Camping along the rugged and wild coast of the Pacific Northwest is like a rite-of-passage for those who enjoy the great outdoors. Even for those who are novices at camping and are looking for their first experience sleeping under the stars, few places are more memorable and scenic than pitching a tent near the breakers of the mighty Pacific Ocean. Wandering the beach during the day, sitting in front of a fire, eating smores at night, those of us who are lucky enough to have camping gear have an endless selection of incredible camping. While the Olympic Coast in Washington State has some of the most spectacular coastal camping available along their wild coastline, sticking to the beaches close to Clatsop County will give you stunning sights without the long drive. Keep in mind that most of these will require a reservation over the busy summer months.
We have mentioned Fort Stevens State Park numerous times on outdoor activity lists and for good reason! This state park is one of the biggest state parks in the Pacific Northwest and offers something for everyone. Highlighted by a scenic shipwreck, which might be the most photographed remains of a boat in the world, Fort Stevens is a perfect place to be introduced to camping. With over 300 sites, most of which can accommodate RVs, 15 yurts, 11 cabins and a handful of tent-only sites, all but those seeking absolute solitude can find a great place to camp. Located along both the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, accessed by 9+ miles of hiking trails, staying here is iconic, wonderful and perfect for all ages. What makes this place so great is that it is close to Astoria, so you can still get supplies, even if you left something at home.
Wrights for Camping
Is there anywhere as iconicity Oregon Coast as Cannon Beach? While insanely gorgeous and incredibly popular, there are remarkably few camping opportunities around this gem of a coastal town. Luckily, one campground has been operating in the region since 1959, providing families with a chance to camp near town and the beach. Known as Wright’s for Camping, this quirky and quaint campground is perfect for those looking to sleep in a tent within walking distance of Haystack Rock and a short drive from the trails at Ecola State Park. With just 21 spacious sites, as well as fire rings, showers, laundry, this seasonal camping destination is sure to become a family favorite. If you haven’t yet camped and explored Cannon Beach, put this in your summer adventure plans!
Nehalem Bay State Park
As you travel farther south, you’ll reach another gem of Oregon coast camping, this time at Nehalem Bay State Park. Offering two full miles of sandy shores to walk down, giving glimpses of migratory birds, the occasional whale and numerous seals, camping here is a perfect place to go when you need some coastal beauty in your life. The campground is a short walk through the dunes to the waves, where stunning sunsets and fun days of frolicking occur. At the campground, there are over 260 sites, 18 yurts and 17 primitive sites for bikers and hikers, giving something for everyone. The park also has a 1.8-mile biking path through the forest, giving views of the bay. You can even use a SUP or kayak in the bay, making this a can’t miss recreation destination. For an added bonus, head up to Oswald West State Park for incredible day hikes and wild views!
Barview Jetty County Park
Just north of Tillamook, nestled between the bay and the Pacific, Barview Jetty County Park sports a whopping 293 campsites! The park has hot showers, beach access, places to fish and hike and even wifi (fee-based) for those still hoping to be connected. This campground isn’t as rustic or wild as others listed, but does have plenty of amenities to make the newest of campers feel safe, comfortable and part of society while sleeping under the stars. Open all year long, camping at Barview is the perfect basecamp for all your Oregon coast adventures. For an added treat, drive south, around the bay and explore the scenes and the lighthouse at Cape Mears.
Cape Lookout State Park
Finally, we round out the list with a destination south of Tillamook, along the incredibly scenic Highway 131. Known as Cape Lookout, the campground at this state park is another huge camping area, with nearly 200 campsites, most of which are tent sites, 13 yurts, six cabins and a biker/biker camp. The campground has hot showers and flush toilets, making it ideal for newer campers or those looking to have some more amenities. While the campground is popular in the summer, the area is well worth the need for reservations, giving access to miles of stunning shoreline, including five miles of beach to the north along Netarts sand spit. Further south from here, even more camping with breathtaking views can be found, making this a great first night’s stop on a trip down the Oregon Coast.