Sleep Under the Stars
Camping in Newport allows visitors to get up close and personal with the beaches and forests of the coasts. How better to end a day at the beach than roasting marshmallows over a roaring campfire? Lots of families prefer tent camping, but those interested in RV camping or staying in a yurt can also find accommodations in the campgrounds of Newport. Two gorgeous campgrounds close to all that Newport has to offer yet offering peaceful havens from “the big city” are Beverly Beach State Park and South Beach State Park. While the two parks have similar amenities, they are situated in contrasting environments, so you just might have to check out both while you’re in town. One piece of advice: these campgrounds do tend to fill up, especially on summer weekends. Make your plans early!
Beverly Beach State Park just north of Newport includes an expansive campground (53 full-hookup sites, 75 electrical sites with water, 128 tent sites, and 21 yurts) in a coastal forest just east of a gorgeous beach. As a tent camper, I’m partial to the tent sites on the outside of loops B and D which are right along Spencer Creek. Gnarled Sitka spruce, some of them so-called “octopus trees,” are found throughout the campground and cast eerie shadows as the sun sets. Sites are wooded and flat, and include paved parking, fire rings, and picnic tables. The Spencer Creek Nature Trail runs through the woods along some of the camping loops, and the Spencer Creek Welcome Center serves as a Visitor Center for the park – check out the enormous grey whale skull on display. An open-air amphitheater hosts summer ranger talks and other events – check the schedule at the campground for details when you visit. The beach at Beverly Beach is really special. Spencer Creek finds its way to the ocean here, and makes for a great spot for rock hounds to search for treasures. Beverly Beach is also well-known for fossils, which can be found strewn on the beach and embedded in rocks and the cliffs that line the shore (it’s OK to collect fossils from the beach for your personal collection, but Oregon law prohibits prying them from the cliff faces).
Reservations at both Beverly Beach State Park and South Beach State Park can be made up to nine months ahead through reserveamerica.com or their mobile app. You can even choose the precise camp site you’d like to reserve by browsing their interactive maps of each campground. You can also reserve by calling 800-452-5687.
At both Beverly Beach and South Beach, you can reserve yurts; we particularly like them at South Beach where the camp sites are in the back dune ecosystem, so they are less wooded and shaded than in other campgrounds. A few yurts are even pet-friendly (two of the 27 at South Beach), but they tend to be reserved even earlier than the regular yurts, so plan ahead. The South Beach yurts are incredibly comfortable, with sleeping space for five (on bunk beds and a fold-down couch – bring your own blankets/sleeping bags/pillows). They include a small table and chairs inside, a lockable door, and the typical fire ring and picnic table amenities of all campsites at the park. It’s like a very small cabin, which can provide protection if you happen to be camping on a rainy day and would like to play cards until the shower passes (it will pass!).
South Beach State Park is chock-full of things to do. The beach itself is wide, uncrowded, and easily accessible from the campground. It’s a great spot for beginning surfers and boogie boarders, with plenty of room to spread out and learn. Trails spider-web throughout the park, both paved for bikes and roller blades and unpaved for hiking and trail-running. Birding can be spectacular on these trails: I’ve seen everything from goldfinches to winter wrens to nighthawks to cedar waxwings in the area. Horses are allowed on the beach here; the equestrian unloading area is at the South Jetty access point under the south end of the bridge. You can sign up for guided kayak tours through the park which tour Ona Beach State Park and Beaver Creek to the south. The playground at the campground provides loads of fun for younger campers in between roasting-hot-dog-time and fireside-story-time. One last special note about South Beach: if you listen carefully and are very lucky, you might hear coyotes yipping at dawn or dusk here, as friends of mine did recently when walking in the early morning in the park. Close to town but on the edge of wilderness!
OK, you’re not likely to forget the tent itself, but if you’re new at this sleeping on the ground thing, here are a few items that might not make it into the camping bag that you will find you need:
First aid kit: Safety first! Just when you think you won’t need it, you most certainly will.
Flashlights: Yes, you will make the biggest roaring camp fire the world has ever seen. But that won’t help you navigate to the bathrooms at 4 am.
Cutlery: You can eat hot dogs right off of the roasting stick. But what will you stir your martini with?
Dish soap/sponge: Just because you’re camping out doesn’t mean you don’t need to do the dishes. But do keep waste water in designated drains/areas to avoid attracting undesirable critters.
Bungee cords: You won’t believe how handy they are for all sorts of tasks. Bring a selection.
Plastic bags: Trash bags, wet clothing bags, beach treasure bags, dog waste bags … the possibilities are endless.
Random towels: Same deal – you can sit on them, dry with them, wipe off wet picnic tables with them.
Five-gallon water jug: Trips to the campground water source can get tedious so find a way to keep a whole bunch of water at your camp site at once.
Tarp or groundcloth for under your tent: You’ll need it if the ground is wet or it rains. Better to just tuck this in with your tent so you don’t forget it. Go. Do it. Now. You can thank me later.
You RVers are a special breed of traveler. You take your own hotel room and kitchen with you, but insist that your adventures are not complete without the smell of the campfire and the sounds of the great outdoors. Newport welcomes RV travelers of all stripes: the full-time nomads following their bliss, the weekend road warriors, and everyone in between. Especially as the weather becomes unfriendly to tent camping, try one of these Newport RV parks for a great place to rest your rig. For more information about these and other RV parks near Newport, as well as video tours of each one, go to rvparksoregon.com.
For motor home travelers, Pacific Shores is the lap of luxury. The resort is gated and secure, and the sites, all privately owned but for rent, are spacious. Most sites are either ocean front or have breathtaking ocean views, including of the Yaquina Head lighthouse to the south. With its extensive amenities and lovely clubhouse overlooking the ocean, Pacific Shores would be a great spot for a family reunion, wedding reception, or other event.
6225 N. Coast Hwy
RV Sites: Limited to Class A and C motor coaches, 25-foot minimum. About 100 sites, all with hookups including cable TV and wifi.
Amenities: Two heated swimming pools, saunas, jacuzzis, exercise room, club house and store, baskeball court, laundry
Web site: pacificshoresmotorcoachresort.com
This peaceful, rural spot on the Yaquina River is a fisherman’s paradise. Here you can launch a small boat, or rent one, to go after crabs and salmon in the river and bay. Just up the road is Oregon Oyster Farms if you crave the briny bivalves for dinner. Sawyer’s Landing is a great spot for wildife viewing as well, visited by a range of bird life, sea lions, and the occasional pod of killer whales. Miss your home-town pub? Check out the Mad Dog Country Tavern just across the street.
4098 Yaquina Bay Road
RV Sites: 53, electrical, cable, wifi hookups, some with sewer
Amenities: On-site store, boat launch, boat and crab ring rentals,
Web site: Find Sawyer’s Landing on Facebook
This lovely RV park is close to the restaurants, shops, and attractions of the Bayfront but a world away, with its wooded sites along a meandering creek. Daily, weekly, and monthly rates are available to accommodate any kind of traveler.
923 SE Bay Blvd
RV Sites: 140 (100 full-time year-round; 40 for vacationers) with free hookups including cable
Amenities: Laundry, free wifi near office, showers, walking distance to many attractions
Web site: harborvillagervpark.com
The Port of Newport operates two RV parks on the south shore of beautiful Yaquina Bay, both within walking distance of the many attractions in South Beach. You can spend the day at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Hatfield Marine Science Center, and Aquarium Village. The world headquarters of the Rogue Brewery is your next-door neighbor, where you can sample and purchase their world-famous brews, take a tour of the brewery operation, and have a great meal overlooking the busy marina. In addition, a system of paved bike trails is easily accessible, which can connect you to the south jetty at the mouth of the bay and from there to South Beach State Park.
2120 SE Marine Science Dr.
RV Sites: 143, many specified for big rigs, free hookups including cable and wifi
Other amenities: Dump station, fish cleaning station, boat launch, showers, laundry, store, easy access to bike trails
Web site: portofnewport.com/rv-parks