Midway between primitive camping and “glamping” stands the yurt, a circular tent dating back to ancient nomads in Central Asia. Today, you can find yurts at dozens of Oregon State Parks, including several within 100 miles (161 km) of Portland. These modern yurts come complete with locking doors, electrical outlets, heating, wooden floors and skylights and windows.
Seasonal storm watching, wildlife spotting and tranquil relaxation are all on the menu when you rent a rustic yurt. They’re available year-round for a small fee and can be reserved online. All yurts come with an outdoor fire pit for s’more-filled evenings (and some are even pet-friendly).
PORTLAND REGION YURTS
Champoeg State Heritage Area
History, nature and recreation merge seamlessly at Champoeg State Heritage Area. Located 40 minutes south of Portland, the park marks the location where Oregon’s first provisional government formed in 1843. It’s not all facts and dates around here, however; the site is set on the picturesque banks of the Willamette River and offers acres of forests, fields and wetlands. Champoeg’s location also means easy access to nearby wineries, where you can stock up on prime bottles to enjoy fireside. Choose from 6 rustic yurts, furnished with a bunk bed and futon couch (three are pet-friendly).
OREGON COAST YURTS
Fort Stevens State Park
For 84 years, from the Civil War through World War II, Fort Stevens State Park was an active military base. Now it’s a 4,300-acre (1,740 hectare) park, situated two hours northwest of Portland at the mouth of the Columbia River. Its diverse natural habitats and spectacles include forests, wetlands, dunes, a military museum and the haunting Peter Iredale shipwreck. In the summer, you can also swim in freshwater Coffenbury Lake and tour the WWII gun battery. Explore these sites by foot or bicycle along the park’s 6 miles (10 km) of hiking trails and 9 winding miles (14 km) of paved paths. A total of 15 rustic yurts, each sleeping up to five people, are available (including one animal-friendly dwelling).
Nehalem Bay State Park
This lovely campground is located on a 4-mile (6.5 km) sand spit between Cannon Beach and Tillamook. From wildlife and frosted pines to undulating beach dunes, there’s plenty to see and do at Nehalem Bay State Park. When not snuggling up in the yurt, pass the time crabbing, clam digging and admiring driftwood on sandy strolls. And don’t miss the 1.8 mile-long (3 km) bike path with great views of the bay. Choose from 18 yurts, including two pet-friendly options.
Cape Lookout State Park
Less than two hours from Portland, Cape Lookout State Park offers a prime place for cozy storm watching. Leave the comfortable cocoon of your yurt to wander 8 miles (13 km) of trails weaving through old-growth forest. Embark on the shorter nature trail for a manageable stroll that highlights the area’s fauna. The park has 13 yurts, including one pet-friendly option.
Beverly Beach State Park
Located 2.5 hours southwest of Portland, the forested campground at Beverly Beach State Park is set back from the coastline and sandwiched between Yaquina Head and Otter Rock. Lighthouse viewing, beach combing, whale watching and tide pool exploring are easily accessible from the doorway of your yurt. Head 1.5 miles (2.5 km) north to marvel at Devil’s Punchbowl, a naturally carved bowl in the headland that fills with crashing Pacific Ocean waves. A total of 21 yurts are up for grabs, including two pet-friendly dwellings.