The Best Beach Camping on the Coast and Lakes of Oregon and Washington

Mar 15, 2021 |

The Best Beach Camping on the Coast and Lakes of Oregon and Washington

By Alex Murphy

Whether it’s the sound of the crashing waves or the uniqueness and beauty of a mountain lake, the Pacific Northwest has some of the best beach camping. From southern Oregon up to the Washington border with Canada, we have a look at some of the favorite beach and waterfront campsites, as rated by the Campendium community.


Fort Stevens State Park

One of the most popular beach campgrounds on Campendium, few parks can match the sheer size of Fort Stevens State Park at 4,300 acres.

The park is located in the far northwest corner of the state with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the mouth of the Columbia River just to the north, separating Oregon and Washington. Besides ocean swimming and enjoying the beach, the park has access to several freshwater lakes and plenty of miles of trails to enjoy walking and biking.

The massive size of the park was something many reviewers enjoyed, and there’s plenty of campsites to pick from with nearly 500 spots with at least electric and running water, and plenty of full hookup sites. Most have fairly quick access to the beach.

For history buffs, there’s also a number of military-related historic items at the park, including old barracks and the remains of a shipwreck, the Peter Iredale.

The park is located near Astoria, Oregon, and about a two-hour drive to and from Portland.

Harris Beach State Park

Also on the coast, another popular destination for visitors to Oregon is Harris Beach State Park.

Many Campendium visitors rave about how clean the park is and the natural beauty you can find here while camping on the Oregon coast.

Harris Beach is in Brookings, right on the California and Oregon border. The southern shore offers a rocky coast where visitors will find giant boulders leading into the ocean. Harris Beach also has great viewing sites of what many call Goat Island. The small piece of land offers wildlife fans some encounters with rare birds and other wildlife right off of the Oregon coast.

Two chairs and a picnic table by Emigrant Lake

The Point RV Park

If you’re trying to avoid the salty air or the windy weather of the Pacific Ocean, you can head to the opposite side of the state to the Point RV Park. This site is located at Emigrant Lake County Park. This beach camping is on a lake near Ashland, Oregon, which sits just north of the Oregon and California border.

Campendium visitors say they loved the view of the nearby mountains while also being able to enjoy the lake. Campers have access to a boat ramp, and maybe one of the most popular items of all, a 280-foot slide for people of all ages to enjoy.

It’s also a short trip into historic downtown Ashland, which is a popular destination for those who love the outdoors and for hikers passing through on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Aspen Point Campground

Aspen Point Campground

Not far from Emigrant Lake is Fremont-Winema National Forest, where you’ll find the lakeside Aspen Point Campground. Lake of the Woods offers boating, swimming, and fishing and is a short drive from the massive Upper Klamath Lake, which is 25 miles long and eight miles wide.

Visitors also loved the great view of the outdoors with the easy water access, and Campendium reviewers say most of the campgrounds are massive and fairly private.

Another advantage of Aspen Point is it’s in a National Forest and the $18 camping fee is hard to beat.


South Beach Campground

When it comes to Washington State, it’s nearly impossible to beat the astonishing views and beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. So, it’s no surprise South Beach Campground within Olympic National Park is the most reviewed beach campground in the state.

The Olympic Mountains, the Sol Duc River, and the rocky coastline make Olympic National Park consistently one of the most popular National Parks in the country.

Campendium users consistently talk about the view overlooking the ocean and the affordability of the sites. There is one this to keep in mind—like many campgrounds in the park, South Beach is first-come-first-served, so be sure to get there early as the campground fills up quickly, especially in the summer months.

RV's camping by the beach in Washington state

Pacific Beach State Park

South of the Olympic Peninsula you’ll find Pacific Beach State Park. Campendium users also rave about the views here and say even with the PNW rain in the wintertime, the park still has great views for visitors.

Besides exploring the beach, this park offers fishing and seasonal clamming right on the coast. Pacific Beach offers a few dozen different campsites but 26 of them are right on the waterfront. If you don’t manage to snag one of these, it’s just a short walking distance to the ocean.

Pacific Beach is about a 90-minute drive west from Washington’s capital city of Olympia. Because it’s a state park, you can make reservations online ahead of time. Plus, the park sits on the edge of the town of Pacific Beach, where you can find plenty of beach-related fun and shops.

Plymouth Park Campground

Plymouth Park Campground sits on the edge of Lake Umatilla, which is technically a dammed-up reservoir of the Columbia River. This puts this campground on the northside of the Washington and Oregon border.

The campground sits near the water’s edge, and there is a small island where visitors have boat access for activities like fishing and even water skiing. The site is also a popular day-use destination for hunters.

Reviews from Campendium users highlight how clean the campground and bathrooms are. This campground is reservable online for about $30 per night.

Lake Wenatchee State Park

If great views of the mountains are more your speed when camping on the waterfront, then check out Lake Wenatchee State Park.

The park is within Wenatchee National Forest, east of Seattle, and sits on the edge of Lake Wenatchee, a glacial-fed lake. And if that’s not enough, the views include the Cascades Mountain Range.

When it comes to state parks, Lake Wenatchee is a Northwest icon. You can do anything within the park from paddling boarding to climbing a mountain.

Campendium reviewers note that the park is broken into two campgrounds, north and south, with one reviewer suggesting the north campground is more popular with RVers and the southside seems to have more tent sites.

Despite the tough winter months in Washington, the campgrounds are open year-round with heated restrooms. Just be prepared for some snow.

What are your favorite waterfront campsites in Washington and Oregon?