In August, 2017, we spent 3 weeks at the Thousand Trails Bend-Sunriver RV Campground – it was our first visit and we really enjoyed our stay. It’s located just south of the resort town of Sunriver, about 30 minutes south of Bend, Oregon. It is your typical campground with fire rings, picnic tables, and trees. Read on for more detail about the specifics of this RV park, sites, and amenities – including pros and cons.
Though the name starts with Bend, the campground is actually much closer to Sunriver, 30 minutes south of Bend, and the campground is just a few minutes south of Sunriver. Sunriver is a resort/vacation community filled with amenities like grocery stores, fuel, restaurants, breweries and many many tourist activities. The area is surrounded by miles of beautiful Oregon forest, and you can see snow covered mountains in the distance – yes, even in August!
There are many great highways into the Bend area from virtually everywhere. One caution is if you are driving here from the Eugene area in an RV, be sure to avoid Highway 242 over the mountains. (You can read more about the perils of this road in the Mountain Directory West edition, a valuable resource for every RVer). There are other options that are much safer.
Bend is a town with a population of around 100,000 and has virtually everything you could ever want or need. It’s a great size and we really liked the city a lot. Downtown Bend has live music, vendors and food trucks in Drake Park in the summer, many great restaurants and Bend is well-known for it’s breweries. Another popular place to visit in Bend is the Old Mill District with shopping precinct.
The roads and sites inside the campground are all dirt/gravel, but are well maintained. The campground is well spaced out, and relatively large. Most campsites are spacious and have trees in between sites that give you a more private feel, with shade from the sun. There are over 300 sites divided into more than a dozen sections, and virtually all are back in sites. There is a small section called Fort Laramie, filled with more semi-permanent sites that appeared to have sewer connections, but all sites for regular RV visitors are water and electric only. There are five shower/restroom buildings to help you reduce water use on your site, and two dump stations. They offer a honey wagon pump out service, but at $50, it was a lot more expensive than we are used to, so we just broke camp a couple times to dump our tanks during our three-week stay.
There are 4 cabins, 4 cottages, 7 yurts, and an area for tenters, but nearly all sites are for RVs. There are about 40 sites with 50amp electricity and we were lucky enough to snag one (site A8), but the vast majority are 30amp. We saw many big rigs in the campground, and would consider this a big rig friendly campground, even though not all sites will accommodate large RVs. The campground was at full capacity the entire time we were there. We imagine it is usually very popular in the summer, but it was especially so in August 2017 because it was so close to the town of Madras, Oregon, the prime location from which to view the total solar eclipse on August 21st. It’s certainly the reason we – and many of our RVing friends – were at TT Bend in August, before heading to Madras for the solar eclipse event.
The campground has a ‘Town Square’ that includes a Welcome Center, General Store, book exchange, propane filling station, movie rentals, and a meeting room. They sometimes host outdoor movies in the square too. The town square is built to look like an old western town with wooden boardwalks and rustic buildings. The main family lodge has a dining/meeting hall, and serves breakfast on the weekends. We were told it’s good but didn’t eat there. There is a pool complex with a baby pool, two larger pools, and a hot tub that is supposed to close at 10pm, they put up a sign to say it was closing at 9pm, although the night we visited, the ranger came around early and booted us out at 8.50pm. (Bit of a gripe as we’d only arrived at 8.45pm, anticipating a nice 15-minute soak that was cut short to 5 minutes). The campground has multiple tennis/pickle ball courts, at least 6 very nice horseshoe courts, a basketball court and a frisbee golf course. There are five shower buildings and one laundry room. If you have furry friends with you, there is a large off leash area for pets.
- Proximity to Bend and Sunriver, restaurants and shopping
- Quiet campground in a beautiful area with loads to see and do
- Easy access to outdoor activities such as kayaking and biking
- Friendly, helpful staff during our visit
- None of the RV sites had sewer hookups
- Honey wagon service is expensive at $50 a pop
- Won’t allow packages or mail deliveries at the campground
We heard that the there are some RV sites available to the public (non-members) and that those rates were around $50 per night. Personally, we don’t think it’s worth that much, but high retail rates are probably part of TT’s marketing strategy to encourage people to sign up for a Zone pass or upgrade. Being Thousand Trails members ourselves with an upgraded membership (we have the basic Elite), we were able to stay at this campground for 3 weeks with no nightly fee. We did try to extend by an extra week, using our “extra week for $29” privilege (which we can use twice a year) but because it was so busy, they didn’t have availability.
The campground does not accept mail or packages for RV guests. If you want something shipped to the area, you would need to ship it to General Delivery in Bend, Oregon, 97701-9999. When we were there, the campground map mentioned that you can ship to general delivery in Sunriver, but the post office in Sunriver adamantly informed us that the only location for general delivery packages is in Bend.
There is WIFI available at the lodge and the Town Square, but we didn’t use them or test the speed. We used our own cellular hotspots and phones. Verizon and T-Mobile both had 3 bars unboosted and speeds were reflective of the bars shown. There isn’t cable TV, but the materials stated that there are about 6 local channels that could be watched with VHS, or UHS antenna. Satellite TV works in this area too. We don’t watch TV, so we cannot confirm this.
We loved visiting both Sunriver and Bend. They are both great cities, and during the summer Bend has free music in downtown Drake Park and many other festivals. It’s worth paying a visit to the Visitor Information Center downtown, as they have lots of great suggestions and brochures on things to do and see. There are many lakes to paddle, trails to hike and bike, and scenic drives in the area, including the Cascade Scenic Byway where you can visit many lakes – we enjoyed a leisurely hour drive to Elk Lake for an afternoon of kayaking. Kayaking, rafting and paddle boarding on the Deschutes river is very popular and we saw many cars driving around with kayaks on the roof.
Sunriver has one of the nicest bike trail systems we have seen in all of our travels – we heard it cost $11 million dollars. The trails are super smooth, level and interconnect the entire resort town. For more advanced cyclists, there are beautiful, scenic roads nearby, most of which had a decent shoulder, but beware as cars travel at 50mph.
This part of Oregon is also known for many craft breweries if you like beer. The Deschutes National Forest and lava tube caves are both nearby. There’s fishing and golf in the summer, and many come to the area for skiing and other winter spots when the snow falls. There is plenty to see and do in the Bend-Sunriver area year-round, depending on your preference for warm or cold weather!
This is a great campground in close proximity to everything you could want or need, whether it is outdoor adventure, or a fun evening out in a cool city with a great vibe like Bend. The campground allows you to feel like you are getting away from the city, but still has strong enough cellular coverage for those who need to stay connected. We had heard a lot of positive feedback about this campground and area in general before our visit, and we were not disappointed. We will definitely return.
About Our Stay
We had a wonderful three week long stay. We were working a lot during those three weeks, but still got out to enjoy the area, and had a number of great visits with RVing friends at the campground. We visited in August of 2017 and the weather was gorgeous. We had good tree coverage at our site, so we rarely ran our air conditioner and didn’t need to run the heater. Temperature varied 30-40 degrees F between the daytime high, and night time low, but that variation combined with the shade kept us very comfortable. From what we hear, the campground is open year round, but very few folks come here in the winter in their RVs. It is primarily a summer time park. We stayed for a full 3 weeks and would have gladly stayed longer, but we had reservations in Solartown near Madras for the total solar eclipse. We will definitely stay here again. Especially since we can stay here for free with our upgraded Thousand Trails membership – you can learn more about how this membership saves us thousands every year HERE. If you decide to buy a membership new directly from Thousand Trails (instead of a discounted resale membership as we did) we can personally recommend Jim and Brandy Reneau who gave a great
About TT Memberships
If you decide to buy a membership new directly from Thousand Trails (instead of a discounted resale membership as we did) we can personally recommend Jim and Brandy Reneau who gave a great presentation, were friendly and also extremely helpful in answering our questions about the recent changes to the Thousand Trails membership offerings. We liked their approach better than any other membership representative we have eveer met at other TT campgrounds (many are pushy or salesy, Jim and Brandy are not). We also really appreciated how proactive they are about constantly researching to find the best deals available to members around the country. If you are in the market for a Thousand Trails Zone Pass or NEW membership upgrade, give Jim a call on 770-622-4188. TIP: Being in Oregon, there is no sales tax and they can help you get into a TT membership – you don’t need to do it in person, they can do it all by phone/online. Tell Jim you know RVLove and he will be sure to take good care of you.