The state of Oregon is home to some our nation’s most incredible scenery. It’s home to dense forests, ancient volcanic peaks, lush valleys, a beautifully rugged coastline and more. In fact, it’s got so much natural beauty that Oregon has almost 200 state parks!
Since that’s a lot of information to look through and you obviously can’t hit them all, we’ve compiled five state parks that you absolutely can’t miss on your next RV trip. These parks were chosen to represent a little of everything Oregon has to offer, from the coast to the foothills to the desert regions.
While these parks allow RV camping year round, the best time is in summer, primarily July and August. Summer is the driest season, so it’s the best camping weather, but be prepared to be around lots of other campers as these parks are pretty popular. Almost all of these site are considered to be primitive, so make sure you bring plenty of supplies.
Location: Sublimity, Oregon (in the western foothills about 30 minutes from Salem)
Covering over 9,000 acres, this is Oregon’s largest state park, and often regarded as the best. Like the name of the park implies, waterfalls are the main attraction here, and there’s no shortage of them. The “Trail of Ten Falls,” a hike that takes you to 10 waterfalls (and behind three of them – a pretty rare view) is an absolute must do. It’s a moderate hike around an 8 mile loop, so it should be accessible for most hikers. RV campers who stay here often say that the sites are incredibly private and quiet because of surrounding vegetation. The park has 52 electrical hookup sites with lots that range up to 84 feet (a maximum of 60 feet for the year round lots) with water, but no sewer hookup.
Real life review: “This was our favorite stop on a 10 day Oregon road trip. The trails are gorgeous and the falls you walk behind are absolutely amazing. I don’t remember the last time I saw so many wonderful things. I’ve been to state parks all across the nation, and this one tops the list by far!”
Location: Brookings, Oregon (on the state’s southern coastline)
On the southern part of Oregon’s coastline is Harris Beach State Park. Just off the shore sits Oregon’s largest island (Bird Island or Goat Island) which is a National Wildlife Refuge and breeding site for rare birds. There are lots of sandy beaches with rocky outcroppings that create tidepools teeming with animal life. There’s plenty of wildlife, including gray whales (which you can see on their winter and spring migrations), seals, sea lions, and more. As far as camping goes, there are 35 full-hookup RV sites. Online reviews often mention that the camping sites are fairly private thanks to hedges in between them.
Real life review: “My family goes here every time we’re in town. Camping here is wonderful and the views are amazing. Their beaches are awesome and it feels like you can walk forever. Perfect spot for sunsets!
Location: St. Paul, Oregon (about 45 minutes south of Portland)
The Champoeg site is known primarily for its historical significance. It was a pioneer town and actually the site of Oregon’s first provincial government until it was wiped out in two devastating floods. The Historic Butteville Store (founded in 1863) is the oldest operating store in Oregon and can be visited at this site from Friday through Sunday from July to August. There are eight full-hookup sites and more than 67 electric sites with water.
Real life review: “Champoeg is just a treasure. Near the city but feels like you are far, far out in the country. The landscape is gorgeous and the campsites are roomy. It is a wonderful place to camp, hike and explore.”
Location: Huntington, Oregon (on the eastern border near Idaho just off I-84)
Sitting on the banks of the Snake River’s Brownlee Reservoir, this park was once a resting place on the Oregon Trail. Historical markers and displays abound, and tell the incredibly rich history of this region. In fact, there are still Oregon Trail wagon ruts visible just up the road. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are interpretive programs in the evenings. If you’re more into being active, there’s fishing, waterskiing and boating available. Farewell Bend has 90 electrical sites with water. There are several camping loops, the Antelope Loop (which is open for camping on a first-come, first-served basis) and the Brownlee and Catfish Loops (reservations begin May 1).
Real life review: “Wonderful wide open spaces for walking and spacious camp spots for RVs. The park is very well maintained and popular, with beautiful views of the water.”
Location: Gold Hill, Oregon (on I-5 at the Rogue River about 15 minutes east of Grants Pass)
While this park may be more in Oregon’s “desert” region, you’d never know it! Novelist Zane Grey made this river famous, and whitewater enthusiasts know it well because it’s home to some of the nation’s best rafting. But plenty of people simply call the Rogue River a great place to relax. Located near Crater Lake National Park and the Oregon Caves National Monument, it’s the perfect spot to call home when you’re taking in the rest of the state’s beauty. There’s plenty of hiking available, from a little over a mile long stroll on the river’s edge to the almost 40 mile long Rogue River National Recreation Trail. There are almost 90 full-hookup sites and 60 more with water and electric.
Real life review: “Clean, quiet, spacious sites, and right on the river, this is always a favorite stop in Oregon. Valley of the Rogue is a gem. There can be some highway noise, depending on which site you are in, but you soon discover you aren’t sure if it’s the highway or the River you hear!”
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