Oregon set a record for the number of campers at state parks last year, and the number of day-use visitors was the second-highest ever, according to a report by the state’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The report said 2.9 million people camped at a state park in 2018 and 54 million people in total visited a park, the second-highest number ever after a blockbuster summer season in 2016 that attracted 54.5 million visitors, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Wednesday (Feb. 20).

Coastal parks saw the biggest gain in campers. Fort Stevens, South Beach and Bullards Beach — all along the Pacific Ocean — together accounted for more than half of the growth in overnight visits. They collectively attracted 59,300 campers last year, the newspaper said.

The camping season is also spreading beyond the traditional busy summer months. Crowds have begun to come to camp in the spring and well into the fall, filling yurts and cabins on rainy days, and taking advantage of months with unseasonably warm weather.

“The camping season is stretching itself,” state parks spokesman Chris Havel said. “The peak time is getting longer and longer.”

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