Oregon

Oregon’s 17 Best Lake Camping Destinations

by Arthur McMahon

best lake camping oregon
Wallowa Lake // Photo: Cody Wilson

Oregon is rich with lakeside camping opportunities — the state is full of lakes. Each one has something unique to offer.

No matter which corner of Oregon your travels take you, there is a fantastic lake camping destination worth checking out.

Everywhere from the wet and wild coastline to the canyonlands of the High Desert, Oregon has lakes and reservoirs that are filled with fish, rimmed with hiking trails, and peppered with swimming holes and boat ramps.

Some travelers think that the best Oregon lake campgrounds are loaded with amenities and conveniences, while others prefer their campsites primitive and remote. We think both styles of campgrounds have their benefits, which is why we’ve featured a wide variety of Oregon lake campgrounds for you to peruse.

The Best Lakeside Campgrounds in Oregon

We’ve detailed a number of Oregon’s best lake camping destinations below and separated them into the state’s primary regions to help you find your perfect campsite.

Coastal Lake Campgrounds

While the Oregon Coast may be wet and windy for most of the year, it never freezes. As a result, the coastal lakes are accessible year-round. Swimming may be limited to hot summer days, but fishing, hiking, hunting, and cycling can be enjoyed on these lakes through all four seasons.

Boice Cope Park

Boice Cope County Park Camping
Shore of Floras Lake // Photo: BLM

Why you should go: This campground is adjacent to a lake, a coastal rainforest, and ocean beaches.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: Yes

Situated on the eastern shore of Floras Lake with the Pacific Ocean in clear view, Boice Cope Park is within walking distance to many of the Oregon Coast’s natural attractions. Miles of sandy beaches, acres of temperate rainforest, and rocky coastal cliffs surround this unique lake.

Known as a popular destination for windsurfers and kiteboarders, Floras Lake is often as windy as the blustery Oregon coastline. That’s because it is right on the beach, barely separated from the ocean by a tall sandbar. The wind will die down during dawn and dusk, but it is never silenced for long. Fishers will find trout and bass aplenty in these waters.

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Nightingale’s Fishing Camp

Nightingale's Fishing Camp Oregon
Photo: Nightingale’s Fishing Camp

Why you should go: It’s a fisher’s paradise set on Oregon’s largest coastal lake.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, Cabin
  • RV hookups: Yes

Fishing is the name of the game at Siltcoos Lake, and Nightingale’s Fishing Camp is the ideal place to stay on the lake for anyone looking to cast a lure or two. This lake is famous for its wealth of fish. In these waters, you will find perch, trout, bass, sturgeon, salmon, crappie, bluegill, catfish, and several other freshwater creatures.

This is more than just a fishing camp, though. Swimming, kayaking, and wildlife viewing are also popular activities in the immediate vicinity. Nearby, sandy dunes provide more outdoor recreation fun, and the town of Florence is just down the road along with Three Rivers Casino, the South Jetty Oceanfront, and the popular Sea Lion Caves.

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William M. Tugman State Park

william tugman state park camping
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should go: Divide your time between the awesome lakes and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, Yurt
  • RV hookups: Yes

William M. Tugman State Park is a relatively little known park and campground set on the shore of Eel Lake near the town of Lakeside. Though Eel Lake itself is quite large and full of recreational opportunities, the adjacent Ten Mile Lake is several times larger and much more accessible thanks to its multiple marinas.

Both lakes are outlined by hiking trails and filled with fish. The state park has a boat launch and fishing dock, and the trail at the south end of Eel Lake provides access to plenty of bass fishing locations. Across the highway lies the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area where ATVs, dirt bikes, and dune buggies criss-cross the sandy hillscape from sunrise to sunset.

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Willamette Valley Lake Campgrounds

The Willamette Valley is home to the most accessible lakes in the state. This is where the majority of Oregonians call home. Each of these lakeside campgrounds is only a short drive away from Oregon’s largest cities and the Pacific Northwest’s most traveled interstate highway.

Baker Bay Campground & Marina

dorena lake
Dorena Lake from the Row River Trail // Photo: BLM

Why you should go: Family amenities and plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: No

Summertime is the busiest season at Bake Bay Campground & Marina. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the marina will be bustling with vacationers, the concession stand will certainly be open for business, and the warm temperatures will be ideal for a swim in Dorena Lake.

Aside from the many lake-centric activities to partake in, there are also numerous covered bridges around the lake to explore, as well as the 17-mile paved Row River Bicycle Trail that heads down into the town of Cottage Grove, and there are multiple waterfalls to discover further up Row River Road. The campground is also home to family-friendly activities like a playground, horseshoe pits, and a beach volleyball court.

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Cascara Campground

fall creek reservoir
Fall Creek Reservoir // Photo: Oregon State University

Why you should go: It’s a low-key campground far away from the busy day-use areas around Fall Creek Lake.

  • Reservations accepted: Group Site Only
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: No

Fall Creek Lake is less popular than the neighboring Dexter Reservoir among weekend vacationers, and that’s not a bad thing, especially for those looking to camp at Cascara Campground. This lake has a great day-use swimming area, multiple boat launches, and it is filled by Fall Creek which itself is ripe with unforgettable swimming holes.

This is a bare-bones campground with vault toilets and fire pits, but little else. All sites are first-come-first-served except for the group campsite at Fisherman’s Point which can be reserved. The campground is rarely full, and if it is there are several small campgrounds up Fall Creek which are just as special.

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contractCode=OR&parkId=405228

Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area

Joseph H. Stewart State Park
Lost Creek Reservoir

Why you should go: Enjoy this lakeside respite on its own or use it to explore Crater Lake and beyond.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: Yes

Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area lies on the shores of Lost Creek Lake and serves as a great basecamp for further exploration into the Southern Oregon Cascades. The campground is situated between the city of Medford and Crater Lake National Park. It would be a 45-minute drive to either destination from your campsite.

The park hosts a marina, an expansive day-use area swimming beach, and family play areas. There are weekend summer programs put on by the state parks department where rangers teach visitors about local wildlife, geology, and history. Tours are given on some weekends, and there are 11 miles of lakeside trails to explore.

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Richardson Park

Richardson Park Campground
Fern Ridge Reservoir at Kirk Park, near the Richardson Park Campground // Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should go: Hang out on the shoreline of Fern Ridge Reservoir near the city of Eugene.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: Yes

Fern Ridge Reservoir is a popular destination for watersport enthusiasts, fishing, birdwatchers, and cyclists. Richardson Park is the largest park managed by the Lane County Parks Department. It boasts an 8,000 square-foot picnic shelter with seating for 300, a 212-slip marina, and an outdoor amphitheater among many other amenities.

The park is regularly hosting events like races and fishing tournaments. There is WiFi on site, full electric RV hookups, a swimming area, showers, play equipment, and concessions during the summer.

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Sunnyside Park

sunnyside park oregon
Photo: Linn County Parks & Recreation

Why you should go: Camp with access to two large lakes near the town of Sweet Home.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: Yes

Sunnyside Park has it all. The feature-rich campground is set on the banks of Foster Reservoir, and only a few minutes away is the even larger Green Peter Lake. Fishing is popular at both destinations, but the campground itself has two stocked fishing ponds that are perfect for teaching the youngins how to catch a trout.

Other amenities include full RV hookups, an off-leash dog area, and boat moorage.  McDowell Creek County Park is a few minutes down the road where miles of trails leading to breathtaking waterfalls can be found. There’s something fun here for everyone in your family.

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Cascade Range Lake Campgrounds

There are too many alpine lakes in the Cascade Range to include in this article. Here, we’ve listed some of the finest lakeside campgrounds you’ll find in Oregon’s Cascade mountains, and they’re all surrounded by many more lakes and campgrounds that are also worth exploring.

Crane Prairie Campground

Crane Prairie Reservoir
Photo: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

Why you should go: Visit this large alpine lake and enjoy the sky-high mountain views.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: No

Set on the east shore of one of the largest lakes in the Oregon Cascades, Crane Prairie Campground features several camping loops and is surprisingly rich with amenities. The campground features paved roads and a pressurized water system. Next door, the RV resort provides a public shower area and has a small grocery store.

There is fishing aplenty to be had on this lake. Kokanee salmon, mountain whitefish, and rainbow trout are just a few of the species swimming in the water. This area is along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway which weaves through dozens of alpine lakes both large and small, and passes by numerous campgrounds, hiking trails, and Mt. Bachelor.

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Detroit Lake State Recreation Area

detroit lake oregon
Photo: Sheila Sund

Why you should go: Ample amenities and disability-friendly campsites less than an hour outside of Salem.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: Yes

Detroit Lake State Recreation Area is one of the most popular lakeside campgrounds in the entire state. This campground alone has 300 campsites, all of which get reserved quickly, and there are several other campgrounds located around this lake that can fill up just as fast.

That’s because Detroit Lake is a wonderful destination for all kinds of watersports and lake activities. There is a visitor center on site with snacks, souvenirs, and firewood. The snow-capped peak of Mt. Jefferson looms in the background and there are plenty of nearby access roads that lead off into the surrounding wilderness areas.

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Diamond Lake Campground

diamond lake
Photo: Charles Wollertz

Why you should go: Camp next to a High Cascade lake just outside of Crater Lake National Park.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: Dump

Diamond Lake Campground is a dual-purpose campground. This lake itself is a wonderfully serene place set between the tall peaks of Mt. Bailey and Mt. Thielsen. The campground is well-maintained, and the adjacent resort has a small grocery store and offers boat rentals.

On the other hand, this campground also serves as a fantastic place to stay for those wishing to visit Crater Lake National Park which lies 15 minutes down the road. Whichever lake draws your fancy, this campground is a great place to stay.

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Lost Lake Resort and Campground

lost lake mt hood
Mount Hood towers over Lost Lake

Why you should go: Treat yourself to the most glorious lakeside glamping experience in Oregon.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, Cabin, Lodge
  • RV hookups: Dump

There is arguably no lakeside camping experience more amenity-rich, or with a better view, than Lost Lake Resort and Campground. There are no electrical RV hookups, which is a downer for the amenity list, but, aside from that minor inconvenience, this place has everything you could ever ask for.

This iconic lake is obscenely photogenic when the weather cooperates. Mount Hood’s famous peak rises high above the lodgepole pines that surround the lake, reflecting in the mirror-like waters for a double dose of mountain goodness. You’ll have access to lake activities and everything that Mount Hood has to offer from backcountry trails to year-round ski slopes.

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Trapper Creek Campground

odell lake camping
Shore of Odell Lake // Photo: Gerardo Martinez

Why you should go: Camp at beautiful Odell Lake next to the amenities of Shelter Cover Resort.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: No

Odell Lake is sandwiched between the volcanic mountains of Diamond Peak and Maiden Peak. It’s a wild and scenic location that’s conveniently adjacent to a major highway, yet it is surrounded by such verdant and lush forest that you’ll feel as if you were in an Alaskan wilderness.

Trapper Creek Campground is on the southwest end of the lake next to the modest Shelter Cover Resort. The Pacific Crest Trail passes nearby leading south into Diamond Peak Wilderness and north to the Willamette Pass Resort Ski Area. There a small grocery store and boat marina at the resort.

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Eastern Oregon Lake Campgrounds

Spread far and wide across Oregon’s high desert region, the remote lakes of Eastern Oregon are oases that attract droves of people and wildlife to their scenic beauty. These are special, out of the way places that are certainly worth the long drives to their distant shores.

Lake Owyhee State Park

Colorful rock formations at Lake Owyhee.

Why you should go: Lake Owyhee is a remote oasis that is unlike anywhere else in Oregon.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, Cabin
  • RV hookups: Yes

Lake Owyhee is a desert canyon reservoir offering views and experiences far different than most anywhere else in all of the Pacific Northwest. This is Oregon’s High Desert at its finest, and Lake Owyhee State Park is the best place to camp to take in all that this far-removed destination provides.

The reservoir is a 53-mile long lake with great warmwater fishing opportunities and endless sights, many of which can only be accessed by boat. The campground has full RV hookups, including a dump station, and there is a fish cleaning station as well. Water is provided April through October. There is no cellphone service and no on-site payphones. Park hosts may be unavailable for long periods of time.

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Paulina Lake Campground

paulina lake oregon
Paulina Peak reflected in Paulina Lake // Photo: Sveta Imnadze

Why you should go: Experience the volcanic glory of the Eastern Cascades not far from Bend.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: Water only

One of the most popular destinations in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Paulina Lake Campground is a hub for explorers visiting the volcanic landscape. Several hiking trails leave from the campground, venturing off around the lake, down Paulina Creek toward picturesque waterfalls, and up Newberry Volcano.

Visitors can also drive up to Paulina Peak for vast panoramic views that take in the endless desert landscape, the distant city of Bend, and the notorious Three Sisters mountains. There’s the lake, too, of course, which also can be fun to splash around in. Don’t miss the chance to walk through a lava tube before your trip is at its end!

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Prineville Reservoir State Park

Prineville Reservoir
Late afternoon at Prineville Reservoir.

Why you should go: Choose from amenity-rich deluxe log cabins to primitive solo campsites, and everything in between.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, Cabin
  • RV hookups: Yes

Prineville Reservoir State Park is a popular weekend camping and fishing destination for residents of the Bend-Redmond area. There are deluxe log cabins that can be rented, full RV hookup sites, accessible tent sites, and numerous primitive sites that are scattered around the lake.

The reservoir is filled with jet skis and party boats throughout the warmer months of the year. Fishing is a year-round activity on the lake and can be especially rewarding in the winter months. A large island called Big Bend rests in the middle of the lake where you can find your own private beach to relax upon.

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Wallowa Lake State Park

Wallowa Lake camping
Photo: Mark Paulson

Why you should go: Far-removed from the rest of the state, this lake is a hidden gem that is worth the road trip.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, Yurt
  • RV hookups: Yes

Wallowa Lake State Park is home to crystal clear waters and snow-capped granite peaks. It is a magical place that is steeped in Native American history. The lake and campground once belong to the Nez Perce indigenous people before it was taken away, and markers such as the Old Chief Joseph Gravesite at the north end of the lake serve as a reminder of the devastation wrought by settlers at this beautiful place.

Now, there is a mountain-scaling sky tram, go-kart track, and miniature golf course to enjoy in the area. Make no mistake, the natural beauty of this wondrous place is something that your eyes need to see, and your soul needs to feel, but your heart and mind should also understand that hatred, violence, and greed made this lavish outdoor wonderland the resort-like experience that it is today.

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