When it comes to a beautiful place for an RV trip, the state of Oregon is hard to beat. From the long stretch of western coastline, the scenic, winding Columbia River Gorge, the snow capped interior mountains, and the far east wonders of the Painted Hills and Wallowa Mountains – Oregon has it all.
I have been fortunate enough to visit Oregon with my RV twice. The first time we spent six weeks exploring the coastal region, and the second time we ventured inland where we hit up such famous attractions as Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, and the city of Bend.
While traveling around the state we discovered diverse geography and culture, but one thing that remained consistent was the amazing Oregon State Parks.
Oregon has 46 state parks that offer RV camping. From west to east and north to south, there is a state park in nearly every part of the state.
There’s a lot to love about Oregon State Parks. After visiting 12 different parks around the state I found myself enchanted by the large sites, stunning scenery, friendly staff, clean bathrooms (a very important feature), and easy access to great hiking trails. Here are my top five reasons to love Oregon State Parks.
1. Location, Location, Location
Do you prefer to camp in the mountains, with a view of the ocean, in an old growth forest, alongside a wide flowing river, near a sparkling blue lake, or in a field of wildflowers? Oregon state parks offer all of that and so much more.
Want to lounge in your camp chair and gaze out over the ocean? Head over to the coast and snag a waterfront site at Cape Lookout State Park.
Love historic lighthouses? Take a trip to Cape Blanco, Carl G. Washburne Memorial, or Bullards Beach.
Or maybe you prefer fishing and crisp mountain air? Detroit Lake or LaPine state park will deliver.
How about a high desert plain filled with twisted juniper trees and spicy scented sage brush? Then Unity Lake State Recreation Area is a must-visit.
Oregon State Parks offer the best of the best when it comes to spectacular locations!
2. Oregon Loves Pets
If you travel with a dog, then you are well aware of the restrictions some campgrounds, trails, and beaches impose on our furry friends. I am happy to report that Oregon loves our pets as much as we do.
Oregon state parks are 100% pet friendly. Not only in the campgrounds, but on the beaches and trails as well.
Our nature-loving dog had blast at all of the Oregon state parks. He raced up and down the beaches, happily hiked with us on trails, and was delighted to meet other dogs around the campground. He also appreciated the generously sized sites, and spent many hours toiling away the afternoon lounging outside next to the RV.
Not only do Oregon state parks allow pets, but they also don’t charge extra for them, nor do they have restrictions on size, breed, or number of pets.
3. Amenities & Recreation
State parks are not always high on the amenities scale. They often lack utility hook-ups, laundry facilities, or bathrooms with free showers. On the flip side, while private RV parks offer these amenities and more, they usually lack recreation trails and direct access to the very nature that many of us travel to find.
One of the things that makes Oregon state parks special is that have both amenities and recreation.
While not all Oregon state parks offer all of these amenities, you can expect to find most on the list at the majority of state parks.
- Water & electric hook-ups and some with sewer hook-ups
- Dish water drains scattered around the campground
- FREE hot showers
- Clean bathrooms
- Generously sized sites
- Picnic table & fire pit
- Recycling centers
- Onsite dump stations
- Laundry facilities (only at a few of the larger parks)
- Hiking & biking trails
- Historic buildings, lighthouses
- Direct access to nearby water features such as lakes, rivers, or the ocean
- Ranger led hikes
- Junior ranger program for the kids
4. A Welcoming Atmosphere
Starting with the check in process – whether with a staff member at the front gate, or at the self-check station – Oregon state parks have a way of making you feel welcome.
A large amount of friendly volunteer camp hosts, helpful signage and pamphlets all around, well-maintained roads and trails, a convenient check out time of 1 pm, and super clean bathrooms, all convey a feeling that you and your visit are important. And who doesn’t like to feel important?
5. Great Value
Oregon State Parks offer a lot of bang for your buck. While the price varies depending on the location and amenities offered, you can expect to pay as little as $10 for a primitive site, and up to $30 for full hook-ups.
What do you get for your money? Well, in addition to the standard picnic table and fire ring you also get a decent sized site and a level parking pad. Some sites have water and electric hook-ups, and about a third of the state parks offer sites with sewer hook-ups. A few parks even have cable hookups (the one we came across was Harris Beach SP).
Oregon State Parks change no extra fees for pets or out of state residents. And with no state sales tax, you can expect the price advertised to be the price you pay.
Take a Trip to Oregon Today
So what do you think? Are you ready to jump in the RV and head out for a grand tour of the Oregon State Parks? Start by looking around the state park website. Take a look at the campground map, learn about the beaches and hiking trails, and then make a reservation. Don’t wait! Oregon State Parks are popular and the best sites fill up fast.