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Oregon's Coastal State Parks

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North Oregon Coast

We have enjoyed Oregon State Parks from Brookings in southern Oregon to Fort Stevens at Astoria in the north. This time is no exception, as we chose different parks. Beginning in Brookings, we settled in at one of our favorite coastal state parks - Harris Beach. This park has the most dramatic view of the Pacific sitting on a bluff and overlooking the ocean. The park offers 85 sites, along with yurts. The sites are conveniently private, with complete hookups at most reasonable rates.

Our next favorite state park is up Coastal Highway 101 and a few miles north of the lovely little city of Bandon-by-the-Sea: Bullards Beach State Park. Bullards Beach State Park has over 150 sites, most of them large and protected. One the special features at this park is the horse camp, complete with stalls and unloading areas. There are miles of beach hikes here. Yurts are available, very comfortable with electricity and heat. They can accommodate up to six with nearby restroom facilities. There is a lighthouse to be explored, and the quaint village of Bandon-by-the-Sea is fun as well. Bullards Beach is, in our opinion, one of the loveliest of all the Oregon coastal parks.

Just north of Bandon-by-the-Sea is the lumber town of Coos Bay. North of there is the almost 100 mile-long Oregon Dunes. There are beach buggy rides, dune sliding, ATV parks and other outdoor activities there.

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park is right off 101. Here is a small, 10-site park with an historical lighthouse as its main draw. Directly across is the wonderful, quiet, large and, of course, always clean William M. Tugman State Park with a large lake for fishing and a small fish hatchery.

North of the Dunes, you enter Reedsport, Oregon; now you are almost half way up the coast. Before you come to Florence is Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park - a large, very comfortable, and highly accessible park with full facilities and always clean restrooms and showers. Here you are in the midst of sand dunes with much to do and near Florence. Nearby is also Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park: very family oriented and, as with many Oregon parks, does not require reservations.

Now hang on to your hats because Highway 101 gets really windy for a few miles, taking you past the famous tourist attraction - Sea Lions Caves - and into the quaint village of Yachats. Years ago, Yachats was a sleepy little town of about 600. Today it has grown and grown and extended itself well to the South with vacation retreats.

You are on your way into the central Oregon Coast towns of Waldport and Newport. Worth mentioning are both Beachside State Recreation Site (30 sites) north of Yachats/south of Newport, and South Beach State Park, also south of Newport, which is a very large park with 225 sites and 27 yurts, as well as a great place to kayak. Newport has a most interesting aquarium. Florence and Newport have seafood restaurants along their river tributaries.

Just north of Newport is yet another wondrous Oregon State Campground - Beverly Beach. This time, you are on the east side of the ocean nestled in a heavy forest with a short but pleasant hike to the beach. One can go kite flying and surfing here.

You are now entering Oregon's vacation area. Depoe Bay, right on Highway 101 has long been a tourist attraction with many arts and crafts shops. There is also a small harbor here - quite quaint. Continuing north, you will arrive in Tillamook, home of its famous cheese. Do stop and at least buy some cheese and summer sausage and their now delicious ice cream. Warning: Tillamook is often quite crowded.

We are headed to Garibaldi and out to Barview Jetty, a county park with many sites and full hookups right out on the jetty. We had a pleasant stay there for three days. North of Garibaldi is Nehalem Bay State Park, large with over 265 sites including 15 yurts, is pleasantly off the highway, and quiet.

Fort Stevens State Park is the northernmost point of the Oregon coast. Here you are just north of Astoria and west of Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark's winter site years ago. Fort Clatsop is a must-see to better comprehend the Lewis and Clark Voyage of Discovery. There is a wonderful replica of Lewis and Clark's small fort with informative interpreters. A walk down to the impressively wide Columbia River is a must.

Fort Stevens offers much to see and do. This is a large park with almost 500 sites; cabins, tents and yurts are also available. There is a Civil War to WW II history at Fort Stevens. The gun battery is a very interesting walk. You have now completed the full length of the Oregon coast.

The trip home takes us back to LL Stub Stewart State Park just west of Portland. Stub is one of the newer Oregon State Parks with easy access and, like with so many Oregon State Parks, you find a site, register and pay a most reasonable $26. A night enjoying all the amenities of home: electricity, water and sewer hookups without any fuss or bother.

Things you can always count on at Oregon State Parks are clean restrooms and most friendly and helpful camp hosts. The ambience and high quality of all Oregon coastal campgrounds is amazing and uniform across the state. Rest, relaxation and a sense of well-being bring us to Oregon often. We hear the same from other fellow travelers all over the United States

Travel along the Oregon coast IS most enjoyable. Where else are you offered so much pleasure, comfort and convenience with spectacular scenery?

A retired English teacher, Nelson and his life partner Cathy, spend as much time as they can traveling the country in their little travel trailer to enjoy the RV lifestyle and visit friends and relatives.

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