town.

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Central Coast

Sutton Campground

Sutton Campground
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should camp here: Spend your morning at the lake and your afternoon scaling the Alder Dunes.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV
  • RV hookups: Water and electric

Situated between Sutton Lake and the Alder Dunes, which tower over the crashing ocean waves, Sutton Campground is host to ample outdoor recreation opportunities.

Boating and fishing are popular activities at Sutton Lake. Hikers can choose from several different trails that travel around the lake or toward the dunes and shoreline. Flush with fruiting huckleberries, flowering rhododendrons, and coastal trees like wax myrtle and shore pines, the trails are an adventure all to themselves.

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Rock Creek Campground

Rock Creek Campground
Photo: David Fulmer

Why you should camp here: Saturate yourself within a coastal rainforest that drips with dew from the branches of spruce and Douglas fir.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping
  • RV hookups: No

A small campground with a big draw, Rock Creek Campground offers anglers, beachcombers, and mushroom hunters a deep forest respite that’s just off the beaten path.

The temperate rainforests of the Oregon coast are but a few steps away from the state’s sandy shores and swaying beach grass. Here, Rock Creek and its campground exist in a unique ecosystem that heavily contrasts the adjacent shoreline.

Green beyond green, and damp beyond damp, visitors here will learn the true nature of Oregon’s coastline.

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Cape Perpetua Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Go whale watching and learn something new at the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, summer
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV
  • RV hookups: Water

Protected by a veil of Sitka spruce and alder trees on the banks of Cape Creek, Cape Perpetua Campground offers a relaxed experience that’s only a short walk from the power of the ocean.

A modest hike connects the campground to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center where friendly guides will point out visible marine life and assist with whale watching during peak seasons. A variety of short films about the area can be watched in the amphitheater.

Nearby Heceta Beach and the coastal town of Waldport are prime places to visit in the area.

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Whalers Rest RV Camping

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Amenities galore provide a luxurious experience just off the shore.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV, cabins
  • RV hookups: Full

Whalers Rest RV Camping is a full-fledged camping resort that strives to keep its visitors entertained with activities like disc golf, mini-golf, and tennis, all available on location.

Additional features such as an indoor pool and business center go a long way to making your stay as comfortable as possible. You’ll never have to drive into town for supplies, and with amenities this rich, you may even want to skip the trip to the beach.

The list goes on with more uncommon amenities such as an on-site chapel, manicured garden, and fenced dog park. This is how you vacation on the coast without sacrificing the comforts of home.

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Beverly Beach State Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Wide open beaches and a family-oriented campground.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV, yurt
  • RV hookups: Full

More than 200 separated camping locations are centered around a meeting hall, children’s playground, and visitor’s center, all of which is tucked under a towering canopy of thick coastal forest at Beverly Beach State Park.

Walk out of the campground following Spencer Creek and under a bridge to access the expansive sands of Beverly Beach. This sandy shoreline is perfect for kite flying, fossil finding, and surfing.

Down the road in the town of Newport, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area are popular attractions that are full of fun and information.

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Wapiti RV Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: A warm and peaceful respite away from the windy beaches and highway tourists.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV
  • RV hookups: Water and electric

The large RV parking area and wide-open grass field of Wapiti RV Park resides a couple of miles up Drift Creek just south of Lincoln City. The roads are quiet here in the beginnings of the backcountry where only the locals roam.

Wapiti RV Park has several gazebos, showers, and a large picnic shelter on location. Otherwise, this rustic campground leaves you to explore the surrounding natural area or venture into the nearby towns of Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, and Newport.

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North Coast

Webb County Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: A great value camping option with dozens of resident bunnies hopping around.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV
  • RV hookups: Water and electric

An uncluttered and clean campground with low prices, this little county campground is a cozy place to spend a night under the stars and a day at the beach.

The tiny coastal town of Pacific City is within walking distance, as is a dory landing beach area and an enormous sand dune. The Pelican Brewery is a standout gathering and eating spot within the vicinity of all of these awesome attractions, just a short trek from Webb County Campground.

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West Winds Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: An off-road haven for those who enjoy tackling mighty sand dunes.

  • Reservations accepted: No
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping
  • RV hookups: None

West Winds Campground is primarily an off-highway vehicle (OHV) campground for those itching to tear through some sand with their dune buggies, ATVs, and dirt bikes.

Camping with a tent is possible, but you’d be better off towing your camper along. The camping areas are paved, and the beachgrass doesn’t make for great tent sites.

Ocean beaches and Sand Lake are within walking distance, but you’ll have your ATV with you, so why would you walk?

Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout State Park
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should camp here: Beachcombing often nets some interesting results on this sandspit between the ocean and Netarts Bay.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV, yurt, cabin
  • RV hookups: Full

This is the place where people who love to walk will love to camp. Notorious as a stretch of beach where glass floats and other oceanic treasures can be found, Cape Lookout is popular among the beachcombing community.

Over eight miles of nature trails through old-growth forest and over sand dunes head off from the campground. Paragliders and hang gliders can be seen soaring the skies on fair weather days.

There are over 200 campsites, more than a dozen yurts, and several deluxe cabins to choose from.

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Nehalem Bay State Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Wildlife galore on the beach and adjacent forested biking trails.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV, yurt
  • RV hookups: Water and electric

Similar in layout and atmosphere to Cape Lookout State Park, the campground at Nehalem Bay State Park also resides on a sand spit that juts out into the ocean, but this spot is a little more remote and in tune with the wildlife which lives around it.

Shorebirds often grace the nearby beach. They’re easy to spot, but beaches will be closed during snowy plover nesting season to protect the fragile birds. Deer and elk can be spotted grazing by those who venture out onto the bike trails through the forest.

Kayak tours and beach horseback rides are popular activities in the area.

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Wrights For Camping

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: A unique experience at a small, family-owned and operated campground.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping
  • RV hookups: None

Cannon Beach is a magical place on Oregon’s coast with a lot of history and awesome ocean scenery, making it an extremely popular tourist destination.

There are a number of large RV resorts in the area, but Wrights for Camping isn’t one of those. This is a small campground that has been managed by the Wright family since they first opened it in 1959.

You’ll be greeted and welcomed like an old friend by the Wright family, who still run the daily operations of this seasonal campground. Rest easy under the tall pines, and clean yourself up in the bathhouse after a long day at the beach.

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Fort Stevens State Park Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Spend a night on the grounds of Fort Stevens, a historic military defense site on the Oregon coast.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tents, car camping, RV, yurt, cabin
  • RV hookups: Full

Fort Stevens State Park Campground has nearly 500 campsites and a wide selection of yurts and cabins for rent. Expect throngs of tourists thanks to the campground’s proximity to Portland, but with so many campsites and expansive grounds there’s plenty of room to share.

Area highlights include the historic fort, an old shipwreck, fresh and saltwater swimming, beachcombing, and hiking trails. At the military museum, you’ll find displays detailing Fort Steven’s history from the Civil War all the way up to World War II.

Around the bend, the city of Astoria sits on the banks of the mouth of the Columbia River where it spills into the Pacific Ocean.

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Plan Your Oregon Coast Trip

Planning a trip to the Oregon Coast? We’ve put together a list of 12 Essential Things to Do & See while you’re there. Here’s our picks for the 25 Best Hikes on the Oregon Coast.

If you’re looking to vacation a little more lavishly, take a look at these 20 Gorgeous Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals and 12 Oregon Coast Cabin Rentals.

Side note: If you visit Tony’s Crab Shack in Bandon, tell Tony that his nephew says hi.

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