Oregon Coast Dunes | Things to do on the Oregon Coast
Located north of Coos Bay Oregon, nearly midway down the coastline from the Columbia River Oregon Dunes and the surrounding area has much to offer campers.
Situated on the northwest coast of the United States and bounded on the north by the Columbia River Oregon is known as a water lover’s paradise with fishing, boating and whale watching ranking high up in the list of popular activities. But many people don’t realize that stretching from Florence to Coos Bay Oregon is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America.
Over the centuries, a unique set of circumstances and a combination of weather forces has worked to create a natural wonder with diverse ecosystems for plants and animals and an amazingly beautiful scenic playground for visitors. In this area, known as the Oregon Dunes, camping provides an ideal way to get up close and personal with nature and explore this area of the basin of the Columbia River Oregon.
Coos Bay Oregon Dune Sheet
The dunes, officially known at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, are located on a sloping sheet of sandstone called the Coos Bay Dune Sheet, for which the nearby town of Coos Bay Oregon was named. In contrast to other areas of the Oregon coastline, which tend to be steep and rugged, the Oregon Dunes seashore slopes gently to the Pacific.
The dunes are comprised primarily of sediment from the Coast Mountain Range that was carried to the ocean by wind and rivers. The waves and high tides of the ocean carry the sand onto shore where it dries and is blown inland. Over the years, this process has created dunes that reach over two miles inland and tower up to 500 feet high.
Forest Service Campsites
But the area is not just one big sandbox. The diverse dune habitats also include lakes, estuaries, grassland, that are all part of the Siuslaw National Forest, a prime location for a multitude of outdoor activities. The USDA Forest Service manages the area and offers numerous sites for camping near Coos Bay Oregon and other areas of the coast.
However, these campsites are located within the dunes and are accessible only with vehicles that can travel through the soft sand. There is no paved parking available. Although the sites allow campers to stay right in the heart of the dunes, they offer only basic amenities and alcohol is prohibited. For those who wish to explore the dunes with off-highway vehicles, these campsites are ideal.
For more information about the Forest Service campsites and general information about the dunes, visit the Siuslaw National Forest website.
Oregon State Park Camping
The Pacific Coast of Oregon is home to over 50 state parks, natural areas, and recreation sites. Several of them are located in or near the Oregon Dunes and offer camping facilities, making Oregon state park camping another fun option for exploring this part of the state.
The state parks are managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and offer a variety of basic single and group campsites. Several also have one-room cabins and yurts for those who prefer more sturdy accommodations.
For more information on Oregon state park camping, visit the Parks and Recreation website.
Private Campgrounds in the Basin of
the Columbia River Oregon
As an alternative, many visitors to Coos Bay or other parts of Oregon’s coastal area as well as the Columbia River basin choose to camp at one of the privately owned campgrounds, which typically offer more services. Many of the private campgrounds are located on rivers or lakes, providing access to fishing, kayaking, and other water activities. Some host organized activities such as nature programs, hikes, game night, sing alongs and barbeques. Most provide laundry facilities. In addition, the cost is often comparable to camping in the Dunes National Recreation Area or Oregon state park camping.
Another benefit of staying in a private campground is the sense of neighborhood and family that develops, especially with those who stay for several weeks or longer. There is a large list of private campgrounds in the Coos Bay Oregon area that cater to the RV crowd, and many offer cabins and hotel rooms as well, although the indoor lodging usually costs a bit more.
With so many camping options, it is easy to find a campground that fits your camping style, budget, and interests. Selecting a campground that is located on the coast near a town such as Reedsport gives campers a home base with easy access to all that the coastal area of Oregon has to offer. From here, the dunes, as well as other attractions including state parks, Deans Creek elk viewing, casinos, and the Umpqua River Lighthouse are just a short drive away.
No matter how you choose to explore the Oregon Dunes National Recreation area, camping can be an ideal way to make sure you’ree in the very heart of it all with the sun on your skin, the surf in your ear and the trail underfoot.