Free Camping On The Oregon Coast
If you are looking for dispersed camping on the Oregon coast, there are several opportunities available. Free camping is available outside of coastal state parks and outside of certain city limits.
These spots tend to be remote and hard to access. Campers should take care to note where high tide is and keep their tents well away from the shoreline.
Carl G Washburne State Park
Washburne is located on the east side of Highway 101 with a buffer of native plants and trees between you and the highway. The campsites are spacious and are available on a first come first served basis except for the two yurts which are reservable. There are several trails of varying difficulty leading from the campsites to the beach, wildlife viewing areas, and second-growth forests.
A walking trail leads you under the highway to a five-mile sandy beach and a day-use area, where youll find space to watch whales, hunt agates, beachcomb, and picnic. Another trail connects you to the Heceta Head trail, which you can use to reach the historic Heceta Head lighthouse.
In the campground at night, you can hear the pounding surf. There is a creek running through the campground, and elk have been known to wander through. Wild rhododendrons bloom in spring.
Amazing Oregon Coast Campgrounds To Stay At
The coast of Oregon is known for its pristine beaches, natural wildlife and rich history. Its also known for the famous Oregon Coast Trail in which travelers, hikers, and adventurous wanderers enjoy. So why not add camping to the list? Have you ever enjoyed a seaside campground before? Let me tell you: You are missing out if youve never experienced an Oregon Coast campground!
Picture yourself nestled underneath the stars and the slow, steady sound of ocean waves lulling you to a sweet nights slumber. This is what its like to camp on the coast. Whether you prefer to camp in a tent or an RV, the Oregon Coast has campgrounds dotted up and down the 360-mile stretch of coastline.
I have compiled a list of incredible camping grounds along the Oregon coastline. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list! Oregon has seaside campgrounds GALORE. However, take a peek at the ones mentioned here and YOU plan your next adventure underneath the stars!
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Oregon & Other North West Us States
Management: Public Bureau of Land Management:
The road in is Dirt and 0.5 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 Oregon free camping sites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 14 at Juniper Knoll Road / Wagontire BLM. This was nothing but a wide spot along a dirt road that was about 1/2 mile off of 395. It is near a dot on the map named Wagontire and about 60 miles southwest of Burns, Oregon. The road is suitable for a 2 wheel-drive van or truck camper under 25 but not a trailer.
Cape Lookout State Park Campground
Where Whiskey Creek Road becomes Cape Lookout, is a monster campground with 170 tent sites and 35 full-hookup sites. You will find Cape Lookout State Park by traveling an hour and a half west of Portland, through the gorgeous Wilson River pass. Along your travels, you can stop for waterfalls, incredible views, and also some great fishing along the pass.
Cape Lookout offers easy access to the beach and a perfect view of the ocean. If you love to hike, you will find eight miles of hiking and walking trails through a lush old-growth forest. The campground also offers 13 yurts, six deluxe cabins, 2 group tent camping sites, hot showers and toilets, and one electrical site with water. If you need firewood they do offer it here for sale also.
Two campsites and one cabin are accessible to campers with disabilities. Nine yurts and one cabin have ramp access but are not ADA-compliant.
Nestled between the ocean and the bay, Nehalem Bay State Park is situated on a 4 mile long sand spit. Located 86 miles west of Portland along the north Oregon Coast, Nehalem Bay State Park features a campground, two day-use areas and a variety of activities for the whole family.
Cape Lookout State Park can be reached by traveling an hour and a half west of Portland through the scenic Wilson River pass. Along the way stop and enjoy waterfalls, scenic views, and some great fishing.
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Where Is Dispersed Camping Allowed In Oregon
Oregon is flush with exceptional public land, beautiful forests, and nearly endless wilderness. Much of this land is open to dispersed camping as long as you follow the rules and regulations in place. As with most Western States, the two largest land owners that permit dispersed camping in Oregon are the United States Forest Services as well as the Bureau of Land Management . Both of these agencies oversee hundreds of thousands of acres of public land that is open to dispersed camping.
In addition, Oregon has a robust network of State Forests that also often permit dispersed camping.
Find an overview of each of the different dispersed camping options in Oregon below:
US Forest Service Dispersed Camping in Oregon
Our first recommendation for finding dispersed camping in Oregon is to contact the local Ranger District for one of Oregons 10 National Forests. These federally protected lands are located throughout the state and span the breadth of ecosystems and landscapes that make Oregon an outdoor lovers paradise. Youre almost always sure to find great dispersed campsites in any of these national forests.
Rules and regulations are generally consistent surrounding dispersed camping from one forest to the next, but we always recommend that you to check the rules in the forest you plan to camp in.
Oregons 10 National Forests are listed below along with a link to the dispersed camping guidelines for each:
Bureau of Land Management Dispersed Camping in Oregon
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Space is a particular place. One of many largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes on the planet, the stark, mist-shrouded views of dunes, forests, and ocean in such shut proximity to at least one other are uncommon and hauntingly lovely.
Many vegetation and animals, together with some present in a few different locations, name this space residence.
In 1972, Congress designated this 31,500-acre portion of the Siuslaw National Forest as a National Recreation Space in recognition of its distinctive values. Be taught extra concerning the geology of the dunes right here.
A journey and solitude await! Among the many tree islands, open dunes, wetlands, and seashores you will discover Off Freeway Automobile driving , climbing, paddling, wildlife viewing, birding, tenting, picnicking, sand play the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Space has all of it.
Throughout snowy plover nesting season we coordinate with Oregon State parks and beachgoers to guard these threatened birds throughout a really delicate time.
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Boondocking The South Oregon Coast Part 2
Since my original post on boondocking the south Oregon coast I have had some concerns voiced by people who are afraid they cant find the exact spots Im talking about. If you have the gypsys eye for a good place to pull in and stay a while its easy, but if youre used to a real campground with little posts with campsite numbers on them, I can understand peoples apprehension. OK, all you KOA addicts, heres a point by point account of the stretch from Port Orford to Brookings, with GPS coordinates, photos, and everything. You cant mess up with all this information. Even somebody from New York City could find these places.
First, understand the ground rules almost all of Oregons coast is public land, and Oregon state law allows you to park for 12 hours. We have a day spot and a night spot, and stay here for a month at a time. Theres no specific definition of camping vs. parking, but the less stuff you haul out and set up, the better, and keep what you do haul out on the side of your RV facing the ocean, not the highway side. Tents, fires, and other obvious signs of camping are a bad idea, but a chair or two isnt stretching it too much. Second rule do not stretch your 12-hour limit. Once identified a a squatter, you may be in for a harder time with the authorities than those who scrupulously observe the rules.
Oregon Coast Dispersed Camping Rules And Regulations
Always make sure to follow the 7 Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping on the Oregon Coast or anywhere else, for that matter.
Because dispersed camping is more popular than ever before, its vitally important to treat our public lands with the utmost respect so they remain open and available to all.
Most importantly, pack out all of your trash , properly dispose of human waste , respect any closed areas, and dont overstay stay limits.
Double check the dispersed camping rules for the specific area you plan to visit. For example, Tillamook State Forest has different dispersed camping rules than Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
Contact the nearest ranger station for the most up-to-date information about current rules as well as current road conditions.
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South Beach State Park
There are a number of points of interest close to South Beach State Park. Plan to go to the historic Yaquina Bay Lighthouse located 2 miles north within the Yaquina Bay State Park.
Yaquina bay has the historic bay entrance space and the Oregon Coast Aquarium is positioned lower than 2 miles north.
There are actions equivalent to agate accumulating, windsurfing, fishing, crabbing, boating, and simply plain sightseeing.
Located subsequent to the Yaquina Bay Bridge, South Seashore State Park begins in south Newport and stretches a number of miles down the Oregon coast. This historic park gives a wide range of leisure alternatives.
The paved Jetty Trail offers an ideal place to jog or trip a bicycle. Our equestrian path to the seashore begins on the South Jetty equestrian trailhead.
Park subsequent to the trailhead and revel in stupendous sundown by horseback!A playground space, horseshoe pits, and a 9-hole disc golf course are close to the campground space.
Cease by the Hospitality Center to get maps, brochures, buy souvenirs or camp objects, or to take a look at free discs and horse-shoes.
Kayak excursions are supplied 7 miles south on Beaver Creek throughout July by the labor-day weekend. Paddles, kayaks, and PFDs are supplied, and our interpretive guides take guests on a peaceable 2.5-hour expedition up the pristine freshwater marsh.
Excursions start on the Beaver Creek Welcome Center, 1 mile east of Ona Seashore.
South Lake Dispersed Areasiuslaw National Forest
Image from The Dyrt camper Chris H.
This free campground in Oregon offers dispersed sites near South Lake, a small lake in the Siuslaw National Forest. Its a lightly used campground, which allows access to trout fishing and non-motorized boating on South Lake, and hunting and hiking on the Pioneer-Indian Trail.
This free campground is just far enough out from the coast and the city that youll likely be alone, even on a Saturday night. Most folks coming to this area of the forest camp in the more popular Hebo Lake campground. If you dont need amenities and are just looking for a beautiful place to camp, South Lake is a better option. The Dyrt camper Chris H.
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Camping On The Oregon Coast: Brookings
When the weather forecast began calling for nearly constant rain with temperatures in the low 50s, we felt it would be a great time to head southern part of the state for our three-day camping trip. So off we went to Brookings, home to sunshine and the warmest temperatures on the coast.
From Portland, we headed south on I-5 to Highway 38 west through the Coast Range mountains. This scenic route parallels the Umpqua River for most of the way and unlike other highways leading through the Coast Range, the road is fairly level without the ups and downs required to get through the mountainous terrain.
Located alongside the Umpqua River with rolling hills and vineyards, Elkton has managed to stay in touch with its history while offering a fresh, engaging feel. We spent some time at a city park with river access for a closer look at the Umpqua, then stopped for ice cream before continuing our trip.
As you get closer to the coast, the Coast Range mountains hug the sides of the Umpqua, and the cool green waters of the river get significantly wider before reaching the ocean at Reedsport. In Reedsport, take Highway 101 south for 134 miles to Brookings. On the way, dont miss Bandons charming Old Town, known as Bandon by the Sea. Stop for a bite to eat, or as in our case, a visit to a nostalgia-inducing candy store, Bandon Sweets & Treats.
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway Camping
Camping along Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a great way to really experience this part of Central Oregon. There are a number of campgrounds scattered all along Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway from end to end, most of which are paid for sites along lakes.
There are also a handful of free campsites along Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, two of which we stayed at and really enjoyed! Well be discussing those two campsites, which are both totally free, and another two campgrounds that are technically free to camp at, though you must pay for parking.
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Oregon Seasons And Best Times To Visit
If you like to boondock in your RV, Oregon has so many awesome places to go!
Oregon has several different climate zones, so when you visit, bring layers and jackets for rain and wind. In eastern Oregon you generally have a dry and cold climate in the summer it’s hot, but cools off at night. Winters are snowy, with lots of skiing at Mt. Hood, Mt. Bachelor, and Willamette Pass.
In the summer, the Oregon coast can be downright cold and windy. If it’s going to be 90° in Eugene, many go an hour’s drive west to the coast, to Florence, to cool off.
I think one of the best times to visit Oregon is in the spring when all the wild rhododendrons are blooming. During March through June, we have some of the best weather. On the west side of the mountains we get a lot of rain, but with the rain come the beautiful flowers and green fields.
A lot of lumber mill workers and hippies live in Oregon it is a very diverse culture!
Rufus Landing Recreation Areacolumbia River Gorge
Image from The Dyrt camper Karina J.
If youre traveling along the Columbia River and need a place to stop east of The Dalles, the Rufus Landing Recreation Area is a convenient boondocking and dispersed camping site. Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it has no designated sites but is rather a huge gravel parking area, meaning tent campers might have to plan to snag spots before RVers do.
Just because its a straightforward camping site doesnt mean it doesnt offer amenities, though. There are restrooms available just a short walk away, and theres a hiking access down to the Columbia River.
This campground is a simple gravel lot for drop-in camping. No fire pits or reserved spots. If youre going to a show at Maryhill or just need a place to crash along the highway this is a great spot. Has restrooms and river access! The Dyrt camper Karina J.
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Pullouts On 8 Dollar Road
Management: Public Public road
The road in is Paved. Pull off is open year round. There are 1-5 Boondocking campsites in Oregon at this location. You may stay overnight at Pull off. This is a random open area off the side of a road that runs parallel to the main highway. It is partially hidden. There are also many pull-offs on the side of this road that work as well. I found these while trying to get out of ranger jurisdiction.
Blue Heron French Cheese
Update: Harvest Hosts Members Only
Blue Heron French Cheese used to be one of my favorite places for free camping on the Oregon Coast.
Up until 2018 or 2019 , this small family-owned store in Tillamook offered free parking lot camping for RVs, trailers, and vans.
Unfortunately, Blue Heron French Cheese now requires a Harvest Hosts membership .
Signing up with Harvest Hosts is a great idea for full-time RVers who want to boondock at farms, wineries, and breweries across the country but its not really the best bet for most other campers.
Blue Heron French Cheese is conveniently located just outside of Tillamook. Camping is allowed in the back parking lot and in the adjacent field. Although its near the highway, its pretty quiet here at night.
Inside is a cheese and wine bar with a deli plus ice cream and chocolate for sale. Grab coffee or espresso in the mornings. Goats and other farm animals are fun for children to feed. Do note there is a slight manure smell here due to the surrounding farmland.
Occasionally, Blue Heron French Cheese does let non-Harvest Hosts members stay for a single night but definitely dont count on it.
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Dispersed Camping In Oregon: The Rules Around Campfires
Wildfires are a huge problem in Oregon, and the penalties for ignoring fire restrictions can be severe.
Subsequently, campfires and charcoal BBQs are forbidden in state forests during Oregons fire season, which usually runs from July through to mid-October. Dates can change, so make sure to check before camping. You can see current fire information here and current area restrictions here.
If you have checked with local authorities and theyve said it is ok to build a fire then remember to only use dead wood that is no larger than wrist size, and to never leave a campfire or stove unattended its illegal to do so. You will know your campfire is out if you can stick your hand into the ashes and they are cool to the touch.
However instead of building campfires, we recommend using a storm cooker. Then there is much less wildfire risk and you can cook knowing that the fire is contained. We believe the best ones on the market are Trangia storm cookers.