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Old 01-12-2017, 12:56 PM   #1
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Oregon Coast

Thinking about heading to the coast this summer. If we want to camp at some of the state parks, will we be hosed if we don't have reservations? I'm assuming they'd frown on a van in the hiker/biker sites

Our van is 2wd, so remote beach/dune camping isn't much of an option.
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Old 01-12-2017, 01:10 PM   #2
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And while we're at it, anyone have any favorite spots?
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:48 PM   #3
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The most popular ones can get pretty busy during the summer, especially holiday weekends. Ones like Honeyman in Florence especially can get overrun with people. I'd say it may be a good idea to book in advance, but it totally depends on your traveling style and if you're ok heading on down the road if nothing is available. The Oregon coast is spectacular though and worth a visit if you've never been.
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Old 01-12-2017, 03:58 PM   #4
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MorieSugg: I camp a lot on the coast. And, in summertime, when all the kids are out of school, you'll have a heck of a time finding anything at the state parks by just driving in.

Two considerations, though:

1. If you don't need electricity, there are often tent spaces open on weekdays (except maybe in August). As long as you're not hooking up, you just sleep in your van. And, I think you asked with tongue in cheek, but the hiker/biker areas don't accommodate cars at all. You literally hike/bike into them and generally, they're set much farther back from the regular campground. If you want to park your car and hike/bike in, you'll be fine, but then, your beautiful SMB is wasting away out there.

2. Weekends in summer (and, of course, holidays) are the worst for spontaneous camping, even for tent spaces. I'm convinced absolutely everyone in the universe wants to come to the Oregon coast for the summer. That means we often go somewhere else cause it's totally no fun to drive out there and be, like, "Whoa. I wonder if anyone would mind if we slept out here on the highway." Yes, they will mind and you'll have a ticket to prove it! Thirty years ago, I did just pull over on a nice grassy spot overlooking the ocean. But those times are no more.

My advice is to make reservations at a few places you're sure you want to visit on weekends, then have a backup plan for other days you don't want to commit. Backup as in... commercial or Forest Service campgrounds you check into online in advance.

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Old 01-12-2017, 05:13 PM   #5
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X2 what Otter said.

Get a copy of the Ultimate Campground app. It shows most if not all of the campgrounds on the coast. Your other option is the Siuslaw National Forest. It is very close to the beach on the central part of the coast and allows dispersed camping. Other forests near the beach are Elliott State Forest and Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest. Both are in the southern part of the state.

In addition there are many state parks that are day use only. We have spent many a day parked at a day use park overlooking the ocean while we enjoyed the beach. They typically open around 6:00 am and close at 10:00 pm. You could spend the night the forest and the day at a park.
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Old 01-13-2017, 09:13 AM   #6
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Thanks all. Yeah, I was joking about the hiker/biker sites, which I love. I've biked down the Oregon coast 3 or 4 times. (and car camped once)

I like the idea of reservations some days/places (weekends, most popular) and winging it other days. I also like the idea of boondocking in forest areas if we can't find or don't want to look for a spot.

As for particular spots, I remember lots of fantastic parks/campgrounds just not sure which ones were which. We'll probably shoot for Cape Perpetua, as it's pretty cool, and we love Yachats. Might head to Cape Blanco- last time we were there it seemed a bit remote (relatively.) Maybe that would be one that we don't need reservations for?

And maybe South Beach, so we're close to the aquarium. Not sure who'll have more fun there, the kids or my wife.

Any other favorites? Especially ones with/near good tidepooling?
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Old 01-13-2017, 02:24 PM   #7
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Larrie's suggestion re the Ultimate CG app is a good one. You can't go wrong with that thing... it integrates all the campgrounds and uses GPS to show what's nearby.

Even I forget which cg is which sometimes, and I haven't been to them all. So, here's what I do. I get on the app and zoom in to the coast, then click on the individual cg. The app info is great in itself, but the links it provides are really helpful. Don't ignore the button on the bottom that links to pictures of the sites. And very bottom, second from left, links to Flickr photos. Sometimes I go to the website and watch the video to remind me what it looks like. That's how I choose.

Favorites? That's a tough one, because I think all of our state parks are pretty unbeatable. But, going north to south, here are some of the ones I've really enjoyed and why:

- Nehalem Bay: because of the bay side. I've been there in 70mph winds where the beach became a sandstorm but the bay was beautiful and calm. Also, I like to kayak in the bay. It's really pretty.

- Cape Lookout - because I love the Capes and the beach is great too.

- Beverly Beach - love the layout of this park. Just under the bridge is a gigantic beach. But, truth be told, I like photographing the little tide pools where the creek flows into the ocean. I once spent about five hours straight on my stomach photographing all the little creatures and stones in that creek. Yeah, but I'm crazy.

- South Beach - sounds like you already know why. Not the greatest beach, but I'm a big fan of Newport, especially watching those boats navigate that channel on a windy day. And everything else in town.

- Beachside - close to Yachats, and you already know how cool the tidepools are down below the town. I don't know if they're the best, but seems like it to me, if only for the sheer volume.

- Honeyman - good for kids, not for anyone seeking isolation.

- Sunset Bay - CG fine. The bay is intimate if there aren't 9000 kids swimming in it (I go in winter or spring for photographs). But, really? Because of Shore Acres. Especially if there's a storm.

- Umpha Lighthouse - As a photographer and history buff, I'm a sucker for lighthouses, so this is on my list. Also, because I think the Umpqua River is one of the most beautiful in existence. Anyone with a small rig who has the time should divert inland along Rte 138. There are multiple USFS and BLM sites right on the river. Primitive as heck, and gorgeous. Keep going to Crater lake if you have the time.

- Cape Blanco - cause, how can you not love a Cape? Also, lighthouse!

- Harris Beach - some of the most visually stunning ocean scenery on the Oregon Coast, and that's saying something. Take a look at the Flickr photos and you'll see what I mean. Also, actually warm in the summer, unlike most of our beaches, because it's in the banana belt.

Well, gees, I kinda wrote a travelogue here. I hope it's helpful for you and other folks.

I also do what Larrie has done and camped farther inland, spending the day on the beach. I can't stress enough how every human being in the US with an RV is competing for sites at the beach in summer. It's a little depressing for us Oregonians who used to be spontaneous on a summer weekend. But, with some planning, flexibility, and the ability/willingness to boondock inland, you'll have a great time.
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Old 01-13-2017, 02:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otter View Post
Favorites? That's a tough one, because I think all of our state parks are pretty unbeatable. But, going north to south, here are some of the ones I've really enjoyed and why
Wow, are those parks open in late winter or early spring? I like storms but would rather avoid heavy snow.
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Old 01-13-2017, 04:05 PM   #9
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DaveB, most are open all year round, with situational closures for flooding, construction, etc. Our coast is pretty temperate and most areas there don't get snow very often. I'm not saying warm, tho. Just not snowing.
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Old 01-13-2017, 04:32 PM   #10
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By the way, if you like Storms with a capital S, you gotta go to Shore Acres. But, to prepare, watch this video from my friend Steven Michael. He is the king of coast photography, best known for his storm shots from Shore Acres.

Here's his video, "The Perfect Storm". At 55 seconds, you see a gigantic wave hitting with a crowd up on the right. I've stood there and watched those waves come up. There's nothing like it.

https://www.facebook.com/StevenMicha...4484051282659/

When you're done with the video, take a look at his still photography on his FB page. Amazing work. And a nice guy, too.

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