My husband and I love RV camping, (Glamping, as my daughter puts it).
If you are looking for lots of outdoor activities, Nehalem Bay State Park is the place to go.
If you are driving down highway 101, along the Oregon coast, the park is about 2 miles south of Manzanita. It’s at 9500 Sandpiper Lane, Nehalem OR. The park sits on a 4 mile sand spit, (don’t ask me what a sand spit is).
Originally, in 1938 the land was provided for the park, by Tillamook County. From 1939 through 1963, more land was added through litigation and purchase.
The park is open for day use year-round. The campgrounds are also open for use year round.
When you go to the park you will most likely find more activities than any one person typically does.
Deer and elk may be seen, so be careful not to hurt them while driving through the park. Also, please be careful as deer and elk are beautiful but wild. You could hurt them, but if threatened they can hurt you, so have respect for them and enjoy them at a distance.
The predominate trees in the area are shore pines.
There is brush all around and along the paths that go over the sand dunes, (from the campground loops to the beach).
Things to Do
Children will find a fun playground, (great for their health through exposure to fresh air and exercise).
The park has a bike path that stretches 1.8 miles, (the path is forested). While biking, you will see beautiful views of the bay.
There is a boat ramp for use. You may want to kayak, (BYOK). Or you can experience kayaking on Nehalem Bay with “Kayak Tillamook”, (call 503-866-4808 for information, availability, times and prices).
People use row boats and they windsurf here, (as with kayaks, bring your own devices and gear). If you are into watersports, (but didn’t remember to bring your life jacket), there is a life jacket loaner center, (multiple sizes of life jackets are available).
You may want to try crabbing, clamming or fishing. It is best to ask what is permitted to be done, what time of year it’s permitted and are permits required. You need to understand and follow all of the rules associated to the activity you are interested in doing.
If you love to horseback ride, (or would like to try it for the first time), you can experience horseback riding through “Oregon Beach Rides”, (call 971-237-6653 for information, availability, times and prices).
Something amazing about this campground is, if you own your own horse, you can reserve a spot, especially made for horseback camping, (bring whatever you will need for your horse). The camp sites are listed as being primitive, but isn’t that horseback riding anyway?
This is something unique. For those who choose to fly in, (and likely own their own small plane), there is a 2400′ airstrip, (BYOP). There is also an airport camp with primitive campsites, (make sure to check in advance, for details about the airport camps rules, availability and reservations).
Lots of people now a days, love to use their drones. This is not a place for that, as they are restricted at Nehalem Bay State Park.
The pads for camping here are very nicely paved, pretty level and mostly root free. The majority of the overhead branches are high enough that most trailers and motorhomes should not hit them when parking / parked.
Most pads do not have much puddling if any. In my experience, due to storm activity, some sites on the West side of a loop may see a bit more puddling on a pad than on the East side of a loop.
Day Use, Campsites, Yurts and Reservations
If you are only here for day use, a parking permit is required.
If you want to camp or rent a yurt, you must make a reservation. I use the Reserve America website for reservations at Nehalem Bay State Park.
Make sure you review all of the rules before you decide to reserve a spot.
At the time of this writing, there 265 camp sites at Nehalem with electrical and water hook ups. A few of them are ADA sites.
Sites book up quickly, (especially for the longer pads). Most Oregon State Parks like this, allow you to reserve a campsite up to 6 months in advance. That can change though, (for example, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, reservations didn’t go out nearly that far).
This is a very popular campsite. Availability is better in the off season, (summer is not the off season). If you want to camp at this park, plan ahead. Reserve far in advance if you can. Just the same, it isn’t impossible to get a good site in the busy season, as people do cancel.
At the time of this writing, there are 18 Yurts available for use. Keep in mind, they too must be reserved if you want to use one. 9 of the 18 are pet friendly. If you want to bring Fido along, make sure you select a pet friendly yurt.
Dumping Gray Water
At the time of this writing, there aren’t any sewer ports for RVs to dump gray and black water at the campsites. Black water needs to be dumped at the dump stations provided just outside of the camp loop area.
If you want to take your RV over to the dump station, you can perform a gray and/or black water dump. Toilet cassettes with black water may also be dumped there.
If you do not know what gray and black water are, (in reference to camping), make sure you go read my post titled “”10 RV Camping Things You Must Have for Gray and Black Water, (Sewer)“.
You will see raised gray water dumps not far from most camping pads. You are allowed to dump gray water into the top of them, but gray water needs to be transported to one to do so.
Our first trailer was a little Chalet A frame Trailer. It had a gray water holding tank and a cassette toilet.
To dump gray water at Nehalem (or any other campsite that didn’t have a sewer dump port), we bought a 15 gallon tank with wheels to offload the gray water into.
Our tank made it so we didn’t have to teardown the a frame RV when it’s gray water holding tank started to get full. We didn’t have to move our trailer to go to the dump station.
We were able to simply offload 15 gallons of gray water at a time into the rolling tank and roll it over to the dump station.
There are rules in the park pertaining to pets. Before you take your precious pet camping with you, make sure to consider their comfort first and read up on the park rules. Do this for their sake, the sake of wildlife and the sake of other park users.
Pets may be brought to the park. You are responsible to pick up after your pet. You must keep them quite during quiet hours (10 PM to 7 AM).
Pets must be confined by the owner or on a leash not more than six feet long, and kept under physical control at all times.
Here is a picture many years ago, of me and my Harlequin Great Dane, Paige.
She and I are practicing keeping her under control on a 6 foot leash.
I personally think this practice session was a success!!!
I hope you have safe and joyful adventures when you are out and about in your RV.
If you haven’t already read them, make sure you go read my posts titled;
- “3 to 6 RV Camping Things You Must Have for “Parking and Leveling”
- “5 RV Camping Things You Must Have “Electrical or Electronic”
- “9 RV Camping Things You Must Have for Clean Water“
- “10 RV Camping Things You Must Have for Gray and Black Water, (Sewer)“.
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