Bend Oregon


Bend Oregon is one of my favorite places to visit in my van. The town is extremely friendly towards van life and it seems everyone here has their own van. There are plenty of adventures to be experienced around the city. There are also plenty of camping and boondocking opportunities just outside the city to take advantage of. Bend is a must-visit for any van lifer.


There are a ton of adventures you can go on while in Bend. A few major ones are tubing down the Deschutes River, mountain biking, camping, hiking, and enjoying the town.

Deschutes River

The Deschutes River makes its way through the center of Bend and offers a lot of things to do. Tubing down the river is the most popular adventure in Bend. Along with tubing, standup paddleboarding, river surfing, and swimming.


There are plenty of boondocking opportunities located within a short distance from Bend. Most are located in Deschutes National Forest along Skyliners Road and Cascades Lakes National Scenic Byway. There are plenty of side roads that take you to places to boondock. Just make sure you read the posted signs about camping. 

Miller Landing Park

Most of my days were spent at Miller Landing Park. It’s a small, quiet park across the Deschutes River from Bend Whitewater Park. The park has a drinking fountain and restrooms, and the Deschutes River Trail goes through the park. 

Deschutes River Trail

The Deschutes River Trail is perfect if you want to go running, cycling, or taking a walk. The trail hugs the banks of the Deschutes River throughout Bend. The trail is 2.7 miles long and crosses the river at a few locations. It’s a great place to watch people tubing down the river. 


Many hiking trails are located within a short distance from Bend. These hiking trails range from easy to hard and forested to volcanic rock. A few of my favorite hiking trails are listed below.

  • Tumalo Creek Falls Trail (Easy, 6 miles)
  • Ben & Phils Loop Trail (Moderate, 11.7 miles)
  • Deschutes South River Canyon Trail (Easy, 3.1 Miles)

Mountain Biking

Bend is an epicenter for mountain biking. The amount of mountain biking trails around the area is staggering. Just remember some of the trails are one-way. A few of the trials that I have completed are below, but this is just a fraction of all the tracks available:

  • Ben & Phils Loop Trail (Moderate, 11.7 miles)
  • La Pine State Park (Easy, 7.6 miles)
  • Mount Bachelor Bike Park (Easy to Hard)
  • Fall River Loop (Easy)

Descend on Bend

One of the biggest vanlife gatherings that takes place every year is called Descend on Bend. The event takes place 45-min outside Bend and usually attracts around 1000 vans, buses, trucks, VW, and everything else. This event is a great place to meet with fellow vanlifers around the country. 

Other Adventures

There are just to many places to explore around Bend that can be mentioned here. Below is a list of my favorite adventures that are a short drive from Bend.

  • Smith Rock State Park
  • Mt. Bachelor
  • Newberry National Volcanic Monument
  • Paulina Lake

References and Links:

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place for any van lifer to visit. The town offers a good mix of adventure and entertainment. There are plenty of hiking trails, ski runs, sailing, water activities, and camping options that you can explore. The main attraction however is the stunning beauty.

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Bodie State Historical Park

Bodie State Historical Park is a great historical site that shows you what it was like in the 1880’s. If you happen to be traveling on Route 395, this is a great side adventure. It’s one of the best-preserved old mining towns I have seen. You will enjoy learning about its rich past.

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