Urban Camping in Oregon

Published on September 22nd, 2021

Oregon is known for its forests and wilderness areas with seemingly endless camping options, but it also has some great urban camping spots. Portland is by far the state’s largest city. It has unique places like Voodoo Donuts and Powell’s City of Books, which is one of the largest independent sellers of new and used books, taking up an entire city block. You’ll find tons of hiking spots along the Columbia River Gorge, an area known for windsurfing and waterfalls. Washington Park is minutes from the city center and houses a zoo, a Japanese garden, an international rose test garden, playgrounds, tennis courts, and 15 miles of hiking trails. Other cities where you can enjoy the rugged outdoors by day and fine dining or shopping by night are the state capitol, Salem, and Eugene, home of the University of Oregon.

The downtown Portland skyline at dusk is dominated by the looming Mt. Hood in the background under a pale purple and golden sky.

Urban RV Parks in Oregon

Columbia River RV Park

Columbia River RV Park is located in northeast Portland, right on the Columbia River. It’s about 6.5 miles from downtown Portland. The park is pet-friendly and has an off-leash area. Full services, including DirecTV, are available along with Wi-Fi and laundry facilities. It’s close to Portland Yacht Club & Marina, Jantzen Beach Shopping Center, and Portland International Raceway.

Jantzen Beach RV Resort

If you want fun things to do without having to drive around, check out Jantzen Beach RV Resort. It’s located eight miles north of Portland on Hayden Island on the Columbia River. This is the Oregon-Washington border, so you have two states to explore. In addition to hookups and free Wi-Fi and cable, the resort offers a basketball court, clubhouse, fitness center, heated pool, playground, and game room with a pool table. It has pull-through sites up to 60 feet long. This is a great location for fishing, kayaking, or catching a river cruise.

Portland Fairview RV Park

Just eight miles east of downtown Portland, you’ll find Portland Fairview RV Park. This premier park offers landscaped grounds, tall evergreens, and a small brook. A pet-friendly park, it also has a swimming pool, clubhouse, fitness center, and Wi-Fi. It is recognized as an ARVC Plan-It Green Friendly Park.

Premier RV Resort, Salem or Eugene

From the Salem Premier RV Resort, it’s less than 15 minutes to Oregon’s Capitol Building in Salem. The amenities list is long, including a pool and spa, basketball and pickleball courts, ladder ball and horseshoe pits, a golf ball hitting cage, walking trails, a banquet hall, two off-leash dog parks, and a community gas log firepit. They also have free Wi-Fi and satellite TV as well as a free book and DVD lending library. If that’s not enough, you can visit Silver Falls, the Elsinore Theater, or many other natural and cultural attractions in or near Salem. There is also a Premier RV Resort in Eugene that is smaller but that still has many upscale amenities. 

Armitage Park Campground

Armitage Park Campground is about five miles north of the University of Oregon in Eugene. The campground is located on the scenic McKenzie River. Armitage Park covers 57 acres and features the Crilly Nature Trail, a 2-acre off-leash dog park, walking paths, a volleyball court, a horseshoe pit, and a boat ramp. It’s a perfect location if you’re attending an Oregon Ducks football game, checking out the Coburg Antique Festival, or want to ride on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway that covers over 100 miles. The campground also has a boat ramp. Make reservations through Lane County Parks.

Where to Urban Camp in Oregon

Although Oregon only has one national park, Crater Lake National Park, it has 11 national forests and 21 national wildlife refuges. It also has over 350 state parks and almost countless county and city parks, making it an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. For Portland, the major outdoor draws are the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood, which offers skiing in the winter and scenic hikes the rest of the year. Oregon also has coastal areas marked by year-round temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Going inland toward Bend, this desert region offers world-class rock climbing and skiing on Mt. Bachelor. Farther east, you’ll find the high desert and areas popular for fossil hunting or exploring lava tubes. Going South along the I-5 corridor, cities like Grants Pass and Medford offer urban camp spots with easy access to the Rogue River.

Urban RV Camping in Oregon

It’s easy to tour Oregon in an RV, but there are a few things you should know. Oregon’s weather is unpredictable, and in many places, you can expect to experience all four seasons in a single day. Dressing in layers is key, and in the western half of the state, rain gear is usually a good idea. If you are heading to Oregon’s coast, don’t expect warm, sandy beaches. The water is dangerously cold, usually in the 50s or 60s, and the coast is also known for sneaker waves and treacherous surf. You’re likely to encounter high winds and fog too, and even when it’s over 100 degrees inland, you’ll probably want long pants and a jacket on the coast. However, the trip is worthwhile for its breathtaking seascapes, storm watching, and seasonal whale watching.

A huge selling point for RVing in Oregon is that, outside of Portland, there’s very little traffic. You might experience slight slowdowns during “rush hour” in Salem or Eugene, but it’s rare for traffic to be stopped. Eastern Oregon is sparsely populated. While that’s great for driving, gas, food, and other amenities are few and far between. Be sure to stock up before heading to central or eastern Oregon. 

With wild and scenic areas within an hour or less from almost every city, Oregon lends itself to the adventurous traveler. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for more RV travel tips and ideas.

With an RV rental, your urban vacation will be a little more comfortable! After you’ve spent a long day exploring the city, you can relax around the fire at your campsite. Then, retire inside to enjoy all the comforts of home onboard your RV. Plan your perfect urban getaway with an RV rental from RVshare.

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