Smooth Rapids is one of my best “back pocket” campgrounds to date. This is the best place you’ve never heard of. I booked a spot for July 4th, with no problem, along with a group of 12 friends. In fact, there were several open spots. My friends chose a group stop right on the river, but secluded from the other spots. There’s no shortage of great spots. I took my camper, mainly for the restroom, since there’s just a porta potty at the campground.Mickey runs the place, and he takes care of literally everything. Anything you need, he’s got you. Smooth Rapids is a kayak and tubing outfitter, so you can take a float down the river, and they have a shuttle that will drop you off. We took a river tube and a paddle and it was awesome. They have a restaurant and bar too, and the food was good. They have a selection of beers including the local favorite, Calf Killer. This place is right on the river, but also in town, so it’s easy to get to, and convenient to grab food or anything else. They also have campers set up for rent, so if you don’t want to fully be roughing it, they have you covered.
I spotted Smooth Rapids last year, just by chance. Our GPS took us a weird way and we saw the store/restaurant and noticed they had camping listed on the sign. It looked like a fun place so I made a note in my phone. I was so pleased with this diamond in the rough! Smooth rapids is located right on the river, and right in the town of McMinnville. Not far from several hiking areas, rock climbing spots, swimming holes and waterfalls, kayaking, etc. so many activities nearby. Mickey is the owner, and runs the place, and he is on top of things! He knows a lot about a lot, and seems to work his tail off to make his place awesome for guests.
The campground Is pretty small, I believe they said 10 acres, but they have rv sites with water/electric, and they have some rv’s already set up for rent, so if you want to stay less primitive but don’t have your own camper, it’s all set up for you. We were in our camper. The campground is right on the river bank, but is also wooded. It’s really great. The tent spots are outstanding, you can choose to be right on the water or in the trees. There’s one portable toilet, and I didn’t see showers. The store/restaurant has restrooms for day use if needed. There’s a big stage in the middle of the campground where they have live music sometimes! The store is where you can rent kayaks, canoes, or tubes. They also have a shuttle service for your own kayak/tubes if you choose to bring your own. They offer 3 choices of float length. We did the short float in a tandem kayak and it was a blast. They have essential items and t-shirts and such at the store, and the restaurant is there too. We had lunch there one day and it was good. They had a couple of beers on tap from a local brewery we love called Calf Killer. Great views from the deck! Smooth Rapids was such a fun place with such a cool vibe. I can’t wait to go back with a few friends and float that river and camp. Hoping they will have some bands playing next time! I don’t know how enjoyable it would be for small children, but for adults, it’s great!