Spotlight: Camping at Oregon State Parks

Weekend on the Cheap:

– Today only, Thursday September 30th, gift certificates are 90% off, must use code ‘WOW’ at check out. Normal price is $10 for a $25 gift certificate, get it today for just a buck; in addition, some restaurants offer $10 gift certificates that you can purchase for $.40. Please read the rules and restrictions before buying.

– Target Free First Friday at the Portland Children’s Museum this Friday from 4:00pm – 8:00pm. Bring school supplies and help everyone start the school year fresh! Join Adoption Mosaic and make family votive candles.

Central Eastside Arts District First Friday from 6:00pm – 9:00pm, including the opening reception for the second annual Halloween Show at Redux.

Open House at the Oregon Historical Society with free admission and programs Friday, October 1st – Friday, October 8th. Please see web site for hours and events.

– First annual 2010 Oregon Archives Crawl this Saturday from 11:00am – 4:00pm; free and open to the public. Start at any of the following locations: Portland Archives & Records Center, Portland State University Millar Library, Multnomah County Central Library or the Oregon Historical Society. The free after party is from 2:00pm – 4:00pm at the Oregon Historical Society with music and raffle prizes!

59th annual Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in southeast Portland this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Free performances; pastries and other activities require tickets or talents.

Health and Wellness Resource Fair at Beaverton’s Elsie Stuhr Center this Saturday from 9:00am – 1:00pm. It will feature a lecture series, $30 flu shots, free health screenings, vendors and raffle prizes.

Fall Native Plant Sale 2010 at Tualatin Hills Nature Park Interpretive Center this Saturday from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Free admission.

– Bank of America’s Museums on Us promotion runs this Saturday and Sunday at the Portland Art Museum and the Pittock Mansion. Just show your BoA debit or credit card to get free admission.

– Submission: Join author & Illustrator (and Portland’s Museum Lady), Carye Bye on a free walking tour as she reads from Hidden Portland in celebration of the book’s wide-release. Meet at Union Station this Sunday at 2:00pm for a tour of Old Town / Chinatown.

OMSI admission is just $2 this Sunday for every one, see the new exhibit “Identity” on the cheap!

– Want more free and cheap things to do this weekend? Then please check out Aroundthesunblog or PDXPipeline!


Two main reasons for this week’s spotlight:

#1: Tomorrow, October 1st, marks the beginning of Oregon State Park’s “Discovery Season.” From their official blog:

“Discovery Season rewards spontaneity. It is a seven-month span when you can react to an unseasonably warm and dry weather forecast, or notice the sun shining through your window, and take off on a camping trip without a reservation.

Take advantage of $4-off full RV and tent site camping rates (yurt and cabin rates remain the same). The lower rates apply at 28 year-round campgrounds and at seasonal parks (check website for opening and closing dates).

Discovery Season campers will tell you that besides the cost savings, you have better chances to see wildlife, more elbow room on beaches and trails, and chances to stay in one of those primo campsites that always seem to be occupied by somebody else during the summer…”

#2. If you are planning on having a camping weekend for the 4th of July 2011, the next few days are critical for reserving a spot. July 4th is on a Monday, so if you want to take an extra long weekend from Friday July 1st – the 4th, you’ll want to call or go online tomorrow, October 1st to make that reservation; Oregon State camping sites can be reserved up to 9 months in advance. Better yet, make the reservation today and reserve a site from Thursday, June 30th for however many days you want to stay that weekend.

We love our Oregon State Parks, from the beautiful seven waterfalls hike at Silver Falls State Park to exploring the historic military area of Fort Stevens State Park and enjoying the holiday lights at Shore Acres State Park. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind for your upcoming visits!

– Hike or bike to the park and get a special campsite for just $5 or $6 per person (check park for availability).

– Never been camping? No problem—Oregon State Parks offers a “Let’s Go Camping” program during the summer months that feature ranger-led camping basics, group nature hikes, Dutch Oven cooking and much more, all at a very reasonable cost for the family.

– No RV, tent-phobic or think it is too cold to go camping in the winter time? Then try one of the yurts, cabins or teepees, complete with heat, bedding and electric lights! Upgrade and find a few sites with personal bathroom and showers, fridge and microwave.

– If you are a day-tripper, some of the more popular parks require a day pass, which costs $5. If you go often like we do, consider an annual pass for $30 or a 24-month pass for $50. Please see web site for additional information on other passes.

Active duty military on leave or veteran with disability? The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department offers free camping and day-use to veterans with a service-connected disability and active military on leave. The fee waiver is only applicable for veterans who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military.

– Keep on eye out for the annual State Parks Day the first Saturay of June, which offers free camping and day-use parking at every state park. Free camping applies to full hookup (sewer, electricity and water), electrical hookup (electricity and water) and tent sites. 2011’s State Parks Day is on Saturday, June 4th (in conjunction with National Trails Day).

– Time your visit around special free events or programs, including this Saturday from 1:00pm – 4:00pm with Champoeg Apple Harvest Day featuring fresh-pressed apple cider, apple butter, desserts cooked in a Dutch oven and more.

– There are close to 60 Oregon State parks with opportunities for camping. Here’s are a few resources to help you choose where to go:

Oregon Coast Camping Guide – The Complete List

– Oregon’s Best State Parks

– Travels with Terry feature columns ‘Best of Oregon Camping‘ (numerous categories including best tent sites, best RV sites, best fishing, etc.)

– AM Northwest video segment “Oregon’s Best Camping Spots” (6 minute video)

– Reference book: Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide [Paperback], around $8 including shipping on

Happy camping!

Save on all the things you love to do!

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