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Pendleton sits in Oregon’s eastern half, far from the quirky bars of Portland and the outdoor adventure of the Columbia River Gorge. Fear not though, there’s still much to enjoy when camping in an RV near Pendleton.
One of the best places to set up camp is at the Pendleton KOA, which has an extensive list of amenities to keep you comfortable during your motorhome camping adventure. Their sites are set up to fit RV rentals that are up to 65 feet in length, and each of them has full hookups, including a 50 amp electrical capacity.
Don’t feel like cooking inside your rig or out on the grill? There’s a much larger Kamping Kitchen where you can do your food preparation with some space to move around. If your clothes get too dirty while you out enjoying Pendleton’s beautiful natural surroundings, don’t worry, there’s a laundromat in the middle of the campground; no need to drive into town. The kids will appreciate the RV campground’s playground and basketball court, where they can get together with fellow camper kids for a pick-up game. There’s also a small dog park where you can let your canine companion roam free when you book an RV in Umatilla County.
The campground in Pendleton is also quite accessible; being located just a short drive from Walla Walla, WA on Highway 11. It’s also close to the Tri-Cities region of Washington, which is comprised of Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland. If you’re in need of some big-city experiences or a little retail therapy when you’re RV camping at Pendleton KOA, this is the place to go.
Pioneer Park is probably Pendleton’s most popular green space, as it’s located just off the Umatilla River and has some nice grassy areas for a family picnic and a few trails for walking your four-legged pals. A couple of wooden playground structures beckon children to climb on them while their parents read a book in the shade of a tree. If you’re hoping to hit the links during your campervan rental experience, there are also two excellent golf courses in the Pendleton area.
One of the better places to take a hike when you’re RV camping in Pendleton is the Eagle Cap Wilderness near the town of Joseph. It’s located just west of Wallowa Lake and has several smaller alpine lakes of its own. Bighorn sheep sightings are common here, especially during huckleberry season when the animals come down to the valleys to feast on the juicy morsels.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is another excellent day trip when you’re camping in the Pendleton area. It’s about three hours' drive to the south of town and is comprised of alien-looking badlands that are chock full of well-preserved fossils dating back to 40 million years ago. The John Day River that runs through the monument is also a popular rafting destination during the spring and early summer when there’s enough water flowing.
To learn more about Pendleton’s history, consider taking the famous Underground Tour, which features such sordid haunts as an opium den, a brothel, and an illegal gambling parlor. While Pendleton may not be a household name today, it was a happening place back at the turn of the 20th century, thanks in large part to the Pendleton Woolen Mills (still one of the largest wool products manufacturers in the U.S.). Immigrants came from all over the world to work in the mills and build the railroads that transported the wool back east. Chinese immigrants were a large segment of those immigrants, and the tour does a fantastic job highlighting their role in shaping Pendleton’s history and culture.
Pendleton is also home to a wealth of Native American culture, which is on full display at the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute. Through several exhibits including teepees, blankets, and tools, the museum tells the story of a tribe that once held dominion over much of the Pacific Northwest and their subsequent downfall as European settlers moved in.
Another interesting piece of American history is just a couple of hours' drive away in southern Washington: Hanford Reach National Monument. Amidst a vast expanse of farmlands is a nearly 200,000-acre “park” created from the security buffer zone of the Hanford Nuclear Site – home to the world’s first plutonium production plant that provided nuclear material for the Trinity Test and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in World War II. Public tours accessing the nuclear facilities and the grassy areas surrounding them can be enjoyed at any time of day.
If you’re hoping to do some gaming when you stay in a rental motorhome at Pendleton KOA, you’re in luck, a resort and casino is only a short drive down Interstate 84. With a good selection of slot machines, 24-hour play, and a good buffet, this is a great spot to do some gambling when you rent a camper near Pendleton KOA.