The Forest Meets the Ocean at Oregon RV Campgrounds
Oregon’s diverse geography offers RVers a wide assortment of views, terrain, activities, and climates. While camping in Oregon, you can stay on a 5-000 foot high desert plateau, on open prairie grasslands, in dense old growth Douglas Fir forests, in the Willamette Valley near all the urban excitement—or you can camp with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean.
The entire western flank of Oregon is defined by its Pacific coastline. But you still find geographical differences along Oregon’s 338 miles of coastline. From Astoria to Brookings, the surf pounds relentlessly on the beaches, rocks, headlands, and shoreline. It’s all waiting for you to explore.
Where to Find Oregon Coast RV camping
The coast is inviting to visit. Public and private campgrounds all along the coast are ready to make visitors feel welcome. Many of these campgrounds have stunning views of the ocean. Others are a short walk or drive to the beach. The Pacific surf along the Oregon Coast is known for great surfing. Bring your board and wetsuit. After all, the water is cold even during summer.
Many beaches are wide open and waiting to be explored. Even on the busiest holidays they are never crowded like East Coast beaches. There are two areas, one on the southern coast and one along the northern coast. This is where the dunes extend for miles away from the shoreline. Dunes create epic off-road conditions for ATVs. If you don’t have your own sand toys don’t worry. You can join a dunes tour or rent your own equipment.
Tourism is a major industry in Oregon. Coastal communities in particular depend on visitors to bolster their economies. But this region also supports robust logging, a variety of fisheries, and agricultural enterprises.
Southern Oregon Coast RV Camping
In Brookings, at the southern border just a few miles north of California, you’re only a few miles from the most famous stands of Giant Redwoods. There are redwood groves in both Oregon and California. But the most famous of these are on the Redwood Highway in California.
There are many places to explore around Brookings. Don’t missviewpoints to see within the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. Further north, you will also not want to miss the many restaurants and attractions in Coos Bay. This is the largest town on the Oregon Coast.
Bandon Dunes golfing
If golf is your game then you’ll appreciate Bandon, Oregon where you can play 18 holes of golf with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean on any of six world class golf courses. You can practice every stroke in the Practice Center or hone your putting skill on the Punchbowl Putting Greens, then take your game out to any one of these 6-world famous 18-hole courses located outside of Bandon: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trail, Old MacDonald, Sheep Trail, and Bandon Preserve.
When you plan a golf trip to Bandon, be sure to reserve your tee time, since these courses host several tournaments every year. They are amazing golf courses and you can enjoy spectacular views while you golf.
Winchester Bay RV Resort
Winchester Bay RV Resort is another must-see destination. If you can get reservations in this popular resort you will not be disappointed. The park is located on a man-made peninsula that juts out into the Umpqua River. The peninsula creates views from every side and the park is immaculately groomed and appointed.
All sites are paved, and come with 50-amp power, sewer, and water. The sites are directional, so whether you’re camping in a 5th wheel, travel trailer, or motorhome there are sites that maximize your view and your access to hook-ups.
There are opportunities to salmon fish (even from the shore or docks), crab, hike, bike, boat, kayak or play on the dunes. Every site has a fire pit and picnic table and the brisk sea air invites visitors to sit around the campfire and roast some marshmallows.
Christmas Light Extravaganza
Also, if you happen to be on the Southern Oregon Coast in December, plan to visit Shore Acres State Park for their spectacular Christmas light display. This exhibition is Christmas lights on steroids. The park is a lovely botanical garden for the rest of the year, but right after Thanksgiving, hundreds of volunteers show up to decorate every bush, plant, tree, shrub and water feature.
The results are stunning and for a small entrance fee you can walk through the garden, enjoy hot apple cider and cookies in the guest house, and stop by the gift shop on the way out to warm up and buy some souvenirs.
Central Oregon Coast RV Campgrounds
Further north on the Central Coast you’ll find Reedsport, Florence, Yachats, Seal Rock, Waldport, South Beach, Newport, Depoe Bay, and Lincoln City. The drive along the coast gives you spectacular views of the rugged coastline with numerous pull-outs and viewpoints. Many lighthouses on the headlands are visible along this drive and if you’re patient you’ll probably spot several whale spouts as they migrate between Mexico and the Bering Sea.
Sea Lion Caves
While you’re camping on the Oregon Coast, check out the Sea Lion Caves just north of Florence. To view the caves, you’ll need to take an elevator ride down through the rocks to sea level. The elevator doors open right inside the caves where you will see (and smell) hundreds of seals and sea lions loudly jockeying for the best spots on the rocks.
Please note the Sea Lion Caves tours are currently closed due to COVID restrictions.
Depoe Bay is a small town centrally located between Newport and Lincoln City. It is a great place to get fresh salt water taffy and watch for migrating whales. Stop and explore the gift shops along the waterfront and watch for the Spouting Horn where the water comes spraying over the sea wall.
When you’re in Tillamook, plan to stop at the famous Tillamook and watch the cheese-making process from enclosed observation decks overlooking the production areas. Tillamook Ice Cream has no rival, and the long lines at the ice cream counter often include visitors from around the world. The wait is worth it, but if you can’t wait, then pick up a couple of pints for your freezer to enjoy later.
Northern Oregon Coast RV Destinations
There are museums, historic attractions, hiking & biking trails, wildlife viewing, and several public and private campgrounds on the Oregon Coast. A quick search on CampgroundReviews.com will give you more information on each location.
The northern communities of Garibaldi, Rockaway, Wheeler, Nehalem, Cannon Beach, Seaside, Warrington, and Astoria are oceanside communities and all offer excellent cuisine, pastries, seafood, camping, and activities.
The Astoria Column and the Astoria Bridge are landmarks you won’t want to miss and if you’re a Goonies Fan you’ll find the Goonies’ house, the rocks that lined up with the Doubloon, and the beach where the kids were reunited with their folks, all in these northern coast communities.
Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Stevens State Park is located on the northern end of the Oregon Coast. According to Oregon State Parks, it has one of the largest public campgrounds in the U.S. The park has 174 full hookup sites, 302 electrical sites, and 6 tent sites, along with 15 yurts and 11 deluxe cabins.
The park marks the site of an old military installation and still maintains a military museum with year-round displays. There are also beaches and miles of hiking trails to explore. Visit the site of the Peter Iredale Shipwreck where you can still see the rusted bow and masts in the sand.
All of Oregon is spectacular, but the Oregon Coast is so special it was deemed a national treasure in the 1960s, which means no beach can be privatized. All beaches belong to everyone in the whole country and all are open to the public for your enjoyment. Bring your pets and plan to stay for a spell.
Plan your Oregon Coast camping trip
Of course, there are many notable campgrounds and attractions to see while camping on the Oregon Coast. Use the RV LIFE Pro trip planning tools to find more campgrounds and points of interest, as well as RV-safe GPS directions along the way.
Peggy Dent is an author, writer, and full-time RVer, traveling around the US and Canada. She’s traveled more than 130,000 miles in a motorhome, over the past 20 years, and is currently writing for the RV industry. You can contact her through her website at www.APenInYourHand.com
C. Todd says
Note that you can drive out on many Oregon (and Washington) beaches.
Fishing, clamming and crabbing are popular activities.
The Tillamook Cheese Factory and neighboring Blue Heron French Cheese Company are worth the stops.
In nearby Pacific City, they brew and serve wonderful micro brewed ales ( & food) right there in front of the surf.
Thanks for this helpful article!
Pelican Brewery. One of our favorites 🙂
Daniel Larson says
Nice article. What about boondocking opportunities? Just across the Columbia River from Astoria, on the Washington side, is Cape Disapointment, a beautiful campground where Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific.
B Heilander says
Sorry, but it is the Astor Column, not the Astoria Column. Also, Warrenton, Oregon not Warrington.
Actually it is the Astoria Column