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16 Best State Parks in Oregon

Written by Brad Lane
Jul 18, 2022

State parks in Oregon encompass some of the most dynamic landscape in the state. From the churning waves of the Pacific to high desert spires, these public lands often offer the best adventures in Oregon. And while it's hard to say which state park is the best, an escape into a stunning environment is guaranteed at all the top Oregon state parks.

The type of activity desired determines the best Oregon state park. Head to one of the many state parks on the coast for endeavors like whale watching, sandcastle building, and watching winter storms roll in. Away from the ocean, inland state parks offer things to do like rock climbing, disc golfing, and waterfall viewing.

Most of Oregon's best state parks also have campgrounds. Campsites range from full-hookup RV sites to walk-in tent spaces, and nearly all are reservable up to six months in advance. Check Oregon State Parks for up-to-date information on rules, regulations, and current conditions.

Enjoy the wild and wondrous side of the Beaver State with our list of the best state parks in Oregon.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park is a high-desert wonderland of recreation in Central Oregon, a little over a 30 minutes from Bend. The Crooked River winds through this vertical environment, with craggy peaks jutting from its banks.

This landscape attracts all types of adventure throughout the year. Rock climbing and hiking are prevalent activities at the park, alongside sunset watching, photography, and fishing.

Thousands of bolted climbing routes line the vertical terrain. This plethora of rock climbing routes attracts thousands of climbers to Smith Rock.

Hiking trails in the park, like the River Trail or the Misery Ridge Trail, one of the best hikes near Bend, also draw attention to the area.

The only camping available is a walk-in bivouac (tent) campground.

Accommodation: Best Resorts near Bend

2. Fort Stevens State Park

Peter Iredale Shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park
Peter Iredale Shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Fort Stevens State Park encompasses the far northwest tip of Oregon, bounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River. It's an area of longstanding history, including its service as a military fort spanning the Civil War to the Second World War. And today, it's one of Oregon's most popular state parks.

Several attributes draw crowds of people to Fort Stevens. But encompassing over 4,300 acres, it never feels overly crowded. Among the areas of interest are miles of coastline, retired military installations, and 15 miles of hiking trails.

The state park is also home to a remarkable 500-plus campsites, including RV sites, yurts, and deluxe cabins.

3. Silver Falls State Park

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park
South Falls, Silver Falls State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Silver Falls is one of the most famous state parks in Oregon. Its popularity comes from the many waterfalls within its boundaries. These impressive pictures of gravity include the 177-foot South Falls, with a path leading right behind the rushing water.

South Falls is only one of the waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls that navigates the park. This 7.2-mile National Recreation Trail draws thousands of visitors each year and plunges them into a lush environment. It's a moderate hike with less than 800 feet of elevation gain.

4. Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park encompasses approximately nine miles of coastline between the popular seaside resort towns of Cannon Beach and Seaside on Oregon's northern coast. This region is home to some of the best beaches on the Oregon Coast.

This lengthy state park is famous for several reasons, but especially hiking. The Tillamook Head Trail and Clatsop Loop Trail are two well-trodden routes, once navigated by the Corps of Discovery in search of winter supplies.

Tillamook Head
Tillamook Head | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

A free backpackers' camp sits atop Tillamook Head, open to anyone willing to hike in their gear. Nearby, the decommissioned Tillamook Rock Lighthouse poses for pictures just offshore.

For those not interested in a big hike, Indian Beach is also a popular place to visit within the park, accessible within a short walk from the parking area.

Accommodation: Best Beach Resorts on the Oregon Coast

5. Shore Acres State Park

Shore Acres State Park
Shore Acres State Park

Shore Acres is a beautiful state park perched atop a cliffside overlooking the ocean. The property once belonged to lumber baron Louis J. Simpson, including the intricate on-site botanical gardens. Today, this blooming attraction and historical site combine with the sheer beauty of a nearby cliff's edge and rocky coastline.

Shore Acres State Park is on the Cape Arago Highway on the southern Oregon coast. Its largest nearby city is Coos Bay, approximately a 20-minute drive northeast.

Budget some time to explore Sunset Bay State Park and Cape Arago State Park when visiting this detour from the 101. These two stunning state parks are within one mile of Shore Acres in either direction.

6. Valley of the Rogue State Park

Valley of the Rogue
Valley of the Rogue | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Valley of the Rogue is a popular state park in Southern Oregon, just east of Grants Pass along Interstate 5. A quick pull-off from the interstate provides easy access to the park, which has a day-use area and a year-round campground. The entire park follows the banks of the famous Rogue River, the region's principal attraction.

Valley of the Rogue is one of Oregon's most visited state parks. The easy access from the interstate contributes to its over two-million annual visits, but attributes like the River's Edge Trail also draw a crowd. This mile-long paved trail connects to the Rogue River Greenway Trail for more extended pursuits.

7. Cape Lookout State Park

Cape Lookout
Cape Lookout | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Cape Lookout State Park is at the center of the Three Cape Scenic Loop on the northern Oregon coast. The park encompasses the view-enabling cape and the long stretch of Netarts Spit separating Netart's Bay and the ocean. It's also home to a popular campground with over 200 sites available.

Over eight miles of trails navigate throughout Cape Lookout State Park, including portions of the state-spanning Oregon Coast Trail. The Cape Trail is a well-trodden route, bringing hikers to the tip of Cape Lookout for a sweeping view of the ocean and coastline. It's almost a five-mile round trip to the end of the cape and back.

8. The Cove Palisades State Park

The Cove Palisades State Park
The Cove Palisades State Park

The Cove Palisades encompasses the Deschutes and Crooked River Canyons in central Oregon. This inspiring landscape includes miles-long views and a deep sense of getting away from it all.

Some of the most popular things to do at the park include boating, hiking, and spending the night at one of two seasonal campgrounds.

Three day-use areas at the park attract the most attention: two on the Deschutes and one on the Crooked River. Each day-use site has a boat launch, swimming beach, and picnic spots. The Upper Deschutes Day-Use Area is the best for hiking pursuits, with easy access to the iconic Tam-a-láu Trail.

9. Harris Beach State Park

Harris Beach
Harris Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

This southern coast state park delivers a beautiful beach scene. Harris Beach is within the city limits of Brookings, one of the best towns on the Oregon coast. And it stands out thanks to its massive sea stacks jutting from the shore.

It's also home to a well-used campground that is a common basecamp for exploring this part of the coast.

Day-use and overnight visitors access the beach with a short hike or a drive to the sand. Here, simply watching the waves pound against the massive boulders in the wake is a popular way to spend the day.

Other popular activities include picnicking, tide pool exploring, and catching the blazing sunsets.

10. Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park

Honeyman State Park
Honeyman State Park

Dunes and more dunes surround Honeyman State Park. This sprawling state park is approximately three miles south of Florence on the Oregon coast. It's also at the northern end of the 47-mile Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The state park provides easy access to the shifting landscape.

The state park encompasses two freshwater lakes popular for paddling, fishing, and picnicking near the shore.

Honeyman is approximately two miles from the ocean with no direct trail access. OHV riders can depart from campground loop H onto the dunes to reach the beach.

11. Wallowa Lake State Park

Wallowa Lake State Park in Eastern Oregon
Wallowa Lake State Park in Eastern Oregon

This stunningly beautiful state park is near the Idaho and Washington border in far northeast Oregon. The park sits on the southern end of its namesake lake, next to the small community of the same name. On the north side of the lake is the small city of Joseph, which often serves as a basecamp for adventures in this part of Oregon.

The state park has day-use and overnight amenities available. Everyday activities include boating, fishing, and hanging out at the beach. Picnicking is also popular, with two reservable group sites and many first-come, first-served tables.

12. Milo McIver State Park

Gazebo at Milo McIver State Park
Gazebo at Milo McIver State Park

This popular state park is on the Clackamas River, approximately 45 minutes south of Portland. This proximity to a major metropolitan area adds to the crowds, as do the park's many recreational activities. Everyday adventures include getting on the Clackamas River, navigating over 13 miles of trails, or playing the park's 27-hole disc golf course.

The park also has a small collection of campsites. Approximately 44 electric sites, nine tent sites, and group camping facilities are available. Rental equipment is also available, including kayaks, life jackets, and disc golf discs.

13. Beverly Beach State Park

Beverly Beach State Park
Beverly Beach State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Beverly Beach is a popular state park and campground on the central Oregon coast. It's on the other side of the 101 from the ocean and connected via a scenic underpass. Some of the state park's 200-plus campsites are within 500 feet of this beautiful bridge and ocean access.

A real appeal of Beverly Beach is the beach. The sprawling shoreline spans for miles in either direction, enabling all sorts of activities on the broad beach, including suntanning, sand sports, and kite flying.

The eye-catching formation known as the Devils Punchbowl is approximately a mile's hike north on the coast north from the state park.

14. Cape Blanco State Park

Cape Blanco
Cape Blanco | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Cape Blanco is on the southern Oregon coast, a few miles north of Port Orford. It encompasses the westernmost tip of Oregon and the oldest lighthouse on the coast. The park is also home to over eight miles of hiking trails and a beautiful oceanfront.

Cape Blanco also has a small campground with approximately 50 electric sites.

Everyday activities at Cape Blanco include beachcombing, horseback riding, and photographing the lighthouse. The Bureau of Land Management offers tours of the lighthouse and the nearby Historic Hughes House.

Due to of Cape Blanco's location over five miles off the 101, the park tends to see fewer crowds.

15. Guy W. Talbot State Park

Latourell Falls
Latourell Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Guy W. Talbot State Park is notable as part of the larger Columbia River Gorge National Recreation Area. It's also commonly known as Latourell Falls State Park, thanks to its proximity to the waterfall's trailhead. The state park provides a nice and quiet forested space with a scattering of picnic tables.

The trail to Latourell Falls is a memorable trek, spanning two miles to a 225-plus-foot waterfall splashing off a basalt cliff face.

Guy W. Talbot is just one of many places to visit when exploring the gorge. And Latourell is just one of many waterfalls in the gorge that are among Oregon's best waterfalls.

16. L.L. Stub Stewart State Park

Stub Stewart State Park
Stub Stewart State Park

Stub Stewart State Park is a year-round camping destination and popular weekend getaway from Portland. The park is approximately 30 miles northwest of Portland, near the community of Buxton, and accessible from the city with less than an hour's drive. But the park's forested 1,800 acres feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle.

Popular activities at Stub Stewart include all types of trail exploring. Hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders find space to make some tracks. The park is also home to a challenging disc golf course popular with novice and professional players. And for those interested in spending the night, 78 full-hookup sites are available.

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