Camping on the Southern Oregon Coast
Photo courtesy of Denis LeBlanc
Oregon coast visitors know that securing that coveted campsite can sometimes mean planning months in advance. The popularity of the coast can make last-minute excursions difficult to pull off. Depending on what your camping requirements are, whether tent or RV or something in between, there are options for both the procrastinator and the planner. Some campgrounds sit slightly inland, while others are right on the beach. Whether you sat waiting on the computer for the exact moment reservations opened up online or you’re throwing gear in the car as we speak…we’ve gathered options for both crowds. Take the slightly longer drive down to the southern Oregon Coast and see what the northerners are missing. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Bastendorff Beach from the campground area. Photo by Halvor Tweto.
Bastendorff Beach Park is located just 2 miles from Charleston and the southern Coos Bay area, and it is just north of the Sunset Bay, Shore Acres, and Cape Arago state park sequence along the Cape Arago Highway. Bastendorff campground may be an ideal option if you are exploring that area and Sunset Bay State Park Campground is full, or you may choose this campground first for its easy access to Bastendorff Beach. Either way, the campground is well equipped and offers amenities such as a playground, several day use shelters with kitchens (available by reservation at 541.396.7755), a fish cleaning station, restrooms, showers, and two cabins. Of the nearly 100 sites, 74 have water and electric hook-ups, and 25 are better suited for car/tent camping. A moderately busy park, Coos County manages this site, as well as the reservations.
Bullards Beach State Park is a treasure for those living in or visiting the Bandon area. The park provides excellent access to the Coquille River, abundant options for day use and picnic areas, walks to the Coquille River Lighthouse and jetty, and a tremendous section of beach. Bullards Beach State Park Campground is also robust; with 209 sites, most with RV hookups, this park receives quite a lot of attention, but it is large enough to remain an attractive option. The yurts here are a great resource for winter camping along the coast. Reservations are recommended, of course, but once you have your spot, Bullards won’t disappoint.
Boice-Cope County Park sits just above Floras Lake. Photo by Halvor Tweto.
Situated on a small bluff above Floras Lake and just a half mile from the ocean, the campground at Boice-Cope County Park is the ideal spot to set up a base for a weekend. Sailboarders and kiteboarders know Floras Lake for its prime mix of freshwater and coastal wind, but there is plenty to do in the area if the conditions aren’t right. Take the Floras Lake Trail out to the beach or farther south as it joins the Oregon Coast Trail, or head north to the fascinating New River ACEC Trail System. As part of the New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Floras Lake has plenty to occupy you if the wind isn’t in your favor. Boice-Cope Campground is a straightforward resource for this area. All 31 sites are all first-come, first-served. Thirteen car and tent sites are dispersed around the campground’s traffic circle, and 18 RV sites have electrical hookups only. Curry County Parks manages this campground, and no reservations are possible here. Arrive early to have your best chance at a spot during peak season.
The campground at Cape Blanco State Park is one of the smaller state park campgrounds along Oregon’s magnificent coast. It is tucked deep in the coastal forest with only distant and obstructed views of the ocean, but given the fierce storms that can attack this most-westerly point in Oregon, the shelter is to be appreciated. The campground is built around just one loop road. All the standard sites have electric and water hookups, and there is much privacy for most sites in the thick vegetation. Some sites are suitable for fairly large vehicles.There is a hiker/biker camping area, a nice horse camping area with six corrals, a group camp and four cabins. Cape Blanco State Park Campground is managed by Oregon State Parks and can be reserved through Reserve America. Reservations are recommended as this is a popular park.
Humbug Mountain State Park Campground. Photo by Halvor Tweto.
Humbug Mountain is a dominate mass rising above the Pacific, and its 1,756-foot height makes it one of most prominent features along Oregon’s coast. Visitors to Humbug will have a wide selection of trails to hike both on the mountain and along the beach, which is accessible via a short access path. Two trails reach the summit of the mountain from the campground, and when you can catch the views through the dense coastal forest, they are gorgeous. Humbug Mountain State Park Campground is known for its campground, which is conveniently located along Highway 1. Of the 95 sites, 55 are tent sites, and 40 have water and electrical hookups. Two of these are ADA accessible. There is also a hiker/biker camp that is ideal for those passing through on the Oregon Coast Trail or on long bike tours along Highway 1.
The core acreage of this park was acquired by the Save the Myrtle Woods organization in 1948. The Oregon Myrtle trees (Umbellularia californica), also known as the California bay laurel, are scattered throughout the campground, and some of them are 200 years old. Their marvelous scent fills the air around the campground. This park is first-come, first-served, with 47 RV sites and three cabins. Tents are welcome here, too, but arrive on Thursday or early Friday to secure a spot as this campground sees fairly moderate use.
Campground road in Quosatana. Photo by Denis LeBlanc.
Just 14 miles up the Rogue River from Gold Beach, the Quosatana Campground is a real gem of a National Forest campground. Set in an Oregon myrtle grove with broad grass meadows on a bank above the Rogue River, the campground is well-situated for all types of recreation. There is a boat ramp and a large gravel bar to facilitate launching boats as well as a fish-cleaning station for the successful catch. Deer seem to love this area, and they are often seen strolling through the large meadows that border the campground. With 47 tent and car sites, there is a decent selection here for those foregoing the comforts of an RV. This park is first-come, first-served, so an early arrival makes it more likely you’ll snag a spot last minute on a busy summer weekend.
With the surplus of RV parks in the Brookings area, Ludlum Campground is a great alternative if you are looking to get away from the crowds of weekend warriors. The campground offers fantastic day use picnic areas and roomy walk-in campgrounds. Located right off the East Fork of the Winchuck River, fishing and swimming is just a short walk away. Extremely tiny in size, there are only seven tent/car sites, seven tent/walk-in sites, and one cabin in the park. While the campsites are first-come, first-served, the cabin and large Ludlum House can be reserved online. This park is managed through the Forest Service, and reservations can be made through Recreation.gov.
Sunset on Harris Beach. Photo by Michael Battey.
Harris Beach Campground lies just north of the border between Oregon and California on the coast. It’s proximity to both the coastline and riverside attractions of southern Oregon is one of the reasons why it makes for a great stay. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is a stunning section of coast that is worth all the time you can afford to give it. The campground itself sits above Harris Beach, which has no shortage of sea stacks, beachy real estate, and awesome tide pools, all in quick walking distance from your camping spot for the night. A larger campground, with 35 full hook-up RV sites, 53 RV sites, and 59 tent/car sites, this campground has a spot for all kinds of campers. Harris Beach fills fast and reservations are highly recommended here through Reserve America.