Fees Slightly Up, But the Views Seem to Get Better and Better: Oregon State Park Adventures
A summer without visiting one of Oregon’s State Parks is like standing in Giza and not noticing the Pyramids. Ranked in the top ten nationally, Oregon now hosts nearly 50 million annual park visitors. To help stimulate necessary revenue for rising costs of maintenance, a new flexible seasonal fee for popular parks and discounts for lesser known now help balance usage. Camp sites at the most popular campgrounds have increased $2 per night and day-use passes are $30. So grab your tents, tots and marshmallows and visit these!
Want to catch a whale spout this summer? A small group of whales are present near the Oregon coast year round and some exceptional viewpoints include Rocky Creek Scenic Viewpoint, south of Depoe Bay and Cape Sebastian. Both offer vast, elevated expanses of ocean, picnicking and beautiful hikes down to the beach, so take your binoculars and remember that spouts are best spotted in morning light.
Camping in a state park requires early reservations or a lot of luck for one of the few first come-first served spots. But snoozing in a camp chair amidst Oregon’s lush forests or coastal landscapes, like Cape Blanco with its lighthouse, is one of life’s treasured memories. Just a few miles south, Tseriadun (pronounced serry-AH-dun) and Paradise Point Recreational Sites, both popular with photographers and agate hunters, offer miles of empty, rugged beach.
A lesser known gem and family favorite is Humbug Mountain State Park north of Gold Beach. There are several trails of various difficulty taking visitors through thick coastal spruce, ferns and Douglas fir while whale watching and beachcombing are a hop from the beautiful campground near the ocean. In the Klamath Basin the OC & E Woods Line State Trail is highly popular for strolling, jogging, mountain biking, horseback riding and even skating along its paved portions. The over-100 mile pathway crosses the 400-foot expanse of the Merritt Creek Trestle and was built atop an old rail bed, offering visitors a smorgasbord of landscape along with a wealth of history throughout the small towns located along the route.