Jul 12
camping in bend oregon at Sparks Lake

Experience the Magic of Camping in Bend, Oregon

Posted by Cascade Village

Bend, Oregon—the ultimate playground for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers! Its captivating canvas and sunny weather bring in people from across the country to be immersed in the great outdoors while still having access to the city’s facilities and attractions. So, whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-time explorer, we’ve got the inside scoop to make camping in Bend an unforgettable experience. 

Must-Haves for Camping in Bend, Oregon

Food. Equipment. Shelter. The three must-haves before you lay under the moonlit stars of Central Oregon. But where are the best places to find these? Right here at the CVSC!

Food Comes First

Let’s face it; no one wants to be left camping in the wilderness, hangry, thirsty, and low on energy. First things first, fuel up on some epic camping eats with nutrient-dense carbs and protein to get through your adventures.

Meet Pacaya Camp—your mealtime saving grace! This team of outdoor enthusiasts has mastered the art of ready-to-cook meals that will make your camping experience a breeze. With their outfitter-inspired creations packed with fresh local ingredients, you’ll be whipping up deliciousness in under 20 minutes.

For those DIYers, head to Trader Joe’s at the CVSC for lightweight, calorie-dense snacks and meals. Load up on their instant oatmeal packets (our favorite is the Cocoa & Sea Salt) and ready-to-go Overnight Oats to kickstart your day on the trails. For on-the-go munchies, grab some Chomps Snack Sticks, Barebells protein bars (the cult-favorite), and some quick carbs like Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels and Rainbow Trail Mix.

You know we couldn’t leave this American classic out of the mix. No camping trip is complete without s’mores! Toast your light and airy marshmallows to perfection, sandwich them between Cinnamon Graham Crackers and a Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar, and let the gooey goodness melt in your mouth. Mmm!

Essential Camping Gear 

Now that your belly is happy, it’s time to gather the other essentials!

Depending on how large your camping group is will determine how big of a tent you need. Our top pick for small to medium-sized groups is the Quest Rec Series 6-Person Dome Tent from Dick’s Sporting Goods. Worried about a night of tossing and turning on the hard ground? Bring the Quest Ultra-Comfort Camp Pad for extra cushion, and don’t forget your insulated sleeping bag!

While Bend’s starry night sky is a natural light show, we like to be extra prepared. Swing by Best Buy at the CVSC and grab some high-quality solar-powered lights and lanterns. These handy devices keep you from tripping on random objects (or accidentally stepping on family members) and add a magical glow to your campsite. Choose lights that are durable, powerful, and have a battery life that will keep the fun going all night!

Best Places to Camp in Bend, Oregon

Now that you have all the necessary equipment, let’s find the perfect camping spot! Here are the top-rated camping locations in Central Oregon.

Roam Free

Experience the untamed beauty of Bend, Oregon, with free camping on over 29,000 acres of BLM land. Set up your campsite amidst the stunning landscapes of Deschutes National Forest or along the scenic Cascade Lakes Highway for an adventurous and budget-friendly outdoor getaway.

Must-Visit Campgrounds in Bend, Oregon

Looking for a more organized experience? Tumalo State Park is nestled along the magnificent Deschutes River, surrounded by towering trees, and ready to make your weekend amazing. Elk Lake Campground is one of the most popular camping spots in Bend, known for its crystal clear waters and abundance of hiking trails. For a more private and remote experience, pick one of the 22 backcountry campsites tucked in and around the shore of Sparks Lake.

Enjoy Your Space, Leave No Trace

As you head out on your outdoor adventure into the beautiful forests of Bend, don’t forget to do your part to keep Bend’s breathtaking landscape in tip-top shape. Embrace the Seven principles of Leave No Trace and leave your campsite better than you found it! Get ready for happy camping, folks, and let the adventure begin!

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