PNW families agree, there’s nothing quite like being at one with nature. Get the family packed and prepared for a spring and summer full of forest, lakes, and adventure with our list of camping spots that have it all, and then some! Each site is within an hour’s drive of Portland which is perfect for families with little kids. Scroll down to learn about our top six.

photo: Ishmael Riles via flickr

1.Oxbow Regional Park

Oxbow is located just 30 minutes outside of Portland on the Sandy River, making it a great getaway for those who get antsy in the car. Even though it’s just barely past the city limits, this site has all the things kids (and kids-at-heart)love when visiting the great outdoors. The park has 12 miles of hiking trails where you can spot mink, beavers, fox, deer, osprey or elk! They have 57 drive-up campsites with tables, fire pits and grills; 10 RV sites (without utilities); heated restrooms and showers (and toilets that flush!); an amphitheater as well as a boat ramp; and swimming/tubing access on the Sandy River. Oxbow has a decent swath of sand and water access for smaller campers, but this also means the park can turn into a crowded day-time party spot for summer sun-seekers.
Where: 3010 SE Oxbow Pkwy, Gresham, Or.
Pricing: Fees are $22/site plus a $5 vehicle entry fee
Reservations: online, although the park can be extremely busy on weekends
Online: oregonmetro.gov

photo: Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough via flickr

2. Barton County Park

From hiking to fishing and boating to camping, this spot on the Clackamas River is coined a recreational gem for both daytime and overnight use. Near Borin, this spot is 22 miles southeast of town making it another popular venture on weekends. It has 112 campsites with 103 water and electric hookups. This rocky river shore is less toddler friendly than Oxbow, but ok for bigger kids. The campground includes a large, covered pavilion; softball fields; volleyball courts (at no extra charge) and horseshoe pits (with horseshoes available for rent).

Where: 19009 SE Barton Park Rd. Boring, Or.
Pricing: $21/primitive site and $26/hook-up site and $60/night group tent and $30/night bunkhouse plus additional vehicle fee $5.
Reservations: online, although the park can be extremely busy on weekends
Online: clackamas.us

photo: Sam Beebe via flickr

3. Dodge Park

A popular fishing spot just outside of Portland and not far from Oxbow (25 miles Southeast of the city) this gem is located where the Bull Run river meets the Sandy. The fee-free day use of the park again makes it another popular spot for those looking to get outdoors for the day. They have a playground, portable bathrooms plus restrooms and showers in the community hall. As they are next to the water, they also have a boat launch on the Sandy River Water Trail. This is a great blend of places to for kids to play with the manmade playground as well as the one crafted by Mother Nature.

Where: 10991 SE Lusted Rd. Sandy, Or.
Pricing: $23/night plus $8.25 reservation/online processing fee plus $5.00 for extra vehicles
Reservations: online (reservations are now being accepted for the 2017 season: May 19- October 2, 2017)
Online: www.portlandoregon.gov/water 

photo: Jen K. via Yelp

4. Champoeg State Heritage Park

Learn about Oregon’s history while getting outdoors at Champoeg State Heritage Park. Pronounced shampooey this antiquity is located 29 miles southwest of Portland at the entrance to wine country between Wilsonville and Newberg. There are three museums on site as well as a covered pavilion and a disc golf course.

The historic Butteville store serves ice cream and the Willamette River is great for photos (but not for swimming!). With live actors depicting pioneer life at the museums and very knowledgeable rangers leading tours, the interpretive/educational aspect of this park is the highlight. Planning a trip to see the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017? Check out why this spot should be at the top of your list on their Solar Eclipse web page.

FYI: April 27, 2017-May, there will be ongoing roadway construction in campground. Be wary of possible delays up to 30 minutes to get into the dump station. While the campground is open during construction, the Group RV site and the yurts will be closed for construction of new roadways and paths.
Where: 8239 NE Champoeg Rd. Saint Paul, Or.
Pricing: 67 sites with electric and water ($26/night), eight sites with full hookups ($28/night), six walk-in tent sites ($19/night), six yurts ($40/night), six cabins ($40/night)
Reservations: online
Online: oregonstateparks.org

 photo credit: Greg F. via Yelp 

5. Battle Ground Lake State Park

Head to our neighbor’s up north and stake your tent in southern Washington, which offers multiple campgrounds within an hour of Portland. Although several of them offer little in the way of amenities, and may be more suitable for those who like to “rough it”, this spot just 29 miles north of the city doesn’t experience underdevelopment. The volcanic lake is enough on it’s own, featuring a roped off swimming area for children 4 and over, with a concession stand nearby.

The sandy, grassy areas near the beach can get crowded but the lake is big enough to allow seclusion seekers the opportunity to spread their fins. Battle Ground also offers heated restrooms/showers, two kitchen shelters, softball/baseball field, badminton/volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and several miles of hiking, biking and horse trails.

Where: 18002 NE 249th St. Battle Ground, Wa
Pricing: Peak season weeknights are $74 plus tax/night; peak season weekends & holidays are $79 plus tax/night; shoulder season weeknights are $59 plus tax/night and shoulder season weekends & holidays are $69 plus tax/night
Reservations: online
Online: parks.wa.gov/parks/Battle Ground Lake

photo: Horning’s Hideout

6. Horning’s Hideout

Nothing like a peacock peeking in your tent to give you a start! Horning’s Hideout is family-owned, 160-acre property located 33 miles northwest of Portland. Hot showers, two stocked fishing ponds, fishing pole and tackle rentals and the requisite disc golf course. They also host concerts, weddings and larger events that book the entire site, so check online for availability.

Where: Pumpkin Ridge Rd. North Plains, Or.
Pricing: Tent camping is $25/night up to 3 people, RV camping is $30 up to 3 people. For tent camping over 3 people/group camping is $7/person, for RVs if you have over 3 people it’s $7/person extra on top the $30.
Reservations: call Bob at 503-647-2920 or email him at bob@horningshideout.com
Online: horningshideout.com

There are countless spots across the Pacific Northwest to camp at with your kids, where’s your favorite spot? Share it with us in the comments below.

—Kris Wilhelmy

featured photo: SeppH via pixabay