84505 Hwy. 101 South
Florence, OR 97439
43°55’47.8″ N ♦ 124°06’24.9″ W
Date of my visit – October 16-23, 2015
47 full hookup sites (50 amp electric), 121 sites water/electric only, 187 tent sites with water nearby. All sites are paved, have picnic tables and fire rings with cooking grate; flush toilets/showers, RV dump station.
After passing the entrance, the road to access all the loops is paved and in good shape. Several of the loops were closed for the winter season, but some still open as alternatives to Loop H at the back which allows ATVs and access to the dunes, so that loop is noisier than these at the front. So if you’re looking for a tranquil and quiet camping trip, that loop is not the place for you during October – April.
B Loop was open and here you see Sites 52-53 on opposite sides of the road. It looks like this shot basically represents what the other loops look like in terms of trees, spacing of sites, etc.
Loop D was also open and Site 257 is on the left, with the road to Sites 283-299 to the right.
Loop G – Sites 322-323 on opposite sides of road.
Loop H was where all the action was during my stay due to ATVs being allowed with direct access to the dunes from this loop. It also has an area for parking trailers and loading/unloading the ATVs during the months of October-April when they are allowed on the dunes.
Here is the road to the dunes between sites 382 and 384. Per the sign, the gate is locked at 10 pm daily which is when quiet time begins (no ATVs on the campground roads, either).
The H Loop sites also have extended pads to accommodate the ATVs to the side. I met Pete from Ferndale, WA here in site 373. He said this is his favorite campground on the Oregon Coast and appreciates how well kept it is. He’s been coming here for 25 years and is usually here with a large group and besides the fun on the dunes, the kids also like the playground and the great programs tailored for them.
Next door I met the Kwake family in Site 372. They were with two other families from Eugene and 16 year old Xylia on the white quad was in the process of taking the online part of the test required for riding on public lands. After that, she would need to do the hands-on course and evaluation to finish her training. Anyone under 16 must have adult supervision.
They liked how the dunes had some big hills but also offered more flat areas for beginners.
Here I am in Site H-370, which is usually reserved for a camp host so can’t be reserved online. I was told this area is more open than the other loops in terms of trees, but I still couldn’t get satellite TV from my rooftop dish. I could get a few local channels, but the reception wasn’t great as the signal went in and out sometimes in rainy weather. But it’s a great site with lots of room between neighbors. The camp hosts next to me (Eldon & Sharon) were fantastic, friendly and helpful which is always a plus.
It was like a whole different world for me, something I’d never seen in 14 years of fulltime RVing – ATVs parked where tow vehicles are normally seen and ATVs puttering to the entrance to the dunes during the day. I thought most people were very considerate and went slowly and as quietly as possible on the campground roads. I just found the whole experience to be interesting and something new to me – not easy to do at my age.
The most exciting thing, though, was my getting a ride in this bad boy Razor Polaris owned by Dennis Johnson camped here. See my Dunes page for that story with video and pictures. Dennis and his family stay here about 50 days annually and said he finds Oregon state parks much better than California because they’re cleaner and less expensive. He also said he likes how family oriented this park is with great hike and bike trails and access to two lakes within the park. He appreciates how friendly and helpful the staff are about trying to keep their group sites close together and being able to change sites when possible. He emphasized how busy the campground is during the summer, though, and recommends making your reservations far in advance. He also talked about the importance of “having respect for your campground” – being as quiet as possible when going through the grounds before or after getting on the dunes and generally following the rules. I sure had fun visiting with him and would welcome him and his family as my neighbors any time!
Readers have asked for short recaps of pros and cons about the parks I visit. I realize this is subjective stuff and what bothers some people, others won’t have a problem with, and vice versa. As a fulltime RVer, I like things that weekend campers can do without. But, based on my own observations and/or comments from others, here goes:
I’ve definitely come to appreciate the full hookup options in Oregon’s state parks – to me, this is the best of all worlds – and this one has 50 amps to boot!
There’s so much within the park to explore, I never did get around to it all in the week I was here. Two fresh water lakes, dunes, nature trails, as well as the cute little historic town of Florence to explore and for shopping.
I would love to see this place in the spring – there are so many rhododendron bushes and in mid May Florence hosts the annual Rhododendron Festival. There are so many bushes within the campground and on the trails here, I’m willing to bet it’s breathtaking. In fall, huckleberries and blackberries are ripe for the picking all around – I was here just a tad too late for that.
Again, as mentioned above, if you’re looking for total peace and quiet, forget the H loop during October-April when ATVs are allowed. Even when the riders are considerate and don’t zoom around within the campground, they’re still noisy when they’re going past.
Even though a campground on the Oregon Coast, there is no easy walk to the beach. Per website FAQs: We do NOT recommend that people walk the 2 miles across the dunes to the ocean. There are no marked trails and the dunes are open to ATV operation.
The closest beach access for vehicles is 2 miles north on Hwy 101 at the Siuslaw South Jetty. It is a federal area requiring a separate day use parking fee. The Siuslaw North Jetty has free parking available. I did go drive out to the South Jetty and there are several paths to get to the beach from the road, but it’s not just right off the road, so if you want quick and easy access to the beach for quiet beach combing or strolling, this is not the best place in my opinion.
Satellite TV: I was in the most open loop (H), but it’s still heavily treed enough so I couldn’t get DirecTV from my rooftop dish. I saw some who had portable dishes who found a spot between the trees.
Internet/Wi-Fi/Cell Phone: No wi-fi at the campground. My Verizon Jetpack switched between 3G and 4G service sometimes, but it worked consistently. Cell phone reception was good.
Malia’s 2 Cents: I really didn’t intend to visit here, but a chance meeting convinced me to go check it out. The dunes were amazing and being given a ride on them in an ATV was a new and exciting experience for me. If I came here expecting a totally quiet experience, I would have been disappointed since the loop I was in allows ATVs direct access to the dunes, so it can be noisy with them going by during the day. But since I knew that in advance and in fact, was the main reason I wanted to check it out, that didn’t bother me in this case.
Your Two Cents? The only way I know if the reviews and research I present are helpful to you is if I hear from you. I sure would appreciate your feedback in Comments below. I do have some pictures of a few individual sites and if you want to see any, leave comment below and I will post here.
Campsite Photos (has photos of all sites)
Reservations: (Reserve America) Click link to make online or call 800-452-5687. Reservations must be made 1 day ahead of arrival and can be made up to 9 months in advance. There is an additional $8 charge to reserve.
Without a reservation, you can check at the kiosk or camp host for available sites.
Campground Rates: Click link for updated info.
Day Use Fees: Be sure to display your current state park camping receipt on your dashboard since this also entitles you to day use parking permit fees.