Car Camping 101—Oregon and Washington
Car camping—or camping next to your car at a developed campground—is an easy way to enjoy the outdoors without a whole lot of pre-planning. Car camping allows you to haul your favorite creature comforts—coolers, lawn chairs, lanterns, board games, fishing poles, toys, etc., and pitch your tent right next to your car.
Get ready for your campout by learning camping tips, campfire songs and stories, camping recipes and more courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation's Great American Backyard Campout. Also check these Outdoor Safety Camping Tips and other ideas in Camping with kids? There’s a method to this madness courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.
Search By State: Oregon and Washington
North of Florence, Oregon, in the Siuslaw National Forest, Alder Dune Campground is nestled between Alder and Dune lakes –two lakes near the Pacific Ocean. With such close proximity to these two lakes, several of the campground’s sites are along the shoreline. Fun for families, local trails wander to the nearby dunes and on to ocean beaches. Enticing anglers, both Alder and Dune Lakes are stocked with rainbow trout.
Central Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument plays host to some of the area’s most spectacular geology including numerous lakes and lava flows. Within the Monument, campers will enjoy the lakeside Cinder Hill Campground. Located on East Lake, Cinder Hill appeals to those hauling trailers as well as tent campers. Spend your day boating, kayaking, swimming or fishing on East Lake and a quiet evening by the campfire.
Adjacent to the 560-acre Clear Lake, this campground appeals to boaters and anglers alike for the lake’s variety of trout. Clear Lake campground offers shady tent and RV campsites for families to enjoy after a day of fishing, hiking or playing in the water. The nearby town of Government Camp offers a visitor center, general store and restaurants.
Hyatt Lake Campground is within the “amazing treasure” of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The main campground at Hyatt Lake includes access to two boat ramps and dock facilities, fish cleaning station, sand volleyball court, basketball practice court, horseshoe pits and a children's playground. The campground even provides horseshoes, volleyballs and basketballs.
At 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the ten deepest lakes in the world! Within Crater Lake National Park and just seven miles from the lake is Mazama Campground. With more than 200 sites, visitors can enjoy amenities like RV hookups, a dump station, showers, laundry facilities, a camp store and gas station. Book reservations online or by calling Crater Lake National Park Lodges at 1-888-774-2728.
With many secluded, well-spaced campsites, Page Springs Campground sits on the Donner and Blitzen Wild and Scenic River at the base of Oregon’s Steens Mountains. Anglers will enjoy the close proximity to the river while wildlife and bird watchers will find mule deer, beaver, mallards, cinnamon teal, chukars and quail, among others, to observe. Adjacent to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, this first-come, first-served campground appeals to many for the vast recreation opportunities in the area.
With its open and grassy campsites on Lake Sacajawea, Charbonneau Park Campground beckons boat enthusiasts, hikers and bicyclists. A boat ramp is provided for those looking to escape onto the cool waters. Enjoy a lakeside, evening campfire in one of Charbonneau’s several waterfront campsites. Amenities at the campground include flush toilets, showers and electrical hookups, with several campsites offering sewer and water hookups.
Although a little on the rustic side, Cougar Rock Campground in Mt. Rainier National Park offers all the necessary conveniences for car camping – drinking water, flush toilets, picnic tables and even a lookout point to view Mt. Rainier! Access to the popular Paradise area of the park, with its visitor center and numerous hiking trails, is just north of the campground. From the campground, hike the Wonderland Trail or enjoy an interpretive program at the amphitheater.
Part of Olympic National Park, Kalaloch Campground is located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The campground offers beach access in addition to the many trails, tide pools and scenic overlooks in the area. The campground is known especially for its birding, including western gulls and bald eagles. Endeavor to learn more about the history and culture of the area, including the Quinault tribe, at one of the many summer campfire programs at the campground’s amphitheater. Swimming should be done with caution as the area is known for drifting logs that can pose a threat to swimmers as they wash ashore. Swimmers should also be aware of potentially dangerous rip tides.
Relax in the shade of old-growth forest and enjoy the soft sounds of the South Fork Skykomish River at Money Creek Campground. Hiking and fishing dominate the activities here at Money Creek, but with wonderfully private campsites, some riverside, visitors soon find solace in a good book or an afternoon nap. Pack a picnic lunch and hike the nearby Barclay Creek Trail as you head just over two miles to Barclay Lake.
Newhalem Campground is close to the town of Newhalem, Washington, and the Skagit River, which provides critical habitat for all species of Pacific salmon. The forest surrounds the campground and offers seclusion, yet the town and all its amenities are only a short walk away. The campground also offers salmon viewing stations and access to many hiking trails.
North of Spokane on the Washington/Idaho state line is Pioneer Park Campground. Part of the Colville National Forest, Pioneer Park is on the Pend Oreille River and near the town of Newport. Campsites are spacious and shady, with an understory of wild roses and thimbleberry. Hiking, fishing and swimming are popular activities as well as the Pioneer Park Heritage Trail #321 – a short interpretive trail with displays documenting the history of the Kalispel Tribe.