Beach camping in Oregon?
June 24, 2013 9:59 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of driving down to Oregon (from BC) this coming weekend. I'd like to camp somewhere near the ocean, preferably within walking distance of a beach. Recommendations?

I don't have many criteria. I'll be by myself, driving and sleeping in a tent. I'd prefer somewhere with some privacy and peace & quiet, not a communal campground with a party around the campfire. I'd really like to be on the ocean, but other ideas are welcome.

I don't need any fancy facilities (I can purify my own water if necessary, though potable water would be nice), but I'll be driving a rental car and don't want to go too far off the beaten track. It would be nice to be able to book in advance so I don't have to worry about driving down and all the sites being full.

I've never camped in Oregon before so I don't know the first thing about where I should be looking.

Any ideas? Have I left things too late to find a spot for this coming weekend? Thanks in advance.
posted by no regrets, coyote to Travel & Transportation around Oregon (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Try out Nehalem Bay! I just camped there for the first time the first week of June and it was fantastic. Beautiful dunes, free showers, water freely available.

While you're there, you could also drive up the road a piece and check out Oswald West State Park, which has surfers and a waterfall that comes down onto the beach.

Also: if you stay at Nehalem, you're not far off from Cannon Beach, Tillamook, and Astoria, all of which have some great things to see and do. Think The Goonies and cheese and ice cream.
posted by Temeraria at 10:15 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I haven't been there in years and years, but the campground at Humbug Mountain State Park sounds like it meets your criteria. Very close to the beach, but may be too populated for you, depending on what you're looking for.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:20 AM on June 24, 2013

I love Beverly Beach on the coast, since it's near Newport and there is lots to do there. It fills up fast though, but call ahead and there might be some tent-only spots.
posted by mathowie at 10:37 AM on June 24, 2013

My favorite is Cape Lookout State Park. I camped there many times when I lived in Oregon. We'd camp, go to breakfast in Pacific City if we didn't cook it at the campsite, and hike the point during the day (sometimes climbing down, but that's not really allowed) followed by a driftwood bonfire (if allowed) at night.

Do NOT camp at Sand Lake unless you like four wheeling and being kept up all night by loud two stroke engines and rednecks.

You can reserve online by clicking on the link above. There's a search that will help you find available dates. Unfortunately, I don't see anything available at campgrounds that I know during the weekend that you're talking about.

One thing you should be aware of is that you should bring outerwear for all seasons. Even though it's "summer", last weekend friends who were camping near Canon Beach were wearing sweaters and raincoats.
posted by SpecialK at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks folks! Lots to look into.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 4:39 PM on June 24, 2013

Sunset Bay State Park has some great beachfront camping and miles of trails along the coast, although I have not tried the unimproved sites. At the far end of the Sunset Bay / Shore Acres park complex are some pretty amazing tidal pools, although I believe it is a little late in the year to see them in full bloom.

Also, Honeyman State Park. It's not on the coast, but it is in the middle of an amazing dune system with several freshwater lakes that are great to swim in during the summer. Particularly, Cleawox lake is great this time of year. The main area gets crowded, but you can hike to secluded spots on the far side of the lake or up in the dunes. I once brought a sleeping bag onto the dunes and slept under the stars. Which is prohibited by official park policy, but I did have a properly reserved camp site in the main area and no one checks, so whatever. You will, unfortunately, hear ATVs from the nearby ATV park, and the main camping areas are a little rowdier during ATV season. Beautiful, beautiful dunes though.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 5:13 PM on June 24, 2013

Seconding Cape Lookout State Park. Absolutely beautiful beach (the beaches in that area in general are just amazing), and the campground is very nice too.
posted by gerstle at 6:58 PM on June 24, 2013

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