Jutting out from the coast of Oregon west of Portland, Cape Lookout is a prominent promontory with tall cliffs towering hundreds of feet above the Pacific Ocean. The campground in Cape Lookout State Park is not as soaring. Luckily for beach-lovers, the campground is tucked right behind a big, beautiful beach on the north side of the cape.
Cape Lookout State Park Campground is a major destination, with over 200 campsites. The campsites are spread out on a few loops, labeled A, B, C, and D.
The A & B sites are closest to the ocean, with 75 tent sites up for grabs, plus one site with an electric hookup. These campsites fill grassy plots behind the beach and are exposed to the sun and wind, as well as the eyes of neighboring campers. These sites offer a low amount of privacy.
The C & D sites are set back just a bit farther from the coast and are sheltered by vegetation. The sites along these loops offer much greater privacy between campsites. Bushes like salal border the campsites like natural dividers. Western red cedar and Sitka spruce provide lots of shade, especially for the campsites farthest from the coast.
On the C & D loops, 32 sites have full hookups for RVs and camp trailers, with driveways ranging from 37 to 60 feet long. Another 93 additional sites cater to tent campers and do not have water and electrical hookups. The C loop also has 13 yurts, for sheltered camping that you don’t have to setup and take down yourself. For those in wheelchairs, two of the yurts and two of the RV sites on the C loop are designed to offer more accessibility.
Additionally, Cape Lookout State Park has 6 deluxe cabins and a couple group tent camping areas. As far as the number of guests goes, the cabins are for up to 5 people. The yurts sleep 8. The tent sites and the full hookup sites are for up to 8 people. The group sites can hold up to 25 people in tents.
Obviously, if you’re camping at Cape Lookout State Park, you’re interested in more than just the campsites. You also want to know about the beach. It’s just over that rise!
A man-made dune-like barrier separates the campground from the beach. Take one of the cobblestone paths over this revetment to reach the expansive beach. This protective berm is tall enough that you can’t see the ocean from the campsites themselves. You can hear the ocean from the campground though, and the beach is just a short walk from any campsite.
The beach in front of the campground is big, open, and beautiful. To your left, Cape Lookout extends into the ocean like a large evergreen-covered finger. In front of the cape, you are likely to see something colorful in the sky. Hang gliders and paragliders jump from Gammon Launch (a turnout along Cape Lookout Road) and circle through the air before landing on the beach south of the campground.
To the north, the beach just keeps going and going. If you want, you could walk for miles up the beach on the side of Netarts Spit, which shelters Netarts Bay to the north. Standing out of the water to the north are the Three Arch Rocks. Located off the coast near Oceanside, these rock islands will definitely draw your eye.
Whether you’re going for a peaceful stroll, playing in the sand, or watching the sunset over the ocean, the beach by Cape Lookout State Park Campground offers everything that you are looking for.
- Beyond the beach, Cape Lookout Trail is a great place to spend the day.
Cape Lookout State Park has 218 campsites available:
- 168 tent sites
- 33 RV-friendly sites (32 with full hookup, 1 with electric hookup only)
- 13 yurts
- Additionally, there are 2 group tent sites and 6 deluxe cabins
The cost of each site depends on the amenities. Standard tent sites are $21 per night. The full hookup sites for RVs and trailers are $33-$37 per night. Yurts can be reserved for $47 – $62 per night. The cabins are $96 to $106 per night and the group tent sites are $78 per night. A $8 reservation fee is charged for any online reservation. Each site can have a max of two vehicles. One vehicle is included with each reservation and there is a $7 fee for extra vehicles. Firewood is available from the hosts for $10 per bundle. (All prices as of 2021.)
All sites can be reserved. Yurts and cabins must be reserved in advance. Any available (not reserved) campsites that are vacant can be booked in person for one night. If you arrive at the campground without a reservation and are looking to stay the night, you might get lucky. However, this campground is likely to be full most summer weekend. If you’re trying to make a last minute reservation, check nearby Whalen Island County Campground if Cape Lookout State Park is full. To make a reservation, visit oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com or call (503) 842-4981.
The campground bathrooms have flush toilets and push button showers (coins aren’t needed to operate the showers, but there is also no temperature control and the water comes out in short, hot bursts). Potable water spigots are located around the campground, as well as at sites with the full water and electrical hookups. Each campsite has a picnic table and a tall fire ring.
Dogs (and other pets) are expected to be on leashes while in the campground and park (unless they are inside a vehicle, tent, or RV). Fires are allowed in designated fire rings and camp stoves. Don’t plan on gathering firewood.
The campground’s check-in time is on the late side at 4 p.m. Check-out time is by 1 p.m., so you don’t need to rush out of the campground the day you’re leaving and should have time for a parting morning stroll on the beach.
A self-guided nature trail is located near the campground. Relax on the beach, hike Cape Lookout Trail, and explore surrounding places on the Oregon Coast. Cape Lookout State Park is an excellent place to camp!
To get to the campground: From the intersection of Highway 101 and Route 6 in Tillamook, head west on Netarts Highway (Route 131), which is straight across Highway 101 from Route 6 for those traveling from Portland. Take Route 131 southwest for 5 miles and bear left on Whiskey Creek Road, following signs for Cape Lookout State Park. Drive 5.2 miles and turn right into the state park entrance. Drive 1/3 of a mile and turn right toward the entry booth into the campground. To get to Cape Lookout Trail from the campground, drive out to the park entrance and turn right onto Cape Lookout Road. Drive 2.7 miles up Cape Lookout Road to the trailhead parking area on the right.
Campground address: Whiskey Creek Road & Cape Lookout Road, Tillamook, OR 97141
Campground coordinates: 45.3627, -123.9689 (45° 21′ 45.7″N 123° 58′ 08″W)
Use the map below to view the campground and get directions:
|Cape Lookout Trail|
This 5-mile round trip hike ventures down a promontory on the Oregon Coast with beautiful ocean views.
|Whalen Island Loop Trail|
This 1.5-mile hike explores a lovely island-like park in Sand Lake Estuary with ocean and wetland views.
|Oceanside Beach to Tunnel Beach|
This 0.8-mile beach walk comes with an adventurous twist, a man-made tunnel through a cliff that leads from one beautiful beach to another more secluded beach in Oceanside.
|Cape Meares Lighthouse & Octopus Tree|
This easy 0.8-mile hike in Cape Meares State Park visits a beautiful lighthouse and an equally impressive tree, exploring a coastal cape with tall cliffs and big ocean views.
This short beach hike explores tide pools and sand dunes at a rugged headland on Oregon’s coast near Pacific City.
|Munson Creek Falls Trail|
This short hike near Tillamook travels up a forest canyon to the tallest waterfall in Coastal Oregon.
|Alder Island Nature Trail|
This short, easy hike off the coast south of Lincoln City explores a small island at the mouth of the Siletz River.
|Ecola Point to Indian Beach|
This 2 2/3-mile round trip hike explores a wild and beautiful section of Oregon Coast Trail between Ecola Point and Indian Beach in Ecola State Park.
|Saddle Mountain Trail|
This 5-mile round trip hike rises through fir forests and wildflower-filled slopes up to a summit with panoramic coastal views.
This short hike slips down through forest to a beautiful waterfall plunging over a basalt wall.
|Trails in Oregon|
Explore more hikes throughout the state of Oregon.
|Whalen Island County Campground|
This 33-site campground is a nice camping option on Whalen Island with easy access to estuary beaches and a loop hike.