The kids are back at school and the campgrounds are finally quiet. It’s a great time to book a yurt, which makes for an easy and comfy (not to mention affordable) rest after a day of fresh coastal air. If you haven’t yet stayed in a yurt, you’re in for a treat. Heat, electricity and a sturdy sunroof over your head (that lets the pitter patter of rain feel oh-so-cozy) feel like a divine indulgence, with campground bathrooms and showers just a short walk away. Groups of up to five people can sleep comfortably sharing a large bunk bed and pull-out futon, while deluxe yurts sleep seven and include a kitchen along with restrooms and showers. Some are pet-friendly, too. Here are several parks with yurts to book this time of year.
Nehalem Bay State Park — Water lovers will be at home here between the ocean and the bay. Bring your walking shoes and bicycles, too, to cruise the 1.8-mile long path along the bay and see deer, elk and a variety of migrating seabirds. A few minutes away in Nehalem, excellent shops and restaurants line the main street — don’t miss Riverside Fish & Chips overlooking the river, where you can stop while paddling for a quick bite. Find 18 yurts, including nine that are pet friendly.
Devils Lake State Recreation Area — This peaceful retreat is smack in the middle of Lincoln City, yet has all the lake vibes. Follow the short trail from your yurt to the lake, where you can watch the mist rise off the lake, take in the wildlife and even bring your kayak or canoe for a rejuvenating paddle. Lincoln City’s bounty of shops, restaurants and activities like bowling at Olde Line Lanes and Kitchen will keep you busy if you run out of board games. Don’t forget to look for colorful glass floats on the beach during the year-round Finders Keepers program. Find 10 yurts at Devils Lake, including five pet friendly.
South Beach State Park — Just south of the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge, this campground is an ideal basecamp for adventuring in Newport — or staying in camp, which is easy with a playground, horseshoe pits and a nine-hole disc golf course. A few miles north, candy shops, attractions and excellent waterfront dining awaits if you want a break from your campfire meals. Indulge in some of Newport’s fresh steamed crab at South Beach Fish Market. Find 27 yurts, including 14 that are pet friendly.
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park — Immerse yourself in the fascinating history here in the tranquility of Winchester Bay and Lake Marie. Learn how the Umpqua Lighthouse was originally built in 1857 as the first lighthouse on the Coast — only to be destroyed by a coastal gale just four years later. Later rebuilt, its distinctive red and white beacon still shines today. Take a public tour (May 1 through Oct. 30) and stop in for a pint at Reedsport’s new Defeat River Brewery. Find eight yurts here, including six deluxe and four pet-friendly.
William M. Tugman State Park — Situated on the banks of Eel Lake, this off-the-beaten-path site is a fisherman’s haven, the waters renowned for its largemouth bass, with a fully-accessible fishing dock at the day use area near the boat ramp. Eel Lake lies just north of Tenmile Lake — one of the lake chains south of the Umpqua River that drains into the Pacific. Take a walk on the trail at the south end of Tenmile Lake and get to know the friendly coastal town of Lakeside; locals love the burgers at 8th Street Grill. Find 16 yurts, including eight that are pet friendly.
Bullards Beach State Park — Find plenty to keep you content at this campground, along paths that wind through grassy fields and sandy dunes, with dreamy views of the Coquille River. Take a day trip to the bustling town of Bandon, two miles south, where you can stroll the Old Town boardwalk, sample the cheese at Face Rock Creamery and see where the brand got its name in the rocks off the rugged coastline at Face Rock viewpoint. Find 13 yurts, including six that are pet friendly.
If you go:
Know that yurt availability is always greater on the weekdays, and sites open up as it gets later into the year. When possible, look to book about a month in advance. Find all locations, rates and details at Oregon State Parks.
— Jen Anderson