So, can you camp on Oregon beaches?
There are beaches in Oregon where camping is allowed. Not only that, but there are beaches where you can camp for free. However, you are not allowed to camp on all beaches in Oregon. Luckily we have included a list of beaches that you can camp on it Oregon.
The Oregon Coast can be a beautiful place to camp. The climate is moderate in summer and early autumn, perfect for either staying in a tent or motorhome. If you are a diehard camper, who doesn’t mind the winter you can even watch whales migrate in December, February, and March.
However, you cannot just set up camp anywhere you choose on Oregon’s beaches. The Oregon Visitors Association states “Overnight camping is allowed on sections of the Oregon Coast, not adjacent to Oregon State Parks, not within the city limits of Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, Seaside, Newport, Bandon, Gold Beach, Rockaway Beach, and Manzanita.
This includes overnight sleeping in tents, driftwood shelters, sleeping bags, recreational vehicles, trailers, or automobiles, nor where there are signs posted prohibiting camping. The places where one can camp on the beach tend to be remote, far from the road and not accessible by automobile. If you choose to make camp on the beach, be prepared to break camp on request, and always practice beach safety”.
Camping on Oregon beaches outside of campgrounds may be beautiful, but you could have to contend with law enforcement and Mother Nature. It is recommended to choose a campground if possible.
Why Camp on the Oregon Coast?
Oregon’s beaches are protected for public use by the Oregon Beach Bill. The Beach Bill states that all of the land (shore) within a straight line measuring sixteen feet from the average low tide mark belongs to the public of Oregon. In doing so it guarantees that the people have free and uninterrupted use of the beaches. The easement set by the state of Oregon exists up to the line of vegetation.
Oregon has over 360 miles of coastline perfect for exploring, crabbing and clamming, or taking a dip in the water if you are brave. There are campgrounds and state parks available for camping use if you prefer to play it safe and select a registered campsite.
Oregon’s coast, though often a bit blustery, is packed with stunning views, charming historical towns, awesome trails and nature spots, and unique shops and eateries.
Cannon Beach is perhaps one of the most famous stretches of sand located in Oregon. The beautiful bluffs create striking views, as do the whales when migrating. In addition to enjoying the natural setting and creatures, you can go hiking or even surfing.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is another perfect destination for nature lovers. There is water on both sides of these sandy behemoths that stretch for nearly forty miles and rise almost 500 feet above sea level.
If you are hoping for some small-town charm consider Bandon, a coastal town with plenty of seafood restaurants and shops. Alternatively, Coos Bay is a bustling seaside city with lots of tourist attractions.
Whether you are going for nature, the coastal towns or both Oregon’s beaches have got you covered.
What Regulations Should I Be Aware Of?
Because of the Beach Bill, it may seem like you can camp on any beach, but this is not true. As mentioned, you cannot camp on any beach that is adjacent to a State Park or within the listed city limits; and those cities are pretty major. As it turns out, a great deal of Oregon’s beaches are unavailable for camping due to this clause.
Most of the beaches that are camper friendly are not easy to access. You should not expect to be able to park your car and set up camp. Most of the beaches are only ideal for those who are hiking through and do not have public parking anywhere close.
Aside from standard campgrounds, there are also hiker/biker camps. These are camps meant for individuals who are hiking or biking through; this means that you arrive at the site without the use of a motorized vehicle. These campgrounds have specific fees and regulations.
At these campsites, you will be tent camping. The cost to stay overnight is $7 – $8 per person. You are only allowed to stay for three consecutive days in a seven day period (per campground) except for Harris Beach State Park which allows a three day/fourteen-day period.
You cannot make reservations for hiker/biker camps, so they are first come, first served. Typically the facilities for water are far away, but the campsites usually have shared fire rings and picnic tables.
If you are hoping to stay in an RV or for longer than three days, it is much more advisable to choose a campground or State Park. Some of the best are listed below.
List Of Coastal Campgrounds In Oregon
Fort Stevens State Park (100 Peter Iredale Road, Hammond, Oregon)
Once a military base, this land is now used as a large campground accommodating both tents and RVs. Restroom facilities with showers, an amphitheater, and campsites are located quite near to the ocean. There is also a museum and shipwreck on the beach.
Cape Blanco State Park (42°50’08.7″N 124°33’38.8″W the end of Cape Blanco Road)
Known for being at the State’s westernmost tip, this campground is situated looking out over the Pacific Ocean. It has plenty of trails, shore, and rugged landscape to explore. There is also a lighthouse. There are campsites with hookups, cabins, hiker/biker camps, and horse camps available for reservation.
Wright’s for Camping (334 Reservoir Road, Cannon Beach, Oregon)
Near to Cannon Beach is a privately owned campground that offers a more tranquil atmosphere. There are only twenty-two sites, each quite roomy, that only cater to car or tent campers. Less than half a mile away is the famed Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.
Tillicum Beach Campground (2400 Highway 101 Yachats, Oregon 97498)
This campground has sixty-one campsites each with an ocean view. Some of them have water and electrical hookups, while others do not. There are facilities available that include running water and toilets, but showers are unavailable. The waterfront campsites are in high demand so reserve ahead of time.
Oregon Coast RV Resort (75381 US-101, Reedsport, OR 97467)
This campground caters to RV campers. It is near the shore as well as the Winchester Bay Marina and Umpqua river inlet. Additionally, the dunes are only a short drive away. This campground is ideal for nature enthusiasts.
Free Beach Campgrounds In Oregon
Bastendorff Beach (63377 Bastendorf Beach Rd, Coos Bay, OR 97420)
This spot may be a little populated but that is because it is one of the most desirable free beach camping locations. It has a few rocky outcroppings and plenty of smooth sand. It is close to the busy city of Coos Bay but feels secluded. There is a fourteen-day stay limit.
Winema Wayside (Cloverdale, Oregon GPS: 45.14191, -123.96971)
Listed as a free camping spot this location is on the northern coast. It appears that it is a spot used by fellow campers and no signs are prohibiting overnight stays. However, tent camping is not advisable, and there are no facilities.
Map Of Beach Campsites in Northern Oregon
Map of Beach Campsites In Central Oregon
Map Of Beach Campsites In Southern Oregon
Rules for Camping on the Coast
Can I have a fire on the beach?
No large logs are allowed, only small pieces of wood. There is a staunch rule that the fire must be west of the vegetation line. You must take care not to conflagrate nearby vegetation. Do not build a fire by beach grass or driftwood. To put it out, you should use water instead of just burying it.
Where can you go crabbing and clamming along the coast?
Most marine zones (consisting of the Pacific Ocean, coastal bays and beaches) are available for crabbing and clamming year-round, but special regulations may apply. The ocean is closed for Dungeness crab on specific dates (Aug.15- Nov. 30), and any kind of taking of Oysters is prohibited.
It is wise to check with local authorities before any activity involving wildlife. Aside from regulations, there may be license requirements and fees. Local bait and tackle shops may also be able to provide useful information. In addition, beaches will often have their own specific rules and regulations posted.
Can you drive on the beach?
Some places found along the Oregon Coast allow driving on the beach, some only during certain times of the year. Some of these places are restricted to certain times of the year. Many beaches will have rules posted. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will also have important information.
Are dogs allowed on the beach?
On most beaches, dogs are allowed provided they are on a leash. Similar to above, individual beaches will have their regulations posted. As always, it is important to clean up after your pet.
The Beaver State
Oregon’s coast is the optimal place for exploring rugged terrain and enjoying nature. Their Beach Bill makes the sandy shore accessible to everyone. However, this doesn’t mean you can camp on just any beach.
It is important to abide by the rules and regulations if you are hiking through and plan to beach camp. Alternatively, you can reserve a wonderful campsite at one of the various campgrounds or State Parks within earshot of the thundering waves.