6 Great West Coast Campgrounds for Families To Visit in 2021

Winter may seem like an odd time to plan a summer camping trip, but with many of the most popular campsites booking out six months or more in advance, the time is right to reserve your family camping trip for 2021. Also, for me personally, planning fun experiences and travels in the new year helps me get through the bleakest winter months. Read on for six great West Coast campgrounds from the giant redwoods of California to the northernmost tip of Neah Bay on the Olympic Peninsula.

California

1. Hidden Springs Campground, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

We enjoyed a lovely stay at Hidden Springs campground with another family in 2019. This 154-site campground is conveniently located along the Avenue of the Giants, a popular scenic highway in Northern California, winding through Humboldt Redwoods State ParkThe shaded sites are spacious and located in a peaceful forested hillside just a short walk from the South Fork of the Eel River. The pack of kids enjoyed exploring the grounds on foot and by scooter, and we all appreciated swimming in the Eel River after our beautiful day hikes through the giant trees each day.

Good to know. I didn’t really come prepared for mosquitos, and they were active. My daughter and I are both mosquito magnets, and we were devoured. Next time, I’ll be sure to bring a mosquito tent and more repellant.

Availability & booking. According to the California State Parks webpage, the parks system is in the process of reopening under a “phased and regionally driven” approach, and reservations are being taken under a six month reservation window. Visit the online reservations system and/or call (800) 444-7275 to reserve your spot.

2. Summit Lake North, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park offers scenic vistas, alpine lakes, hikes for all levels, and weird geothermal features akin to those at Yellowstone. We enjoyed a fun group camp with two other families several years ago and loved our stay at Summit Lake North campground so much we all plan to return. This campground is relatively small and conveniently located by a little lake. We loved walking around the lake, swimming, and kayaking. The campground is also located right next to a lovely alpine trailhead and just off the main road in Lassen Volcanic National Park for quick access to other sites such as Bumpass Hell Trail and Devils Kitchen

Good to know. In general, the season at Lassen Volcanic National Park is very short from about July – September, and between its high elevation and wildfire activity in recent years planning when to go can be tricky. One year, we stopped at Lassen in June on a California road trip, and it was covered in snow. When we camped with a group in early September, days were pleasant enough for a swim, but the air quality was in the “orange” and hazy. That was an unusually bad fire season. I also wasn’t prepared for how cold it gets at night. Summit Lake North campground is at 6,700 feet, and there were some pretty uncomfortable nights where we had all of our outwear on in our sleeping bags to stay comfortable. (We probably need to upgrade our sleeping bags.) During the day, it warmed up enough for swims and kayaks in the lake, so the weather is quite variable at this elevation.

Availability & booking. Individual sites at this campground are reservable on a six month rolling basis. On December 29, 2020, at 07:00 am PST, availability will be released through June 29, 2021, etc. Click here to reserve your site for next summer.

Oregon

3. Beverly Beach State Park Campground, Oregon State Parks, Oregon (near Florence)

We have enjoyed several wonderful three-generation family camping trips at Beverly Beach State Park during the summer months. The campground is well maintained and family-friendly, and it features lovely secluded creekside spots in the trees right near the Pacific Ocean. It is also closely located to Newport and big stores (like Fred Meyer) with all the items you might have forgotten, as well as Newport tourist attractions, such as the Newport Aquarium.

Good to know. While sunny beach days may be on your mind, come prepared for a variety of windy and cold weather regardless of the month, because Oregon coastal summers can be unpredictable. Pack your windbreaker!

Availability & booking. At present, campsites can be booked 1-30 days in advance, but check the website for up-to-date information as conditions are rapidly changing. This is a change from the typical nine-month reservation window. New sites come online at midnight each night. Reservations are being accepted online and by phone at (800) 452-5687. Another new COVID-19 policy is that there is an out of state surcharge of 30% for non-Oregon residents. Hiker/biker and group sites are presently closed, and yurts and cabins on the coast are closed through at least January 1, 2021.

4. Little Lava Lake Campground, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon

We enjoyed a wildly successful COVID-19 camping trip at Little Lava Lake campground last summer as featured in my past blog post: COVID-19 Camping in the Pacific Northwest: Planning and Safety Tips. This small campground is located on peaceful Little Lava Lake (right near bigger Lava Lake), with basic but relatively spacious sites in the lodgepole pines. The campground only offers a vault toilet, but that was not a problem for us because of our COVID-19 camping protocols. There were a handful of day-trippers that flocked to the lake on the weekend, but it is generally much quieter and lesser-known than many of the other bigger lakes near Bend. This campground is also conveniently located to some stunning Cascades hikes.

Good to know. We were warned so many times about mosquitoes and how bad they might be in the Cascades lakes in July, I went a little overboard, purchasing a picnic canopy and face nets. Experienced camping friends have told me that August is always the best and safest month as far as mosquitos are concerned, but they were only a mild annoyance in July. Still, it’s probably good advice to be safe rather than sorry, and pack some extra gear along if you can. Also, the popular trails near Bend can be quite crowded on summer weekends, so camping mid-week is best.

Availability & booking. Individual sites at this campground are reservable on a six month rolling basis. On December 29, 2020, at 07:00 am PST, availability will be released through June 29, 2021, etc. Click here to reserve your site for next summer.

5. Union Creek Campground, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon

This lovely campground features spacious sites nestled among old-growth trees along the Rogue River and is located just a short drive from Crater Lake National Park. We loved our stay at Union Creek campground so much we have always wanted to return. Full disclosure, though, we went a bit too early in the season (June) and it poured rain much of the time and there was even a small blizzard at Crater Lake. Inclement weather aside, most of us had a great time, and we’d like to go back a little later in the season next time.

Good to know. Camping in June in Oregon can be unpredictable! By waiting just a bit later, I’m sure you’ll have a marvelous experience, friends who visited Crater Lake just one week later were snapping photos in tank tops.

Availability & booking. Individual sites at this campground are reservable on a six month rolling basis. On December 29, 2020, at 07:00 am PST, availability will be released through June 29, 2021, etc. Click here to reserve your site for next summer.

Washington

6. Hobuck Beach Resort, Makah Passage, Neah Bay, Washington

The Hobuck Beach Resort is a trek for most people, located on the northernmost tip of the Olympic Peninsula, but it is worth it. If you can pay a visit to this wonderful little oceanfront resort on the Makah tribe’s reservation and enjoy the Pacific Ocean beach either by renting a little beach hut or camping in the first-come-first-served campground, do it. We have visited it twice now and it is one of the best little beaches for families on the Pacific Ocean. It features rustic small beach huts, no-frills camping, and a secluded little beach popular with surfers that is safe for learning. We also enjoyed the lovely short hike to Shi-Shi Beach (2+ miles), and trips to the informative and beautifully laid out Makah Museum.

Good to know. We rented the little huts and did not camp, but campsites are generally available on a first-come, first-served, basis. From what I observed, camping is a very no-frills setup, essentially an open field with little privacy, but this did not phase the many happy kids, dogs, and surfers who came just for the beach.

Availability & booking. The Hobuck Beach Resort campground is typically undesignated and first-come first-served, and the Makah tribal leaders have decided due to COVID-19 that tourism is still not ready to re-open. They do not currently have an estimated date of re-opening, but this a must-visit when it does so keep an eye on their website.

Have you visited any of these wonderful West Coast campgrounds?


Copyright © 2020 Tournesol Adventures. All rights reserved.

8 thoughts on “6 Great West Coast Campgrounds for Families To Visit in 2021

  1. Nice write up. With the exception of Beverly Beach, I have not visited of the other sites. They all sound good. Beverly Beach is probably one of the most populr state parks in Oregon and has a lot to recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We are planning a long road trip of about a month. Going from southern Missouri to California (via N. Mex. & Ariz.) then up the coast and over to Calgary and then down to Nebraska and Iowa.

        Liked by 1 person

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