RV + adventure vehicle rentals in Bend, Oregon
November 7, 20236 minute read
Welcome to Bend, where the great outdoors is just a tent flap or RV door away! Whether it’s the comfort of a warm blanket of stars, fresh mountain air leaving your lungs tingling, or the mesmerizing high desert views from your campsite, there’s nothing in the world like camping.
With a diverse range of campgrounds and RV parks, Bend offers you a front-row seat to some of the Pacific Northwest’s premier campgrounds, offering not just a place to rest, but a soulful connection to nature, inspiring landscapes, and epic recreation.
Whether you fancy the luxury of glamping, RV camping with all the amenities, or tent camping among whispering pines, there are loads of camping options near Bend. Because this is a popular destination in the summer when it’s prime camping season, campgrounds and RV parks can fill up quickly. To secure your spot, we highly recommend making a reservation. Check out recreation.gov for most of your Deschutes National Forest campgrounds, including Newberry Crater National Monument, and reserveamerica.com to book most of your State Park campgrounds. If you’re staying at a private campground or RV park, call ahead or check their website to book online.
So pack the marshmallows, a headlamp, and a cozy sleeping bag, and let’s go camping!
If your idea of camping involves strolling to a local brewery for lunch and shopping in the Old Mill District, then staying in Bend is for you. For easy access to shopping, dining, and exploring the outdoor playgrounds nearby, check out Scandia RV Park and Sun Outdoors RV Resort in Bend for all the amenities like laundry, wi-fi, and full hook-ups. The Camp is located at the site of Bend’s original RV Park, opening in the 1950’s. This modernized park has been renovated to offer a retro chic vibe with back-in spaces for your rig, including smaller pads for vans. Situated within walking distance from Downtown Bend or the Old Mill District, with multiple options for good dining or beer in between, The Camp is a hidden gem in midtown Bend.
If you are looking to spend some time downtown, be aware that parking availability downtown is dependent on the length of your vehicle. Small to mid-length RV’s can sometimes fit in the South Mirror Pond lot. The parking spaces on of the center island can be as long as 23 feet long. That lot is $1/hour for up to 6 hours. You can also park long RV’s or trailers in parallel parking spots, even if they occupy more than one stall. Most downtown parking spaces are signed for 2 hours free. Parking along Drake Park is 4 hours free.
Tumalo State Park is just a few miles north of Bend and offers various year-round camping options, like tent sites, RV sites (with hook-ups), and yurts. The park is also home to the Deschutes River Trail, a popular spot for hiking, biking, fly fishing, and floating on a hot summer day. It’s also a quick drive into Bend for dinner, an outdoor concert, or a leisurely stroll through beautiful downtown.
LaPine State Park is about 25 miles south of Bend and has year-round camping options, including tent sites, RV sites (with hook-ups), cabins, and even hot showers. This peaceful and scenic state park connects to 14 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, and floating. Enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the park’s trails in the winter. And, after your day of recreation, enjoy a crackling campfire under a starry sky.
Smith Rock offers breathtaking canyon views, hiking trails, mountain biking and is a climber’s paradise! Although bivouac camping is open from early spring through late fall within the state park, there are a few campgrounds just a few miles away. Skull Hallow Campground offers primitive camping (no water and vault toilets) from early spring to late fall.
Newberry Crater National Volcanic Monument has several campgrounds and RV Parks to choose from. Within Newberry Caldera lies Paulina and East Lake with six scenic campgrounds. Cinder Hill, East Lake, Little Crater, and Paulina Lake Campground are managed by the Forest Service and have access to hiking, fishing, boating, and incredible geology. You’ll find fire pits, flush toilets, and water. Note that there are tent and pull-through sites, but RV hook-ups are not available. Campgrounds are generally open from mid-June to mid-September.
If you want to experience the beauty and nature of the Newberry Caldera, but with a few added comforts, both East Lake Resort and Paulina Lake Resort offer RV sites (including hook-ups), cabins, and tent sites.
West of Bend, the Cascade Lakes Highway winds past dazzling lakes, magnificent mountains, and pine forests, offering incredible recreation like hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and fishing. To make the most of a weekend or week in this outdoor playground, consider camping at one of the Deschutes National Forest campgrounds or private RV parks along the highway. Most campgrounds along the Cascade Lakes Highway are open from mid-April through mid-September when they’re snow-free.
With so many campgrounds managed by the Deschutes National Forest on this scenic byway (complete list here), we’ll highlight a few popular favorites.
Crane Prarie Campground has sites right on the water’s edge or within a very short walk and is popular for boating and fishing. The campground has 146 sites, including 6 tent-only and RV sites up to 30 feet. There are modern vault toilets with running water, picnic tables, campfire rings, and a boat ramp.
Lava Lake Campground is a popular fishing lake with two boat ramps and lots of day use parking. It also features 44 campsites, including 5 tent-only sites and RV spots up to 40 feet, with picnic tables, campfire rings, drinking water, and vault toilets.
Elk Lake Campground is perched hillside at Elk Lake’s northern edge and is a fantastic spot for swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. There are 22 sites, including 4 tent-only sites and RV sites up to 28 feet, with picnic tables, campfire rings, drinking water, vault toilets, and a boat ramp.
South Campground is located at Hosmer Lake and has fantastic opportunities for more tranquil recreation like fly fishing, hiking, bird watching, and kayaking. The campground has 22 sites, picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and a boat ramp. There is no drinking water here, so bring your own.
Devils Lake Campground, a popular gateway to the Three Sisters Wilderness, offers ten hike-in tent-only sites with stunning scenery. Camping is allowed only in designated campsites, and a Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking.
Along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, a few private campgrounds and resorts offer various accommodations and amenities, catering to both campers and RV enthusiasts. Twin Lakes Resort has cabins, RV sites with full hook-ups, and tent sites. Another popular option is Elk Lake Resort, offering a variety of accommodations, including cabins, RV sites, glamping tents, and standard tent sites. Crane Prairie Resort has three tent sites and several RV sites with full hook-ups, a picnic table, and a fire pit. All three resorts also have on-site restaurants, a general store, and boat ramps.
Central Oregon’s prime camping season spans from late May through September, offering warm weather and access to trails and campgrounds. It’s not uncommon to have wildfires in the late summer, so have a backup plan if the skies are too smoky.
The fall brings vibrant foliage, with cooler nights and fewer crowds, and early spring presents a mix of rain and blooming wildflowers. Most campgrounds are closed in the winter or can get snowed in. But, if you want to warm your winter soul around the campfire, check for closures and conditions first.
Here are a few tips to make the most of camping adventures in Central Oregon: