Set between the ocean and the bay, Nehalem Bay Campground is situated on a 4 mile-long sand spit. The campground setting is in shore pines bordered by rolling dunes. Walk over the dunes and you’re at the beach building sand castles, flying a kite or relaxing to the sound of the ocean. A forested 1.8 mile long bike path provides a breathtaking view of the bay. You may see deer and elk grazing and a variety of birds. Kayaking, crabbing, fishing and clamming are popular activities.
Park features include a 2,400 foot airstrip that includes a fly-in camp. A hiker-biker camp offers sites for those -walking and riding bikes. Yurts are available as an alternative camping experience. Primitive horse campsites offer horse enthusiasts camping with several miles of trails and beach to explore.
Camping and other facilities:
-265 electrical sites with water
-18 yurts (nine pet friendly; see our Pets in Parks FAQ for more info)
-Hot showers and flush toilets
-Horse camp with 17 primitive sites
-Airport camp with primitive fly-in sites
-RV dump station
When we Stayed: Early April, Wednesday-Friday
Overall Experience: our site was right next to the path to the beach - perfect!! It's a beautiful coastal wooded park so walking the dogs all around the campground was a pleasure.
Sites: we reserved online and picked a site right next to the path that led to the beach over the dunes. Our site was plenty big with lots of space between sites, although not a ton of privacy bc there were few trees directly between sites.
Campground: It's a huge campground so at least half the sites were not as close to the beach.
Even the breathtaking view from the highway is enough to go to Nehalem Bay State Park. The campground is nice, enough room to not feel packed in. The beach walk is steep and long, but oh so worth it! The beach is amazing…like when you all of a sudden look up and there’s the beach….it’s mind blowingly beautiful. A perfect playground for the day, and a great spot for a fire to watch the sun go down. There are also wonderful dunes to hunker down behind to have a less windy beach day. One day the wind was blowing the sand just high enough to hit unsuspecting toddlers in the face. When your not on the beach, Nehalem Bay has a very nice bike path that goes out past the bay and loops back around past the runway. Yes! A runway with small planes landing either for the day or for a weekend to fly-in-camp style! A beach day at the bay during lower tides is a must! So much sea life to watch. Birds dropping right down and grabbing fish. A seal popping it’s head out and looking at us. And a very awesome view cave dug below tree roots. That hike up is steep…but my toddler did it multiple times. It’s that cool and safe. She would scoot on her butt down then roll down towards the bottom. Nehalem Bay State Park is one extremely rad and fun park, one place that is now a yearly tradition of my family. I’m sure it will be one of your families too.
Bigger campground off a fabulous beach prime for kite flying and beaching. Minutes from Manzanita and just down the coast from Cannon Beach.
close quarters but we were there for the ocean! nice clean amenities and a welcome stop while traveling the west coast
My SO and I happened upon Nehalem Bay State Park Campground when looking for a place to camp on the Oregon Coast in a pinch. We were on a weeklong trip to the Pacific Northwest, with twenty-four hours to experience the coast, as we made our way from Olympia to Portland.
The enchanting scenery along the 101 had us giddy and wishing we could set up our tent somewhere on a magical, desolate stretch of beach along the road. Unfortunately, the laws on the 101 (or at least the stretch we were on) prohibit vehicles from parking overnight. As the golden hour waned, Nehalem was the closest campground.
We arrived to find a tent-city. Hundreds of little sites were packed tightly together, with nothing separating them, but an asphalt pull-off for your car. Laughter of children riding scooters echoed through the paved roads. I was disappointed. Nonetheless, sites were available, and there wasn’t enough daylight to shop around for another place, so we stayed.
It was $40 for the night. The rangers were friendly as we registered to camp. We settled on a site near the beach path--after a futile hunt for a secluded site--and headed for the beach just in time for a glorious sunset.
My gripes about the campsite’s claustrophobic layout faded as we walked down the path. This was my first time on an Oregon Coast beach, and the beauty of its vast, open expanse of milky dunes had me stunned. We made a fire and happily chatted the night away amidst a gentle lullaby of waves. Once we were tired, it was a quick walk back to our site, where I instantly fell into a peaceful slumber.
The next morning, I was happy to roll out of my tent and wander to the beach. We spent the rest of the day exploring highlights of the coast, just down the road, before the hour and a half drive to Portland.
So yes, the camping area here lacks that nature retreat feel. But staying here is effortless, and its facilities are pleasant and clean. Its closeness to an awe-inspiring Oregon beach, is a worthy trade-off for the close-quarters of its sites. In the twenty-four short hours I had on the Coast, staying at Nehalem enabled me to fully appreciate its magnificence.
I’m not even sure if the Oregon Coast campground of my dreams exists. But if I find myself there again, I will do a little more research, so I can find a place to camp that’s closer to that dream.
What a great campground. The beach is not far from the camping area and a lot less crowded than Cannon Beach and Seaside.
great place, camps set apart, park wheelbarrows to keep horse area tidy.
Had visitors over to meet and greet my horses
Should have checked the gate hardware more closely, horse caught her halter in an opened eyebolt ( had used my own panel gate while she was stalled)
The campground is very family oriented and active. Lots of kids on bikes and scooters. Don't be surprised to find them riding through your site.
A short walk on the trail over the dunes leads to a beautiful beach. This is the primary attraction.
Many sites are very close together, but there are a few with a little more distance. I wouldn't say any are private. Sites on the inside of the loops are setup for tents or a small camper and generally have more space. Site F19 is larger and near the restroom path which provides for more distance from neighbors. I might choose F1 if we were to stay again. It's an RV site, but you could be further from the road.
My good friends loves Nehalem Bay State Park. I found it way too crowded and almost claustrophobic. I’m sure it’s great for group camping but but even the small roads throughout the campground were packed. On a brighter note, the beach is lovely and there are tons of things to do in the area.
Great location - Go crabbing at Kelly's and then horseback riding on the beach!