Can You Just Camp Anywhere in Oregon?

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Welcome to Oregon sign as you enter Oregon for your camping trip.

The western half of the United States is known for its stunning mountains, acres of forested lands, and desert vistas. This makes for a fantastic array of options for outdoor activities.

Oregon is a prime example of all the western United States offers. But where is the best Oregon camping?

It can be overwhelming to decide where to camp when visiting the Beaver State. There is so much public land in Oregon that it feels like you can camp almost anywhere. And you can, within reason.

We’ve done our best to narrow camping locations to our top picks to help you get the most out of camping in Oregon, including five of our favorite free campsites. Let’s start exploring.

Boondocking is legal in Oregon. Oregon is booming with dispersed camping, legal and free on publicly owned land.

There are 11 national forests and 361 state parks in Oregon, as well as nearly 16 million acres of land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These are great places to boondock. 

If you’re not familiar with boondocking, it is dry camping for free without any hook-ups. You’ll bring anything you need and pack it up when you leave. You provide for your water, food, bathroom, and power.

Keep in Mind: Trying to avoid spending too much on a campsite? Check out these 10 free camping spots in Oregon.

A man playing with his dog at his campsite in Oregon.

Can You Camp On the Side Of the Road in Oregon? 

Camping along the side of any state highway in Oregon is illegal. It is illegal to camp on the side of most roads, primarily because it can be unsafe. There are a few exceptions where a pull-out alongside a road can be safe, and camping allowed.

That said, there are often dispersed campsites not far off of a road, particularly when you are traveling national or state forest roads. Just be sure not to camp any closer than 200 feet to a water source (such as a stream or lake). In Oregon, you cannot camp near a paid campground, trailhead, boat ramp, picnic area, or recreation area.

Pro Tip: First time camping in Oregon? Before your trip, check out this article to avoid the top 10 mistakes people make while camping in Oregon.

Can You Camp On the Beach in Oregon?

You can camp on some beach locations in Oregon, but it is challenging for most recreational vehicles to reach them. Most beach camping in Oregon is in remote areas.

According to the Oregon Coast Visitors Association, beach camping is only allowed in areas not adjacent to Oregon State Parks and not within the city limits of Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, Seaside, Newport, Bandon, Gold Beach, Rockaway Beach, and Manzanita. This takes away the vast majority of Oregon’s coastline.

A camper van parked on a beach in Oregon for a camping trip.

What Beaches Allow Overnight Camping in Oregon?

There aren’t many great options for RVs to camp for free on Oregon’s beaches. Your best bet is a state park or campground. There are 360 miles of Oregon coastline, with paid campgrounds either on the beach or within walking distance.

Are There Free Campsites in Oregon?

There are numerous free campsites in Oregon. Whether you are looking to get off-grid, to be near the countless outdoor attractions that Oregon has to offer, or even to be in a town, there are many free Oregon camping options.

BLM Rd 28 1

GPS Coordinates: 43.9695, 123.6711

The campsite is just off BLM Rd 28 1. It is a flat, fairly level dirt spot that can fit a small number of vehicles but would be big enough for a few class A motorhomes.

There is a creek within walking distance of the campsite. It is just up the road from Whittaker Creek Recreation Area, which offers hiking, swimming, fishing, photography, hunting, and nature study.

Clearwater Forebay Number 2

GPS Coordinates: 43.2621, -122.4045 

Clearwater Forebay Number 2 is a designated dry camping area in Oregon with about ten flat spots around a small pond. There are fire rings, picnic tables, and a vault toilet. It is near several stunning waterfalls, including Watson and Toketee Falls, as well as the Umpqua River.

Blue Heron French Cheese Company

GPS Coordinates: 45.4666, -123.8427 

Blue Heron French Cheese Company is not a campground. But isn’t that what makes it so fun? Blue Heron is a farm-based company that has been around for over 40 years. They specialize in cheese and other gourmet foods, carry Oregon wines, have an on-site gift shop, a deli, and a petting farm for kids.

They also allow RVs to stay overnight for up to two nights. Just go inside and check in to receive a parking pass. It is dry-camping with no services, but the field is relatively level. It is also a great launching pad to visit the town of Tillamook. 

A boy and girl outside of their tent on their Oregon camping trip.

Fifteenmile Campground

GPS Coordinates: 45.3503, -121.4743 

Fifteenmile is a small campground in the Mt. Hood National Forest along Fifteenmile Creek. It is a popular site for Oregon camping because it is also close to several trails, including the Fifteenmile Trail.l

There are three spots with fire rings and picnic tables, along with access to a pit toilet. Small vehicles and tent campers are best for this campground. The Forest Service limits vehicle length to 16 feet. 

Green Mountain Campground

GPS Coordinates: 43.3862, -120.7233

Green Mountain Campground is a small, rugged dry camping spot in Central Oregon with amazing views of nearby lava flows, cinder cones, and the desert landscape of Fort Rock and Christmas Valley. It is also close to tourist spots like the Crack-in-the-Ground volcanic fissure and the Four Craters Lava Field.

There are six campsites with picnic tables, fire grates, and a vault toilet. There are no other services or amenities. According to the BLM, it would be best to use a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

A view of Three Fingered Jack, Oregon, US while camping in Oregon.

Is Oregon Camping Worth It?

Camping in Oregon is something that any outdoor lover should experience. You’ll have access to many outdoor activities. Whether you love mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, hiking, paddle boarding, climbing, or any number of other activities, Oregon has it all. 

It’s also easy to find camping in Oregon. Whether you want to stay at a national or state campground or RV park, or if you’re going to get off-grid and boondock, Oregon has any camping option you can imagine.

Oregon is a beautiful state with abundant wildlife and nature to explore. Please remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles, which means always leaving any place you go better than you found it. Have you gone camping in Oregon lately? Let us know! 

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