mdi-tent Reserve

Nehalem Bay
State Park

Near Tillamook, Oregon, United States

mdi-tent Reserve

Park Overview

Set between the ocean and the bay, Nehalem Bay State Park is situated on a 4-mile sand spit. The campground sits among shore pines, just a sand dune away from the beach.  

A forested 1.8 mile long bike path provides a breathtaking view of the bay. You may see deer and elk grazing and a variety of birds. Kayaking, crabbing, fishing and clamming are popular activities.

Day-use Areas

Two day-use areas offer access to bay or ocean with restrooms and picnic areas with fire rings.  Bayside day-use includes a boat ramp. The boat docks are seasonal (typically mid-May to mid-October).  Please check with park ahead of time.

Kayak tours and horseback rides are available through the following businesses:

Kayak Tillamook kayak tours on Nehalem Bay |  503-866-4808 

Oregon Beach Rides horseback rides |  971-237-6653

Camping and other Facilities

Campground is open year-round and accepts reservations up to 6 months in advance. E and F loops are first-come, first-served November 1 - April 30.

  • 265 electrical sites with water
  • 18 yurts (9 pet-friendly)
  • Flush toilets with showers CAMPERS ONLY
  • Horse camp with 17 primitive sites
  • Hiker/biker camp
  • Airport with 2,400' airstrip
  • Airport camp with primitive fly-in campsites
  • RV dump station
  • Playgrounds
  • One extra vehicle per site

The meeting hall is closed to reservations but remains open on a first-come, first-served basis. Please speak with staff after arrival about renting the meeting hall during your visit. The reservation closure is necessary as we consider transitioning this under-used facility to a visitor center/registration area. For more information, call the park at 503-812-0650.

Effective Jun 3, 2022
A juvenile black bear has been making frequent appearances throughout the area. Please report bear sightings to park staff, and remember these tips to avoid an encounter:
  • Store food in bear-proof containers or your car.
  • Hike in groups and be noisy.
  • Keep dogs on leash.
  • Carry bear spray or an air horn.

 If you encounter a bear:
  • Calmly back away while facing the bear. Make sure it has a way to escape.
  •  Avoid eye contact.
  • Don't run.
  • Make yourself appear large by raising your arms.
  • Hold small children.
  • Make noise!

For information, reference the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's 'Guidelines for living with black bears'. 
Effective May 27, 2022
Same-day reservations are available at this park. Reservations for campsites can be made online anytime  (exception: ADA site reservations can be booked only by calling (800) 551-6949) or by registering at the park ranger entry station. Online yurt reservations will be allowed up until 4 p.m. of arrival day. Please do not occupy a site without registering. 
Effective Mar 15, 2022 – Sep 15, 2022
Seasonal beach restrictions are in place March 15 – Sep. 15 on the spit south of the main park day-use area during nesting season for the western snowy plover. Foot and equestrian traffic on wet sand only; all other recreation prohibited. Information: oregon.gov/plovers.
mdi-white-balance-sunny Open for day use Year Round mdi-tent Open for camping Year Round mdi-currency-usd
Day-use parking permit required
(purchase 1-day permit on site)
Day-use parking permit
(1-day purchased on-site)
Buy annual permit
mdi-cellphone Call for reservations: 800-452-5687
Call for info: 800-551-6949
Call park: 503-812-0650
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Amenities & Features

Questions

mdi-help-circle-outline General

Does Nehalem Bay State Park have ADA accessible campsites and facilities?

Three campsites (A13, A30 & A44) and all yurts are accessible to campers with disabilities.  ADA accessible restrooms are located in loops A and F, at the Meeting Hall and the two day-use areas. 

Is horseback riding available at the park?

Yes!  There is a horse concession at our ocean-side day-use area during the summer months.  To reserve a ride, or find out more, please contact the concession at:  http://oregonbeachrides.com or (971) 237-6653.

Can I bring pets to the park?

Yes. Pets must be confined by the owner or on a leash not more than six feet long, and kept under physical control at all times. You're responsible to pick up after your pets and to keep them quiet during quiet hours (10 p.m.- 7 a.m.).

Where can I crab and clam around Nehalem Bay?

Please see this map, produced by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

What happened to the boat docks?

Each year we remove our boat docks for the winter season. Though not a popular decision, it is necessary to prevent damage to the docks and pilings. Storm season can be unpredictable with the first large storm of the year often happening in October. The docks are typically removed in early- to mid-October and returned to service by mid-May the following year.

What improvements are planned for the park campground?

In 2021 the Oregon legislature decided to invest $50 million statewide to address state park improvements and repairs over the next 3-4 years. The state park system is not funded by taxes, but by a combination of revenue earned from visitors, by a portion of the recreational vehicle registration fee and a share of the Oregon Lottery dedicated by voters in 2010.

At Nehalem Bay we project to spend $5-8 million on parkwide electrical repairs and other utility upgrades, and to act on the 2009 Master Plan to add about 25 campsites and up to 20 cabins. Some of the cabins will be replacements for aging yurts. We plan to have the work done between 2023 and 2025.

If there are parts of the project that do not fall under the approved master plan (https://bit.ly/nehalembayplan) but planning permission is required, we'll work with the city and county to make sure everything is done correctly.

When we draft more concrete plans for the work, we'll share what we've developed with the community in-person at city council meetings and online.

Nehalem Bay served more campers in 2021 than ever before in its history and we see that trend continuing. Sprucing up an aging park is sometimes a more efficient way to provide public service compared with opening a new property. This project is about managing the existing level of demand and keeping the park in service for the long run.

mdi-help-circle-outline About Camping

What are the rules about camping with horses?


1. Only people camping with horses or similar large animals may reserve horse camping sites. This means you must bring your horse or large animal with you when you arrive to claim your campsite, and the horse or large animal must be present with you in your site.
2. An additional fee will be collected for extra vehicles that are not part of a camping unit.
3. Horse camp sites will be held for campers having horses or similar large animals until 7:00 pm. These sites MAY then be sold on a daily basis to other campers at the park manager’s discretion.
4. Registration is otherwise completed the same as regular campsites.

Is Nehalem Bay open year-round for camping?

Nehalem Bay campground is open year-round and accepts reservations up to 6 months in advance. E and F loops are first-come, first-served November 1 - April 30.

mdi-help-circle-outline What's Allowed

May I have a hammock or slackline in the park?

Hammocks and slacklines have traditionally been prohibited due to the potential for injury and resource damage. We have come to recognize that hammocks are part of the camping experience. Thus, hammocks will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, if the hammock is secured to large, sturdy trees with webbing or other protection that will not damage tree bark, and if the hammock is erected as low to the ground as possible, it will be allowed. Hammocks must not be strung between buildings, posts, picnic tables or other infrastructure. Hammock users do so at their own risk.

For safety and liability reasons, slacklines are strictly prohibited in all park areas without a Special Use Permit.

Are drones allowed?

Drones are not allowed to protect nesting shorebirds and for the safety of visitors using the airport camp and flying planes. 

mdi-help-circle-outline Animals

Must I leash my dog on the ocean shore?

The short answer is no, but the handler of any domestic animal on the ocean shore does have responsibilities. Please refer to an excerpt from our ocean shore rules, below:

(2) The handler of any domestic animal must be responsible for the animal's behavior and must exercise direct control over the animal while in the ocean shore state recreation area.


(a) “Direct control” means that the animal is within the unobstructed sight of the handler and responds to voice commands or other methods of control.

(b) Domestic animal handlers must carry a leash or restraining device at all times while in the ocean shore state recreation area.

(c) Domestic animal handlers must promptly leash animals at the request or order of a park employee.

(d) Handlers must prevent their animals from harassing people, wildlife and other domestic animals.


(e) Animals may not be hitched or confined in a manner that may cause damage to any natural resources on the ocean shore.

(f) Handlers are responsible for the removal of the animal's waste while in the ocean shore state recreation area.

Additionally, there are restrictions in place in our Snowy Plover Management Area (SPMA) from March 15 - September 15. The SPMA begins at our day use beach access trail and runs south to the north jetty on Nehalem Bay. The SPMA is clearly marked and signed. Restrictions are:
No Motorized Vehicles
No Non-motorized Vehicles, including bicycles
No Dogs
No Kites, including drones

For more questions, review our statewide FAQ

History

The original tract of park land was given to the state by Tillamook County in 1938. Over the years, Tillamook County gave other lands, while the balance was acquired between 1939 and 1963 by purchase and litigation. From time to time, chunks of beeswax for candle making and other artifacts of a once-flourishing trade conducted by navigators between the Northwest Coast of America and Asia have surfaced at Nehalem Bay. In 1955, a large piece of beeswax approximately 15 x 16 inches in size and inscribed with numbers was uncovered in the course of park construction work.

Brochures and Maps

mdi-file-pdf-box 2022 North Coast Tide Tables mdi-file-pdf-box Nehalem Bay State Park Campground Map mdi-file-pdf-box Plover Management Areas: North Coast

Photos