Just a few days after we got back from our 3 week roadtrip, we headed to the Oregon Coast for a school camp out at Nehalem Bay State Park. It is just outside the small town of Manzanita, which is 20 miles south of Cannon Beach. If you are driving from Portland, it will take you right about an hour and a half, depending on traffic.
Like all of our campgrounds on the coast, if you want to camp on summer weekends, reservations are a very good idea. You will want to make them at least a few weeks out too as the campgrounds really fill up.
The campsites at Nehalem Bay vary on exposure. The site next to ours had very little protection, and was wide open to the playground. Our spot had some protection, but the first few days were very windy and we were being blasted. If you get a spot closer to the beach, in front of the massive sand dune you will be far more protected and it will give you slightly more privacy.
Our camp site was in Loop B. We were very close to the playground and the bathrooms but the site offered little in protection from wind or sun. There was very little shad or privacy. Bathrooms were clean and kept up well. They have flushies, warm water, and free showers.
There was a nice play structure and a field area, which was great for the water balloon fight and field games we did.
There are no beach views from any of the sites, but the beach is a very short walk over the dune. The beach was a lovely stretch of sand and the water was like the ocean always is in Oregon…chilly! People up the beach were kite boarding and we flew kites and played in the sand. It is a really nice part of the coast.
The park also boasts hiking and biking trails, there is fishing and boating in the bay, and the town of Manzanita is about a mile away for easy access to ice cream, shops, and restaurants. It is also only a few miles up the road from Oswald West State Park where a lot of people go for surfing and swimming.
As far as campgrounds on the coast go, this one was great and we will stay here again on our trips to the coast. It is a great landing pad at night as you explore the Northern Coast during the day.