10. Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, South of Florence
Feel like a desert explorer on 2 miles of sand dunes that stretch from your campsite to the Pacific. Or cool off in the park’s two freshwater lakes. To avoid ATV noise, stay away from H Loop. $17; 541/997-3641; book at reserveamerica.com
11. Silver Falls State Park, Northeast of Sublimity
A great base for exploring Oregon’s largest state park. Don’t miss the 7-mile Trail of Ten Falls, a misty trek among waterfalls, ferns, and wildflowers. Take a dip in the swimming area at Silver Creek. $16; 503/873-8681; book at reserveamerica.com
12. Wallowa Lake State Park, South of Joseph
Lots to do: swimming, boating, fishing, and a gondola tramway (from $24) that runs to the top of 8,150-foot Mt. Howard. Visit the nearby town of Joseph, famous for its bronze castings. $17; 541/432-4185; book at reserveamerica.com
13. Bull Prairie Campground, Umatilla National Forest, South of Heppner
The ultimate fishing lake abuts this campground in the Blue Mountains. Hang a hammock under ponderosas, cast a line from a dock, or ramble along the 1-mile lake trail. Check out the Morrow County Fair and Oregon Trail Pro Rodeo, 36 miles north in Heppner (Aug; fair $3, rodeo $8; morrowcountyoregon.com). $14; no reservations; 541/676-9187.
14. Oxbow Regional Park, East of Gresham
Just 20 miles east of Portland, this campground in the Sandy River Gorge is the ideal place to swim, kayak, canoe, fish, or explore the park’s 1,200 acres of old-growth forest. On the last Sunday of every month, check out Dirt Time (free; 503/797-1850), a program that teaches basic wildlife tracking. $15 (plus $5 park entrance fee per vehicle); no reservations, except for group sites (503/797-1850); oregonmetro.gov or 503/663-4708.
15. Strawberry Campground, Malheur National Forest, South of Prairie City
This tiny gem (11 campsites) is located at 5,700 feet in the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. Fish at trout-stocked Little Strawberry Lake, a nice 6-mile round-trip from the campground trailhead. $6; no reservations; 541/820-3311.
16. Fall Mountain Lookout, Malheur National Forest
Fire towers were built specifically with windows looking out in every direction. So at cozy Fall Mountain Lookout, a 14- by 14-foot room and catwalk atop a 20-foot scaffold in Malheur National Forest, that means unobstructed gazing at the Strawberry Mountains and the John Day Valley. It’s accessible by car and has electricity, a fridge, stove, heater, and lights—and was recently refreshed with a new coat of robin’s-egg blue paint. $40; late May–Oct; book at recreation.gov
17. Lost Lake Resort and Campground, Hood River
Watch dawn turn Mt. Hood a glowing pink from the “F” Loop at Lost Lake Resort and Campground—shore sites 1–31 stare the volcano in the face. A fishing license lets you troll for Walter, the rumored 50-pound trout with a beard made of thousands of dollars worth of lures. The 2-mile, 1,400-foot thigh burner up Lost Lake Butte Trail rewards with 180° views of Hood and Mt. Adams. $30 for lakefront sites; late May–Oct; no reservations; lostlakeresort.org
18. Cape Blanco cabins, Port Orford
At the westernmost point in the state, Cape Blanco State Park’s ocean views are wide open. Come morning, trails to the beaches and bluffs are mostly empty, and the line is short to the old lighthouse with its sculptural Fresnel lens. All four cabins have the basics (bare beds with vinyl mattresses, fire rings, covered porches) but Hawk has the best water view. $39; oregonstateparks.org