Which parks on the coast offer yurt camping? We want to stay close to Portland and are traveling with our young grandson.

The State Parks closest to Portland that offer yurt camping include the following (north to south):

Fort Stevens State Park at the mouth of the Columbia River offers 15 yurts. The park is large and is great for families with access to river, beach, lakes and several miles of hiking and biking trails. The park is famous for the 1906 shipwreck Peter Iredale on the beach and military fortifications used to guard the entrance to the river from the Civil War through World War II. From here you can make day trips to other attractions in Astoria, Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop and Seaside, known as one of Oregon’s best family destinations with arcades, an indoor carousel, kiddie rides and more that your 6-year-old grandson would love. Visitors have come to the small Seaside Aquarium for 75 years to feed the seals.

Nehalem Bay State Park is located near Manzanita and offers access to both bay and beach. The park has 18 yurts and nearly two miles of biking trails. During July, the Park’s interpretive programs and guided hikes would be offered daily and they have Junior Ranger programs for kids ages 6-12. Seals are frequently seen basking on the beach near the mouth of the bay (also take note of the coyote warning the park issued last summer). I would suggest you take your grandson on a crabbing aventure. Jetty Fishery on the other side of the bay offers boat and crab gear rentals or crabbing from the docks.

Wet of Tillamook is Cape Lookout State Park with miles of beach and hiking trails. There are 13 yurts available. I love this park and this area. It is just a few minutes away from the small town of Oceanside and Cape Meares State Park (lighthouse and panoramic views). To the south is Cape Kiwanda with its giant sand dune on the flank of the sculpted sandstone cape.

The next closest park with yurts is on the Central Oregon Coast. Devil’s Lake State Park in Lincoln City offers 10 yurts and is a short drive to the beach, but is not on the beach. You may want to consider Beverly Beach State Park north of Newport. It’s a large park with 21 yurts and a playground. I still remember as a child following the trail along the creek from the campground, under a highway bridge and emerging at a long stretch of beach between Yaquina Head and Otter Rock. The park is a short drive to Newport’s attractions like the world class Oregon Coast Aquarium, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Wax Works wax museum and Undersea Gardens. Natural attractions include the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (lighthouse, panoramic views and great tidepool area) and Devil’s Punchbowl at Otter Rock.

Do make your reservations early. Call 1-800-452-5687 to check on availability and make your reservations (online reservations unavailable). These parks also offer small cabins as an option.

Happy exploring and memory creating!

January 4th, 2013

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About Ask Oregon Expert Gary Hayes

Gary Hayes is publisher of Coast Explorer Magazine and founder of Pelican Productions, Inc, a travel media and marketing company based in Seaside. Gary is a native Oregonian whose earliest memories include working on his grandfather’s fishing boat on the Oregon Coast. An extensively published photographer, Gary now lives in Cannon Beach and loves exploring the Northwest’s dramatic landscapes and capturing its natural wonders. He does clean up nicely though and he may also be found sampling Northwest wines and fine regional cuisine at every opportunity. He is a food and wine writer and is the Executive Director of the SavorNW Wine Awards.

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