Bend Oregon attracts millions of tourists every year, and the number continues to grow at an incredible rate. With over 300 days of sunshine every year and plenty of adventures to be had, Bend is the perfect destination with something to offer just about everyone. There are plenty of fun things to do in Bend Oregon.
Take some time to enjoy the great outdoors with rivers, lakes, mountains, and caves to explore all year long. Grab a farm fresh bite to eat, local brew, or a cup of signature roasted coffee. Or just enjoy all of the history and cultural activities around town.
Considering a trip to Bend? Be sure to check out our quick local guide to the city of Bend, Oregon including the best things to do.
Table of Contents (skip directly to the info you're looking for)
- 1 Best Things To Do in Bend Oregon
- 2 Where to eat in Bend
- 3 Where to Stay in Bend
- 4 Insider Tips for Bend
Best Things To Do in Bend Oregon
There is something to be had in Bend for every type of vacationer.
Let’s start with the great outdoors, where there are numerous activities to be had no matter what time of year you choose to visit.
Try hiking the Deschutes River Trail
The Deschutes River trail is a 3.7-mile hike that is friendly for all fitness levels. You can even head down to the Deschutes River itself for kayaking, rafting, or stand up paddleboarding; a picnic by one of the lakes or an afternoon of fishing are also great choices during the summer.
Catch a concert at the Les Schwab amphitheater
In town, you can catch a concert at the Les Schwab amphitheater or plan your visit around one of the annual events the city is known for like the Bend Brewfest. Exploring the Bend Ale Trail is also a must try.
Go to Mt. Bachelor for snowy winter fun
When it gets cold out, you could stay cozy indoors – or you could venture up to Mt. Bachelor for snowy winter fun. Hit the slopes solo or with friends and family. Or you can even try dog-powered skiing with your canine companion.
Taste the local beer
Taste local beer on the Bend Ale Trail. First things first, be sure to drink responsibly and always have a designated driver. This trail follows all the breweries in Bend, Oregon. You can pick up your Bend Ale Trail passport at the Bend visitors center or whichever brewery you decide to start at. If you make it to 10 breweries you get a prize, and of course, you don’t have to do them all in one day!
Swim at the Deschutes River
If you are visiting Bend in the summer months, floating the Deschutes River is the perfect way to relax and cool off. You can rent a tube to float from the shuttle stop at the Bend Parks and Recreation river shuttle. Ride the shuttle upriver and take your time floating down the river to the end, where you can return back to your car via shuttle. If you are looking for more action, consider renting a paddleboard and taking on the river at a faster pace.
Oregon is so picturesque, that you can find so many amazing photo spots around the state.
Mountain Bike in Bend Oregon
Another great way to spend the day is to hit the trails on a mountain bike. Bend is famous for it’s excellent single track that leaves right from town. The closest trailhead is Phil’s Trail, which you can catch just a few minutes up Skyliners Road. From here you can go as far as your legs will take you. A great starter look for someone new to the area is to ride up Ben’s Trial and to return on Phil’s Trial. This takes around 1-2 hours and gives you a taste for what the trails are all about in the Central Oregon area.
Explore Bend with your dog – Dog Friendly activities in Bend
Bend is also a very dog-friendly town, often dubbed “Dogtown USA.” As such, there are plenty of activities to enjoy with your 4-legged friend, including fenced dog parks, pooch-friendly eateries, and mountain trails (as well as activities on the Deschutes River) to explore.
Note: There are also several special events to check out in Bend throughout the year if you want to schedule your trip in order to attend. These include:
- Bend Brewfest – mid-August
- Bend Summer Festival – mid-July
- Bend Farmer’s Market – May to October
- Bend Ale Trail – year round, but extra prizes and events in November
In addition to these fun activities, there are plenty of historical sites, award-winning golf courses, museums, restaurants, breweries, spas, and coffee shops to visit if you want a little taste (literal or cultural) of Central Oregon.
Where to eat in Bend
Speaking of food, local eats are always on people’s vacation bucket list. How can you not visit a new place without trying things you can’t get anywhere else? After all, everyone’s gotta eat.
There is no shortage of must try eateries in Bend, Oregon. From cafes and bakeries to restaurants and bistros, you’ll have a hard time narrowing down your list of places to try.
If coffee and baked goods are your preference, the Sparrow Bakery should be your first stop. With their signature Ocean Roll – a flaky pastry flavored with vanilla and cardamom – and a full coffee bar with coffee from Stumptown, Lone Pine, and Backporch Roasters, you’re sure to have a great start to your day.
If something a bit more savory is to your liking, Jackson’s Corner may be the place for you. With several farm to table options on the menu, including options for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and Paleo, you will find everything fresh and flavorful.
Check out these other great bakeries around town:
- The Village Baker
- Great Harvest Bread Co.
- Nancy P’s Cafe and Bakery
- Too Sweet Cakes
- La Magie Craft Bakery
- Ida’s Cupcakes
- Big O Bagels
Some of these bakeries also offer a full kitchen for breakfast or lunch. Try these other delicious places to eat:
- Bad Wolf Bakery and Bistro
- FOXTAIL Bakeshop & Kitchen
- McKay Cottage Restaurant
- The Lemon Tree
- Cafe Sintra
- Birdies Cafe
If you’re just looking for a cup of coffee while you brown downtown Bend or the Old Mill District, here are some places you need to visit:
- Thump Coffee
- Backporch Coffee Roasters
- Strictly Organic Coffee Co.
- Megaphone Coffee Co.
- Looney Bean Roasting Co.
- Lone Pine Coffee Roasters
- Bend Mountain Coffee
Where to Stay in Bend
When it comes to overnight accommodations, Bend has just what you are looking for. You can also be sure to find a place to stay located near the activities you are looking to indulge yourself in, such as the Old Mill District, Historic Downtown, Cascade Mountains, or out in the wilderness.
Sometimes you just need a simple hotel room for a night or two, especially if you are just in town for a quick trip or business meeting. Somewhere in the Old Mill District or downtown would probably be best, like the Bend Three Sisters Inn & Suites or the Oxford Hotel.
If you are bringing the whole family out for an extended vacation, a resort around Bend may be more to your liking. The Mount Bachelor Village Resort is a great place year round, especially if you want to be close to the ski slopes in winter. Or you may enjoy something a bit more rustic, like the Brasada Ranch, if you are looking to spend quite a bit of time outdoors and enjoy some horseback riding.
Looking for something a little less traditional? Try camping or booking a spot at an RV site. Stay right inside the Deschutes National Forest, enjoying a night under the stars. Or take your RV to one of the several RV parks in the area for a full hookup possibly free wireless internet access.
For young, single travelers, a hostel can be a lot of fun and a great way to make some new friends. It’s a great way to create some memorable moments. The Bunk+Brew Historic Lucas House is quite a unique experience; book a bunk and get free beer.
There are several overnight accommodations that also allow your four-legged companion to stay with you. Some of these include the centrally located La Quinta Inn Bend and the My Place Hotel.
Insider Tips for Bend
As a tourist, you don’t have firsthand experience with Bend and everything that comes with it. So, we wanted to provide a few insiders tips to help your trip go smoothly.
The High Desert area is a popular hiking destination for tourists and locals. However, snow can come early and stay as late as May in the area. You will need to plan accordingly to avoid below freezing temperatures and deep snow on some of the popular trails in the area.
Since snow can stick around for a while in the Pacific Northwest, it can mess with your plans at times if you are hoping to hike while it’s still cool out. But at the same time, it can save you some money if you are hoping to enjoy some snowy activities. Check the forecast and snowfall count for the season. You may luck out, having some snow to enjoy on Mount Bachelor in early spring without running into the normal winter crowds or paying winter prices.
You may also notice that there is very little litter on the trails when you are hiking. That is because most locals choose reusable over disposable. Pack a refillable water bottle or bring your Camelbak when you hit the trails.
This is a guest post by Rand from the websites: Bendexplored.com and Welltraveledmile.com
About the author: First introduced to travel at a young age, Rand Shoaf got hooked on exploring the world and never looked back. He has traveled to 45+ countries and enjoys writing about maximizing airline miles and sharing insider tips about Bend, Oregon.
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