Editor’s note: Face coverings (ages 5 and up) are required at all indoor and outdoor public spaces statewide, regardless of vaccination status. Learn more here. It’s also wildfire season — plan ahead and do your part to prevent wildfires.
Even when it’s damp outside, we still want to get out there — to the forests and trails, the water’s edge, the mountains that are full of nature in all her glory. Camping is often the easiest way to immerse yourself in the elements. If only you could bring along your own comfy bed and a bit more luxury — like actual walls, heat, electricity and other conveniences.
Welcome to glamping. Many have taken to glamping in Oregon in recent years, as serious adventure seekers, families and weekend warriors look to have it all.
Central Oregon is in the middle of it all, with options ranging from yurts and luxury tents to rustic cabins and old-school camper vans.
The rustic cabins at Elk Lake Resort in Bend make for a cozy retreat year-round, but especially as a basecamp to snow sports. Resort visitors can hop on the Mt. Bachelor shuttle at Dutchman Flat Sno-Park and be on the slopes minutes later. Most of the cabins come with a full kitchen, but visitors also have access to the lodge and dining room for meals, supplies, beer and wine, coffee and snowshoe rentals.
The year-round yurts at Tumalo State Park are a fun hybrid option in Tumalo, along the Deschutes River. Each 16-foot yurt (some of which are pet-friendly) sleeps five, with heat, lights, electricity, a skylight and an outdoor fire pit and picnic table. With such cushy accommodations you’ll hardly want to step outside, but nearby hiking and bike trails, fishing holes, golf courses and the Cascade Mountains await.
A collection of a dozen vintage riverfront cabins await at Metolius River Lodges in Camp Sherman, ready for glampers who want the simplicity of camping along with comfortable amenities. Most of the units are equipped with kitchens and fireplaces as well as firewood and barbeques. Picnic under the ponderosa pines and fall asleep to the sounds of the rushing river.
If it’s lake life you’re seeking, consider a stay in one of the rustic yet fully stocked cabins at Paulina Lake Lodge. The 13 cabins range from a cozy A-frame that sleeps three to larger cabins for four or even 10 guests, with full kitchens and bathrooms, plush bedding and heating for year-round comfort. The best part? You’re right on the shoreline of Paulina Lake, inside world-famous Newberry Caldera — a lake formed by ancient volcanic activity in the crater of Mt. Newberry.
Nostalgic for your summer camp days? Get the same vibe at Suttle Lodge in Sisters, where you can stay in a rustic cabin just a short walk from the lake and all of the lodge’s amenities. Each of these cabins are perfect for a solo getaway or a small family, with its own porch, grill, seating area and bedroom. Glampers have access to the main lodge (and its wonderful bar and lounge area), bath house and Boat House restaurant, open seasonally. Nosh on a fried fish sandwich and cocktail by the lake; pick up provisions at the store and rent boats, kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards to play on the water.
The luxury tents at Panacea at the Canyon (temporarily closed) in Terrebonne offer a truly indulgent escape, with all the amenities of a resort and spa — only tents for sleeping rather than actual rooms. That’s because they want you to unplug here, to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings with the help of their organic linens and plus down comforters, indoor gas fireplace, open-air shower and private deck with firepit.
Yet another way to enjoy all of your luxe amenities but still be outdoors is with a camper van. Many local companies such as Portland-based GoCamp and Hood River-based ROAMERICA rent fully equipped vans for all seasons, ready for a road trip to Central Oregon or beyond. Most come with a built-in kitchen or camping kitchen set, cozy beds, electrical outlets and most everything you need for a perfect pet-friendly mobile getaway. Camper vans have a smaller footprint than an RV for a slower, more immersive experience.
If you’re craving the ocean, head a few hours west and check out these 8 spots for van camping on the Coast. Here are some tips for your first camper van experience. Wherever you end up glamping in Oregon, you’re sure to sleep well.