The Portland area may take the cake in terms of how painful it is to narrow down just the 5 best places to camp. It’s a true choose-your-adventure scenario: do you want a breathtaking lake? Perhaps views of the tallest mountain in the state? Or maybe, old-growth forests that yield some of the most diverse wildlife you’ve ever seen?
The good news is, all you need is a campervan, some food, and a few recommendations from the people who can at least guide you to some spectacular places. Below are the top five campgrounds that we think will begin your impending fascination with the Portland camping area.
Trillium Lake Camping – (Mt. Hood National Forest)
You can dream about Mt. Hood while you stand in Portland proper: and on a clear day, you can actually see the tallest mountain in Oregon from the city. Drive about 60 miles out of the hustle and bustle to Trillium Lake Campground where Mt. Hood starts to look like it’s on your doorstep.
It takes a lot to be one of the coolest places to camp in Mt Hood National forest. Not far from the town of Government Camp, Trillium Lake has earned its place as a go-to spot to set up under the stars around Portland. The lake sits at an elevation of 3,600 feet while the campsites lie in the mixed conifer forest, making it feel like you may be the only ones setting up to camp. Many visitors swim in the lake and even fish off the pier during the day.
With 64 campsites, ranging from $21 – $86/night – this popular spot usually has a few sites reserved for first come first serve, but we recommend booking a few months in advance.
- 64 drive up sites
- $21 – $86 / night
- Drinking water available
- Pets allowed
- Standard non-electric tent / RV
- WIFI Access at Amphitheater
- Family Friendly
Living in the Sandy River Gorge, Oxbow Regional Park offers 12 miles of trails through ancient forests. In Autumn, you may see salmon spawning – and are sure to see a number of other wildlife living free between the massive trees as it stakes its claim as the closest old-growth forest to Portland.
Only 30 minutes from the city, Oxbow’s wooded campsites are open year-round. Keep in mind, your furry-ones (pets) are not permitted in the natural areas. With 74 drive up sites, this spot is so close to the city that it’s a good idea to book in advance if you can – especially around the weekends.
- $22/night, $5 vehicle fee
- Check-in after 2pm, check out at noon
- Firewood for sale
- Four ADA accessible sites
- Accessible, heated restrooms with flush toilets
- Free hot-water showers
- Most campsites are open year-round
- No pets
Dairy Creek Camp East, LL Stub Stewart State Park
With 1,800 acres of rolling hills, wildflowers, and forests that sprawl across 25 miles of trails, LL Stub Stewart State Park is a gem near Portland. Hilltop or Clayhill serve as epic trailheads to spend a few awe-inspiring days discovering the land. One of the newest parks in Oregon, it has some more modern amenities like flushable toilets, cabins/yurts to rent, and even a fenced in dog park.
We also picked Dairy Creek Camp East because it’s vehicle accessible with 35 full-hookup sites. Do your research on your campsites for this State Park, as many of them are restricted to walk-in (or by horse-back access!). With an 18 hole disc golf course, a welcome center that offers just about anything you may need, and a playground nearby, this spot provides the comfort of newer facilities and a perfect spot for sociable adventurers.
Pro tip from one of our customers: Ask for a regular camping spot at RV parks. It ends up being way cheaper for you, since you don’t need a hook up!
- Pet friendly (fenced in dog park)
- Potable water access
- Not open year around – March 1 through October 31 annually
Sea Ranch Resort, or Wrights for Camping – Cannon Beach
Getting a van-friendly spot near the beach can be a bit harder to come by at Cannon Beach, so we’ve included two insanely cool options to explore – because getting to Cannon Beach is worth it. In fact, we loved it so much, we featured Cannon Beach in our latest #WhereToWednesday and on our Instagram Story, documenting some great places to stay in this area. In case you missed this feature, you can view our Cannon Beach #WhereToWednesday here along with other favorite destinations near our Portland depot.
Located just a few blocks from the beach and the very cute downtown area, Sea Ranch has been called the ‘best kept secret’ of Oregon beach camping. Reservations are not always necessary, but are definitely recommended.
- Pricing $40-$57 night
- Reservations recommended, only available over the phone: 503-436-2815.
- Pet friendly (for a small fee)
- Firewood for sale
- Check in 1:00 P.M. Check-out 12 Noon.
Founded in 1959, this family owned and run campground is unmissable if you’re looking for a place to get an authentic Oregon experience.
- 22 Sites. They are not all vehicle accessible, so be sure to call ahead or make a reservation.
- Open from May – Mid Sept
- Reservations online
- Laundry facilities
- Pet friendly
- Firewood $5/box
- WIFI (although we’ve heard it’s not the fastest)
The Oregon State Parks system is full of stiff competition. Silver Lake Falls State Park has been called the “Crown Jewel” of the entire state park system, which is saying something. We have a feeling once you roll up to the park, you’ll know exactly what all the hype is about. The breathtaking views and historic significance make it obvious. Trust us.
Walk along more than 35 miles of backcountry trails, adventure behind the famous South Falls, or choose to barbeque in the allotted area. This place does it all.
- Over 40 campsites
- $19-$24 nightly charge
- Year-round camping
- Ice and firewood for sale
- Drinking water nearby
- Reservations over the phone at (800) 452-5687
Located in: Boring, OR.
Listen, this place’s address is “Boring, Oregon”. We couldn’t pass up a chance to tell you how opposite it is from it’s unfortunate name!
Ironic in terms of its namesake, this is one of Oregon’s most popular park destinations. An absolute haven nestled upon the Clackamas River, this unique park features 1.5 miles of hiking, river recreation, and most importantly: insane campsites.
- 112 campsites, $22 per night with a $6 vehicle fee
- Free showers
- Pet Friendly
- Easy river access
We could go on for hours about where to stake your claim for the night around Portland. If you’re exploring around Portland and want choices that range from pristine lake shores to mountain peak views, you’ve got your pick of the litter. Gear up, and start somewhere.
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