NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway,
Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe
Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Summer Cometh: Are you ready?
Camping in High Gear on Oregon Coast
– Oregon tourism's biggest secret is that summer is only beginning
on the coast in September. In fact, the beginning of fall is when
summer weather gets into high gear in this region.
is prime after Labor Day Weekend. The kids are back in school, the
crowds are much less dense - especially during the weekdays, and
the weather is at its warmest and winds are at their least.
It's one of
the more intense pleasures on this shoreline. There’s little
like a night under the stars while roughing it in some backwoodsy
area – but on the coast, with the sound of the surf in the
distance, this a special experience.
From the nearly
upscale delights of the yurts, to campgrounds with showers and other
amenities, to the totally primitive sites: the upper half of Oregon’s
coast offers much in the way of outdoor camping bliss.
Stevens State Park
lost – in history, that is.
enter the park by a six-mile drive after going west off 101 at the
signs – approximately a half-mile south of MP 9. There, you’ll
find incredibly huge park – which is actually the biggest
west of the Mississippi – with the largest number of campsites
on the Oregon coast. There are 173 full hook-up sites, 157 with
water and power, 194 tent and RV sites as well as 15 yurts. Hot
showers and full restrooms add to the outdoor frivolity here.
gunneries once guarded the mouth of the Columbia River, lodged in
huge turrets which rested in sprawling concrete fortresses –
all empty and abandoned now, with gaping holes like sad, hollow
eyes where guns, officers’ quarters and other war machinery
one bend, you'll find Battery Russell and its enormous concrete
bunkers. Built around the turn of the last century, the gunnery
eventually watched for invaders during World War II.
There is also
the wreck of the Peter Iredale here (the most photographed shipwreck
in the world), and the southern jetty of the Columbia River mouth
provides insane spectacle in the realm of wild waves during stormier
times, visible in complete safety from the viewing towers.
Bay State Park
the north end of Nehalem, this sprawling shoreline of nothing but
sand goes on for over two miles. A good two miles down the sand
spit you may find spots to watch seals rather closely.
state campground contains 284 campsites, full toilet systems and
hot showers. Each campground features a picnic table and a fire
pit. There’s also a horse camp with 17 sites and two corrals.
Nehalem and Wheeler comprise the captivating
Nehalem Bay, where numerous incredible restaurants, interesting
shops and other activities await.
Lookout State Park
beauty sits just west of Tillamook, between Oceanside and Pacific
The beach at
this popular park is mostly one immense, sandy stretch, going on
for nearly five miles to the north into Netarts Spit. Parts of the
beach dip steeply into the tide line, causing the waves to crash
loudly and abruptly, then quickly running out of steam and altogether
creating an intense, natural spectacle.
Hiking on the
Netarts Spit is no small feat, but you'll dig the solitude as much
as the opportunity for clam digging. A ways after the two-mile point,
look for paths onto higher dunes for more stunning viewpoints. Along
much of the way, green, mushy marshland follows you to the end of
the spit, where roses, wild strawberries and other plant life delectables
lie on the pathways.
Cape Lookout boasts 191 campsites (two accommodating the disabled),
one electrical site, four group camping areas, a reservable picnic
area, a meeting hall, four yurts, 54 full RV hookup campsites (maximum
30 feet), full restroom and shower facilities as well as a waste
Lookout has a $3 day-use fee. Campsite reservations can be made
at (503) 842-2545.
the Cape Trail and its five-mile loop around the entire cape. It
winds up at the tip of this majestic outcropping where, if the weather
permits, you can catch sight of Cascade Head and Cape Foulweather
- some 40 miles to the south. To the north, you can even see Tillamook
Head - about 42 miles to the north. It's primarily an easy trek
with very little elevation gain. But there are enough uphill stretches
to induce heavy breathing in even the most hardy.
About a half
mile down the Cape Trail - at one of the first railed lookout spots
- there's the Crash Sight Memorial, where a World War II B-17 bomber
slammed into the headland in 1942.
Beach Campground & Dunes
from above (as seen from atop Cape Lookout)
Just south of
Cape Lookout, take Galloway Road (at approximately MP 5) and you’ll
find a place where ATV enthusiasts abound because of the sprawling
dunes - so expansive they are known as the ``Other Dunes on the
Sand Beach is
divided into the East Dunes, the West Winds campground area and
the Fisherman Day-Use area. In between these sections, there are
numerous sandy trails meandering throughout the small, brownish
From Sand Beach
northward, it's a sandy, grassy, dune-covered stretch of about 4
miles until the secretive cove at the bottom of Cape Lookout - and
not much else. But after the first mile it's usually pure solitude
as you leave the roaring ATV's far behind.
Just north of
Pacific City, a small clump of forest lies at the center of this
tiny park, lined by picnic tables, campsites and a lovely view of
the marshy, mushy Sand Lake. There's no beach access here, but it's
a swell spot for boating, fishing, bird watching or just taking
in the sights.
The park is
located on a slightly steep drop just off the side of the road and
you might miss it if you blink. It features a reservable group area
and RV hookups as well.
Beach State Park
to this popular state park and campground is on the east side of
the highway, just south of the southern entrance to the Otter Crest
Loop and the Devil’s Punchbowl.
Some 273 campsites
stuff this popular park, with a beach access via a tunnel underneath
Highway 101. From there, you’ve got a mile and a half of sand
to the north before you reach the Devil’s Punchbowl; to the
south, there’s a whole four miles of beach before you’re
stopped by Yaquina Head.
76 of these
sites have water and electricity, 129 are tent sites, and there
are 53 RV sites. Some even come with cable TV hookups.
beautiful little place is so close to the ocean waves that at some
times of the year it’s prone to flooding and shut down.
Still, 32 campsites
(with water and electricity) and 50 tent sites make this one a regular
family favorite for many. Hot showers, full restrooms and access
to a big, sandy beach help round out the equation for way too much
About a mile
south lies the famed Tillicum campground – and just a ways
from there lie the wonders of Yachats.
At the north
end of Florence, head east,
just after the Alder Dune entrance, and you’ll find Sutton
Lake and its amenities. Six miles of trails crisscross between here,
the beach and Alder Dune Campground. There’s a boat launch,
rest rooms, picnic tables and 80 campsites for both tents and RV’s.
Miles of trails
crisscross here, and you may even be able to spot a black bear.
Vista County Park
within Florence, is one of Oregon’s
lovely little secrets. There are 38 campsites here, spread around
an area which overlooks the north jetty of the Siusilaw River. But
there is a gorgeous little viewpoint looking over that jetty, with
a long but wonderfully convenient pathway leading down to the beaches
there. The pathway even features steps embedded in it most of the
way, making it much easier for the climb back up.