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Ocean Beach Camping in Oregon and Washington

May 1, 2021

Oceanfront camping in Oregon and Washington can be a fun adventure. But, as you might expect, there are plenty of rules and limitations to consider before packing your tent and camping gear. Here’s how to start planning your camping trip to the beach.

Defining Beach Camping

Camping on an ocean beach can be a bit different from that in a campground or forest area. This kind of camping, in both Oregon and Washington, is limited to erecting a tent or temporary shelter or arranging bedding for overnight purposes. Long-term camping is not permitted in either state.

In Oregon

Camping on Oregon’s ocean beaches is allowed in many places without a camping permit. However, you cannot camp just anywhere, and you will need a parking permit if you plan to park in a state park that allows overnight parking. Most beach camping is better suited to backpackers hiking into the area than traveling by car. For more, visit Oregon State Parks.

Prohibited areas include:

  • Any beach adjacent to an Oregon State Park.
  • From the south jetty of the Columbia River to Tillamook Head in Clatsop County.
  • On the beaches of the following communities: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Lincoln City, Newport, Bandon and Gold Beach (It is your responsibility to know the city boundaries before you camp).
  • In any Western Snowy Plover habitat areas (these areas are indicated at beach access points). Please keep in mind that dogs are not allowed in these protected areas, even on a leash.

In Washington

Ocean beach camping in Washington is available only in specific areas and requires a wilderness camping permit. The permit will indicate what areas are currently accessible and which are prohibited. You’re required to carry the permit with you at all times, as well as post it to the outside of your tent at night. In addition, you must carry, and use, a bear canister for food and garbage storage.

Tips for Safe and Fun Ocean Beach Camping

Spending the night on the beach can be a new and wonderful experience. Just be sure to keep the following in mind when setting up camp.   

  • Place your tent above high tide. Get the current tide forecast for your beach here.
  • Shake off your shoes and socks, and stick them in a garbage bag before going into your tent. This will help minimize sand in your sleeping bag.
  • Beaches in both states are known for windy conditions, so be prepared.
  • Leave no trace. That means pack out what you pack in to the site.
  • Building a campfire? Keep it below the high tide to ensure there are no embers left the next day.

Start Your Camping Trip at Coastal

You’ll find plenty of camping gear at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal. Plus, you’ll find all the clothing and hiking boots you need to stay comfortable and dry in just about any weather.