This isn’t a stay for those wanting to get away from it all; wanting peace and serenity, with nothing but the wind whispering in your ear. This is Fort Stevens State Park, and this is where adventure awakens. When you stay here, you stay with the intention of embracing all the life and energy this beautiful piece of Oregon has to offer.
Once a primary military defense at the mouth of the Columbia River, the fort has acted as a popular area of service, from the Civil War and up until World War II. Now, this park offers visitors a welcoming place to rediscover history’s lessons while enjoying the nature of the park as it is today. With over 4,000 acres, Fort Stevens has a decent amount of ground to cover. Luckily, getting to the best areas of the park is easy, even after parking your rig or trailer.
As you venture through, be sure to take in the varied habitats. Miles of trails weave through forests of spruce and hemlock, towering dunes, wetlands, and shore pine areas. It’s a unique and diverse park that also boasts a popular beach and historic relics. Come any time of year, as the park offers admittance beyond the busy seasons. If you’re looking for a little more quiet, the off-season is surely the time to do it.
Adventure is just around the bend; so, what are you waiting for? It’s time to park and lace up those hiking boots.
RV Rentals in Fort Stevens State Park
Transportation in Fort Stevens State Park
Getting to the park is made easy with common access and well-paved roads. Within the state park, the roads continue to be paved nicely and are relatively smooth to travel over. When staying in the campgrounds, visitors will notice that roads become a bit more narrow, so it’s good to be extra cautious if hauling a large rig or towing your boat.
RVs and trailers will find the easiest time parking in campground sites. The sites here are rather accommodating, and provide ample spacing for even the largest of rigs. Many sites are deeply set while others are pull-through. Even after you’ve parked, you’ll still be able to get around. Fort Stevens State Park also has bike rentals so you can give your feet a break.
Campgrounds and parking in Fort Stevens State Park
Campsites in Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Stevens State Park Campground
This State Park offers over 300 campsites, and many of them are ready to support full-hookups. This campground is built to pack in as many people as possible, and during peak times, the area can get quite crowded. All sites supply electric and water, and the grounds provide flush toilets and hot showers, and a dump station for RVs. It’s quite a comfortable setting where even larger RVs and longer tow-behinds can find refuge. Though busy, sites are still quite spacious and some privacy can be obtained.
It’s good to note, when visiting in warmer months, you’ll want to bring some bug spray, as the mosquitoes thrive in the moist conditions surrounding the grounds. There is so much to do outside that you won’t want to have your stay ruined by a couple of bugs. The campgrounds provide such an ideal setting to park and get cozy. But don’t get too relaxed. As you venture further afield, you’ll discover so much more. If you would rather take things a little faster, bike rentals are available and make for a perfect way to zip around the park.
All reservations for the park must be made up to one day in advance and can be scheduled up to 9 months ahead. The window for booking reservations typically runs between the end of August and through to the end of May. Reservations are necessary, as this facility fills up quite fast.
Fort Stevens State Park Campground
Fort Stevens State Park operates on a reservation system, but reservations can be made up to only one day in advance. It is best to call and check in with park officials to establish whether or not same-day reservations are available due to last minute cancellations or other schedule changes. At times, Fort Stevens may have sites available on a walk-in basis and may open additional loops to accommodate campers.
There is no camping permitted outside of Fort Stevens State Park Campground and surrounding resorts, as back country and/or wilderness camping are not allowed. If you would prefer not to stay within the actual park’s campground, your other options include a KOA resort as well as RV parks that are closer to the surrounding community and marina. The park is also only about 10 miles from Astoria, Oregon, so if you need more things to do in the evening, you're not far from local restaurants and nightlife.
Seasonal activities in Fort Stevens State Park
Just a short walk from the campgrounds, the beaches of Fort Stevens State Park are a popular setting for visitors to meander about. Choose from five separate beach areas, each of which has its own unique charm. The beaches offer so many different recreational opportunities. Visitors will enjoy activities ranging from fishing to surfing, and everything in between. You’re certain to find your favorite water sport supported along these sandy shores, or even discover a new one. The more populated beach, Peter Iredale Beach, even showcases a perfect photo opportunity - the famed Iredale shipwreck.
Not many State Parks hold such historic significance. History buffs will thoroughly enjoy the surroundings, as this makes for an intriguing stop. Along the beaches, massive decommissioned guns and concrete bunkers dating back to WWII still remain. For those looking to spend the end of the Summer at Fort Stevens, be sure to arrive while the annual Civil War Reenactments take place.
Fort Stevens State Park has a few lakes where visitors can enjoy such activities as boating, swimming, and fishing. Coffenbury Lake tends to be a popular location for fishing as it's often stocked with trout. Here, you’ll find a boat ramp and even wheelchair-accessible fishing platforms. Don’t let Coffenbury be your only stop, though. There are other fishable ponds to enjoy nearby.
Guided Ranger Tours
Throughout Oregon State Parks, visitors can attend tours and programs that are open to the whole family. Guided tours provide an in-depth view of the park and the activities enjoyed within it. All activities are guided by knowledgeable and enthusiastic park Rangers. You’ll learn plenty of tips and techniques, and above all, the skills and confidence to get out and explore more of the park on your own.
Fort Stevens is such an ideal setting for families and beginner bikers. The network of paved, mostly leveled-out bike pathways make getting around on two wheels just as easy (or sometimes easier) than getting around on four. The bike trail is made to be quite easy, as there are a number of stops to make along the nine-mile trail. When the weather is warm and the weekends are welcoming, be ready to see these trails fill up quite quickly. Biking is a perfect way to get around the park after you’ve parked in the campgrounds. Bike rentals are available for those who are in need of some wheels.
During the winter season, it isn’t unusual to spot as many as 20,000 or so whales by the time January has rolled around. Starting mid-December, it’s quite common to see the mighty gray whale making its way along the coast. These massive creatures are on their way to the warmer waters of Baja, Mexico, and they are sure to delight with their size and splendor.
A nine-mile loop surrounds Fort Stevens State Park and is frequented by hikers, cyclists, and even those out for a casual stroll. There are many stops to make along the way, including trailheads for another ten miles of hiking trails. These trails allow visitors to explore a whole network of diverse landscape. Hike through forests of spruce and hemlock, through wetlands, over dunes, and to the sandy shores. Trails range in difficulty, though most have been made accessible to visitors of all physical abilities.
When visiting the sandy coastline, make your way to Parking Lot C to find a lookout tower with astounding views. It's a vantage point that provides a glimpse of the sheer power of the Pacific Ocean. Waves crash into the jetty and merge with the rushing water of the Columbia River. Be sure to bring your camera for this one.
There is a small museum at Fort Stevens State Park that features all sorts of artifacts. These treasures depict the fort’s history and the challenges faced in the 85 years that it was active. During the Civil War and again in World War II, this area was of strategic importance, and now, the museum boasts the relics in remembrance of those that have served.
A plethora of birds, mammals, reptiles, and other wildlife are spread throughout this diverse landscape. When the park is more quiet in late Fall and Winter months, you may get more than just a glimpse of the area’s mule deer, coyotes, raccoons, or squirrels. Among the largest, herds of elk are also quite familiar faces in these parts. Be sure to pack your binoculars.