Last minute find. Absolutely gorgeous! If you’ve never camped before or still learning this is a great place to get your feet wet both figuratively and literally. Nice little trails throughout and a nearby river. Not far from the city of Portland. Campsites are reservations, but if you like to wing it you can easily find an available site - just find a site# with a green card attached and bring it to the welcome center. Check in is at 2pm and check out by 12pm.
This park is just about a half hour drive from Portland so it’s an easy escape. The outer loop sites are quiet, spacious and wooded. They are also very close to a trailhead to nice hikes and the beach. The recent upgrades to playgrounds are awesome for the kids and the new welcome center makes check in a breeze. The one change that stinks is the firewood. The price went up from $5 to $7 for a smaller bundle that burns faster. In our most recent stay we burned through three bundles in one day/night.
The park just added two nature playgrounds that are pretty fantastic. One of the new playgrounds, right before the boat launch, features a trail with a mud kitchen, two a-frame tents and a big area where you can use fallen logs and branches to build shelters.
The other nature playground is right across from the old playground (still in use) and has a wooden water course with a hand pump and an elevated wooden plank course.
Camping can be a little loud since it's a popular spot and there are no pets allowed, but it's barely 30 minutes away from Portland and right on the Sandy River.
TThis is a great place to skip the city noise but still be close in to the city! I will go here mid week and do an overnight trip after work to do some steelhead/salmon fishing on the Sandy River which runs through this huge greenspace! Highly recommend this campground!
Easy distance from Portland on the Sandy River. Down a steep hill (important if you're biking). Nothing that incredible, but nice enough for one night or a weekend away.
Oxbow feels like it is in the middle of nowhere but it's easy to get to and practically within the city limits of Portland. Accessibility and quiet is why I chose it for a weekday beginning of the season camping adventure to air out my gear and try out my new Lily Trotters.
You can book sites online up to 24 hours in advance, or you can show up to camp one night at one of the few non-reservable first come sites. When I arrived the board read CAMPING FULL, but when I went to the campground I found it to be pretty empty. Check in time is 2pm and and sites are $22 (There are 67 sites). There are toilets in each loop and one block of showers for the whole campground. My site #31 was next to the toilets and therefore close to the water point and trash (good when the campground is empty, but may be a busy and loud location on the weekend). Each site has a table, fire ring, grill and hook to hang your food or trash. Most sites had good trees for hammocking! I also saw some sites designated for campers with disabilities.
Oxbow is well maintained with lots of picnic/day use areas, a beach and lots of nature trails (more for walking than hiking). Since it was the weekday I had most of the campground to myself--there were only a handful of other campers and some deer (when I left nearly all the sites had reserved signs for the upcoming weekend). On most weekend it seems to be the kind of place that would cater to families. There are strict no dogs and no alcohol policies (and lots of rules posted everywhere)
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products. At Oxbow, I tested two pairs of compression socks from Lily Trotters: The Lily Trotters Om Denim and the Lily Trotters Candy Stripes Grey. (I give the compression socks 5 stars even though the campground only gets 4)
What I loved about camping with my Lily Trotters:
- The first thing I noticed when I put the socks on was that they were tight, but they didn't cut off my circulation as so many pairs of compression socks do. I followed the calf size measurement fitting chart on the site and was skeptical that I needed the size that was recommended, yet they fit perfectly. I wore them to sleep in and they kept my toes warm on a chilly night still without feeling too tight. They also fit well under other socks as sock liners (thankfully it wasn't that cold).
- I loved that the heels are padded. I've never seen this in a compression sock before, and it makes them all the more comfortable for hiking about.
- The color are really fun. I have both the Candy Stripes grey and the Denim Om. I personally think they looked fabulous in my hammock and I was the most stylish person bouncing around the campground. Both styles fit the same.
- I got one pair wet when I was walking too close to the river and they dried out pretty quickly (good for hand washing and drying on extended trips). When I went back to the river I put my dry pair on with my Xtratuf fishing boots to keep dry. (I won these last summer in a Dyrt camping contest!) I was surprised how comfortable and smoothly my socks fit in the boots. Because they are lightweight and snug I was able to get my boots off without pulling my socks off for the first time ever.
I will be definitely wearing my Lily Trotters for camping, hiking, traveling and under my fishing boots in the future!
This was the first place we ever took our toddler son camping. We chose it because it was close enough to Portland (home) that if we had to bail for some reason, it would be easy. It's also super-close to McMenamins Edgefield, if we burned dinner and needed a quick burger break. All-in-all, things were great! Medium-sized spots, but plenty of trees and brush. Nice playground. And a nice river/swimming spot made for a lovely first camping experience, other than the mean squirrel who jumped up on the table and stole his chocolate for s'mores. Lots of kids running around and biking. Next time we'd bring a better life vest for our non-swimmer, since the river can seem a little fast moving. Nice spot for a night or two.
Road noise can be loud here. Try to get a site as close to the river as you can so you can avoid the highway noise at night. The bathrooms here are great - showers, running water, and flush toilets! The river is refreshing on warm days to swim in. We like this because it's an easy day trip from Portland. (Avoid camping next to the porta potties - we did that one time and a truck at 6:30am came to empty them. Granted it was a weekday but it was not the best way to wake up.) Next time we learned and got a site closer to the real bathrooms. Sites are pretty private though you will hear your neighbors!
Entrance fee is per car, $5. You can't burn wood fires or have dogs, which is a big turn off for a lot of folks. However, the river is clean here (makes for good swimming) and there are lots of families enjoying themselves. One of the closest campsites to Portland!
Smaller, but we were able to switch sites away from an area with two families/lots of little kids (so the area is easy for people who don't camp a lot). Beautiful river, lots of horses and fisherpeople, great trails, tall trees, lots of shade, close to Portland. Plus you can reserve sites ahead of time.