Travel Oregon: 9 Areas You Have to See From Your RV

oregon-welcomeBy – Caleigh Brimm

Every year, thousands of people head to the many beaches, byways, parks and ports that dot the great state of Oregon. With vast forests, moderate temperatures, and plenty of access to the Pacific Ocean, a visit to this area offers the diversity that many other states lack.

As one of the northernmost continental states in the U.S., Oregon sees frequent rain causing an abundance of lush vegetation with many forests of cedars and pines. From the peaks of the Cascade Mountains to the depths of Colombia Gorge and Crater Lake, the terrain is varied and beautiful. With plenty of family-friendly activities like hiking and biking, artistic communities and historical museums, as well as the numerous outdoor sporting opportunities, there is truly something for everyone. Discover the 33rd state in the U.S. and take your RV! There are many campgrounds near the majestic sites and naturally beautiful wildernesses that would be happy to make room for you.

  1. Astoria

Merely a few miles from the Pacific Ocean and near the Columbia River, historical Astoria became the first United States settlement on the West Coast just a few years after explorers Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805 there. For years, the Scandinavian-themed, port city reigned supreme in the state, although it has since been overshadowed by Portland.

One of the significant tourist destinations in this impressive fishing village backdrop is the Columbia River Maritime Museum, featuring over 30,000 artifacts of the Pacific Northwest’s seafaring history. Another is the country’s longest continuous truss bridge, scenic Astoria-Megler Bridge. Additionally, Astoria is the western-most end of the 4,250-mile TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, so there truly is something for everyone.  Most importantly, there are a variety of RV-friendly routes in and around Astoria.

  1. Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach, named for the cannon that once washed to shore is one of Oregon’s most popular seaside resorts. One of the most impressive features on the beach is the 235-foot tall monolithic rock, called Haystack Rock.  And if hiking is more your pace, Ecola State Park, located north of the beach, offers a plethora of  trails at a range of levels and fabulous views.  When it’s time to rest, the Cannon Beach RV Resort provides full-service for travelers visiting the area. The amenities include:

  • Full-hookup RV sites (around 100)
  • Picnic areas with brick fire pits
  • Running water with flush toilets
  • Hot showers
  • Game room
  • Laundry facilities
  • Convenience store/souvenir shop
  • Fuel
  • Free downtown shuttle
  1. Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

While you’ll likely have to take your tow vehicle for this one, we simply couldn’t leave it off our list.  Oregon’s Cascade Mountain Range can be seen in all its glory by taking the 66-mile Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. The journey begins at the city of Bend where it quickly climbs Mount Bachelor within Deschutes National Forest. As the Mount is descended, the stratovolcano called Broken Top Mountain becomes visible. The stretch beyond that, takes visitors past several picturesque lakes including Sparks Lake and Devils Lake.  Continuing south, the Byway runs through Three Sisters Wilderness and the Elk Lake Recreation Area, both of which provide access to the water, boating, and camping.

  1. Columbia River Gorge

The largest national scenic area in the United States lies on Oregon’s northern border, merely a few miles east of the popular city of Portland. The 70-mile long and 1-mile wide Columbia River Gorge was formed along the Columbia River by the catastrophic Ice-Age flood. In the early 1900s, the Historic Columbia River Highway was built to take travelers past the dozens of waterfalls visible along the steep valley walls including Bridal Veil, Latourell, Shepperd’s Dell, and Wahkeena, as well as the 620-foot Multnomah.  Although the Columbia River Gorge is spectacular in every season, we highly recommend taking your RV out that way as fall approaches as the season provides the most colorful vistas.

  1. Crater Lake National Park

With a depth of nearly 2,000 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.  Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, Crater Lake National Park has enjoyed an astounding increase in visitors every year since its inception. Although there may be many reasons for this, the main reason is its absolute beauty.  In fact, the 33-mile, RV-friendly “Rim Drive” provides a great vantage point to view much of the park.

There are technically three different camp areas at Crater Lake National Park, but only one is RV-friendly. The Mazama Village Campground, located 7-miles from the rim, offers the following accommodations:

  • RV sites (50-foot max)
  • Picnic areas with fire rings
  • Running water with flush toilets
  • Coin-operated showers
  • Laundry facilities
  • General store for groceries, firewood, and fuel
  1. Edgewater RV Resort and Marina

One of Oregon’s most perfect places for RVers is Edgewater RV Resort and Marina. Located near Sweet Home, Oregon on the shore of Foster Lake, the area offers plenty to do for everyone.  As for the campgrounds, the amenities include:

  • Big Rig RV sites (nearly 50 full-hookup)
  • Cable TV and Wi-Fi
  • Picnic areas with fire rings
  • Running water with flush toilets
  • Hot showers
  • Laundry facilities
  • Playground
  • Convenience store with camping and fishing supplies

Several of the sites even provide patios and fabulous views of the lake. Activities around the lake include biking, boating, fishing, swimming, and water skiing. Additionally, there is a recreation area that has a horseshoe pit, as well as badminton, basketball, and volleyball courts.

  1. Jessie M. Honeyman State Park

Located only two miles from the ocean near Florence, Honeyman State Park is the largest campground in Oregon.  In addition to the guided tours along the hiking trails, visitors can enjoy the dune buggy tours across the 47-miles at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. These, along with the great camping opportunities make the park very popular with RVers.  The campgrounds offer the following:

  • RV sites (nearly 50 full-hookup and over 100 electric and water only)
  • Picnic areas with fire rings
  • Running water with flush toilets
  • Hot showers
  • Playground
  • Convenience store/souvenir shop with boat and canoe rentals
  • RV dump station

In addition to camping and access to the coast, the park provides two freshwater lakes. The Cleawox offers boating, fishing, hiking, and kayaking, as well as swimming. Woahink Lake, on the other hand, is renowned for its sports fishing, due the abundant cutthroat trout and largemouth bass. With so many activities, it’s easy to see why RVers are known to frequent this park.

  1. Portland

“Keep Portland Weird,” the unofficial slogan for the largest city in Oregon, spans the Willamette River, making it a port city as its name implies. In fact, it official nickname is “Bridgetown” due to its numerous bridges that cross the river.  It is perhaps, however, most known for being one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in the world. It offers many options for public transportation and residents often walk or use bikes as their preferred modes – not to mention that it’s pretty easily accessible for RVers, too.

Several of the sites and activities that visitors enjoy include:

  • Alberta Arts District
  • Forest Park
  • Hollywood District
  • International Rose Garden
  • Lloyd District
  • Pearl District
  1. Wollawa Lake

Known as “The Little Switzerland of America,” Wollawa Lake can be found in the northeastern corner of Oregon among the fabulous Wallowa Mountains.  Along with the majestic scenery, there are a number of activities to make it a favorite vacation spot for RVers, like canoeing down the Wallowa River, go-karts and mini-golf, horseback riding, wilderness trails, and a tram that takes you over 8000-feet to the peak of Mount Howard. Along with the beach and boat launch, there are several RV-friendly campgrounds that include:

  • Full-hookup RV sites
  • Picnic areas
  • Running water with flush toilets
  • Hot showers
  • RV dump station

In Conclusion

It is obvious why so many people flock to this Pacific Northwestern state with all of the rich colors, marinas, and plenty of beachside property. From the fabulous geographical and aesthetic experience offered by Crater Lake to the quirky, artistic ambience of Portland, traveling through Oregon provides a uniquely, unforgettable experience for nearly every RVer who ventures there.

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George Isaacs
6 years ago

I recently retired to Arlington, Oregon which is on the Columbia River just east of the Columbia River Gorge. There are many places along the river for RVs from the town of mount Hood eastward. Some have hookups; others do not.

There is a major error in the article about the Columbia River Gorge. There was not just one catastrophic flood. The gorge and the area east of the gorge were flooded repeatedly during the most recent ice age when the natural dams holding back the waters of Glacial Lake Missoula in what is now Montana collapsed. Geologists have found evidence of 25 floods in just the last ice age alone over the 2,000-year period between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago. These floods are estimated to have been as much as half the water in Lake Michigan in volume, traveling up to 80 MPH with a flow as much as 13 times the flow of the Amazon River. The land around here is littered with huge chunks of rock torn loose by those floods.

This is also a great area for conservative retirees. The people here, unlike those in the major cities, are conservative. We rarely have snow because the winters are mild. It does get hot in the summer, but cools down at night. There are many interesting places to visit and things to do on a day-trip, including: natural wonders, fishing, hunting, rodeos, wineries, breweries, good restaurants, boating and sailing (from sail-boards up to cabin cruisers).

Most important for me, the cost of living is low. Housing with great views is cheap. You can retire here on social security alone. I am renting a very nice, modern, two-bedroom apartment for $550 per month. There are currently two available one-bedroom apartments in this facility if anyone is interested.

Caril Wright
6 years ago

I am going to Portland in September: My son is having a knee replacement. I was son has to get the information on Oregon..Divine Providence.!
If there are any Christians out there, please pray for my son Joshua for a successful surgery. Thanks you, and God Bless you!

Bruce Von Sprecken
6 years ago

Just so sad to see this beautiful state,along with Washington State be turned into left-wing liberal run mecca’s fleeing from socialist California. Just look what happened to the beautiful state of Colorado,pot and liberal pleasure California style.

J S deRagman
6 years ago

Would have been a great article had there been some photos…

6 years ago

You missed the famous Rogue River which began the other side of the I-5 and flow out to see on the coast at Gold Beach. Fishermen love the area and RVers can camp a short mile south oron-the beach or in the campground near the beach.

6 years ago

i think you should include Smith Rock state park in Terrebonne, Oregon.

George Davis (not related to Kate of Wallowa)
6 years ago

Lets say you want to drive the coast highway, US-101. Start at the north end of US 101, and go south, not at the south end and go north. Going south, the most interesting attractions are a right turn off the highway and right turn back on again. And the wind typically is from the north west, at your back. Summer traffic is often a long string of vehicles, and waiting and waiting to make a left turns across traffic isn’t the way to spend your vacation. On your way, stop at my town, Lincoln City, for lunch or dinner. And know this well; Oregon does enforce speed limits. Radar will gitcha!

6 years ago

Oregon is my home state too, but I lived in Vancouver, WA for many years after moving from Oregon. My slogan for Portland, because of the influx of Portlanders that move there, was “Keep the weird in Portland”. Both states are beautiful, but the liberal governments have all but ruined them to live in. Just don’t try to start a bakery or photography studio if you have strong religious beliefs. The government in Oregon will destroy your business.

Clark Kent
6 years ago
Reply to  Aardvark

IMHO Portland is located amid great natural beauty but the city itself is ugly. Lots of concrete, old bridges and a blah personality.

Kate Davis
6 years ago

Please correct the spelling of Wallowa. Other than that, thank you for a nice article about my home State

6 years ago

Great article! Please do more RV travel articles. As seniors, we are in the largest demographic group of lengthy/long term RV travel.

Joseph Burke
6 years ago

I lived in Oregon for years. Beautiful state. Just one word of advice. Keep your hand on your wallet and don’t leave anything of value where you can’t see it at all times… the land of thieves.

Clark Kent
6 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Burke

You obviously have never been to Washington state……

Dianne Wilson
6 years ago

We agree, Oregon is beautiful. We just returned from a stay at Winchester Bay RV Resort. It is a lovely place that is kept pristine. My husband and friends went crabbing and we had fun finding the best places for clam chowder. We all agreed, Harbor Light restaurant in Reedsport had the best.

6 years ago

The last time I visited Oregon was in 1971 and we tent camped at several state parks along their beautiful coast. I’ve always told my wife we’ve got to go back it was one of the nicest coasts we’d ever visited.

Since we live near the east coast we have considered flying into Seattle renting a car and traveling south along the coast through Oregon and on to San Francisco and then flying back home. Instead of doing any tent camping this time around we’d be resting our old weary bones every night at a Marriott.

6 years ago

As a lifelong Oregon resident I appreciate the acclaim and beauty of our place but would much rather see a lot less feet trampling these natural areas under foot.

John R
6 years ago
Reply to  Potawatomi13

Yes, we wouldn’t want to walk and enjoy nature and ruin your day now would we. This is the norm up here folks, you first claim you are a ‘lifelong’ Oregon resident, (which means you are from Calif. but you have lived in Oregon for 5 years or so) and then you tell everyone else not to come here and pollute “our” state. Freakin’ hippies!!

Ivan Berry
6 years ago
Reply to  John R

Wow, a left coast promo: “great place to visit? but wouldn’t want to live there.”

6 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

Please don’t judge us all by the voice of one.

Clark Kent
6 years ago
Reply to  Susan

Who is ‘us’?

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