Whether you’re a back-country pro, a gadget-loving car camper, or a glamper extraordinaire, there’s a perfect camping place for you near Portland. There’s even plenty of options for those of you who are just camping-curious.
Here are a few of our favorite camping spots in Portland and the local area:
Fun for the Whole Family
We love this spot because it has it all. Located in a secluded spot in the Mount Hood National Forest just 76 miles from Portland, Lost Lake has tent and RV sites plus yurts, lodge rooms, and cabins. They rent fishing boats, paddle boards, canoes, and even clear kayaks! Enjoy stunning views of Mt. Hood from the lake with the bonus of a short walk to enjoy ice cream at the Lost Lake Grille.
Another site that has an array of accommodation options, Cape Lookout is located an hour and a half west of Portland on the coast. Take your pick of tent or RV sites, yurts or deluxe cabins. Enjoy all the coast has to offer from beach-combing to whale-watching.
Another spot on the coast that offers lots of options is Coyote Rock on the bank of the Siletz River. In addition to a waterfront RV area, they also have tent sites and really fun treehouse cabins. Put together a clamming, crabbing or fishing package, complete with boat rental for a fun and easy water adventure weekend.
Adventure on Wheels: Car Camping
We love the Washington side of the gorge. Waterfalls, the Columbia, hiking trails galore, and views, views, views. This primitive camping site is your home base for exploration. Climb Beacon Rock for the ultimate 360-degree overlook of your majestic surroundings.
This quiet campground is another perfect location for gorge adventuring. On hot days, hike the Trapper Creek Wilderness trail to the top of the falls for a dip in the crystal clear pool at the top. The nearby Wind River offers kayaking, canoeing, and great fishing.
This is the perfect destination when the nearby, popular Timothy Lake sites are full. This smaller, shallow lake is perfect for swimming and laid back boating.
Backpacking in the Wild
At about 13 miles total, this is a great one-night backpacking trip. Hike to the top for views of Jefferson, Hood and the Sisters. Then dip down the west side and set up camp at Upper Twin Lake in time for a fantastic sunset display. On the next day, enjoy an easy hike down the rest of the way.
Save this one for August when all the snow has melted and the lake is warm enough to swim and the mosquitos are not bad. The first 1.5 miles of the hike is tough but the trail is well-maintained and well-marked. Reaching the serene lake is a beautiful reward for the climb. Designated camping sites are clearly marked.
If the charmingly retro trailers aren’t enough, check out the amenities—gourmet pour-over coffee from Caravan Coffee, luxurious terry cloth robes, comfortable mattresses, and fine hotel-quality linens. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by views of neighboring vineyards, can relax in the pool or play lawn darts.
For the ultimate luxury glamping experience, you can’t miss Panacea. Relax and unwind in this 40-acre resort. The luxury tents feature plush pillowtop beds, down comforters, en suite bathrooms, private decks and more. The grounds are entirely signal-free so you can really unplug and enjoy a treatment at the eco-conscious spa.
Tips and Tricks for the Savvy Booker
If you’ve been camping around here for a while you know that reserving camping sites has gotten to be its own competitive sport. Check out Hipcamp
to search national, state, regional and army corps parks, plus private land sites. Another site is Tentrr
. Think of them as the Airbnb or Vacasa of camping.
While backpacking sites are always first-come, first-serve you can also have good luck with “walk-in” car camping spots. Try to get away in the middle of the week or even early on a Friday for the best chance. Plot out spots to try at recreation.gov
, or really take a chance and just go where the road takes you. Happy camping!