It is the summer, and that means that camping is back. After a year of being stuck indoors, you can bet that many people are chomping at the bit to get outside and get some fresh air this summer. Camping is one of the best ways to feel connected to nature and few places in the country are as great a camping option as the West Coast.
The west coast is famous for its sandy beaches, temperate forests, and beautiful sites. The states of Washington, Oregon, and California offer plenty for nature enthusiasts to see. So we put together this article on the best camping spots on the west coast for your and your family.
Kirk Beach Campground, CA
Nestled snugly within Los Padres National Forest, Kirk Beach Campground has so many recreational opportunities you won’t know where to start. The region is home to California’s impressive forests and offers tons of scenic spots for camping and hiking. Kirk Beach campground is also far away enough from most establishments that you get an impeccably clear view of the sky at night.
Kirk Beach is also a prime spot for whale watching on the west coast, especially if you go during the late fall into the early winter. If you are lucky enough, you can snag a campsite above the bluffs and watch the sea in the morning as you drink your coffee.
Silver Falls Stone Park, Oregon
Part of the Oregon State Park System, Silver Falls Park is located near the Cascade Mountains and has a bit of all the beauty that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. The lush green fields and picturesque mountains in the background are added to with over 40 miles of trails, including the main 7.2-mile loop on the Trail of Ten Falls. Silver Falls is also a prime spot for both mountain biking and horseback riding.
If you don’t want to completely rough it, then don’t worry either. The area has 45 tent sites, 52 electrical sites, and 14 cabins available for rent. There are also horse camps and group camping areas so you can team up with friends.
Fall Mountain Lookout, OR
Located at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, Fall Mountain Lookout in the Malheur National Forest offers stunning vistas and camping sites for individuals and groups. The park is famous for its natural huckleberries that grow during the early to late fall. Fall Mountain Lookout is also a sufficient distance away from civilization that you can get a full glimpse of the night sky. Add in the miles of nearby trails and you have a perfect west coast camping getaway. You can even rent out and stay in an old, decommissioned fire tower.
Mossyrock Park, WA
Located on the south shores of Riffe Lake in Washington state, Mossyrock park offers one of the largest campsites in Lewis county and a sprawling lake where you can take out boats and fish. Mossyrock Park has over 150 individual campsites, 48 group campsites with electricity, and a wide range of public amenities including kitchen shelters, picnic tables, and more. The campsites offer direct access to the lake and there is also a swimming area.
You can rent campsites for however long you want, be it a day, an entire weekend, or longer. Mossyrock also has miles of trails that you can explore to your heart’s content. You can also rent a boat. Keep in mind that they do not allow motorized boats on the lake though.
Nehalem Falls, OR
Nehalem Falls is located 13 miles east of Manzanita and is nestled in the Tillamook State Forest. The location has 14 sites and is open from May to mid-September. It is smaller than some of the other parks we have covered so far but what it lacks in size it makes up for in character. You can visit nearby Cougar Valley State Park or explore the nearby Neahkahnie Mountains. You could also go play a day of 9-hole golf at the nearby Manzanita Golf Course. They only offer one group campsite for up to 20 people and 6 vehicles, so you have to make reservations early if you are planning a big camping trip.
Russian Gulch State Park, CA
Loved by natives and visitors alike, Russian Gulch State Park offers a wide range of activities and amenities for campers along the Mendocino coast. The park is famous for its majestic 36-foot tall waterfall and hiking trails. Russian Gulch State Park is also a popular destination for birdwatching with its high rate of native avian species.
Overall, there are 27 campsites at the park and a short trail leading to the nearby village of Mendocino. The campground is very popular and spots go quickly when the season hits. So make sure that you reserve your spots early. Keep in mind that they restrict trailers over 24 feet long from the campsite.
Van Damme State Park, CA
Located in a 3-mile section south of Mendocino, Van Damme State Park is an extremely popular location for campers in late summer and early fall. The camping sites are located right next to Fern Valley and most trails feed into the redwood forest. You can get lost in a house among the giant redwood trees. Van Damme Park is also located just across the way from a beautiful bay where you can rent boats and kayaks to explore to your heart’s content. Overall, there are 10 miles of trails through the fern-rich forest. There are also paved roads if you want to bring a bike or your running shoes too.
The Bottom Line
They call it West Coast, Best Coast for a reason. There is no limit to what kind of camping opportunities you can get out west. Whether you want a more relaxed trip or you want to really be out in the wilderness, there is definitely a camping opportunity to discover. So why not try something different this summer and make your way out to the golden coast?