The plethora of outdoor recreation options is one of the many reasons people are moving to Bend, Oregon. The area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts as it boasts exceptional weather, gorgeous views and terrain, and renowned lakes, rivers and mountains within reach.
#OptOutside this summer to enjoy this city and its surrounding landscape to the fullest. Whether you like to push yourself on a challenging hike or your idea of activity is seeing how many vegetables you can carry at the farmers’ market, there are so many things to do outside in Bend!
Raft the Deschutes
Photo Courtesy of Sun Country Tours
You can opt for a more action-packed adventure with a river rafting trip with Sun Country Tours. Their most popular and convenient rafting trip is the Big Eddy Thriller, which features Class III rapids. The company provides transportation to and from the river, all equipment needed, and expert guiding to make your adventure more enjoyable and safe. The 3-mile journey will provide an unforgettable experience that will leave you breathless and wanting more.
Go Rock Climbing
Located about 30 minutes north of Bend, Smith Rock State Park is an international rock climbing destination with a variety of climbing routes. Some of the most renowned climbing areas include Monkey Face, Mesa Verde Wall and Dihedrals. Although the park is open all year long, it is particularly popular during the spring and fall as summer temperatures can top 100 degrees and can drop to freezing during the winter. However, climbing at Smith Rock State Park is still a popular activity during mild summer days.
Bike for Beer
Photo Courtesy of The Cycle Pub
The Cycle Pub combines two of the region’s most popular pastimes — biking and drinking craft beer. Get some exercise while you pedal atop a passenger “bike” resembling a trolley or cable car while you take in the many sights and attractions of Bend. The Cycle Pub provides a driver so you can sip and snack while you pedal, while still providing the horsepower for the bike to move forward. This is an action-packed, hilarious experience so quintessential to Bend!
During the colder months, visitors flock to Mt. Bachelor for skiing, snowboarding, tubing and other wintertime activities. And during the summer, it turns into an oasis for mountain bikers. The Mt. Bachelor’s Bike Park features a variety of popular ski runs transformed into daredevil dirt routes for bikers to explore. The bike park offers lift services to an additional 13 miles of downhill-oriented trails.
Stand Up on a Paddleboard
Bend is an excellent destination for standup paddleboarding, whether you’ve mastered this unique sport or you’ve never tried it at all. If you’re new to stand up paddleboarding, you can sign up for lessons with Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, Sun Country Tours, Stand Up Paddle Bend, and Stand On Liquid for either private or group lessons. But if you simply need some direction and you’re well-acquainted with the sport, try putting your board in the water at Riverbend Park in the Deschutes River, or atop the more serene waters at the Elk Lake Marina, where you can rent standup paddleboards by the hour.
Visit the Farmers’ Market
Sample the plentiful bounty of the region while soaking in the sunshine with a visit to the Bend Farmers’ Market. The downtown market operates every Wednesday from 2–6 p.m. from May through mid-October in Brooks Alley behind the Tower Theater. The new Eastside Market operates every Thursday from 2–6 p.m. from July through September at the Whole Foods East lot in Bend. The Bend Farmers’ Market is blossoming into one of Oregon’s leading farm-direct marketplaces!
Central Oregon is an ideal environment for fishermen as it is dotted with rivers, streams and lakes teeming with trout, steelhead, salmon and even some largemouth bass. Popular fishing destinations in and around Bend include the Deschutes River, Crooked River, East Lake, Lava Lakes and more.
Visit the SHARC
The Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center is the ultimate destination for both indoor and outdoor fun. This premier aquatic and recreation facility is located in the heart of Sunriver and is managed by the Sunriver Owners Association. SHARC has indoor and outdoor swimming facilities, a disc golf course, a winter tubing hill, a public park, and a basketball court. Admission rates to SHARC vary throughout the year, but you may purchase an all-day pass for $25 to access all SHARC aquatics and the disc golf course during the summer months.
Take a Hike
There are endless opportunities for exploring the rugged terrain of Central Oregon with a hike. Not only do the many trails in the area offer an opportunity to get some exercise and fresh air, but they also provide some of the most breathtaking vistas in the state. Some of the most renowned hikes in and around Bend include Pilot Butte State Park, the Upper Deschutes River Trail, Tumalo Falls, Sparks Lake, Dry River Gorge and Mirror Lake Loop Trail.
TLC may say otherwise, but we think it’s a fantastic idea to chase waterfalls in Central Oregon. There are several stunning waterfalls throughout Oregon worth exploring, several of which are right in our backyard. Must-visit falls in the region include Tumalo Falls, Sahalie and Koosah Falls, and Salt Creek Falls. There’s no better feeling than embarking on a scenic hike to discover a powerful and majestic waterfall at the end of your journey.
Photo Courtesy of River’s Edge Golf Course
Due to its terrain, Bend enjoys plenty of sunshine and an overall dry climate, providing ideal conditions for golfing. In fact, the town has been called “the Palm Springs of the North” for its amazing golf culture. There are plenty of courses in the area that take advantage of these conditions and abundance of golfers living in the area. Try River’s Edge Golf Course, Tetherow Golf Club, Sunriver Resort or Widgi Creek Golf Club for an unforgettable golfing experience.
Embark on a Wanderlust Tour
If you’re overwhelmed by the endless outdoor activities in Central Oregon, Wanderlust Tours is the perfect place to start. Wanderlust Tours offers half-day naturalist-guided tours and trips throughout the year in Bend, Sunriver and Sisters. Since 1993, they have specialized in outdoor tours, activities and things to do in Bend. Explore the serenity and beauty of Central Oregon’s lakes, rivers, forests and caves with their many summer tours, including the Brews & Views Canoe Tour, the Cascade Lakes Kayak Tour, the Lava Tube Cave Tour, Volcano Tours, and more.
Pitch a Tent
Camping is another popular summertime activity for Bend visitors and residents alike. There are plenty of resort-style, family-friendly destinations in the area, including Tumalo State Park and Cove Palisades State Park. Or you can go a bit more off the beaten path at Paulina Lake Campground or along the Metolius River at Camp Sherman.
Soak in Hot Springs
After all this activity, you’ll certainly need to take some time to relax and unwind. Hot springs have plenty of health benefits, promoting physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Nearby hot springs include Deer Creek, McCredie Hot Springs and Paulina Lake Hot Springs.
See an Outdoor Concert
Photo Courtesy of Les Schwab Amphitheater
Throughout the summer, there are several shows on the schedule at Les Schwab Ampphitheater — from Sheryl Crow to Dave Matthews Band, and everyone in between. This year, the amphitheater currently has 16 shows booked with tickets on sale, which is more shows than the amphitheater has seen in its history. The full lineup of the Bend Summer Concert Series can be seen here.
Go Disc Golfing
Practice your disc golf game atop Mt. Bachelor this summer. Mt. Bachelor’s Disc Golf Course is a PDGA listed course, and features changes in elevation and varied terrain. Ride the Pine Marten chair up to hole #1 then work your way down the mountain to hole #18. A valid lift ticket or pass is required to access the top of the mountain via the lift, but is not required for those who wish to hike to the start zone.
What outdoor activities do you enjoy during the summer in Bend? We’d love to know where you like to explore. Let us know in the comments below!