I remember camping numerous times at William M. Tugman State Park with my family growing up. Most of the time we rented a yurt, but sometimes we set up a tent or parked the trailer (when we had one). This state park quickly became one of my favorite campgrounds – and still is to this day.
William M. Tugman State Park is located 17.3 miles north of Coos Bay, Oregon – 10.6 miles south of Reedsport. The entrance to the park is right off of highway 101 on the east side of the road. Eel Lake sits adjacent to the campground – great for kayaking, swimming, and fishing. There’s also a trail that hugs the perimeter of the lake but doesn’t go all the way around. You can read more about the park and reserve a campsite here.
William M. Tugman State Park
This state park boasts 93 campsites with electrical and water, 16 yurts – 8 that are pet friendly – as well as hot showers and flushing toilets. All of the roads, parking spots, and pathways are paved.
The thick shrubbery and tall trees provide a nice barrier between sites for a more private experience. I spotted several rhododendrons, too.
My parents rented a yurt for 3 nights over Mother’s Day weekend from Friday to Monday. Not only was the 13th Mother’s Day but also my parents’ anniversary and brother Oliver’s birthday. It was the perfect weekend to celebrate!
My husband, Nat, and I live in Coos Bay, so it was a quick drive up to the campground. We arrived at around 6:30 pm on Friday – we decided to stay just 2 nights. Later in the evening Oliver showed up. He also planned to stay 2 nights. We all sat around the camp fire and enjoyed each other’s company for the rest of the evening.
The yurts are large and well maintained. Each one has stairs or a ramp leading up to a covered deck. There’s a small bench on one side – this is where my parents always store food totes. The other side is open where they set up a small folding table for making coffee and tea.
They sleep 5 comfortably – 2 people on the pullout sofa, 2 on the bottom bunk, and 1 on the top bunk. My parents reserved one of the pet-friendly yurts so their Boston terrier, Henry, could join us inside. There’s also a small table, a few chairs, and an electric heater.
Eel Lake | kayaking & fishing
On Saturday morning Nat, Oliver, and my dad went out on Eel Lake to go kayaking and fishing. Nat and I brought our bright green Emotion Guster kayaks atop my Honda Civic Hybrid. It may go (extremely) slow uphill, but it still powers through!
While the boys fished and explored the lake via kayaks, my mom and I decided to hang back at camp. We talked, knitted, and snuggled Henry. He always loves to cuddle, but being outdoors calls for extra blankets.
Later in the day my mom and I packed up our camp chairs and walked down to Eel Lake. We sat down in the grass under a large tree where we enjoyed the beautiful view. The sun was shining and the sky was bright blue. We even saw a little family of geese waddle by.
After a while the wind was a bit too much for us and we decided to pack up our chairs and head back to camp. Henry was getting cold, too!
Later that evening the boys finally came back and had some stories to tell. My dad accidentally fell in the lake, and Oliver and my dad got sunburned. At least they caught a few fish and had fun exploring Eel Lake!
The wind died down as the evening rolled in. My dad chopped some kindling and started a fire to cook dinner. We ate, talked, and huddled around the campfire. Eventually we grew tired and called it a night.
On Sunday morning the boys fished on the dock while I kayaked by myself around Eel Lake. They caught quite a few fish – more than they did while in the kayaks!
Later that afternoon we packed our gear, loaded the kayaks, and headed back home. My parents still had one more night to enjoy.
William M. Tugman State Park makes for a great family-friendly getaway. The park is kept clean and has a lot of amenities to satisfy most needs. Eel Lake provides hours of entertainment for everyone – you can fish, kayak, paddle board, swim, and even hike alongside the lake.
The campground is also easily accessible being just off of highway 101 along the southern Oregon coast. Though sometimes the traffic noise can be a bit bothersome, I usually forget about it after a while. The abundance of plants and trees create a nice barrier.
I loved camping at William M. Tugman State Park as a little girl and it still holds a special place in my heart.