Bend is a hub of outdoor sports; it offers fishing, kayaking, hiking, and mountaineering. In addition to that, however, it’s an area that features volcanic landscapes, towering mountain peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and high desert. To sum it up, Bend is incredible. There’s nothing like the great outdoors in central Oregon, and this is your guide to the best camping around.
If you’re looking for the best camping in Bend, you’ve come to the right place. Go stay at any of these, and you won’t be disappointed.
1. Point Campground on Elk Lake
The Point Campground on Elk Lake features a stunning backdrop of pine forests, Mt. Bachelor, and the South Sister. The lake allows motorized boats, providing a vacation experience like none other to windsurf or water ski with some of Oregon’s best peaks behind you.
Nearby is the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, which is host to Oregon’s longest lava tube and hundreds of miles of trails, so when you’re done with a day of playing on the water, you can play on land. We recommend picking a weekend with clear skies; the stars look amazing over the peak of Mt. Bachelor.
Distance from Bend: 33.3 miles or 42 minutes
2. Little Crater Campground
On the edge of Paulina Lake lies Little Crater Campground, which boasts a diverse landscape in the heart of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, featuring a variety of local foliage and eerie volcanic scenes.
Thermal lakes and hot springs can be found along Paulina Lake’s northeast edge if you’re willing to take the trek, but if not, the lake itself offers boundless entertainment. You might even be lucky enough to spot one of the bighorn sheep or black bears that call the area home.
Distance from Bend: 38.8 miles or 50 minutes
3. Pine Mountain Buffalo Ranch
Some of us are always searching for the next novelty adventure. If you’re one of those, or someone who dreams of resting their head beside a herd of bison, we present Pine Mountain Buffalo Ranch. Located just outside Bend, Oregon, the ranch offers campsites right next to the buffalo and yak enclosures. Amenities include showers and toilets, so set up your glampsite and let the lowing of a thousand bison lure you to sleep.
Distance from Bend: 9.3 miles or 17 minutes
4. The Bivouac (Bivy) Campground at Smith Rock
One of our favorite campgrounds is the Bivy Campground at Smith Rock. There’s nothing like 500-foot sheer rock walls to make your campsite feel like home. The campground offers showers, toilets, and even a charging station for your low-battery electronics.
But all of these amenities pale in comparison to the experience of camping at the base of Smith Rock’s legendary monuments. We know they’re going to look even better from the glow of your campfire.
Distance from Bend: 25.9 miles or 37 minutes
5. Devil’s Lake Campground
If you thought you couldn’t find shallow, warm turquoise waters for swimming in Oregon, Devil’s Lake is here to prove you wrong. Being right at the gateway for the Three Sisters Wilderness, the campground also hosts a few popular trailheads, so no further traveling for an adventure is required. Pitch a tent by the warm lapping waters, go for a nighttime swim, and watch the stars come out over this special campground.
Devil’s Lake is, truly, one of the best camping spots near Bend, and we thoroughly recommend you give it a try. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous in this area, go ahead and climb the South Sister summit – it’s a blast.
Distance from Bend: 28.2 miles or 37 minutes
6. East Lake Campground
Summertime sadness can be a real thing when we’re hanging out in Oregon and dreaming of white sand beaches. East Lake is here to help. This lake in central Oregon is surrounded by soft, white sand beaches, and the water itself is of a stunning crystal clarity.
A plethora of hikes, waterfalls, and prime birdwatching spots are minutes away, so grab your miniature umbrellas to adorn your drinks and head to East Lake Campground for an experience that actually feels like summer.
Distance from Bend: 40.5 miles or 57 minutes
7. Little Lava Lake Campground
Little Lava Lake, the source of the Deschutes River in central Oregon, is a prime camping spot for Bend adventurers. The lake is teeming with fish and attracts outdoor sportsmen and women from all around, especially for the incredible view of the local Cascades peaks that shine in the distance. Grab a picnic table by the shore for a day of fishing, or better yet, grab one of the rare campsites right by the water so you can kick off your kayak straight from your tent’s front door.
Distance from Bend: 38.6 miles or 51 minutes
Next time you’re thinking about camping near Bend, use this list to help guide you to the best spots in the area!