Let’s face it, Bend, Oregon is no longer a hidden gem destination in the Pacific Northwest. As a rapidly growing city, it can be challenging to get away from traffic, crowds, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
And that’s why we recommend camping near Bend, Oregon during your next family vacation. With plenty of outdoorsy activities nearby, like hiking iconic Oregon peaks or biking along The Deschutes River Trail, it’ll be hard not to experience some extreme relaxation out in nature.
To help you find the best places to go camping near Bend, Oregon, we’ve created a list of must-visit campgrounds, dispersed camping sites, RV parks, and more.
Places To Go Camping Near Bend, Oregon
What kind of adventure are you looking to have? Whether it’s a secluded and quiet spot or an RV resort with all the amenities, there is no shortage of camping opportunities near Bend. Use this guide to find which type of campground best suits you and your crew.
Here are the # best places to camp in Central Oregon:
Dispersed (Free) Camping Near Bend, Oregon
If rugged, untouched nature is what you prefer, then you’re in luck! After spending a year searching for the best dispersed camping locations around Bend, we’ve found the absolute best.
Keep in mind, these campgrounds are dispersed sites, which means they are FREE, but you won’t have access to amenities like toilets, running water, etc. Come prepared with your own gear. You can read more about dispersed camping here.
1. Bessie Butte
Our absolute favorite dispersed camping location is at the top of Bessie Butte, an extinct volcano just south of Bend.
Located off China Hat Road, Bessie Butte stands tall among the desert landscape of Central Oregon. With epic views of Mount Bachelor and Mount Washington, camping at the top of Bessie Butte is ideal for any adventurer.
As mentioned, this is a dispersed campsite, meaning there isn’t much of a campsite at all. But, the top of Bessie Butte is flat, which is perfect for pitching a tent.
To reach the top of the butte, you will need to hike up with all of your gear. Luckily, the hike to the top is relatively short and easy – I hiked up to the top with a baby on my back and it was a piece of cake.
In addition, make sure to bring food, water, and a camping stove with you, as you likely won’t be able to have a fire due to constant fire restrictions. Please respect our land and abide by the rules set by the state of Oregon; wildfires are devastating to the area.
To find Bessie Butte, use this Google Maps link.
2. China Hat Road
China Hat Road is a beautiful, scenic route through the high desert of Central Oregon. The road offers stunning views of distant snow-capped volcanoes and ponderosa pines. You can even find the most incredible caves scattered nearby.
But best of all, China Hat Road hosts some of the best BLM land near Bend, Oregon, perfect for camping and exploring.
Since BLM land surrounds most of China Hat Road, it won’t be difficult to find a place to camp.
There are campsites located at the start of China Hat Road as you’re coming from Bend, but since these sites tend to attract many people from the transient community, I recommend driving a bit further down to find something more secluded.
The cool thing about BLM land is that you can camp nearly anywhere for a duration of up to 14 days. This means that camping anywhere along China Hat Road is possible as long as there are no signs stating otherwise.
You can find out more about BLM land, rules, and restrictions here.
3. Sunriver BLM
Sunriver is located just south of Bend and boasts some of the best camping sites in Central Oregon. The many areas throughout this small Oregon town offer places where people can relax and enjoy nature at its best—without having to worry about other campers or hikers coming by every five minutes with an interruption.
The campsites we are referring to above can be found by using this Google Maps link. Down this long stretch of road, you can choose from several different dispersed camping sites, many that are big enough to accommodate RV and trailers.
Throughout the summer, we spent several weeks on this land in our RV. We even had enough room for two 35-foot+ fifth wheels (ours and our friends who also lived nomadically).
Again, you will not find any amenities here, but you’ll be located just a few minutes from downtown Sunriver, so picking up supplies won’t be an issue.
Traditional Campgrounds and State Parks Near Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon is one of the best places in the United States for nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts. And since camping is likely “your thing” (considering you’re reading this post), you’ll quickly find the perfect camping spot near one of Bend’s many lakes or scenic state parks.
If a traditional campground or a state park is what you’re looking for, read on:
4. Tumalo State Park
Located just 20 minutes from downtown Bend, Oregon, Tumalo State Park is an excellent place for camping.
In Tumalo State Park, you can participate in outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and waterfall exploration.
Tumalo Falls is a very popular waterfall near Bend, and for good reason! I strongly suggest embarking on the Tumalo Falls hike that will bring you alongside the river and next to some of the best waterfalls in Central Oregon.
You can read more about the Tumalo Falls hike in our post here.
After adventuring for the day, sit back and relax at the Tumalo State Park campground. We thoroughly enjoy the campground at Tumalo State Park because there is plenty of shade, and it has valuable amenities, including communal dishwashing stations and even showers.
They also have an onsite playground to entertain the kids while the parents sit back and relax.
Are campfires allowed at Tumalo State Park?
While Tumalo State Park does allow for campfires, it will ultimately depend upon the fire restrictions set by the state of Oregon. You can check beforehand to see if campfires will be permitted during your camping trip near Bend.
5. Smith Rock State Park
By far my favorite day trip from Bend, Oregon is Smith Rock State Park, and you’re in luck because camping is available at this state park as well.
Smith Rock State Park is located 40 minutes north of Bend near the town of Terrebonne. A short drive will lead you to some of the most spectacular views in all of Oregon. This state park might as well be classified as a national park; it is that cool.
Due to its size, this state park offers excellent opportunities for hiking in Oregon’s high desert region.
So, while you’re camping in Smith Rock State Park, hike the Misery Ridge Trail. But be sure to embark on this trek clockwise; we felt this direction offered better views.
Camping at Smith Rock State Park is a unique experience. The campground is first-come, first-serve and the views of the park from this location are gorgeous.
The views of the park aren’t the only remarkable things you’ll see while at Smith Rock State Park’s campground. Come to see the stars from your hammock or open tent and enjoy a night under the Milky Way.
Expect to pay $8 per person for a campsite at Smith Rock State Park. They only have tent campsites, so if you are looking for an RV parking spot, you’ll need to find another campground.
And the best part about this campground is that they have showers. Feeling a little sweaty after a strenuous hike up Misery Ridge? No problem!
Are campfires allowed at Smith Rock State Park in Oregon?
No, fires are not allowed in the campground. They even have a designated cooking area for all campers to use.
6. Devils Lake Campground
Devils Lake is a tranquil setting that provides plenty of space for activities and exploration. There are different camping options available, such as RV sites with hookups or secluded backcountry campsites perfect for fishing trips near Sparks Lake. Visitors to the area can’t help but enjoy this beautiful natural oasis in Central Oregon.
This campground has a wide variety of amenities, including full-hookup RV spaces and tent sites.
Are campfires allowed at Sparks Lake?
Campfires are allowed at Sparks Lake; however, before starting any fire in Oregon, first check with the Forest Service to ensure there are no fire bans during the time of your trip. At the time of this post, there is a current fire ban throughout the Deschutes National Forest.
7. Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake, located on South Sister, is a camping location that offers campsites for tents in the beautiful Oregon Cascades. This camping spot is perfect for those looking to get out of Bend with friends or family and be surrounded by nature.
Setting up camp near Moraine lake offers options for many day hikes, including taking the South Sister Trail to summit South Sister, as well as a 4.8-mile trek to Green Lake.
When camping near Moraine Lake, you must camp at one of the 22 designated primitive campsites. These campsites are first-come first-serve, so it is essential to plan ahead and have a backup plan if your desired site is taken.
You can view a map of the campsites here when planning your trip. Although these sites are first-come first-serve, expect to pay a 5-dollar day permit if you do not have an annual Northwest Forest Pass.
Since these campsites are primitive, be prepared that there will be no amenities at your campsite. Plan on packing out all trash and making good use of your trowel. Also, when you arrive at your campsite, make sure to set up within 15 feet of the designated marking pole to avoid receiving any fines.
Are campfires allowed at Moraine Lake?
No fires are allowed within the Moraine lake Management Area. Please respect the rules that are set for this delicate area.
8. The Cove Palisades State Park
Cove Palisades State Park will capture your heart with the stunning views of the river canyon. Located just one hour north of Bend, Cove Palisades State Park encompasses the southern portion of Lake Billy Chinook, where the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers meet.
Whether you want to hit the trail or get your paddles wet, there is no shortage of things to do in Cove Palisades State Park. Hiking up the Tam-a-Láu trail offers a bird’s eye view of the entire River Canyon and, if the water tempts you, paddlers of all skill levels can enjoy 6 miles of the beautiful Crooked River Water Trail.
There are two campgrounds to choose from when staying in the Cove Palisades State Park. The Deschutes River Campground is located in the canyon within walking distance from the water, whereas the Crooked River campground is positioned high above the canyon near the park entrance.
Both campgrounds offer flush toilets and hot showers making for a very comfortable experience as you explore the park. Also, if you do not have your own watercraft, there are plenty of options to rent boats, kayaks, and paddleboards to explore the water trails.
Campfires are prohibited in the Cove Palisades State Park, so be sure to have a camp stove to prepare your meals after a long day hiking and paddling. To see the site map and make a reservation today, you can plan your trip here.
RV Parks and Resorts For Camping Near Bend, Oregon
If you are looking to enjoy the beautiful scenery that Oregon offers while also sleeping in luxury and convenience, then you likely have your RV loaded and ready to hit the road.
For those of you wondering where you can park your camper on your trip to bend, the list below is some of our favorite options.
Each RV park offers an impressive list of amenities, and these amenities come at a range of prices. Before deciding on where to park your rig, consider what type of experience you want to have. All of the following RV parks will be near the incredible sights that Central Oregon offers, but each offers a slightly different experience when you get back to camp.
Where can I park my RV in Bend?
9. Crown Villa RV Resort
– 30/50 Amp
– Full Hookups
– Hot Tub and Spa
– Restrooms and Showers
– Free Wifi and Cable
– Fitness Center and other clubhouse activities
If you are looking for a more luxurious experience with all the amenities a resort has to offer, look no further than Crown Villa RV Resort. We stayed at Crown Villa RV Resort for several months while living in Bend, Oregon, so I can safely say that this is the best RV resort around.
As the name implies, Crown Villa has all of the amenities that you would expect from a resort experience, including tennis and pickleball courts, a large hot tub, and free wifi and cable.
When arriving back to camp for the day, your family will undoubtedly have no trouble finding ways to be entertained.
Crown Villa RV Resort has sites that can accommodate full hookups and welcomes all sizes of RVs. The spacious layout of the Resort gives plenty of room for slide-outs and space to relax after a long day of hiking and exploring.
10. Thousand Trails – Sunriver, Oregon
– 317 sites
– 30/50 Amp
– Full Hookups
– Restrooms and Showers
– Wifi (coming soon)
– Pool and Spa (coming soon)
– Plenty of recreational activities, including pickleball, basketball, mini-golf, and more
We also spent several months living at the Thousand Trails Sunriver campground in Sunriver, Oregon. Upon arrival, you will notice that this campground has all the amenities and recreational offerings of a resort, nestled into over 283 acres along the Deschutes River.
Whether you want to hit the slopes of Mt. Bachelor or drop a line into the river, you are only minutes away from an endless list of recreational activities. We loved our stay here, and it’s exciting to learn that they will be opening a brand new pool and spa area in the summer of 2022.
You can review the recreational activities list and reserve your site here.
11. Expo Center RV Park – Redmond, Oregon
– Full Hookups
– Restrooms, Showers and Laundry
Suppose you’re looking for a place to park your RV close to your Oregon destinations and you’re not interested in all the perks associated with the resort-type experience. In that case, the Expo Center RV Park in Redmond may be an excellent option for you.
Located in the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, 25 minutes north of Bend, the Expo Center RV Park offers a great place to set up your rig while you explore all of the natural beauty that Central Oregon has to offer.
Although the Expo Center does not offer the typical scenic views and natural greenery you might expect when camping in Central Oregon, it provides a great location and the basic amenities you would hope for when parking your rig. This includes full hookups, restrooms, and showers.
You can check pricing and availability for the Expo Center RV Park here.
12. Scandia Village RV Park
– Monthly Rates Only
– 30/50 Amp
– Full Hookups
– 4×8 Storage Shed and Lawn
– Showers and Restrooms
If you plan a more extended camping stay in Bend, Oregon, we highly recommend checking out Scandia Village RV Park.
Being one of the newest RV parks in Bend, Scandia Village offers a space that feels like home. Although they do not provide a pool and spa as many others on this list do, Scandia Village has lots of space, including a maintained lawn and a 4×8 storage shed to make an extended stay as comfortable as possible.
Since they only offer monthly rates, you will not have to worry about the nightly traffic of RVs entering and leaving the park, offering a more peaceful and quiet experience.
If you want to stay in Bend for longer than just a few nights, I highly recommend checking out Scandia Village sites and pricing here.
Glamping and Unique Stays Near Bend, Oregon
Do you love to experience the great outdoors but want to skip on your tent? If so, there are other options to make your stay near Bend even more unique.
13. Tipi in the Junipers (Camp Moogle)
Just 15 minutes from Smith Rock (my favorite day hike destination), Tipi in the Junipers offers a unique stay in a 314-square foot tipi. Equipped with a queen bed and access to a full bathroom and shower, this site falls more under the category of glamping than camping.
The high-altitude desert climate makes for a beautiful sight full of juniper trees and unique rock formations. Being so close to Smith Rock State Park, Tipi in the Junipers is an excellent option if you want to explore the State Park but sleep a little more glamorously.
If you’re interested in experiencing a night in a Tipi under the beautiful Oregon sky, you can make your reservation here.
14. Green Ridge Lookout (Sisters)
If you’re not looking for a unique stay near Bend, Oregon but not necessarily looking for something glamorous, you need to check out Green Ridge Lookout in Sisters.
Positioned 20 feet off the ground, this old fire lookout provides panoramic views of Mt. Jefferson and the Metolius River Basin. With windows on every wall of the lookout, you’re sure not to miss any of the spectacular views even when you have come back to camp for the evening.
Whether you want to spend the day fly-fishing in the Metolius River or sipping a brew in Sisters, Green Ridge Lookout is a fantastic location with a truly unique feel.
Although the sights are incredible, the lookout does not provide the amenities that you would expect from a “glamping” experience. Solar-powered lighting, as well as a propane fridge, stove, and heating units are included; however, visitors must bring their own water, food, sleeping pads and bags, and even toilet paper.
So don’t expect a luxurious resort feel here at the lookout, but the sights will surely not leave you disappointed.
If you want to reserve your night in the Green Ridge Lookout, review availability here and start planning your trip today.
15. Mongolian Ger Yurt (Near Newberry Volcano)
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to sleep in a Mongolian Ger? Well, now is your chance to find out!
A stone’s throw away from the Newberry Volcano, there are two traditional Mongolian Gers overlooking East Lake waiting for your arrival.
Halfway between glamping and camping, this unique Oregon site offers a very comfortable stay with twin bunk beds as well as a pull-out couch to accommodate up to 4 adults.
This Ger has a full kitchen; however, it does not have running water. Instead, the Gers are outfitted with 15 gallons tanks of lake water with a foot pump for cleaning up and washing dishes (just don’t drink it).
Included with your stay are canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards, perfect for you to take a spin on East Lake and enjoy the beautiful sights. If you aren’t yet convinced that you need to spend the night in a Mongolian Ger, think again and check it out here.
Bend, Oregon Camping Map
Check out an overview of camping options in Bend, Oregon with our easy-to-use map by clicking here.
Most Important Tips For Camping Near Bend
To help you prepare for your camping trip near Bend, Oregon, consider these essential tips:
✅ Leave No Trace
The most crucial tip for camping near Bend, Oregon is LEAVE NO TRACE!
Central Oregon is an absolutely incredible place to enjoy the outdoors in all of its natural beauty, and it is so important that we do our part to keep it that way.
Think about it.. over 4.5 million people visit Central Oregon each year for these breathtaking views. Each one of our actions, no matter how small, adds up to either maintain this natural beauty or quickly destroy it. Whether it is disposing of your waste correctly, minimizing the impact of your campfire, or ensuring that you leave the environment the way you found it, each decision we make affects this land.
I highly recommend visiting the Leave No Trace website and become familiar with each of the 7 principles.
No matter where you decide to set up camp, abiding by these principles will ensure that these beautiful places remain beautiful for generations to come.
Although 4WD is not required for your camping trip to Bend, Oregon, there are many scenarios where you wished you had it. Accessing some of the primitive campsites mentioned in this post requires a 4WD high-clearance vehicle, regardless of the season.
If you’re visiting Bend in the winter and would like to do some skiing on Mt. Bachelor, you will absolutely need 4WD and preferably some good snow tires. Don’t be that tourist driving your Camry up the Mountain and getting stuck. I can promise it won’t be fun.
Before heading out for your trip, consider where you want to go, what you want to do, and potential weather conditions. You might not necessarily need a 4WD vehicle on your specific trip, but it can never hurt to have it.
✅ Check Fire Safety
Unfortunately, fires are common in the Pacific Northwest. Even more unfortunate is the fact that most of these fires are caused by humans. Whether it is a campfire left unattended, a campfire not appropriately extinguished, or a discarded cigarette, fires happen.
Before you begin your trip, be sure to look up any fire restrictions in the areas you will be visiting. If there is a fire ban, you will need to be prepared to cook all meals over a camp stove.
If there are no fire restrictions at the time, be fire safe. Properly extinguish all campfires and NEVER leave a fire unattended. I highly recommend visiting Keep Oregon Green for tips on how to build and tend safe fires.
✅ Make Reservations When You Can
Central Oregon is beautiful and it’s no secret. To ensure you make the most out of your trip, be sure to reserve campsites whenever possible. There is nothing worse than planning all of your epic adventures and then having to change course because your desired campsite was taken.
I highly recommend reserving campsites as far in advance as possible to ensure you get the best picks for sites at any of the campgrounds you visit.
What To Pack For Camping In Bend, Oregon
If you’ve been camping before, you’ll likely know what to pack for your trip. But, here are a few things you must make sure to bring during your camping outing in Bend, Oregon:
✔ Bug spray
I think it goes without saying that when in the forest and near water, the bugs can get nasty.
Since you would rather pay more attention to the beautiful sights than the mosquitos buzzing around your head, it would be wise not to forget your spray.
✔ Warm Clothes
Being in the high desert climate means severe temperature fluctuations. It could be in the 80s during the day and 40s at night. Once you pack all of your proper clothes for the trail and the water, don’t forget to bring a couple of extra layers just in case.
✔ Camp Stove
Like I mentioned earlier, fire bans and restrictions are part of life in the PNW. Having a reliable camping stove is crucial to always be prepared to cook meals and, not to mention, it’s incredibly convenient.
Whether it’s a small single burner stove that can fit in your pocket or a larger unit to cook for the entire family, a camp stove is certainly a must when camping in Bend, Oregon.
Can I Camp In My Car In Bend, Oregon?
In Bend, cars will be towed from any public area after five days, so it is possible to camp in your vehicle overnight in Bend. However, since you likely want to avoid the busy streets of Bend and head out into all of the beauty that Central Oregon has to offer, there are plenty of options for car camping outside of the city.
If you want to camp in your car, you can do so for free on any BLM land as long as no signs are stating otherwise.
The Wrap Up: Camping Near Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon offers so many incredible adventures; it is no wonder why so many people visit each year. This is precisely why we recommend finding a place to camp near Bend on our next family vacation.
Whether you want to rough it at a more primitive campsite, spend the week at an RV resort with all sorts of activities for the family, or find a unique stay in a Mongolian Ger overlooking a lake, there are endless options to suit your specific needs and desires.
I’m confident that if you choose any of the camping options listed above, you and your family will have an incredible time in Bend, Oregon and create memories that will last a lifetime.