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Tucked away in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, Detroit Lake State Recreational Park might just be the tranquil motorhome camping retreat you’ve been searching for. This peaceful spot sits along State Highway 22, which stretches between the towns of Salem and Bend, making it easy enough to reach in your RV rental.
As you may have guessed from its name, the main feature of the park is the 9-mile Detroit Lake, known for its trout fishing and water sport opportunities. Despite its idyllic surroundings and majestic backdrop of Mount Jefferson, Detroit Lake is, in fact, a man-made reservoir. It was completed in 1953 as part of the Willamette Valley Projects and now provides flood control and power generation for nearby communities, including Mill City and Lyons.
Book an RV in Marion County to enjoy the lake and surrounding park as a recreational hotspot. Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to stretch your legs, to get out and about on the water, or just breathe in some fresh air, this is your chance.
It’s not hard to get out and about in the great outdoors when you rent a camper near Detroit Lake State Recreation Area. Detroit Lake is a mecca for avid anglers, keen to reel in their next catch. Rainbow trout is what everyone is after here, though you’ll find brown trout, catfish, and kokanee salmon thriving in these waters too. If you’ve brought your own boat along with you, why not head out into the deeper waters to see what you can catch? Alternatively, find a secluded spot along the forested shoreline, and you’ll have a good amount of space all to yourself.
Stretching across 3,500 acres of deep freshwater, you’ll also find plenty of water sports lovers RV camping at Detroit Lake State Recreation Area. With little regulation when it comes to speed limits on the water, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, and wakeboarding are all popular activities here. For those who’d prefer a more tranquil afternoon on the water, kayaking and canoeing are also popular ways to while away the time on the lake.
Back on dry land, picturesque hikes and wildlife spotting opportunities await. A relatively easy trail will take you through the dense forest and around the perimeter of the lake. This is the prime opportunity to spot ospreys nesting high in the trees, bald eagles looking for their next feed, and, if you’re lucky, the odd Roosevelt elk. When you have an RV rental near Detroit Lake State Recreation Area during winter, these paths transform into cross-country skiing trails and snowshoeing paths.
There’s no end of campsites scattered around Detroit Lake that offer the perfect spot to park your rental RV up in. Within Detroit Lake State Recreation Area, you’ll find a campground conveniently located along the lake’s shoreline. There are more than 200 sites here, some offering better views than others or easier access to facilities.
Campsites vary wildly from completely off-grid pitches to those with full hookups. While you’ll need to arrive earlier to bag yourself one of the better sites, you should have no problem getting yourself a pitch of some kind if you rock up a little late. Additional facilities include modern restrooms, a basketball court, a swimming beach, and an onsite dump station.
Across the lake from Detroit Lake State Recreation Area, there are two campsites, Southshore Campground and Cove Creek Campground, that provide rustic facilities with a much more remote atmosphere. There are no hookup facilities offered here. However, campers do have access to hot showers, flushing toilets and a drinking water tap. Each of the sites at both campgrounds are equipped with their own fire ring, picnic table, and grill.
Are you searching for a little bit of cultural enrichment during your Detroit Lake State Recreation Area camping trip? Then head over to Salem, an easy hour drive north from the park.
Perhaps most famous for the 17th century Salem witch trials, there are plenty of chances to learn about the town’s haunting past. For a better understanding of how and why these witch trials took place, head to the Salem Witch Museum. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is your typical museum, as, during your time here, you’ll be treated to two different live presentations. The first will take visitors back to 1692 and paint a picture of how life was in this small town before the trails. The second involves an immersive guided tour that delves into the world of witchcraft and the phenomenon of witch-hunting.
Why not follow up on your visit to the museum, with a few hours in The Witch House. Built in the early 15th century, this was the life-time home of Judge Jonathon Corwin, just one of the men involved in the 1692 witch trials. Nowadays, visitors are invited into the house to not only explore the history behind it but appreciate the New England architecture of a by-gone era.
For something a little less spooky, the Peabody Essex Museum holds one of the most significant collections of Asian artwork in North America. In its totality, there are 1.3 million pieces here in the form of paintings, photographs, ceramics, textiles, and more. Art lovers will need to put aside a day to explore everything in this vast museum, and perhaps allow time for a coffee break in the middle. Otherwise, a few hours should suffice for a quick visit.