Believe it or not, it’s time to reserve campsites. Snag one (or more!) of these family-friendly spots, and check “plan summer fun” off your to-do list.
Sometimes when you’re planning a camping trip with kids it can feel like you need a vacation to recover from planning a vacation. The good news is that there are so many incredible options only a few hours from Portland. We’ve done the research for you, so reserve one of these sites and get ready to make memories with your family.
Oxbow Regional Park Campground
Oxbow is a 1,000 acre natural area just 10 miles from Troutdale. This is a great escape, only minutes from Portland — perfect if you forget something (or have to abandon your quest!). The park is located on the Sandy River, offering easy access to play in the water and even the annual Salmon Festival to celebrate the return of the Chinooks (typically in early October). The park is also very shaded, keeping it from getting too hot in the summer. At the campground, cell service is limited (which is either ideal or a deal breaker), and bathroom facilities are also limited to portable units as the showers here were deactivated during the start of the pandemic.
Located about 35 miles southeast of Estacada, the Kingfisher Campground is located on the banks of the scenic Hot Springs Fork of Collawash River, a tributary to the Clackamas River. Kingfisher offers dozens of reservable campsites including some favorite sites on the river, which are first-come-first-served, so get there early! Each site is equipped with a table and campfire ring with grill, and you can buy firewood on site. Accessible vault toilets and drinking water are also available. Lots of hiking and relaxing nearby (and not much cell service). The campground is located about 5 miles from the famous Bagby Hot Springs, a popular bathhouse for soaking or relaxing in the heart of the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Silver Falls State Campground
A great family-friendly campground in Oregon is Silver Falls State Campground. It offers over 125 sites to choose from (including both tent sites and RV sites), which can make the park feel crowded at peak times but overall it still feels like an escape. Hiking and biking opportunities are everywhere, including the Trail of Ten Falls, a 7.2 mile partially paved loop with 10 waterfalls — don’t worry, you don’t have to hike the full loop to have a good experience! The State Park here contains nice playgrounds and spacious lawns; you’ll often find large family gatherings here too. If your dog usually camps with you, keep in mind that pets are not allowed on most of the Trail of Ten Falls.
Nehalem Bay State Park
Camping can be the perfect way to maximize your time at the beach! Nehalem Bay State Park is located on a 4-mile sand spit between Cannon Beach and Tillamook, with easy access to the beach and neat coastal towns, where you can grab a bite to eat. The campground includes both tent and RV sites (250+ sites), 18 yurts, and, believe it or not, a 2,400 foot airstrip for a fly-in camp!
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Located right at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Umpqua Lighthouse State Park offers incredible access for families to explore. The campground itself includes access for both tent and RV camping with nice spacing between campsites. There are showers available, which may be necessary after exploring on the nearby sand dunes and beaches. This site also offers yurts or cabins if that’s more your style!
Humbug Mountain State Park
Further south, Humbug Mountain State Park is another gem to explore. The campsite offers ability for tent or RV parking, and amenities like hot showers and clean bathrooms. The park has easy access to a beach, tide pools and hiking trails, including a trek to the top of Humbug Mountain (1748 feet above sea level). This is an interesting spot to consider as a destination or a stop off en route to Northern California!
Link Creek Campground
Near Sisters, Link Creek Campground at Suttle Lake is worth checking out. Suttle Lake offers great options for families, from playing in the water to hiking or biking around the perimeter. The campground offers RV and tent camping, along with yurts (which are reservable year round). Of note, there are vault toilets but no showers on site.
Right out of a postcard, Lost Lake at Mount Hood has breathtaking views and plenty to do. You can walk or bike around the area including an old growth boardwalk near the campground. It’s easy to rent a canoe or kayak or go fishing. Lost Lake has access to food at the Lost Lake General Store and Lost Lake Grille (open from July through mid-September). Your kids will love the ice cream treats!
The campground has campsites along with cabins or yurts available to rent, but it is important to know that some of the campsites are a bit of a walk from the lake (so if you’re bringing a bunch of gear for the lake, you’ll need to be prepared to transport it). Get there early to snag a picnic spot on the lake so you can spend the day on the water, skipping the long walk back to the campsite for lunch. These picnic spots are former campground sites, with tables, plenty of privacy and space.
If you want to drive up to Washington, Consider checking out Ohanapecosh Campground at Rainier. This is the most popular camping site at the mountain, and is accessible to both Paradise and Sunrise areas. Hiking is so good here, with wildflowers prevalent throughout July and August. Kids can even check in at Paradise to earn a Junior Ranger badge! This is a tent-only campground. There is drinking water available, and they advise campers to be careful with food supplies due to the proximity of bears in the area.
Tips and Recommendations
Want more to explore? Consider checking out The Dyrt. This app and web community allows you to easily explore campgrounds based on their amenities and location…. And even download maps to have for a trip off the grid!
For even more ideas, see Favorite Pacific Northwest Camping Spots, with options for staying in a tent, yurt or RV.
First time camping with kids? We’ve got tips.
Want to eat something besides burnt hot dogs? Check out these camp cookbooks that will have you feasting in the wild.