Free Camping in Oregon was as easy as we expected but not nearly as beautiful as we had thought. These campsites, however, allowed us to explore so many different parts of this amazing state without ever paying for a campsite. One thing to consider in Oregon is that the beach is public land, if you can get to it, it’s free game for boondocking. We are not equipped for driving through deep sand, so we avoided the beach. Your mileage may vary.
Coquille River Boat Launch
GPS: 43.163189, -124.362145
Nestled back in the corner of quiet Bandon, this boat launch parking lot is a perfect spot for a good night’s sleep and exceptional wildlife viewing. We were 1 of 3 rigs parked here on a Sunday night and all was quiet. A government research boat was parked there when we were and it looked to have been there a while. Seemed like a very safe and calm spot to boondock.
There are vault toilets and picnic tables near the launch and great access to the Coquille River a few miles before reaching the coast. We used this spot to investigate the nearby mountain bike trails close to Bandon.
Dorena Mining Camp
GPS: 43.627432, -122.703511
This little pull-out along a scenic back-road was a peaceful spot to relax and prepare for entering Eugene. Miners use this pull-out to pan and dredge for gold and black sand and have left several deep pools in the creek that are perfect for swimming.
The site was in poor condition when we arrived with shell casings and trash everywhere. We picked up and you should to. Trashing out such a beautiful area is really sad. We left it better than we found it as did the locals that hung out for a while.
Phil’s Mountain Bike Paradise
GPS: 43.970190, -121.513552
The heart of Bend’s Mountain Bike Mecca is the Phil’s System and there is Forest Service Camping all around the area! This spot was right off of the trail and really pleasant. This is a true boondocking spot with no services, but we really enjoyed getting to ride and explore this area.
Oakridge Green Waters Rest Stop
GPS: 43.739128, -122.459006
This is a rest stop with flush toilets and river access. This lot is near the highway, but the noise wasn’t bad. The facilities were clean and this location is in close proximity to town and nearby mountain biking trails.
We tried several boondocking spots near Oakridge and got an uncomfortable vibe from most of the locations, near the railroad tracks. The rest stop was well lit and seemed much safer. There is a park adjacent that hosts music festivals in the Summer and Fall.
Evergreen Air & Space Museum
GPS: 45.204028, -123.142602
Talk about a unique camping spot! Dry camping is offered for free in the back lot of the Evergreen Air & Space Museum. Parking is amongst airplanes and helicopters in a quiet corner of the property. Bathrooms are open during business hours and there are no facilities after the museum closes.
Hood River Dispersed Camping
Hood River, OR
GPS: 45.419751, -121.530729
Hood River is a treasure trove of dispersed camping! We found a spot out in the middle of nowhere and we really enjoyed our time there. It was quiet, wild, and fairly easy to get to.
Remember to Pack-it-in and Pack-it-out when wild camping in National Forests and insure that your campfires are fully out.
Lumber District Sand Dunes
Coos Bay, OR
GPS: 43.400069, -124.288338
This campsite is one of those instances where 4×4 and recovery equipment would have been ideal. The sand dunes near Coos Bay are beautiful and vast, plus entirely unreachable by our Skoolie. We camped at the trailhead and walked around the are. It was fairly quiet until the timber company down the block started work at 5:00AM.
There are no facilities here and it can get busy and full on the weekend. Some cars were left overnight with no problems. Much better and more affordable than the $75 KOA a few miles away.