It’s time to pack the cooler, load up the camping gear, and hit the road with the kids. Oregon offers so many great places for family adventures that it’s sometimes hard to know where to pitch your tent. Get started with these eight great trip ideas.
Dune and Cape Escapes: Cape Lookout State Park just north of Pacific City is nestled on a sandy spit between Netarts Bay and the ocean. The campground has 170 tent sites, RV spots and several yurts and cabins (some are pet friendly). More than eight miles of hiking and walking trails wind through the forest around the campground. It’s the perfect basecamp for the rest the Three Capes Scenic Loop: Climb the sand dune at Cape Kiwanda, visit the lighthouse and bird refuge at Cape Meares and watch for paragliders from the cliffs above. Freshwater swimming and canoeing are on order at Jesse M. Honeyman Memorial State Park near Florence, which has two small lakes within its borders and more than 185 tent sites. A 2-mile walk through the sandy dunes takes you out to the ocean. Rent a sandboard at Sand Master Park and take it with you to the dunes around Cleawox Lake at Honeyman, a popular spot for sailing down the slopes.
Wild and Scenic Rivers: Multi-day raft trips through Hells Canyon are perfect for families with kids aged 7 and up. The expert guides at Winding Waters River Expeditions will captain your tribe down the Snake River through Oregon’s majestic Hells Canyon — the deepest river gorge in North America. Watch the sun set over the canyon rim after dinner and fall asleep to the sound of the rushing river. On the water, your kids will learn about the natural and cultural history of the stunning landscape, and they’ll love the jetboat or plane ride out of the canyon at the end. Trips start and finish in the town of Joseph at the foot of the Wallowa Mountains. Along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway near the town of Halfway, the Ollokot Campground is the perfect spot for day hiking, berry picking and fishing along the Wild and Scenic Imnaha River. This road is usually closed by October, making this a really special summer spot.
Waterfall Wonders: Near the town of Sublimity, your family can explore 10 stunning waterfalls within Silver Falls State Park, with cascades ranging from scenic 27-foot Drake Falls to the awesome 177-foot South Falls. Older kids can manage the 9-mile Trail of Ten Falls in one go, while younger hikers will enjoy the state’s first natural play area — which simulates the natural habitats of native wildlife like black bears, cougars and birds. The park has 25 miles of trail for hiking, horseback riding and biking as well as tent sites, RV spots and cabins. In the Coast Range southwest of Corvallis, the south fork of the Alsea River flows through the Alsea Falls Recreation Site, to form the lovely 30-foot Alsea Falls. With just 16 campsites and two-dozen picnic areas, this quiet spot is a great place to escape the crowds and cool off in the river. Mountain bikers will enjoy six miles of flowing trail.
Lakes on the Mountain: On the shores of the lake for which it is named, Trillium Lake Campground is a favorite family camping spot near Government Camp on Mt. Hood. The pristine waters of the glacier-fed lake are perfect for fishing, swimming, picnicking and paddling. An easy 1.9-mile trail loops through the campground, which has nearly 60 sites. Young adventurers will happily find Mt. Hood Adventure Park at Skibowl just down the road. Closer to Hood River, and also on Mt. Hood, Lost Lake Resort and Campground is great for kayaking, SUP boarding, canoeing and fishing, and the resort offers gear rental. Overnighters can stay in the lodge, cabins, yurts or camp sites under the snowy gaze of Mt Hood.
More camping ideas:
- Family camping on the North Umpqua
- 6 spots for van camping on the Coast
- 4 favorite summer camping trips
- How to book a last-minute camping trip