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 in Oregon (pronounced shampooee), and in particular Champoeg State Park.
We were lucky enough to discover Champoeg during 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. If you ask me 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.
I can honestly say that Champoeg State Park is one of the prettiest and nicest campgrounds we have ever stayed in. It is not like any state park, or provincial park for that matter, I have ever encountered. It resembles a private campground (much like my beloved KOA’s) in that it is landscaped, tidy, has paved sites, and a plethora of camping options, which includes full hook up, cabins and yurts (glorified tent-like structures). 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.
Champoeg has a rich history. What has now become a ghost town, used to be a hub of activity in the 1800’s, and was where the local farmers and natives held the first vote to establish the Oregon government by a slim margin. Throughout the park you can find remnants of times past, including a fully restored 1852 house, monuments, museums, and a fully operational store that was founded in 1853 (considered the oldest operating store in Oregon).
The State park is also situated 7 miles north of the quaint town of Aurora, which was established in 1856, and is now a national historic district. Like Champoeg, it is also full of old (but restored) houses and buildings built in the 1800’s.
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 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 lets not forget that Oregon has no state taxes, which means that your dollar goes a lot further!
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.
General Campground Information for Champoeg State Park
- Approximately eight full-hookup sites
- More than 67 electric sites with water
- Six walk-in tent sites
- Six yurts (three pet friendly)
- Six cabins (three pet friendly)
- Three group tent camping areas
- RV group camping loop with meeting hall
- Hiker/biker camp
- Flush toilets and hot showers
- RV dump station
- Firewood and ice sales
Have you had the pleasure of staying at this beautiful State Park in Oregon? Or perhaps driven through the same area?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.