Low-key retreats await at state parks and county campgrounds.

The Oregon Coast draws visitors from around the world all year long — but never more than in summer, when sunny beach days give way to cool nights around the campfire. For many, there’s no better way to experience the region’s natural beauty than with a night under the stars. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite under-the-radar campgrounds, each beloved for their relaxed vibes and easygoing atmosphere, to inspire your summer adventures. 

Booking early and going midweek is the best way to be sure you’ve got a spot. For those wanting a last-minute getaway, all hope for a reservation is not lost. Try this new feature for Oregon State Park campgrounds — same-day online reservations are now available across the state. Flexible travelers can also use the site’s Camping This Weekend tool, which shows real-time site availability for the coming Friday through Sunday. 

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Whalen Island County Campground (Photo courtesy of Tillamook County)

Find Solitude at Quiet Campgrounds on Oregon’s North Coast

Even during the popular summer season, low-key escapes can be found at small parks along inland rivers and estuaries along Oregon’s North Coast. The well-maintained Kilchis River County Campground sits along its namesake waterway. Over 60 tent and RV sites provide the perfect home base for exploring the surrounding old-growth forest. The shady campground, 8 miles from Tillamook, features a seasonal boat launch, hiking trails and a small playground.

Enjoy a relaxing stay in the heart of the Three Capes Scenic Loop at Whalen Island County Campground. The campground comprises nearly three dozen tent and RV sites, all surrounded by the Sand Lake estuary, and connects campers with that nature via hiking trails, kayak launches and easy beach access.

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Beachside State Recreation Site (Photo by Joshua Rainey / Alamy Stock Photo)

Savor Nature at Campgrounds Near Newport and Yachats

Oregon’s Central Coast is home to all manner of scenery, from sandy shores to rugged capes. Here’s where to enjoy peace and quiet in the midst of it all.

Elk City Park sits where the Big Elk and Yaquina rivers meet in the Oregon Coast Range foothills. The park’s small campground — 18 miles inland from Newport — includes a year-round boat launch on the Yaquina River. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so consider a Thursday arrival in midsummer for weekend excursions.

About 3 miles south of Waldport, Beachside State Recreation Site occupies a quiet stretch of coastline that suits the peaceful vibe permeating each of its yurts, tent sites and RV sites. Two campsites and both yurts are accessible to campers with disabilities. The forested campground, situated a few steps from the sand through a shore-pine grove, is open mid-March through October.

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Alfred A. Loeb State Park (Photo courtesy of Oregon State Parks)

Enjoy Big Adventure and Small Campgrounds on Oregon’s South Coast

Whether you’re traversing the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area or sightseeing along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, you’ll find plenty of laid-back campgrounds on Oregon’s South Coast.

William M. Tugman State Park sits along Highway 101, a short drive from the Oregon Dunes and near the shore of Eel Lake — but it somehow manages to feel like a hidden oasis 10 miles south of Reedsport. Campers can reserve over a hundred yurts, tent sites and RV sites, many of which are pet-friendly. Don’t forget your fishing pole, as the lake has an accessible dock and kayak launch.

Just outside Coos Bay, Bastendorff Beach County Park sits along the Cape Arago Beach Loop. The wooded park hosts almost a hundred semi-private tent and RV sites, with charming rustic cabins available as well. There’s something for everyone in the family, including a popular playground and a fish-cleaning station for the catch of the day.

Boice Cope Park offers plenty to love on the northeastern shore of Floras Lake, a popular spot among kiteboarders and windsurfers. Campers can choose from among nearly 50 sites that accommodate tents and RVs up to 45 feet long. A few sites even offer partial lake views, and all are within easy walking distance to watch colorful sails swooping along the water on a pleasantly windy day.

Alfred A. Loeb State Park is about 8 miles inland from Brookings — a short distance from the Coast that helps the campground retain its quiet charm all year long. The park hosts over 50 tent and RV sites and even log cabins along the Chetco River. One campsite, one cabin and one picnic area are accessible to campers with disabilities. You’ll love the easy access to trailheads that explore nearby redwood and myrtle groves.

– By Matt Wastradowski

Top photo Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island