Champoeg State Park is a hidden gem we discovered while on a long road trip to San Diego.
Flying, instead of driving, to San Diego, definitely would have been easier. We would have had less wear and tear on our vehicle, no gas to pay for, and the travel time much shorter.
However, if we had flown, we would have missed out on some of the spectacular sites we have encountered along the way. One of which includes the little town of Champoeg, Oregon (pronounced shampooee), and in particular Champoeg State Park.
We were lucky enough to discover Champoeg at our first stop on the long drive down south. We somehow made it from Nanaimo, BC all the way to the top of Oregon in one shot (with a few short rest stops in between).
All in all, we were on the road for 12 hours our first day of driving. That is one amazing feat, especially with young kids in the truck. Due to our weariness, when we saw the sign for ‘Champoeg State Heritage Area’, we made a bee-line directly to it.
What to Expect
I can honestly say that Champoeg State Park is one of the prettiest and nicest campgrounds we have ever stayed in. It resembles a private campground (much like my beloved KOA’s) in that it’s landscaped, tidy, has paved sites, and a plethora of camping options.
And yet, it resembles a state/provincial park because each site is private and fully treed (including an abundance of large beautiful oak trees).
It is what I like to call premium camping, for you get the best of both worlds!
The campground is situated on the Willamette River and has 4 miles of paved bike trails that lead you to many fascinating points of interest.
Including highlights of Champoeg’s rich history.
What has now become a ghost town, the area used to be a hub of activity in the 1800s. It was where the local farmers and natives held the first vote to establish the Oregon government.
Throughout the park, you can find remnants of times past. This includes the following:
- a fully restored 1852 house
- a fully operational store that was founded in 1853 (considered the oldest operating store in Oregon)
The State Park is situated 7 miles north of the quaint town of Aurora. Established in 1856, Aurora is now a national historic district. And much like Champoeg, it is full of old (but restored) houses and buildings built in the 1800s.
Due to limited time, we, unfortunately, didn’t have a chance to wander around the little town, but even the quick drive through made it worthwhile.
For those of you who aren’t interested in learning about the history of either Champoeg or Aurora, you will be happy to know that there is premium shopping nearby! About 10 minutes down the road in Woodburn, there is an outlet mall full of big brand names, including Calvin Klein, Nine West, and Tommy Hilfiger – to name a few.
And let’s not forget that Oregon has no state taxes, which means that your dollar goes a lot further!
General Campground Information for Champoeg State Park
- Approximately eight full-hookup sites
- More than 67 electric sites with water
- Six walk-in tent sites
- Yurts (three that are pet-friendly)
- Six cabins (three pet-friendly)
- Three group tent camping areas
- RV group camping loop with a meeting hall
- Hiker/biker camping area
- Flush toilets and hot showers
- RV dump station
- Firewood and ice sales
Yes, it was a plain old good luck to stumble across this charming area in Northern Oregon, and exactly why I love road trips. There is always a hidden gem to discover, much like Champoeg State Park, just around the next corner.
Have you had the pleasure of staying at this beautiful State Park in Oregon? Or perhaps driven through the same area?
Let me know in the comments below.
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