Featuring, miles of picturesque empty beaches and enormous wave-carved rocks, Harris Beach State Park is the perfect place for a beachside getaway on the Oregon coast. Tucked away near the Oregan and California border, the park is named after George Scott Harris who was a Scottish pioneer that called the area home in the 1880s.
The park is most well-known for Harris Beach, and it is the perfect spot for whale watching, beach walking, and fishing. The park is also home to Bird Island, which is the largest island off the Oregan coast. Here there are many bird species that arrive on the island to breed, including the very rare tufted puffin. Visitors are also attracted to the park due to the incredible coastline views that are fantastic for photographing, especially at sunset.
Harris Beach is very close to the campground, so once you set up your rig you can make the easy walk over to the beach whenever you please. Since this is the Oregon coast be prepared for every kind of weather, but don't be discouraged if the forecast calls for rain and clouds since conditions change so quickly in this area.
The campground at Harris Beach State Park is an idyllic accommodation location since it is so close to the beach. There are full hookup sites waiting for you to call home, but if you didn't bring your RV you can make the most of the six yurts or many tent-only campsites. Peak season at Harris Beach State Park runs from April to October.
Getting to and from Harris Beach State Park will largely depend on the size of your vehicle and how confident you are navigating tight bends. The most common way that visitors use to access the park is via the Oregan Highway 101 and then by turning off onto the Old U.S Highway 101. Though there are lots of turnouts and viewpoints in this area, many of them are too tight for large motorhomes and fifth-wheels. For those traveling with a smaller vehicle, this will be your best option to explore the area.
If you need to pick up any supplies prior to your stay you are in luck! The city of Brookings is located only a few minutes to the south of the park and contains plenty of grocery stores and other amenities that you may need. Brookings is by far the biggest populated area on the coast with Crescent City 26 miles to the south and Gold Beach 28 miles to the north being the only other developed areas nearby.
For visitors to Harris Beach State Park traveling during the wintertime, there can be some rough weather, however, the park office will be open so you will be able to call for an update on weather conditions before you begin your journey.
Harris Beach State Park Campground is regarded as one of the best places to camp in the area and is the perfect place to call home during your trip to Harris Beach State Park. Open year-round, there are 90 RV sites for you to choose from, including 65 that come with full hookups. If you don't need a sewer connection, there are also 25 sites that come with just electric and water hookups.
The campground is known for being very well maintained, and there are many campground-wide amenities available for visitors to use. These include a public dump station by the entrance, large restrooms with flush toilets, hot showers, and a playground to keep the kids entertained. Pets are also allowed and you should be able to get cell phone reception on most of the major networks.
Keep in mind that the campground loop roads can be quite tight, so make sure the site you select is suitable for your rig. The maximum RV length for the campground is 57 feet. Reservations are highly recommended for the campground if you plan on visiting during the peak summer season since it is a very popular place to stay.
Harris Beach State Park has varying rules regarding first-come, first-served camping depending on what time of the year you are planning on visiting. During the peak season there are no first-come, first-served specific sites available, but any sites that aren't reserved can be used by campers who don't have a reservation.
During the wintertime the D loop and some areas of the B loop close down and the C loop is only open for first-come, first-served camping. The C loop has full hookup, electric only, and tent sites, so any campers will be able to arrive at the park and use this loop.
Leaving your RV at home? If so, you will still have the opportunity to stay at the Harris Beach State Park since there are 53 tent-only sites that are perfect for any tent camping getaway. The tent-only sites are separated into two main loops on the northwest and southeast and feature a camping pad with a picnic table and fire ring for you to enjoy.
Since the tent sites are located within the main campground you will also be able to make the most of the campground-wide amenities, such as the restrooms, hot showers, and playground. You will also be able to park a vehicle at the tent sites and access the nearby water collection points. The reservation system for the tent-only sites at Harris Beach State Park is the same as the rest of the campground.
Harris Beach State Park also contains a great alternative accommodation options thanks to the inclusion of six yurts. Five of the yurts are located in the southwest section of the campground while one that is ADA-accessible is in the northwest.
The yurts are a unique way to experience life in the park, and they have some great amenities, including the ability to sleep up to eight people, a sofa, covered deck, picnic table, fire ring, and three are also pet-friendly. None of the yurts feature a bathroom or indoor kitchen facilities, but you can use the fire ring outside for some campfire dinners. If you plan to stay in one of the yurts you will also have to bring your own bedding.
All six of the yurts can be reserved in advance online prior to your arrival, and the yurts can be used all year round.
With a nice mixture of rocky points and sandy coves, Harris Beach is a rewarding spot for treasure hunting. You'll always see visitors walking the beach, staring at their feet, hoping to score an unbroken sand dollar, sea urchin, some gold, agates, or beach glass. The striking lines of black sand which mark the beach after a storm are magnetite sand hiding gold. Gold deposits have been mined profitably along the southern Oregon coast since the 1850s, and those with a gold pan and some patience are often rewarded. Though you'll need to put your shoes back on to look, the piles of rocks scattered across the coastline are guarding an endless variety of colored glass and agates, polished by the heavy winter surf.
An entire trip could be planned down the Pacific coast in Fall just attending mushroom festivals. Brookings hosts it's very own Wild Rivers Mushroom Festival in November, which is prime Chanterelle season along the Oregon coast. The weekend festival offers identification classes, guided mushroom walks, and excellent seminars from authors and active mycologists. The Wild Rivers has a special focus on therapeutic and medicinal mushrooms. Whether you need some help getting started or you have been picking for years, a mushroom festival is sure to be exciting and informative.
Along with baskets of tasty mushrooms, late fall brings over 30 breweries out for Oktoberfest in the coastal town of Brookings. Brookings is home to three local breweries and more in the works. Seasonal varieties will be out in force during this fun weekend of live music, a five-kilometer (just over three miles) fun run, corn hole, carnival games and a host of local artists and vendors. Be sure to check out what events are happening prior to your arrival so you can make the most of the festival.
Sunsets along the Oregon Coast are one of the big reasons why visitors come here, and they are ideal for photography enthusiasts. Every sunset is different, with a display of clouds and colors that will make you stop whatever you were doing just to take it all in. Sunsets are extra special at Harris Beach because of the coastline of rocky outcroppings and Oregon's largest coastal island, Goat Island, directly offshore. Campers lucky enough to be on A Loop will see the whole show right from their campsites. The colors impress all year long, but definitely seem to last longer in the warm evenings of summer. Other popular photography spots within the park include at the beach and on the hiking trails.
Steady offshore breezes create perfect conditions to fly all kinds of kites, and the long stretch of sandy coastline at Harris Beach will give you all the room you need to practice your skills. For inspiration, check out the Southern Oregon Kite Festival, held in nearby Brookings every July since 1993. The weekend festival is free and open to the public, and in addition to local food vendors and entertainment, top kite-makers and kite-flyers display their very best for all to enjoy. This is one of the busiest weekends each summer in Brookings, so you'll appreciate the free parking and shuttle service provided by the festival's organizers.
The crabbing at Brookings is terrific, with or without a boat. There is a public crabbing pier in the Port of Brookings and it's common for everyone to catch their limit each day. Whether you head out on one of the many charter boats or you brought your own, the opportunities for fishing are fantastic. Warm currents often come within reach of Brookings, bringing giant tuna back to the docks. lingcod, rockfish, and chinook salmon will keep you busy no matter what time of year you visit. Check with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for detailed info on licenses, fees, and closures.