Suggestions for camping in OR and WA

My husband and I are taking a week long camping trip in July. I’m looking for suggestions on good places for camping in Oregon and Washington. I did a search, but wasn’t able to find any old threads covering this.


  1. We live in the Portland area, but are headed to Seattle for a weekend event before trekking off into the wilderness.
  2. We would like to see 2-3 areas, spending 2-4 days at each. Locations should be relatively close to each other (a few hours drive at most).
  3. But preferably something that is farther away than a 2 hour drive from Portland and won’t have half the NW population joining us.
  4. Basic camping amenities (fire pit, fresh water) are good, but we don’t necessarily need fancy city-folk style campgrounds with hot water showers, etc.
  5. Hi, Opal.

We used to go camping many moons ago and have equipment. We even used to go backpacking, but probably won’t this time around. We’re recent transplants to the area, and thus don’t know all the cool camping spots yet.

BTW, I am a long time lurker and addicted devotee of learning from the many astute, clever, knowledgeable, and quick-witted minds at SDMB. (Unabashed flattery doesn’t hurt, right?) I humbly turn this over to you.

There are some great hikes and camping spots near Three Sisters. That’s within a few hours of you. There are campgrounds, but there are also places to hike in and set up tent if you’re looking for something like that.

Either of these sites may give you son helpful ides.

May I suggest WA east of the Cascades? I went camping with some friends a tad east of Leavensworth and while sitting around the fire drinking beer until the wee hours I realized something was wrong. . something terribly strange about this camping trip. . . wait!? Where are the mosquitoes? Camping without them? Crazy!
How about northern Idaho? Lake Pend d’Oreille area? Very pretty.

Oh, there are a lot of nice places to camp in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest! One of my most fun camping weekends ever was there.

I’d suggest the area around Mt. Rainier National Park near White Pass east of Packwood WA. Some fabulous scenery and short day hikes to be had in the Park.
You can get a park pass for about $10. that’s good for several days.

Also I’d head for Century Drive out of Bend, or maybe the Camp Sherman area on the Metolius River. From Century Drive you can access several beautiful lakes with campgrounds, the upper Deschutes River and the Fall River. This area is my absolute favorite.

Another great spot is the area around East/Paulina lakes.

And then there’s the Oregon coast…

My recommendation is South Whidbey State Park. It’s just up the road from me. It has tremendous old-growth forest, and a lovely beach on the Admiralty Inlet.

Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone. I will be checking them tonight.

If you’re going to Seattle first, might I suggest checking out the Olympic peninsula, and most specifically the Hoh Rainforest? It’s amazing what kind of forest you get when you dump over 150 inches of rain on it a year. Nice campgrounds, lots of hiking trails. Lots of rivers, quelle surprise!

If you’re weird like me, travel all the way down the Oregon coast, stopping at every lighthouse for a tour. They’re all different but very interesting and the views from the top are outstanding.

The Deschutes river is beautiful and great for swimming if you’re a polar bear…

Take the itty bitty road from McKenzie Bridge to Sisters (Hwy 242 off of 126 out of Eugene) for some amazingly scenic lava flows and mountain views. Do NOT pass by the mountain observatory, it’s absolutely amazing. Don’t pass up the hot springs along the McKenzie river, either, or you’ll be kicking yourself later.

Ack, I want to go camping now!