Best Camping in Oregon

Oregon, with its dramatic coastlines, lush forests, rugged mountains, and serene deserts, offers a camping experience as diverse as the state’s landscapes. Whether you’re seeking the sound of ocean waves, the tranquility of a forest, the adventure of mountain trails, or the stark beauty of desert under a vast sky, Oregon provides an idyllic backdrop for campers seeking both adventure and relaxation.

For beach lovers, the Oregon Coast is unmatched. Campgrounds like Harris Beach State Park near Brookings offer sites with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, access to sandy beaches, and opportunities to explore tide pools and rocky outcroppings. The coast’s unique feature, the Oregon Coast Trail, provides hikers with a scenic journey along the shoreline, with numerous campgrounds along the way for overnight stops.

In the heart of Oregon, the Cascade Range offers alpine camping experiences in some of the most picturesque settings imaginable. Crater Lake National Park, centered around the deep blue waters of the country’s deepest lake, offers campgrounds like Mazama Village, providing a base for exploring the park’s volcanic landscapes and hiking trails that offer breathtaking views. The nearby Umpqua National Forest and Deschutes National Forest offer more secluded camping experiences among ancient forests and alpine lakes.

For those drawn to the arid beauty of the high desert, Central Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park is a haven for climbers and hikers, with nearby camping available in Skull Hollow Campground. The park’s towering rock spires and the Crooked River winding through the canyon floor make for a dramatic backdrop. The Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument offer a unique landscape of colorful stratified earth, with camping nearby to explore the hills at sunrise or sunset when their colors are most vibrant.

In the western part of the state, the Willamette National Forest encompasses a vast area of old-growth forests, hot springs, and waterfalls. Campgrounds like Breitenbush and Clear Lake are gateways to exploring this lush region, with trails that lead to secluded spots ideal for contemplation and relaxation. The forest’s extensive network of trails caters to hikers and mountain bikers looking for adventure among the ancient trees.

A few tips for camping in Oregon: The state’s weather can vary greatly, especially in mountainous areas where conditions can change rapidly, so pack accordingly. In coastal areas, be prepared for cooler temperatures and fog, even in summer. Booking in advance is recommended, particularly for popular destinations like Crater Lake. And, whether you’re in a state park, national forest, or along the coast, practicing Leave No Trace principles is crucial to preserving Oregon’s natural beauty for future generations.

Oregon’s camping destinations offer an escape into the state’s diverse and picturesque landscapes. Whether you’re exploring the rugged beauty of the coast, the serene majesty of Crater Lake, the adventurous terrains of the Cascades, or the tranquil forests of the Willamette Valley, camping in Oregon invites you to discover the rich natural wonders and serene beauty of the Pacific Northwest.