For RV lovers on the west coast looking for a beachside getaway, you can't beat South Beach State Park. Located south of Newport, Oregon, the 498-acre park is nestled between the Pacific Ocean on the west and Yaquina Bay to the north. South Beach State Park was created in 1930 through 1970 by a series of land grants and gifts from private individuals to the state of Oregon. The park was expanded over the years to ensure there was public access to the beach area, as well as a way to stop the encroachment of buildings near the south end of Yaquina Bay Bridge.
South Beach State Park boasts plenty of activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding. There are other exciting recreational facilities within the state park, including horseshoe pits, a nine-hole disc golf course, and the Visitor Center, which concentrates on the natural and cultural history of the area.
Weather around South Beach State Park is wet with the park receiving up to 10 inches of rain per month during the winter. The driest time to visit is between the months of June through September. Temperatures during the spring, fall, and winter average in the mid- to low 50s with summer temperatures averaging in the mid-60s.
The park has many accommodation options available, so you will have a large range to choose from. If you are traveling in your RV, there are over 200 sites available with electric and water hookups, or if you want something a little different there are 60 tent-only sites, 27 yurts, and three group camping areas that you can also call home. No matter what time of year you take an RV visit to South Beach State Park, you'll be greeted by fun, sand, and sun, so pack up and go enjoy!
South Beach State Park can be accessed from U.S. Highway 101, also known as the Oregon Coast Highway. Visitors traveling south from Newport, Oregon, will have to drive over the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The bridge has two lanes and is more than 3,200 feet in length, rising above the Yaquina Bay. The historical bridge features pedestrian walkways and numerous aesthetic arches. Drivers can expect congestion at various times throughout the day. Drivers heading north to the park from Holiday Beach along the Oregon Coast Highway will find easy driving conditions.
Once inside the park, driving is limited. There is only one road that leads to a day-use parking lot before the seven loop campground area. The day use and overflow parking areas can be congested during the peak season. The one-way road through the seven loop campground area is not difficult to drive. The road is wide, and the loops do not have tight turns that allow RVs and trailers to navigate the one-way road to their campsite without problems. While driving within the campground, drivers must be aware of hikers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour is enforced at all times.
If you are just visiting for the day, there are plenty of parking spots available near the group camping and main day-use area of the park.
The campground at South Beach State Park is the best place to stay for RV lovers wanting to be close to all of the activities that the park has to offer. This is a campground on the larger side with 227 campsites to choose from, including two that are ADA-accessible. All of the RV-friendly sites are equipped with electric and water hookups, and there are sites that can accommodate RVs up to 56 feet in length. If you are interested in being a camp host during your visit, there are some full hookup sites too so you can set up camp without having to visit the dump station.
Each campsite is furnished with a picnic table and a fire ring. Campsites have paved parking pads, but leveling devices may be necessary. There are showers and flush toilets within several of the loops. Although there are no sewer hookups at most sites, you'll have access to an RV and trailer dump station at the entrance of the campground. Additional amenities within the campground include horseshoe pits and a playground.
Quiet hours must be observed at night, and generator use is allowed during the day at most sites. Pets are welcome but must be restrained by a six-foot leash. Campsites are available to reserve all year round, and there is a maximum nine-month reservation window.
Another alternate camping option for visitors wanting to stay the night at South Beach State Park is to stay in one of the cozy yurts. There are 27 yurts available to choose from, including 14 that are also pet-friendly. This is the largest collection of yurts out of all Oregon State Parks, and they are a very popular accommodation choice.
The yurts are very cozy and contain two sets of bunk beds, a futon, table and chairs, and lights so that you won't be in the darkness once the sun goes down. There are also electrical points available to charge your devices and outside of the yurt you will have your own picnic table and covered patio to enjoy. Reservations for yurts can be made up to nine months in advance, and they are available all year round.
The main campground at the park also has some sites available specifically for tents. Most of the tent-only sites are located in the northern area of the campground, where there are two loops that RVs cannot access.
There are a total of 60 tent sites to choose from, all of which feature a gravel pad, picnic table, and a fire ring. They are located in a wooded area, so you will have a little more privacy here in comparison to staying in a tent at one of the RV-friendly sites. Within the tent loops, there are restrooms and a shower block where you can take wash off free of charge!
Since the campground is very busy during the peak season, reservations are recommended, but if you are visiting during the off-season, there is a higher chance you can secure a site on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you are visiting South Beach State Park with a large group, you will be very pleased to know that there are three group sites for you to choose from. All three sites are suitable for tent group camping, so you won't be able to bring a large vehicle to any of the group sites.
All three sites are suitable for groups up to 25 people, and they all feature multiple picnic tables, a fire ring, and grill for all your cooking needs. They are situated in the south end of the campground away from the rest of the sites so you will be able to enjoy some privacy from other campers. There are no restrooms or showers within the group camping sites, but you will be within walking distance to them, so it is no big deal. Reservations for the group campsites are a must and can be made online or by calling the park.
Surfing and windsurfing are popular things to do in South Beach State Park. Surfing is perfect towards the southern portion of the beach, where the Pacific Ocean offers ideal breaker waves for surfers of all levels. Windsurfers take advantage of easy access to the ocean coastline and constant winds that are great for honing your acrobatic windsurfing skills. A particularly good spot for windsurfers is just south of the mouth of Yaquina Bay, but only for those who are experienced since this can be a very dangerous activity.
If you packed your bike in your rig, you're in luck since biking is quite popular at South Beach State Park. The park offers a mixed trail system that is open to bikers and hikers. In addition to the main road, bikers can take advantage of the South Jetty Trail. The trail follows the coastline of the Pacific Ocean from the southern to the northern portion of the park. Other trails that are great for biking include three nature trails that start from the campground area and end at the Pacific Ocean. Bikes are available to rent within the Hospitality Center if you didn't bring your own.
South Beach State Park offers a popular nine-hole disc golf course. The disc golf course is ideal for beginners and families looking to share quality time together and get some exercise. The layout of the course winds through a mostly flat coastal wooded area. There are two sets of tees which offer longer distances at each hole for more advanced players. If you don't have your own discs, there are some available for rent from the Hospitality Center.
During the off-season, whale watching is a great thing to do in South Beach State Park. Gray whales migrating from the northern waters of the Pacific Ocean to the coast of Baja California are visible from December through March. Viewing from the beach area is ideal where you can have a picnic while watching these majestic animals. If you have a pair of binoculars, they will come in handy if you want to gain a better view of the whales as they swim in the Pacific Ocean.
South Beach State Park has over a mile stretch of sand along the Pacific Ocean. There is plenty of room for a picnic while you play beach games like soccer, volleyball, or just hang out watching the sunset. Access to the beach area is an easy walk on one of the three short nature trails. Beachcombing is excellent along the beach with abundant seashells in the morning and after high tide. Swimmers should be aware of rip currents and ocean conditions before deciding to take a dip in the ocean.
Hiking is a perfect thing to do during your RV vacation at South Beach State Park. There are three specific trails to hike within the park. The one-mile South Jetty Trail connects the day-use area of the park and South Jetty Road. The nearly two-mile Cooper Ridge Nature Loop Trail circles the campground and offers amazing views of wildlife that roam in the area. The Old Jetty Trail follows the contours of the coastline and furnishes hikers with great views of the Pacific Ocean. There are three other short nature trails that lead from the campground to the beach areas of the park, which offer interpretive signs and exhibits about the park’s ecosystem.