We’d never really considered visiting Bend, Oregon until we hit the west coast and was recommended we go there by nearly ever person we came in contact with. So we fit it into our route and now see what the hype is all about.
Here are 5 reasons YOU will love Bend, Oregon too!
1. Beer, beer and more beer
Yep, beer made the #1 reason why we loved Bend, Oregon. The city is nicknamed “Beer Town USA” and is home to the “largest beer trail in the West”, called the Bend Ale Trail. So if you love craft beer like us, you’ll be a happy camper too.
Our favorite breweries were:
- Sunriver (they had awesome food too!)
- 10 Barrel
- Bend Brewing Company (they have an awesome outdoor space with live music at night, see photo below)
2. Dogs are accepted nearly everywhere!
A city that loves beer AND dogs? Too good to be true? Nope! Bend was also nicknamed “Dog Town U.S.A” because it has 13 off leash areas (even a water park for dogs at the Bob Wenger Memorial off-leash area), 51 miles of urban trails, and nearly every brewery and restaurant is dog friendly!
3. Great weather, despite common belief!
We assumed all of Oregon is rainy and gloomy most of the year. However, Bend is considered “the sunny side of Oregon” and has 300 sunny days a year! It also only receives 12 inches of precipitation per year, compared to Portland’s 42 inches. Every season is a good time to visit with warm spring and summer days, cool evenings, beautiful fall foliage, and snow that allows skiing and other fun winter activities.
4. The great outdoors
Whether you prefer rivers or lakes, Bend has it all! It’s most famous river, the Deschutes, is 252 miles long. Then there’s nearby Crooked River and Metolius River and more lakes that we can even begin to name. So, there’s more than enough space to fish, tube, kayak, canoe, stand up paddle board, etc. You can even surf! The Bend Whitewater Park in the Old Mill District features a section of the river with a man-made river break that is perfect for river surfing (read more about that here).
If you’re looking for a place to rent kayaks, canoes, tubes, or stand up paddle boards, check out Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe. The Deschutes is right in their backyard, making it super convenient and quick to get on the water.
Mountains for days
The Cascade Mountains stretch through Central Oregon, giving Bend a beautiful backdrop. Within 25 miles or less, you can be at Mt. Bachelor, Oregon’s second most popular ski resort, or the “Three Sisters”, a trio of mountains located in the Deschutes National Forest.
These nearby mountains offer even more recreational activities for Bend visitors. Whether you love hiking, climbing skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing, or ice skating, there’s something for you! Our favorite hike, and the most popular one on All Trails, is Tumalo Falls. You can either hike or drive to the falls.
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is believed to be the birthplace of modern American sport climbing and is less than 30 miles away from Bend. The rocks are made up of compressed volcanic ash and are 3000 feet in elevation, making it a great climbing spot for all abilities. The park is 650 acres so it’s also just a great place for a hike or bike ride.
5. Small town, yet lots to offer!
You’ll immediately sense the tight knit community and pride from Bend’s friendly locals. There’s no shortage of small, locally owned restaurants and boutiques. They also show their support for local artists, farmers, small businesses, and other talents.
Events and festivals
It seems like there’s something fun going on nearly every week in Bend. It hosts year round music and beer festivals, but also smaller meet-ups, art walks, and farmers markets. Visit Bend’s events calendar to view upcoming events.
We were surprised by the amount and diverse selection of restaurants in Bend. Downtown Bend’s website offers a great list of restaurants to try and there’s a great variety of fine dining vs. laid back spots with even vegetarian and gluten free options. There’s also food trucks at almost every brewery.
Bend’s downtown is so charming! It’s packed full of the delicious and trendy restaurants with lit up, cozy patios. We had the pleasure of meeting Cowboy Ryan downtown and enjoyed a romantic carriage ride. He and his horse Roman will chauffeur you around and tell you some cool history about the area. Whether you take the carriage ride or not, be sure to visit the beautiful Mirror Pond!
Where we parked our RV
The only downfall to Bend, for us, was it’s lack of RV parks. We stayed 30 minutes from Bend in beautiful Sunriver at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground. Although it was a bit of a drive every time we wanted to go to Bend, we did love the campground. They have spacious spots, 2 pools, a hot tub, a mini-golf course, and various equipment rentals. The Little Deschutes River runs right through the campground too, which allows you to get on the water just steps from your RV.
Well, are you in LOVE with Bend, Oregon yet? Or at least planning a visit? We promise you won’t be disappointed.
For more Oregon travel inspiration, check out this list of Oregon coast road trip stops!
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