In a recent trip to the Northern Oregon Coast, we had the opportunity to stay at a handful of different campsites. One of them happened to be the activity and adventure-filled Fort Stevens State Park, a hiker and biker campground that has so many stories and features. If you need a place to stay for the night during your travels along the Northern Oregon Coast, this is definitely it and is by far the best campground in that area.
The campsite is a really nice campsite to stay at and was very well put together. It has everything your house would and was nice and shady with all the millions of enormous trees above your head everywhere. There’s fantastic fresh air everywhere you go, too, because of the incredibly bountiful amount of trees surrounding the whole area.
It was pretty hard to pull into our campsite with our trailer behind our car, but that’s because we got a really tight space. If we had gotten a campsite with a longer driveway it would have been a lot easier. It also really helped us to have a set of walkie-talkies at hand so one person would stand at the back, warning the driver of picnic tables, curbs, and signs. Backing the trailer in would not have been possible without our walkie talkies. (You can also just call each other on your cell phones if you do not have a set of walkie-talkies.)
The surrounding campers were always fun to be around because they would decorate their campsite with lights everywhere – on and in their trailer, around their camp chairs, and even set up glowing flamingos on their “lawn!”
Out of a ten-star scale, I would probably give the campsites a solid 8.
As far as campground bathrooms go, these are probably the best you could ever find that doesn’t defeat the purpose of camping. The bathrooms are very conveniently located and you never have to walk more than 50 yards to reach one. There weren’t any pit toilets, they had actual flushing toilets – the same kind that you would find inside of your own house.
The showers there are fantastic and have running hot water and nice stall doors. It’s a good idea to wear sandals over there so your feet don’t get dirty there, though, because the floors in the bathrooms are very muddy and should be cleaned more often. It’s also probably a good idea to bring a bag with your soap and other items so you can consolidate space and prevent losing anything there.
So anyways, I would probably give an 8.5 out of 10 on this one, comparing these bathrooms with the other bathrooms you would find at different campgrounds.
As far as activities offered by a campground go, this park is definitely the winner. It is hard to go wrong with activities offered at every time of the day. For example, when we stayed there we got reservations for a kayak tour on Coffenbury Lake. I definitely recommend taking the tour if you plan on staying there one night.
Fort Stevens also has a great Junior Ranger program.
With the incredible amount of activities and fun Fort Stevens has, I would probably say this section probably deserves a good solid score of 9/10. If you plan on staying here one night, sign up for some activities because there are so many.
Fort Stevens – unique story
Fort Stevens’s Coffenbury Lake was fired at with three bombs from the Japanese. The Americans did not want to give away their location so they decided not to fire back (a very smart move). The Americans decided to dredge the lake to recover the bombshells but gave up and left it as it was. Fort Stevens was the only location in the continental United States attacked during World War II.
You can read more about the history of Fort Stevens state park by clicking here.
This park is extremely well-placed because there are very cool tourist attractions inside and very nearby the campsite, and it is only a few minutes from Fort Stevens to Astoria. The Wreck of Peter Iredale is found on the beach and is the back of a giant, old, rusted metal ship that had crashed way back on October 25th of 1906. It was three in the morning when the 275-foot vessel struggled on its journey to Portland Oregon and didn’t make it up the mouth of the Columbia River. The Liverpool sailing ship was very unsuccessful in reaching its destination and crashed into the ground, then was pushed up to shore by the waves. None of the 25 crew members and two stowaways died, fortunately, thanks to the rescue team. Anyways, the Wreck of Peter Iredale is very fun to climb on, but be careful of the rust, because nobody wants a tetanus shot.
Another nearby tourist attraction is the Battery Russel – a spectacular bomb shelter that is the best place for hide-and-go-seek. While some parts of Battery Russel are closed off, the rest is really fun to explore around and play on.
The ten-minute drive from the campground brings you to the beautiful city of Astoria. (I would not recommend driving through there, though, if you are in an RV or towing a trailer behind you because of the intense steep hills throughout the entire area. Astoria is mostly a walking city.) There is plenty to do there, like take a stroll down the boardwalk to stop and see all the cool little shops along the way. There are gift shops, too, which have anything you would need as a souvenir from the Oregon Coast. There are also a few restaurants along the way that you can stop at and get lunch (the Frites & Scoop is a really good place to stop at, with ice cream and fries).
Astoria also holds the Columbia River Maritime Museum, which is absolutely a must-see. It will take a minimum of two hours to go through because it is so hard to leave all the massive, complex, and jaw-dropping exhibits.
The location of Fort Stevens is perfect. I would say I give this section a full, solid ten out of ten stars.
To sum things up, Fort Stevens state park is definitely a wonderful place to stay at and has so many activities to offer, with plenty of adventures in the area that don’t cost a lot of money – or don’t cost anything at all. I recommend this campsite to anyone who is looking for a place to stay during their journey along the Northern Oregon Coast.
Directions to Fort Stevens found here.
Fort Stevens campground website found here.