SP Campground Review – Nehalem Bay State Park, OR
A simply lovely state park by both a cute town & great beach on the Northern Oregon coast. A gem of a place!
- Site Quality = 4.5/5
Sites come pretty close to being perfect here, at least as far as a State Park goes. Sites are well-sized, flat, paved back-ins with 30 Amp/water and large, grassy “sitting areas” with picnic table and fire-pit. Separation and privacy is good with plenty of sand-pines providing a really nice mix of partial sun/shade. The campsites are arranged in 2 major loops (ABC and DEF), and all sites are really quite nice. Outer-facing sites are slanted to the road and best suited for bigger rigs, while inner-facing sites are perpendicular to the road and better access for smaller campers/tenters. The most popular sites seem to be the beach-front sites -> none have direct beach views, but beach-facing sites in the first loop (between C33 on left and A32 on right) almost all have a “hidden” trail directly from your site over the dunes to the beach (sites in the 2nd loop do not). The only potential “ding” is that some sites have low-hanging or over-hanging branches which can be a problem for bigger rigs. It’s worth taking the time to look through campsitephotos.com and assessing this before you come.
Note/ There is also a separate horse-camp and biker/hiker-camp.
- Facilities = 4.5/5
Really nice facilities here. There are 2 toilet/shower areas in each of the two campground loops. Showers are large stalls with separate clothing area and have excellent pressure/temp with really nice shower-heads (none of those spray heads). One of the nicest showers I’ve seen in an OR state park! The only ding is sand and mud which sometimes gets the facilities dirtier than I like during full-times. LOTS of other facilities all around the campground incl. day-use areas, picnic areas, playground, biking trails etc. Large two-lane on-site dump station.
- Location = 5/5
Location couldn’t get better for this park. You’re camped on a quiet and naturally pretty sand-spit within steps (just over the dunes) to a lovely 6-mile beach on one side and relaxed bay on the other. A mere 1.5 miles away (by either beach or road) you have lovely Manzanita, a really cute town with a good selection of food and atmosphere, plus just north of that is gorgeous Oswald West State Park for more rigorous hiking. For bigger day-outings you’re also only ~20 miles north of Tillamook and the Three Capes Drive. There’s even horse-riding/rental just a mile from camp. It’s really the perfect mix of location and activity all in one place!
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
Another fabulous doggie park. Good space to hang-out in camp, plus only steps (over the dunes) to 6 miles of beach-area which are completely paw-friendly. There are also several additional on-site trails, including a nice path to the bay and additional beach/water on that side. Poo bags provided.
Overall Rating = 4.75
BONUS ALERT = Relax on 6 miles of beach within easy reach of spectacular capes & a super-cute town!
Summary: What a gem of a park! Nehalem Bay State Park sits on a 3-mile sand-spit just south of the lovely town of Manzanita. Campsites are nestled in sand pine around 2 major loops (ABC and DEF) and all provide 30Amp/water with nice, paved back-in sites, large grassy “sitting areas”, good separation and nice mix of sun and shade. As an added bonus the showers are the best I’ve seen in any OR state park. The biggest attraction though is the gorgeous location. You’re a short walk over dunes to a fabulous 6-mile beach, or a bike-ride away from the bay-side for a relaxing bay view or a short 1.5 mile hike (along the beach) or bike/drive (road) from super-cute Manzanita for dinner, shopping and just lounging around. Or, if you fancy a real workout go just north of town and lose yourself in Oswald West State Park. And that’s not even mentioning Tillamook and all there is to see there just ~20 miles south. It’s rare that I’ve seen such a perfect mix of beach, town and activity in a single state park…all within super-easy reach! The *only* possible ding I could give this park is that some of the sand pine has low-hanging or leaning branches. From what I’ve heard the park service have worked hard to trim everything, and we didn’t have any trouble driving around, but we couldn’t back-in completely to our site due to a stubborn, low branch. Given all the positives of this park I consider this a very minor item which can be easily solved by good site choice. Our experience here was so good we extended our stay and the park has rocketed it’s way to one of our absolute fav on the coast. A real gem of a place and definitely one we will be returning to.
Extra Info: Decent, solid 3 bars of 3G Verizon here. Sites cost $24 in summer, $20 in off-season all reservable (265 30 Amp/water sites). There is also a separate horse-camp and biker/hiker-camp area. On-site dump station.
Note/ You can get a pic of each and every campsite at this park at campsitephotos.com