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Fall is here, and it’s brightening the PNW. There’s no better way to take in nature’s magical season than by going camping. There are nearby camp spots that will get your family out of the house and into nature for some serious adventures (make sure to double check fire hazard/damage in advance). If you’re not sure where the best options are for families with young kids, we’ve got some great suggestions. Get ready to shake of the cabin fever and and sleep under the starry night skies at these awesome spots. Read on for the best family camping spots including tent, yurt, and deluxe camping options near Portland.
Visit a bit of Oregon’s history all while enjoying the Willamette River’s scenic landscape. Champing was the site of Oregon’s first provisional government formed in 1843. The park features a visitor center, Newell House, and the Pioneer Mothers Log Cabin museum to explore the Oregon pioneer life. The campsite features showers and flush toilets.
Camper’s Tip: Bring your bikes! A four-mile bicycle trail winds through meadows and along the river bank.
Location: Approximately 30 miles south of Portland via I-5
Address: 8239 Champoeg Rd. NE, St. Paul, Oregon
Tent Sites: $19-$31
Stub Stewart State Park
Want to ease the family into tent camping in a safe and beautiful campground? Stub Stewart State Park features a variety of campgrounds that vary from rustic hike-in campsites to deluxe cabins with hot showers and flush toilets. Stub Stewart State Park features 1,800 acres of hills, forest, and streams along with 25 miles of trails. The trails are well-manicured and include signage that help pick the right trails for differing fitness levels. In addition to hiking trails this campground also features 6 miles of cross-country and free-ride mountain bike trails as well as equestrian trails.
Camper’s Tip: Mom of two, camping-enthusiast, and blogger, Catherine Ryan, shares her tip for Stub Stewart State Park, “On a clear day, the view from the Hilltop Day Use area is gorgeous, with a vista of forest-covered hills and a big sky. Take a family photo!”
Location: Approximately 34 miles west of Portland via US-26 W
Address: L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, Buxton, OR
Tent Sites: ($11-$33)
A lush and wild retreat is just a short drive outside of Portland, Oregon on the Clackamas River. Lockaby Campsite, and other nearby campsites, feature dense stand of cedar trees near the river. Hiking, whitewater rafting, and fishing are popular activities for visitors to the campground. Each campsite includes a table and campfire ring with a grill. Drinking water and vault toilets are also available, but no electricity or hookups are available.
Camper’s Tip: These campsites are pretty close together and do not have hot running water. This would be for the family that wants to rough it, but doesn’t want to hike in. Bring along some fun board games and lanterns to help keep the kids entertained throughout the day!
Location: Approximately 43 miles south of Portland on OR-224 in Estacada, OR
Address: From Estacada, take Highway 224 east for 15 miles to the campground.
Tent Sites: tent ($22-)
KOA Astoria/ Warrenton/ Seaside
KOA, or Kampgrounds of America, has nearly 500 campgrounds across the United States. It has been around since 1962 and has been a household name for many campers over its history. KOA campgrounds feature a variety of different amenities that make it fun for the outdoor enthusiast as well as your pickiest child. The Astoria/ Warrenton/ Seaside campground features a year-round pool, mini golf, hot tub, and more. Sites available include everything from non-electric tent sites to deluxe cabins with full kitchens and private bathrooms. One of the most desired features of a KOA campground is the ability to easily book your next camping trip via the KOA app, website, or by phone. Prices are higher than traditional camp sites but there are the amenities to match it.
Camper’s Tip: This location is a great option for the family that wants to get out in the outdoors, but doesn’t want to rough it. If you still want to get out into nature a bit more than the campground offers, then plan on plotting out area hikes and day-use parks such as The Fort Clasp National Memorial or the Fort Stevens Historic Area.
Location: Approximately 93 miles northwest of Portland via US-26
Address: 1100 Northwest Ridge Road, Hammond, OR 97121
Cabins: both deluxe and rustic, prices vary by date and cabin
Tent Sites: both rustic camping sites to amenity-rich sites, prices vary by date and site
Fort Stevens State Park
The history-rich campground of Fort Steven State Park will please even the pickiest of campers with its wide-selection of available activities including freshwater lake swimming, fishing, canoeing, hiking trails, beach-combing, bicycle trails, and tours of the former military installation. Find a variety of camping options from rustic tent sites to deluxe cabins. The campsite also features flush toilets and hot showers.
Camper’s Tip: Want to make your trip out into the wilderness even more enriching? There is so much history at this park! Explore the history Fort Steven’s by taking a tour underground through a rare gun battery, ride in the back of a period military transport truck, or check out the old military jail. Finally, don’t forget to check out the old shipwreck on the beach!
Location: Approximately 94 miles northwest of Portland, off US Highway 101, Approximately 9 Miles West of Astoria
Address: 100 Peter Iredale Road, Hammond, OR
Deluxe Cabins: 11( $103)
Yurts: 15 ($48-$58)
Tent Sites: tent, electrical, & full-hookup ($22-$34)
Beverly State Park
Can’t decide whether you want to retreat to the ocean or to the forest? Don’t decide! Beverly State Park’s forest-sheltered campground is just steps away from the ocean. In addition to a great location poised to please any sandcastle-loving kiddos, there is also a children’s playground and hot showers sure to make everyone is happy.
Camper’s Tip: This is an incredibly popular campsite and will fill up fast. Plan ahead and make your reservations for this site early.
Location: Approximately 118 miles southwest of Portland off US Hwy 101, 7 miles North of Newport
Address: 198 NE 123rd St, Newport, OR
Yurts: 21 ($47-$57/night)
Tent Sites: tent, electrical, & full-hookup ($21-$34/night)
While the furthest from Portland on this list, Suttle Lake is reachable within a couple hours drive and is worth the trip! The Suttle Lake area features three campgrounds: Blue Bay, Link Creek, and South Shore. The beauty of the Deshutes National Forest can be enjoyed from any of the three campsites along with fishing, hiking, swimming, and more.
Camper’s Tip: The camping opportunities are fairly rustic with vault toilets available. However, if you are looking for something a bit more comfortable, consider getting a rustic or deluxe cabin The Suttle Lodge. Don’t forget to visit The Boathouse if you stay at the lodge for meal times or provisions.
Location: Approximately 140 miles southeast of Portland in the Deshutes National Forest
Address: Located off Hwy 20 about 10 miles southeast of the Santiam Summit of the Cascades Suttle Lake, Oregon
Cabins: At Suttle Lodge (Online: thesuttlelodge.com/)
Tent Sites: Starting at $18
—Jenni Bost (updated by Annette Benedetti)
featured image: Bobby Burch via unsplashed