A Guide to RVing from Astoria to Brookings, Oregon
RV Camping Along the Oregon Coast
What’s a traveler to do when a global pandemic completely destroys everyone’s vacation plans? While some people have counted 2020 a loss when it comes to their travel itineraries, many others are taking up a hobby usually associated with retirees: RV camping. Indeed, so many people have begun purchasing recreational vehicles that some dealers have seen their existing inventory go for ridiculous prices. Tonie’s RV general manager Joe Childress told The Roanoke Times, “If they don’t buy it, there’s four more people behind them that want it.”
RV camping on the Oregon coast may be the best place to start your RV adventures. Having what’s essentially a hotel room on wheels makes a lot of sense when trying to avoid infection, but it can leave neophytes wondering where exactly they should go. Well, we have the answer to that question for you. Following, you will find not only a primer on the basics of RV camping, but also a guide to RVing your way through the stunning sights along the Oregon coast.
RV Camping Basics
While RV camping makes a lot of sense during a pandemic, that does not mean it is easier than more typical types of travel. Indeed, any sort of RV camping introduces a whole host of complexities that you will need to consider before, during and sometimes after you hit the road.
Buy or Rent an RV
To start with, you will need an RV! Buying one is always an option, but know that you can rent an RV from local dealers. You can look online through sites such as Cruise America, RVShare, GoRVing, RVnGO and Outdoorsy. In fact, renting is definitely the best course of action if you have never driven an RV before. These vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and getting the feel for one before you shell out big bucks makes a lot of sense. In addition to their increased width, height, and weight, you will have to get a feel for things, such as a specific RV electrical load (how many appliances you can run at once) and how to best secure its contents. (Items can do more than shift during operation; indeed, they can fly every which way!)
Craft a Plan
Once you have your vehicle, you should also craft a plan. There’s nothing worse than attempting a little spontaneity only to find that your thirsty, 30-foot behemoth is running on fumes without a gas station in sight, or that the only campground for miles has locked up for the night. Even worse, imagine running out of food without a grocery store nearby.
Find a Place to Park
Finally, after you have arrived at your RV resort or RV park or campground for the night, there are a few steps you ought to take prior to hunkering down for the night. Before you pull into your spot, check for any low-lying branches. Then, park, level and stabilize your RV. Finally, look for hookups — you will want to select a location with hookups — and connect your power, water and sewer. Welcome to your home away from home.
What to See Along the Oregon Coast
Trying to pick essential sights to see along the Oregon coast is a bit of a fool’s errand, precisely because it contains so many gorgeous vistas, quaint towns and amazing parks. Running from north to south, this guide will help you construct your own ideal Oregon coast RV camping expedition, making it as long or short as you like. No matter where you land, know that you will be seeing miles of dramatic shore while you drive. With that being said, let’s start at …
This is a historical gem. The first place settled west of the Rocky Mountains, it is home to Lewis and Clark National Park and the Astoria Column. (The latter offers panoramic views of some of the “Beaver State’s” best sights.) Spend a little more time in the shoes of that famous pair of explorers in nearby Seaside where the Seaside Promenade marks the end of their expedition.
One of Oregon’s most famous coastal towns, Cannon Beach, contains the striking beachfront monolith of Haystack Rock, as the gorgeous Ecola State Park. Manzanita provides breathtaking views of both ocean-swept rocks and Neahkahnie Mountain. Rockaway beach has (appropriately enough) lots of strollable sand and Garibaldi offers fresh-from-the-ocean seafood. For many RVing foodies, Tillamook and its famous creameries is the place to visit. Just do not forget about the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum and Tillamook Air Museum.
Watch the fishing dories launch straight from the beach at Pacific City, then stop at Drift Creek where you can brave a swaying suspension bridge that will take you to a 75-foot-tall waterfall. If your RV camping trip is scheduled during the rainy Oregon winter, make sure to visit Depoe Bay where you stand an excellent chance of witnessing the great gray whale migration. Hailed as the “Dungeness Crab Capital of the World”, Newport also is home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Cape Perpetua contains Thor’s Well, an open-topped, ocean-churned sinkhole, as well as the Cape Perpetua Lookout, which provides an almost bird’s-eye view of the coast. At Florence, you will find explorable caves and the famous Heceta Head Lighthouse and less than a half hour south lies Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, an otherworldly expanse of sandy ridges. Nearby you will find Coos Bay, the state’s largest coastal city.
Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
Rounding out your trip, you will drive south through Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, a dozen miles of coast-hugging highway. Your last stop (at least if you choose to make it so) is Brookings. If you slip your rod and reel into your RV, you will find more than enough salmon fishing there to satisfy you.
Where to Stay Near the Seaboard
Oregon is not the longest state in the union and a straight drive along the coast from Astoria to Brookings would only take you about 7 hours. It makes sense, then, to plan as much for the kind of place where you would like to stay as much as the actual place. For instance, if you would like to rough it a little and RV out in nature, consider a campground that is RV accessible. Some camping options include the Waldport/Newport KOA (Newport) and Harris Beach State Park (Brookings).
RV parks — special areas designed for RVers to park their vehicles on a temporary or quasi-permanent basis — are the most common kinds of places to stay. You’ll find these up and down the Oregon coast. Some include Klaskanine River RV Park (Astoria), Jetty Fishery Marina and RV Park (Rockaway Beach), Tillamook Bay City RV Park (Tillamook), Sea and Sand RV Park (Depoe Bay) and Heceta Beach RV Park (Florence).
Finally, you will come across a few RV resorts scattered around the Oregon coast. These posh properties often offer extra amenities such as free WiFi, cable, or even Netflix. Bay Point Landing (Coos Bay) includes stone fire pits and access to a clubhouse with a saltwater pool and fitness center. Meanwhile, Seaside RV Resort (Seaside) boasts tennis and pickleball courts. Note that some RV resorts may restrict the types of RVs that can enter their property, so be sure to check before trying to pull in.
Hit the Road!
Whether your RV trip takes you the entirety of Oregon’s 362 miles of coastline or merely a small section of it, get ready for a magical experience. There’s no place else in the world that can quite match the state’s blend of beautiful surf and amazing activities.