Great Places to Take Your RV
in the Pacific Northwest
There are beautiful places to camp all over the United States. But not many regions of the country can compete with the outstanding beauty that is found in the Pacific Northwest. While it’s difficult to pin down the best RV camping in the Pacific Northwest, I’m going to give you what I think are some of the best in each state.
The wonderful thing about RV camping in Oregon is the array of different climates to choose from, each giving you a wildly different experience. There’s the ocean climate which encompasses all of the Western edge of the state, and includes the Pacific Coast Range. Moving east, you come to the Willamette Valley, a beautiful area of farms and vineyards. Then there is the Cascade Mountain Range that extends from I-5 on the west to hwy 97 on the east and includes Mount Hood National Park. Further east and southeast is the high desert, an area known for its stark beauty and solitude.
Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook, Oregon
Cape Lookout State Park is located south of Netarts, Oregon along a five-mile stretch of sandy beach. What makes the area so special is its relative seclusion. This area of beach along the Pacific Ocean isn’t heavily touristed as are the more popular spots such as Cannon Beach and Seaside. Instead, you’ll find a coastal sanctuary that offers great hiking trails, nearby crabbing and some incredible vistas. Check out Cape Meares lighthouse just north of the park. The park’s campground offers 38 full hookup sites as well as 13 yurts, 6 cabins and 172 tent campsites.
Camp Sherman, Metolius River, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon
Camp Sherman is located in the Deschutes National Forest in Central Oregon, about 17 miles north of Sisters, Oregon. The campground is situated on the shores of the mythic Metolius River and offers a wealth of activities for the both the adventurer-seeking visitor as well as the nature-lover. The Metolius is one of the preeminent fly fishing destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Fish include rainbow & bull trout, kokanee, and whitefish. The area also features several trails along the river or through the subalpine forest surrounding the camp.
Odell Lake, Oregon
Odell Lake is found high in the Cascade Mountains of Klamath County, Oregon. As one of the largest lakes in Oregon, the six-mile long lake is extremely popular fishing destination and has three great RV camping areas – Princess Creek, Shelter Cove or Trapper Creek. Each offers easy access via paved roads as well as fire pits. There is also Odell Lake Lodge, which has a lodge, cabins and RV campsites on the lake. They offer boat rentals and guide services as well.
Wallowa Lake State Park, Joseph, Oregon
Located in southeast Oregon, just south of the town of Joseph, you’ll find the beautiful and majestic Wallowa Lake. For RV campers, the gem of this lake is Wallowa Lake State Park, located at the south end of the lake. The campground is surrounded by mountains on three sides and offers an amazing 121 full-hook-up RV sites. In addition, there are day-use sites and a boat ramp. Nearby is the Wallowa Lake Marina featuring boat rentals and a fully stocked shop. Within walking distance of the park, there is the Wallowa Lake trailhead, a starting point to numerous hiking trails. Also available nearby is go-karting, horseback riding, miniature golf and even a tram that takes you to the top of 8,000+ foot Mt. Howard.
Camping in Washington is not option. It’s mandatory. There are so many unbelievably beautiful locations to camp that you could spend every weekend of year visiting different campgrounds and never go to the same one twice. And just like Oregon, Washington is made up of different climate zones that each offer a unique camping experience.
If you like old-growth forests, wild rivers and hot springs, find your way to Ohanapecosh. There are three campgrounds in the area, located on the southeast side of Mount Rainier National Park, of which Ohanapapecosh is the least crowded. The campground is located next to a snow-fed river of the same name, and has a nice, half-mile loop trail that starts and ends at the campground. For the more adventurous, there are other hikes nearby at Silver Falls and the Grove of the Patriarchs. In addition, there is the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center, which offers information about the natural and cultural history of the area. The campground itself is huge, featuring 194 sites, all non-electric.
Kalaloch Campground, Olympic National Park, WA
Kalaloch Campground is one of only two campgrounds on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula (the other being South Beach.) The camp is located on a bluff overlooking the ocean. From the moment you park your RV, you’ll be transported into another dimension as the sights, sounds and smells of the Pacific Ocean overtake your senses. While it’s yet another campground with no hookups or potable water, it does have flush toilets, fire rings, and more beauty that you can shake a stick at. If you want a good, long walk, you can walk for five miles north along the beach without interruption. Another nice fact is that the campground allows leashed pets on the beach. The campground has 161 sites, some as deep as 50 ft.
Lake Chelan State Park, Chelan, WA
For something completely different, consider heading into north-central Washington over to Lake Chelan. The lake, named for the Salish Indian word meaning “deep notch” is nestled in a glacial-fed fjord in the North Cascades National Park. The steep, stark foothills surrounding the lake contrast with the beautiful deep blue of the lake, making for a serene, peaceful backdrop.
There are several places to camp on Lake Chelan, but one of the most popular is Lake Chelan State Park. The 127-acre park is located on the lake’s south shore and features an open ponderosa pine forest with 6,000 feet of shoreline that’s open to the public. The park offers 17 RV sites with full hookup along with 109 tent sites. Recreational activities include swimming, fishing, boating, and much more. The park also offers a fully-stocked store for groceries. The park is extremely popular and reservations are a must.
Deception Pass State Park, Oak Harbor, WA
We suppose your idea of camping is to go to a gorgeous location with spectacular scenery and a plethora of things to do, right? Look no further than Deception Pass State Park.
Located at the very northern tip of Whidbey Island, Deception Pass State Park is the state’s most visited park. With its location on the strait of the same name that separates Whidbey from Fidalgo Island, you’ve got access to 4,134 acres of ancient forest, three freshwater lakes including Cranberry Lake, and 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline touching the incredible Puget Sound. Winding throughout the park are almost 40 miles of trail. Did we forget to mention the iconic Deception Pass Bridge? That might be worth the trip itself.
Camping accommodations in the park are immense. There are 143 utility spaces, some with hookups, 167 tent sites, and 5 hiker/biker sites.
Get Out There!
RV Camping in the Pacific Northwest is really incredible. The only difficult decision is trying to figure out which campground to choose first. For more ideas on where to camp in the Pacific Northwest, get the book, Moon West Coast RV Camping: The Complete Guide to More Than 2,300 RV Parks and Campgrounds in Washington, Oregon, and California.
About the Author: Derek Hines
Internet Marketing Specialist
Derek is originally from the great state of Wisconsin (go Badgers), but is slowly becoming a Pacific Northwesterner. As part of the Internet Marketing team, he writes extensively on storage, moving and life for West Coast Self-Storage, based in Everett, Washington.