Leave your tent and those pesky poles at home and stay in a lavish yurt on the coast. With yurts (traditional Central Asia waterproofed dwelling structures), discover a whole new side to glamping (glam camping) and indulge in the best of the outdoors — fresh air, exploring with your kiddos, s’mores — with the bonus of returning to a cozy, clean space at the end of the day. The drive is about three hours from Portland, but with so much to do around Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, we promise the road trip is worth it.
Get the Deluxe Experience
There are many yurt sites along the Oregon coast, but Umpqua Lighthouse State Park is the only spot with deluxe yurts. And they are not messing around: Each yurt, which sleeps up to seven people, comes with a kitchen equipped with a sink, microwave and refrigerator. You also get a bathroom with shower (no carting your towels, toiletries, and dubious kids to a public restroom). Other amenities include TV/DVD player, outdoor grill, fire pit and indoor heaters, which means, you don’t have to huddle for warmth unless you want to!
Things To Do
Land and Sea Spotting
The yurts are literally steps away from Lake Marie, where you can take the kids fishing and canoeing, or, if relaxing is more your speed, chill out on the small beach. Nearby Winchester Bay offers whale watching, a crabbing dock, and beach areas to dig for mussels and clams depending on the time of year. Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area along Highway 38 is a special spot to see Roosevelt elk lounge year-round — just don’t forget your binoculars to really see nature up close.
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park is right in the middle of Oregon’s 40 mile-stretch of dunes. The windswept sand is truly spectacular and there are many easy trails kids of all ages can handle. Take one with easy access to the ocean and spend time exploring the coastline for shells and sea life. Check the website to see which of the six areas you want to visit.
Umpqua Discovery Center
Don’t miss this cultural center in Reedsport — it’s just three miles down the road. The center is an awesome, if little known, place that showcases the Lower Umpqua River area’s history, geography and biodiversity. Learn about tidewaters and listen to the story of early pioneers. Your kids will love the interactive exhibits, like the cool indoor slide and the replica weather station. Tickets are $8/adults; $4/kids 5 and up.
409 Riverfront Way
Reedsport, Or 97467
Umpqua River Lighthouse
The historic Umpqua River lighthouse is a short drive away in Winchester Bay. The former US Coast Guard Station across the street is a museum and gift shop. Starting May 1, the museum will be open daily, and there’ll be tours, including climbing up a spiral staircase to the top of the 65-foot structure. Tours are $5/adults; $3/kids; and free for children under 5 years old.
1020 Lighthouse Rd
Reedsport, Or 97467
How to Reserve
Are you ready to plan your yurt adventure? There are only 6 deluxe yurts and they book up fast, especially during the summer months, so start planning now. You can make a reservation up to nine months in advance. The cost of renting a deluxe yurt is $56 a night from October 1 to April 30 and $80 from May 1 to September 30. Don’t forget to pack your sleeping bags, towels, flashlights and other camping essentials.
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Off US 101
3 miles southwest of Reedsport, OR
Reserve: Reserve America
Ready to go on your yurt adventure?
— Jane Gauger
Photo courtesty of Jane Gauger