Summer Lovin’ in Bend, OR

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Credit: Pete Alport/Visit Bend/CCOP

Credit: Pete Alport/Visit Bend/CCOP


By Ruta Fox. 

The city of Bend is Central Oregon’s crown jewel for summer vacationing. The area at the riverbanks of the Deschutes River was originally named Farewell Bend, a refrain the early pioneers called out to settlers as they continued on their journey west. The name was shortened to Bend in 1905 and they have been welcoming visitors to see the astounding beauty of the Cascade Mountains ever since.

The rich timber forests made for a prosperous economy, and as the lumber mills closed, the town has continued to grow into a booming scene with a vibrant culture and unparalleled outdoor options.

Start your visit in the Old Mill District, a shopping, eating and entertainment venue that was created out of one of those old historic mills. Make a stop at REI outfitters and pick up the gear you’ll need for any and all of the activities nearby — hiking, biking, white-water rafting, golf, fishing, stand-up paddle boarding, camping or whatever is on your to-do list. Then, stroll over to try the absolutely authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza made with organic ingredients at Flatbread Community Oven.

Or for lunch or dinner this time of year, you’ll find a spectacular view of the river when you dine at Greg’s Grill.  It doesn’t get any fresher than Wild Pacific Northwest salmon with a chili honey glaze!

For an overview of the extreme beauty of Bend, book a balloon ride! Yes, Big Sky Balloon Co. will give you the bird’s eye view in a hot air balloon, an out of the ordinary vacation experience and a ride you’ll not soon forget.

You may want to go Cog Wild and let the whole family enjoy mountain biking the high desert of the Cascades with a personalized day tour. They handle all levels, beginner to advanced with their professional guides, snacks and lunch included along the way.

When you’re craving a little culture, the Roundabout Art Route is a collection of 20 outdoor public art pieces on display throughout the city. Follow the map and visit the locations to see one of the most innovative approaches to art in the country, and a nod to the quirkiness that makes Bend special. There’s even a prize at the end, too!

Feeling thirsty? Bend has at least 16 world-class craft breweries from which to sample a bit of the hops and is often called Beer Town USA. The Bend Ale Trail is a fun way to taste your way around and even meet some of the artisan brewers at Worthy Brewing Co., Crux Fermentation Project, Brew Works, Good Life Brewing Company or any other of the local breweries.

If water is more your liquid of choice, try riding the Class 1 to Class 3 rapids on a white-water rafting excursion provided by Sun Country Tours. You can also try river tubing or stand-up paddle boarding as well, but the Big Eddy tour gets raves with a three-mile splashing good time down the beautiful Deschutes River.

Wrap up your visit in downtown Bend with its charming tree-lined streets and cobblestone sidewalks with a quick bite at Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails. Indulge in specialties like a Shrimp Po’ Boy or a Potato Chip Crusted Wahoo Sandwich. For dinner, try the cuisine where the “Middle East Meets the Wild West” at Joolz, where flavors excite with dishes like Oregon Lamb Pitadilla or Trophy Elk Chili and the cocktails flow.

For the romantic souls, how about a moonlight canoe trip on the Cascade Lakes under the mist, moon and clouds? Check out to book this memorable ride.

You’ll find your visit to Bend will be healthy, fun and reinvigorating in the summer, but you’ll want to return when the snowflakes are flying to sample the all winter excitement and sports at nearby Mt. Bachelor just 22 miles away.

Check out this TownePlace Suites ( hotel when you visit Bend, OR: TownePlace Suites Bend Near Mt. Bachelor

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