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Oregon's 10 Best State Parks, From Hidden Coves to Beverly Beach

From the Pacific Coast to the Snake River, there is a staggering range of Oregon State Parks to choose from. Suppose you're interested in exploring Pacific Ocean tidepools, mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains, or horseback riding through the high desert. In that case, the beaver state has you covered.

Whether you're planning a week-long whale watching getaway along the Oregon Coast Trail or wildflower walking day trips at one of the state's many outdoor recreation areas, this list of Oregon's 10 best state parks is sure to lead you somewhere fun and enchanting!

The Best State Parks in Oregon

10. Fort Stevens State Park

Russel Battery sits empty, now just a landmark of Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon

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Originally known as the Fort at Point Adams, Fort Stevens was constructed toward the end of the Civil War and used as recently as World War II. In addition to this spectacularly eerie skeleton of a fort, the park features miles of trails and a chilling shipwreck.

Since it is located on the northernmost point of Oregon's coast (just a little over 90 miles from Portland), it makes an excellent destination for people fleeing the city for cool weather and spooky outdoor vibes.

9. Guy W. Talbot State Park

waterfall cascades into a lush green forest

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Talbot is just one of many Oregon and Washington state parks located in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. We've ranked it high on our list because its iconic Latourell Falls is a must-see stop on the gorge's scenic corridor, which attracts tourists from all over the world.

Although it is a small park, it has a picnic area and a handful of hiking trails.

8. Smith Rock State Park

A single trail marker directs hikers to the Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park with a view of the desert landscape of Oregon in the background.

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Smith Rock's moderately sized day-use area is open year-round and has a handful of great trails for hikers of all stripes. Along with rock climbing, one of the park's primary draws is wildlife viewing.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see Golden Eagles and their massive nests. While Smith Rock welcomes campers, it doesn't have any hookups, and RV, trailer, and sleeping in vehicles are strictly prohibited.

7. Ecola State Park

Father and daughter hiking along coastal bluff trail, Ecola State Park, Oregon, USA

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If you're a fan of "The Goonies," Ecola is a no-brainer, as the seaside state park is famous for its many appearances in the film, not to mention its smaller roles in movies like "Kindergarten Cop" and "Point Break."

While the park isn't capable of giving you an autograph, it is close to the tourist town of Cannon Beach and the frequented sea stack known as Haystack Rock.

6. The Cove Palisades State Park

Cove Palisades State Park in eastern Oregon. Taken at the waterfall with reflections in the water.

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One of Oregon's most impressive state parks, the Cove Palisades is like a mini, flooded Grand Canyon carved into the earth where the Deschutes, Metolius, and Crooked Rivers meet. Located just north of the Bend area, it is an ideal destination if you're looking for boating spots in Central Oregon.

5. Cape Lookout State Park

Two fishermen and their dog on the shores of a sandy beach at sunrise

RickObst, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cape Lookout is an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy a scenic ocean destination that is near the popular Tillamook area but not overflowing with tourists. Its range of attractions includes a historic lighthouse, warm beaches, and fantastic forest trails.

Campers who visit the park can look forward to rustic yurt rentals and convenient full-hookups for RVs and trailers.

4. Silver Falls State Park

A view of South Falls, a massive rushing waterfall surrounded by lush forests and wooden fence in foreground

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Silver Falls is by far one of Oregonians' favorite inland outdoor recreation areas, and if you visit, you'll see why. Traversed by miles of the trail made with feet, hooves, and wheels in mind, it's one of the few places where you'll be encouraged to walk behind a waterfall.

What's more, it's easy to access at less than 25 miles from the Salem area. If you visit, definitely don't miss South Falls and the Trail of Ten Falls!

3. Beverly Beach State Park

This photo was taken near the Devils Punch Bowl looking out over Beverly Beach off the Oregon Coast Highway 101.

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More than anything, Beverly Beach is a good destination for anyone on a coastal road trip that includes stopover points like Lincoln City and Newport. The park, which features a campground nestled in a thick and fern-covered forest, grants visitors easy beach access, offering the best of Oregon's most loved biomes in one remote setting.

In addition to a load of campsites for tent and RV campers, the park has incredible features and facilities, from hot showers and flush toilets to yurt rentals and hiker/biker campsites.

2. Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site

Oregon Coast landscape with Cliffs and Pacific Ocean. Yaquina Bay Coastline, USA

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Although this state recreation site isn't officially titled a state park, it essentially functions the same. While its primary draw is the historic Yaquina Head Lighthouse, it makes a great place to visit if you're already in the Newport area and want to get some straightforward outdoor enjoyment in. Like many spots on the Oregon Coast, it's also ideal for whale watching and fishing, as well as more simple pleasures like walking your dog.

1. Coos Bay State Parks

Sea Lions at Cape Arago Cliffs State Park, Coos Bay, Oregon

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There's a string of several state parks near the Coos Bay area on the upper end of the Southern Oregon Coast, giving it quite a bit of bang for your buck. From soft sandy beaches to amazing ocean views, each of the following parks has convenient day-use picnic areas where you might glimpse frolicking sea lions.

  • Shore Acres State Park
  • Cape Arago State Park
  • Sunset Bay State Park
  • Yoakam Point State Park

Other State Parks to Visit

Since we can't list all of Oregon's amazing state parks on a limited top ten list — not to mention all the national parks you can visit — be sure to consider some of these other close contenders for a future trip:

  • Crater Lake National Park
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Devil's Punch Bowl State Natural Area
  • Harris Beach State Park
  • Valley of the Rogue State Park
  • Sitka Sedge State Natural Area
  • Wallowa Lake State Park
  • Willamette Mission State Park
  • Oswald West State Park

What's your favorite state park in Oregon? Help people make up their minds on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

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