There is no doubt that if you live in Oregon, chances are you love the outdoors. In fact, nearly three-quarters of Oregonian’s camp. With a myriad of scenic places in the state to travel to, one could visit a different destination each day of the year and still not scratch the surface of all that Oregon has to offer.
From its lush forest landscapes to snow-capped mountains and long stretch of ocean beaches, getting outside is not just something Oregonians simply love to do, it’s in their DNA. If there is anything that makes the case as to why, look no farther than the state’s residents’ love affair with camping.
How Many Oregonians Go Camping Each Year?
In a state of just over 4.2 million people, it’s incredible to see just how many of the state’s residents’ go camping each year. For certain, with the onset of COVID, numbers across the board experienced massive declines. However, in the five years leading up to 2020, it was a record climb.
According to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, 2019 saw a record amount of Oregonians camping at its 256 state parks. Out of the more than 4.2 million who live in the state, 2,953,537 residents went camping that year alone. That’s more than half the state.
Remember, that’s just at state parks, which Oregon is 8th in the nation with its average of 2.5 million campers a year. Coincidentally, the state’s park system is also 4th in the nation serving a whopping 46 million daytime visitors. According to a website and app dedicated to camping called The Dyrt, their listings currently show over 1,200 campgrounds. Scattered across the state, there’s literally a place to camp anywhere and everywhere.
Where Are People Camping In Oregon?
To ask the question of where people are camping in Oregon to any Oregonian on the street, chances are, you’re going to get a handful of their personal favorite spots. With more than half the state out camping each year, where does one even begin to answer this question?
Of course, with its 363 miles of free and open to the public coastlines, camping at the beach is a perennial favorite of residents of The Beaver State. Surprisingly though, as the masses head west, a growing amount of people are heading east, to Eastern Oregon that is. Known as the “Mountain Region”, Oregon State Parks reported nearly a million campers there in 2019.
That said, the 33rd state, lined with its famed Douglas Fir trees, has campgrounds everywhere from the ocean beaches to the far reaches of the state on the eastern border. Of them, there is almost always something that will take your breath away.
Let’s take a look at some of the state’s favorite places to camp.
Favorite Places To Camp In Oregon
For certain, there is a place to set up camp just a stone’s throw away from any place you might find yourself throughout the state. Here are just a few great places to camp in Oregon:
Located near The Dalles, Cottonwood Canyon was established in 2013 and before the pandemic hit, was starting to see a lot of traction in regards to the amounts of campers that visited. The park boasts over 8,000 acres open for all types of exploration. With wildlife abound, this unique canyon setting, thanks to the John Day River, offers a plethora of year-round activities. From multi-season camping at the Lone Tree Campground to backcountry camping and plenty of hiking, there is no wonder why Cottonwood Canyon is growing in popularity.
If you’re no stranger to Instagram and the many popular hashtags that showcase Oregon’s outdoors, Smith Rock is undoubtedly a favorite to many. Located not far from Bend, Oregon, Smith Rock State Park, which serves the Smith Rock area, enjoys incredibly scenic views of deep river canyons. World renown for rock climbing, you could spend days here exploring the 650 acres hiking, biking, or even running. Just one look at the iconic Smith Rock landscape will have you rushing to plan your next trip.
A long time favorite spot to camp in Oregon is found at Beverly Beach State Park. Located just outside of Newport, this campground is one of the state’s largest. Because of its popularity, you’ll want to reserve your spot up to 6 months in advance. Set alongside a creek and only a few short steps from the beach, Beverly Beach State Park sits within a shelter of forest trees and boasts many reasons why campers of all ages come back for more, year after year.
Wallowa Lake State Park
This Eastern Oregon state park, set between a glacial lake and the famed peaks of the Wallowa Mountains, also known as Little Switzerland, is the perfect base camp. The campground alone features much to do, including a beach and plenty of places to have a picnic. But, what Wallowa Lake State Park also provides is access to The Eagle Cap, which is Oregon’s largest wilderness. A long drive from Portland, but well worth the memories you’ll make along the way.
Of course, these are just a few of countless more camping locations near you in the state. What’s your favorite place to camp?
Are You Ready To Camp This Year?
Who’s ready to go camping? I know we are. Before you plan that next trip though, and due to both the enormous popularity of camping in the state as well as limited spaces due to the pandemic, you’ll want to do some homework. Here are some resources for you to visit to make sure you’re all set for your next wonderful adventure:
Have fun out there and stay safe. The beauty of Oregon awaits your tent!