Just south of Manzanita, Oregon, and occupying the entire sandy appendage of Nehalem Spit is scenic, sprawling Nehalem Bay State Park, a favorite with bikers, beachcombers, anglers, horse owners, and pilots. Sandwiched between the bay and a beautiful four-mile beach stretching from Manzanita to the mouth of the Nehalem River is a vast campground with hot showers. Sites are a little bit close together, with few trees to screen the neighbors; dunes separate campers from the ocean. As big as this park is, it does fill up in summer, so reservations are advised, especially in July and August.
In 2008, beachcombers discovered a pair of historic cannons at low tide, likely dating back to an 1846 shipwreck. Crabbing and fishing on the bay are popular. The Oregon Coast Trail passes through the park. A horse camp with corrals and a 7.5-mile equestrian trail are available. There is also a two-mile bike trail. The neighboring towns of Manzanita and Nehalem offer fine dining and shopping. An airport is adjacent to the park, and there are airstrip fly-in campsites.
Campsites, facilities: There are 265 sites with partial hookups for tents or RVs up to 60 feet long, a camping area for hikers and bicyclists, and six primitive fly-in sites next to the airport. There are also 18 yurts and 17 equestrian sites with stock corrals. Drinking water, picnic tables, and fire grills are provided. Restrooms with flush toilets and showers, dump station, playgrounds, firewood, and a meeting hall are available. Boat-launching facilities are nearby on Nehalem Bay, and an airstrip is adjacent to the park. Some facilities are wheelchair accessible. Leashed pets are permitted.
Reservations, fees: Reservations are accepted online and at 800/452-5687 ($8 reservation fee). Sites are $29 per night, $7 per night per additional vehicle, and $6 per person per night for hikers/bikers. Yurts are $45-55 per night; horse sites are $21 per night. Fly-in sites are $11 per night, not including tie-down. Some credit cards are accepted. Open year-round.
Directions: From Portland, drive west on U.S. 26 for 73 miles to the junction with U.S. 101. Turn south on U.S. 101 and drive 19 miles to Manzanita. Continue south on U.S. 101 for 0.75 mile to Necarney City Road. Turn right and drive 0.2 mile to a stop sign. Turn right and drive 0.75 mile to the park entrance.