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Bend Oregon Camping Spots: Top 6 Campgrounds

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Bend Oregon Camping, by Travel Blogger What The Fab

Looking for the best Bend Oregon camping spots for your next outdoor adventure? Then I’ve got you!

I love this beautiful mountain town—it’s ideal for adventuring options for all seasons. I went on an epic girls’ trip in Bend in winter that was freaking awesome. Being a California girl, I’m usually much better suited for warm weather, but we had so much fun on this snow trip!

I’d love to visit Bend again, this time in the summertime—I’ve heard the river turns into a float party (yessss) and of course there are other fun activities that are perfect for summer, like camping.

Ok, if you know me at all, you know I am not a camper. I prefer glamping. With running water and air conditioning.

BUT I know a lot of my readers love a good camping trip, especially my granola girls!

And there’s just no better way to recharge your batteries from the hustle and bustle of everyday life than by surrounding yourself with glorious nature.

Which is why we’ve researched and put together this top Bend Oregon camping spots, in case the warm seasons is calling your name for a perfect outdoorsy getaway. 

Pssst, heading to Bend? Don’t miss these travel guides to help you plan your trip!

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Here’s our roundup of the top 6 campgrounds in Bend Oregon to help get your planning underway!

6 Top Bend Oregon Camping Spots

Bend Oregon Camping, by Travel Blogger What The Fab
Image via

1. Elk Lake Campground

If you’re looking for a rustic camping experience to have some serious quality time with nature, head to Elk Lake campground. It’s made up of 17 peaceful, tent-only sites nestled in Oregon’s famous Deschutes National Forest.

You won’t find any glamping type of facilities here—just good old-fashioned camping essentials like fire rings with grills, picnic tables, potable water, and non-flushing vault toilets. 

The clear lake waters are great for fishing, paddle boarding, or—if you’re rugged enough to brave super chilly waters—swimming.

I’m more of the hiking type than the cold-water swimming type, so I’m all for the various forest hiking trails there are to explore. 

It’s such a beautiful place, you’ll feel disconnected from any worries in no time!

Distance from Bend: 33 miles 

Fees:$12 per night for a single campsite, $22 per night for multiple campsites, $6 per vehicle per night 

Reservations: None available (first come, first serve only)

Image via Oregon State Parks

2. Tumalo State Park

The most popular campground in the area is Tumalo State Park—probably because it’s the closest one distance-wise from Bend and because it’s totally gorgeous.

It’s a popular Deschutes River campground because you can do so many cool-water sport activities here. I like the idea of tubing down the river and taking in the beautiful nature along the way!

All of Tumalo State Park’s amenities make for a comfortable way to camp. You’ll be fully stocked with picnic tables, campfire rings and flushable toilets, showers, and even a playground on the campground.

If you love the idea of camping in a yurt, this campground is for you! There are 7 yurts available on the grounds—which fill up fast—but so cool if you’re lucky enough to snag one!

There are also 54 sites for tents or self-contained RV/trailers, 2 group campsites, 23 RV hookup sites, and a hiker-biker site—so if you plan ahead, you should be able to get your ideal spot.

Distance from Bend: 8 miles

Fees: $36 per night for full hookup campsites, $21 per night for tent sites, $51 per night for yurts ($61 for pet-friendly yurts), $8 per person for hiker/biker site (plus $8 reservation fee)

Reservations: can be made from 1 day up to 9 months in advance 

Bend Oregon Camping, by Travel Blogger What The Fab
Image via Trip Advisor

3. Sparks Lake Campground

Sparks Lake is one of the 14 lakes of the stunning Cascade Lakes set within Oregon’s Cascade Mountain Range, so you can only imagine how magical the camping is.

Seriously, Sparks Lake will blow your mind.

Want to hear something even more mind-blowing? It’s free camping here!

There are only 22 sites—all dispersed with a remote backpacking-type vibe—and you can be sure they fill up really quickly! 

Also, be aware that most of the sites are only accessible by crossing the water so you’ll start your adventure from the get-go by transporting your gear via canoe, paddleboard, kayak, or whatever mode of water transport you have available.

But, once (and if!) you can claim a spot, you’ll have your own little piece of lakeside heaven.

While you’re here, enjoy some hiking, canoeing, swimming, lounging, and some of the most glorious sunrises and sunsets ever!

Distance from Bend: 28 miles

Fees: free!

Reservations: None available (first come, first serve only)

Bend Oregon Camping, by Travel Blogger What The Fab
Image via Outdoor Project

4. Paulina Lake National Campground

So, here’s a cool one for you—a camping site located within the actual caldera of a volcano!

The Paulina Lake campgrounds are the first that you’ll find as you enter the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, making this site one of the most popular in the area.

Located on the edge of Paulina Lake, you’ll have lots of cool stuff to do here like water sports, hiking, biking, and even some amazing birdwatching.

There are 68 campsites on the grounds with flush toilets, potable water, picnic tables, fire rings with grills, and boat ramps.

Distance from Bend: 45 miles

Fees: $18 per night per site

Reservations: can be made online through website up to 6 months in advance

Image via Outdoor Project

5. Lava Lake Campground

The scenery you’ll find at Lava Lake’s waterfront campgrounds is one of the most impressive you’ll find in Central Oregon! It’s fabulously located off the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway and the lake views are simply stunning.

The campgrounds themselves are nestled between Little Lava Lake and Lava Lake, so you have access to pretty much any water activity you can imagine—from fishing to paddle boarding.

There are even boat rentals at the nearby Lava Lake Lodge, so that’s convenient if you get a hankering for that!

You have plenty of hiking options too if you decide you want to keep your feet on dry land.

You’ll get basic facilities at all of Lava Lake Campground’s 44 sites including vault toilets, campfire rings, and picnic tables. Some of the sites also accommodate trailers or RVs up to 30 feet.

Distance from Bend: 33 miles

Fees: $19 per night per site (includes one vehicle)

Reservations: can be made online through website up to 6 months in advance

Bend Oregon Camping, by Travel Blogger What The Fab
Image via Visit Bend

6. Smith Rock State Park

If you’re a rock-climbing enthusiast, seriously consider making the 26-mile trip from Bend to pitch a tent at the Smith Rock State Park campground.

With over 1,500 different climbing routes, Smith Rock isn’t known as the “birthplace of American sport climbing” for nothing!

What’s great about this state park is that you can set up camp and these amazing climbing spots are just a few minutes’ hike away. 

But this place isn’t just for climbers. 

There are also tons of trails for mountain biking and some serious hiking where you may also spot some eagles, falcons, and maybe a cute little river otter! 

I should mention that the park only accommodates walk-in camping—no camping is allowed overnight in any type of vehicle or RV. There are showers and basic facilities for campers, but you’re not allowed to have any fires or wood/charcoal barbecues on the campgrounds.

Distance from Bend: 26 miles

Fees:$8 per person per night (includes parking permit and use of the showers)

Reservations: None available (first come, first serve only)

And there are your top campgrounds for Bend camping! I’m sure that no matter which Bend campground you choose, you’ll fall in love with Oregon’s natural beauty as much as I did.

Get ready for a super amazing adventure! If you’re traveling as a group of three, read this post for the best 3 person tent deets.

Looking for more Bend content? Check out my other Bend travel guides here.

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What are the best Bend Oregon camping spots?

The best camping spots are:
– Elk Lake Campground
– Sparks Lake Campground
– Lava Lake Campground

When is the best time to camp in Bend Oregon?

The best time to camp in Bend Oregon is in the summer from May to August.

Does camping in Bend Oregon cost money?

Camping in Bend Oregon usually will cost a few bucks, but you can camp for free in dispersed camping.

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