Harris Beach State Park, Oregon
During the winter months, the campsites at Harris Beach State Park (from $35), just north of the Oregon-California border and outside the town of Brookings, are available on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s not exactly balmy on these northern shores of the Pacific in December, but it is peaceful and quiet. Just bring extra layers and your warmest sleeping bag. From the beach—which is steps from the tent sites—you can explore tide pools, spot migrating gray whales, and bird-watch for species like the tufted puffin flying above Goat Island, a closed-to-the-public national wildlife sanctuary and the largest island off the state’s coast, visible from camp.