Living simply in the wild

Cape Disappointment State Park Camping Review

We spent 2 nights in April camping at Cape Disappointment (Cape D) State Park on the Long Beach Peninsula. Cape D sits at the mouth of the columbia river, the Pacific Ocean kisses its edges and Oregon is a quick 4 mile bridge away.IMGP9336

Cape D is just shy of 2,000 acres. It offers year round camping right beside the Pacific Ocean.

  • 137 standard campsite
  • 60 full hookup sites
  • 18 sites with water and electricity
  • 5 primitive campsites
  • 14 Yurts
  • 3 Cabins
  • 1 dump station
  • 8 Restrooms
  • 14 private Shower rooms


Cape Disappointment State Park Camping Review

There’s two miles of ocean beach to comb, two lighthouses, a beautiful interpretive center located on a stunning 200 foot high cliff, and loads of hiking trails. Visitors enjoy beach combing, crabbing, clamming, salt and fresh water fishing, ship watching, and exploring the area’s natural and cultural history.

We stayed in one of the Yurts and were lulled to sleep each night by the crashing waves of the Pacific.


The Yurts are pretty standard. They have a bunk bed that sleeps 3 and a Futon that pulls out. We had a table, two chairs, and a night stand. They do have electricity, with one outlet, a small heater that just keeps the chill off, a mirror, a hanging light, and some hooks to hang your rain coats….yes, bring your rain coats. They all have a covered porch, a fire pit and a picnic table.


All in all they were nice and cozy. If you sleep hot you’ll be fine but if you tend to get chilly at night be sure to bring an extra blanket or two.

There is a skylight in the Yurts which I thought would be really awesome, and then the sun came through at 5:45am and woke the kids up. So that was a little downfall.


(curtains, rug and string lights not included, it was my attempt at ‘Glamping’)

The restrooms were less then a minute walk away and were cleaned daily. 3 stalls and 1 shower.

If you take a minute or two drive you’ll reach the shower house that has private shower rooms and private restrooms that are also cleaned daily. All restrooms were a little chilly and the water takes a bit to warm up so bring an extra quarter with you when you shower.

The Rangers and Park Aids were all very friendly and so helpful with any and all questions.

Check in is a breeze, even if you arrive after hours. There’s no self check-in envelopes most parks have. All you do is pick up the yellow phone at the contact station and check-in with them. Super easy and painless.

In order to get to the Park you need to go through Illwaco. This is a very small fisherman’s town that they are determined to keep it exactly the same as it’s always been. There is a very small grocery store and pharmacy on the corner as you’re headed to the park if you happen to forget something you absolutely need.

There is also a Park Store right in front of the main park entrance. It wasn’t open when we were there but their hours are listed on their site

The park store offers  Camping supplies – Beer & wine – groceries – ice – fire wood – gifts – and more. It has a café offering summer foods including artisan pizza, salads, sandwiches and local seafood. I heard they even deliver to your campsite. Seriously!


  • A visit to the 2 light houses
  • The Interpretation Center-great place to learn the history and catch an amazing view
  • Nearby coastal towns- long Beach and Astoria has many fun events spring/summer
  • Nearby State Parks
  • Looking at the Jetty-use caution!


If you’re at Cape D you might as well check out the other State Parks nearby.

Visit the Nearby Coastal Towns

Continuing up north along the Long Beach Peninsula you’ll run into Long Beach, a cute little coastal town with a fun strip of shops and seafood joints. You’ll find a few day-use only State Parks such a Loomis Lake and Pacific Pines which offer beach access and picnicking. Then at the very tip of the Peninsula is Leadbetter Point State Park where there’s 7 miles of trails that will take you from the Ocean to the Willapa Bay.

If you head down the Columbia about 25min from Cape D you’ll run into another day-use only park named Fort Columbia that was active for almost 50 years starting back in 1896.

It’s one of the few intact coastal defense sites left with old buildings, bunkers and batteries to explore. There’s 5 miles of trails through mature forest and you can also rent two of the old homes as vacation rentals, both of which will give you a million dollar view!


From Fort Columbia Oregon is just a 10-15min drive across the mouth of the Columbia. It offers some bigger named stores and shopping. Oh by the way….they pump your gas for you in Oregon, AND there is no sales tax!

Cape Disappointment is no disappointment at all. In fact while you’re there i encourage you to find the historic meaning of WHY it is called Cape Disappointment. The park has so many things to offer along with the other day-use parks in the area. Enough to fill a family vacation with wonderful memories.


Be warned though…if there’s a storm passing through be sure to take rain gear, extra sets of dry clothes and shoes, and tarps to rig up if your cooking over the fire pit. Get a hold of me if you need to find a laundry mat to go dry all your stuff in, we know where they are 🙂


5 responses

  1. The yurt looks so cool, we yet to sleep in one but it’s on our list for future adventures. Also, love the cliff lined coast of the PNW, it is beyond beautiful!

    April 28, 2014 at 9:44 am

    • Simply The Wildside

      I finally crossed if off my bucket list! It’s been on there forever 🙂
      And the WA OR coasts are awesome!

      April 28, 2014 at 6:29 pm

  2. Theresa

    You had me at “the cafe will deliver to your campsite. 🙂 the rest sounds great too.

    April 28, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    • Simply The Wildside

      how amazing it that.

      April 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm

  3. Pingback: Drum Roll Please...It's the Big announcement time! - Simply The Wildside

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