Sleep On A Bar (Or A Beach): Oregon Coast Camping Near Brookings
Southern Oregon Coast camping? Plenty. Campgrounds are liberally sprinkled north and south of Brookings along the Pacific Coast Highway and up the Chetco River: private campgrounds catering primarily to RV travelers, discount camp spots for bikers and hikers, a municipal campground stretched along the strand, USFS campgrounds in abundance and BLM sites upriver, Oregon State Park campgrounds—yes that’s plural.
With reverence for light wallets, Dusty Car, Muddy Boots offers several possibilities.
Where are we?
Brief orientation. Brookings sits on the Pacific Coast Highway almost next to the California border. This puts Brookings just north of the Redwoods National and State Parks. Very convenient. It has an acceptably mellow climate all year round, although it does get doused with substantial rain in winter and tends to get foggy.
Brookings features a harbor, spectacular beaches, and a scenic river, the Chetco. Try whale-watching, beach-combing, fishing, brandy-tasting. Oh, and lily-gazing, since Brookings grows pretty much all the Easter lilies in the universe.
See where Muddy Boots is trending? There’s all kinds of stuff to do near Brookings that’s super-groovy-dandy if you’re on a budget.
But natch, you’ll need accommodations of some sort. So, here’s the poop for tightwads. Old standby: camping.
Lots more Oregon Coast camping…
If you need more “poop”, take a good look at the Ultimate Public Campground App.
Harris Beach and Alfred A. Loeb State Parks
Brookings boasts two appealing Oregon State Park campgrounds: Alfred A. Loeb on the Chetco River and Harris Beach, yes, at oceanside. Both have similar facilities. If you opt for either of them, Muddy Boots suggests Harris Beach as the more versatile: from there you can readily access the spectacular beach below. The going price in 2015 for these campgrounds is $20 for a tent spot, very reasonable for a State Park campground. (Read Location Location: Public Campground Savvy for Adventuring Seniors).
What’s not to like?
Ever in search of a bargain, Muddy Boots has two other ideas. They may have vacancies when the two state parks are full and they’re definitely more adventuresome. Make that substantially more adventuresome.
USFS Miller Bar Campground
This one’s a stretch and only open in warmer months.
Miller Bar is not—as you might expect from the name—a reference to a booze-it-up-til-dawn-with-cheap-beer hangout, but a sand bar in the Chetco river, upstream from Brookings Oregon.
And the most significant feature of this campground—apart from the fact that it’s a more or less in a river—is that it’s not really a campground exactly, but dispersed camping with a “modern” pit toilet. On the downside, river bars regularly succumb to the river in non-seasonal months: picnic tables are a rarity. Think of this as a low-grade campground: short on amenities, light on the wallet.
The Chetco is a spectacular river, though,with unusually clear water, and just before you get to Miller Bar, there’s a loop nature trail through the northernmost stand of redwoods. The tread is easy underfoot and, as you will see if you go there, the vegetation benefits from the prodigious amount of rain and fog in the area.
If Miller Bar is not for you, and you’re tenting, try the roadside mini-campground at
Clifford Kamph County Park
But don’t sneeze, or you’ll miss it. Muddy Boots can assure you this little county park is almost as obscure as Miller Bar. It is located on a bluff next to the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 101) a bit south of Brookings OR near Smith River on the CA side of the border. Clifford Kamph is strangely spectacular and exceptionally convenient: it’s pretty much a wide open meadow with a small cluster of trees and has a walkway down to the beach.
Yes, you get ocean views and sunsets right from your site, not to mention wave sprinkles and sandy walks. In fact, one spot sits right on the beach. You’ll forego a few luxuries—but at least there’s running water, picnic tables, and a host—to take advantage of the pleasures at this little place.
Definitely a less than obvious possibility for “Oregon Coast camping”, but close enough.
You’re encouraged to click the link for photos, and note there are rarely senior discounts at County Parks.
Maybe a shower?
The State Park and County campgrounds have showers. The two rugged options do not. This shower suggestion is rugged as well. If you can ignore the mold—a common ingredient in Oregon bathing facilities—there are public showers with hot water in Harbor (next to Brookings), yes where the boats are, along the beach walkway in front of the municipal RV park. Muddy Boots can speak from experience: there is indeed a future for you after navigating this convenient though clammy clean-up opportunity.
Oregon Coast camping photo credits. Featured image, Harris Beach State Park, Brookings OR, Harris Beach Overlook: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Scott Catron via Wikimedia Commons. Brookings Harbor in Brookings, OR: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Cacophony via Wikimedia. Motorhome and campsite at Harris Beach State Park, Brookings Oregon: Oregon State Parks. Bridge in myrtle grove at Alfred A. Loeb State Park, Brookings Oregon: Oregon State Parks. Panel…near Miller Bar on the Chetco River… Drift boat and canoe on the Chetco River: CC BY 2.0 by Zachary Collier via Flickr. Relaxing on the Chetco: CC BY 2.0 by Jeremy McWilliams via Flickr. Floating on the Chetco: CC BY 2.0 by Zachary Collier via Flickr. Sunset…Harris Beach, A love story and a rescue: CC BY 2.0 by K Kendall via Flickr.