Camping on the Coast can’t be beat. But in the wetter, chillier months, tent camping turns into an adventure sport.
Enter the humble yurt — an ideal retreat after a day of storm watching, whale watching, beachcombing for agates and exploring the trails. The domed, wood-framed fabric tent can fit up to six people, and offers a unique glamping experience, with views of the trees or sky through the center skylight.
They offer most of the comforts of home: heat, lights, beds, a locking door, tables and chairs, and in some cases an outdoor fire pit. All that’s missing is a good book and pile of board games. The trails are just outside your door, and the ocean is a short walk away. (Deluxe units even have a bathroom, refrigerator, microwave and TV with DVD player.) For an extra $10, about half the yurts and cabins at each site are pet-friendly.
On the Central Coast, three Oregon State Park campgrounds offer rustic yurts that you can book for the weekend during the winter without at least six months’ notice.
So pack up and head out this winter — here are three top campgrounds on the Central Coast where you can cozy up in a yurt this winter.
In busy Lincoln City, this lake is a haven for wildlife — everything from ducks, herons and bald eagles to deer, elk and raccoon bandits that can often be spotted on shore. Trails from the campsites lead to the lake shore, and the sandy ocean beach at D River State Recreation Site is a 10-minute walk away. During whale watch season — winter and spring — it’s an ideal basecamp for whale watching at the Whale Watching Center in downtown Depoe Bay. Go treasure hunting for handmade glass floats on the beach between October and Memorial Day. Or find great shopping deals at the Lincoln City Outlets, five minutes south.
About halfway between Depoe Bay and Newport, this quieter hideaway offers a convenient access point to the beach, via the walkway that leads under the highway to the long expanse of sand from Yaquina Head to Otter Rock. Spend the day taking in views of the lighthouse, flying kites, making sandcastles and searching for fossils, then retire to your cozy lodging. A yurt group meeting hall makes it easy to hang out with larger groups of family and friends in the evening. Drive just a few minutes south to top attractions like the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Marine Hatfield Science Center, which have special events and deals during the winter months.
From horseshoe pits to a 9-hole disc golf course, this lovely park in Newport offers plenty of opportunity to be active, here or in town. It’s just south of Yaquina Bay and the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge as well as the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse — believed to be the oldest structure in Newport. It’s also the only existing Oregon lighthouse with the living quarters attached, and the only historic wooden Oregon lighthouse still standing. (Take a self-guided tour between noon-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.) Check out the hospitality center at South Beach State Park for maps and souvenirs, and to check out free discs and horse shoes.
By Jen Anderson
Photo of a yurt at South Beach State Park courtesy of Oregon State Parks