Here in Bend, Oregon, we’re blessed with fairly mild temperatures year-round. In fact, it’s very rare that you’ll encounter temperatures above 85 degrees in the summer or lower than 20 in the winter! But since we have the highest average number of sunny days in the state—it can still feel quite warm on certain summer days. While it might be tempting to stay inside and enjoy your shaded, air-conditioned haven on those rare, sweltering days, we encourage you to get out and enjoy everything Bend has to offer!
That’s why today, we’re talking about ways you can beat the heat and have a blast in Bend. So, slather on some sunscreen, grab a water bottle and start exploring!
Float the river
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When it’s hot outside, one of the most obvious ways to cool down is by hitting a local swimming hole! Pools, lakes, rivers—Bend has it all, but one of our favorite local pastimes is floating down the Deschutes River. Head to Riverbend Park, where you can rent a tube and float all the way down to Drake Park. Once you get there, a shuttle will transport you back to Riverbend Park and your vehicle. For a more exciting adventure, consider Bend Whitewater Park, where you’ll find a mildly wild passageway for floaters (lovingly dubbed ‘da chute’) plus a whitewater channel for experienced paddlers.
Head to higher ground
Is there anything cooler than a ski resort? While Mt. Bachelor is known as a spectacular local ski resort, the area is an outdoor oasis all year long! Summertime activities on the mountain include mountain biking, sunset dinners, disc golfing, hiking and more. And, as an added bonus, it’s often 10 or more degrees cooler on the mountain than down in the heart of Bend!
…Or below ground
Photo courtesy of Chaney Swiney via Wanderlust Tours
Going up isn’t the only way to stay cool in Bend! Central Oregon is home to quite a few lava tube caves. Wanderlust Tours is a local tour guide company that offers special lava tube caves and volcano tours! These tours are especially unique experiences—providing a rare glimpse at some of the extreme highs and lows in Central Oregon. Book one today and enjoy the nice cool breeze in an incredible natural site this summer. Please note: this summer the Bend Community focus is putting extra emphasis on exploring responsibly. Click here to learn more about their current efforts.
Take a hike to a waterfall
Picture this: you just made it to the end of a hard hike through rough terrain and soaring evergreens during one of Central Oregon’s hottest months. You’re sweaty and tired but proud of yourself for making the trek. That’s when you feel it: a light, refreshing mist followed by the sight, sound and smell of rushing water.
Waterfall hikes are always a great way to spend a hot day. Not only are the destinations extremely rewarding but they offer a refreshing break before heading back to your car. Luckily, the Bend area is packed with some great ones: the Green Lakes Trail, Tumalo Falls, Benham Falls and Lava Island Falls. Click here for a list of our favorite local hikes!
Enjoy a day at the movies
A day at the movies is a classic summer activity. And now that theaters are opening their doors after being closed for several months during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are so excited to visit them again! Bend is home to some amazing theaters like the Regal Old Mill ScreenX & IMAX, the Tin Pan Theater, the Tower Theatre and more—each offering plenty of air conditioning, great movies and tasty snacks.
Seek some air conditioning at a local museum
If you’re looking for even more air conditioning at a great price, don’t forget to take advantage of Bend’s many amazing museums! The local High Desert Museum showcases incredible exhibits on local art, history, nature and culture. The Deschutes Historical Museum, located in the historic Reid School, offers insight into how Bend came to be. If you have children, don’t miss the Children’s Museum of Central Oregon! And if you want a museum with a little more to explore outdoors, head over to the Petersen Rock Garden & Museum.
Take a scenic ride
Photo courtesy of Fly Cascades
Is there anything better than a road trip on a warm summer day? Central Oregon is not only full of places to explore on foot, bike, kayak or ski—you can actually see plenty of the area by car as well. A few of our favorite drives include the Cascade Lakes Highway Scenic Drive, the Deschutes River Scenic Drive and McKenzie Pass. If you want to try a completely different type of scenic tour—like in a helicopter—Bend has options for that too, including the Bend City Tour and the Bigfoot Helicopter Tour from Fly Cascades that gives you the chance to uncover one of the west’s most enduring mysteries. Psst… want to see Bend real estate from a more aerial view? Check out Fly Cascade’s real estate tours!
Sip on an ice-cold beer
Here in Bend, there’s no better way to cool down than with an ice cold brew. Our small city has the highest microbrewery per capita in Oregon and has even been called Beer City USA! There are over 22 breweries in the area for you to explore. Plus, there are other renowned breweries in surrounding towns, including Redmond, Sunriver and Sisters. Get to know a handful of our favorite breweries in the Bend area, then stop by to enjoy a few pints on the patio or grab a growler to go.
Escape an escape room
Photo courtesy of Bend’s Puzzle Effect
If you’re looking for ways to beat the heat with your whole family, why not try an escape room? If you haven’t yet attempted to break out of Bend’s Puzzle Effect yet, you’re in for a treat. Utilize elements in the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit. Themed rooms at Bend Escape Room include Pipe Works, Rescue, Sideshow, Grim Stacks and more. Click here to book your temporary stay in one of these mysterious rooms!
The most tried-and-true way to avoid overheating during the summer is lounging (or splashing) in the pool! Grab your swimsuit, a towel and some flip-flops and dive into one of Bend’s beloved swimming destinations, like the SHARC in Sunriver, the public pools at Juniper Swim & Fitness, the Athletic Center at Brasada Ranch and more.
Scream for ice cream
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When all else fails this summer, grab some ice cream! Bend offers several great places to get a scoop, like Bonta Natural Artisan Gelato or Ben & Jerry’s. But if you’re looking for a classic Bend experience, head to Goody’s Chocolates and Ice Cream, a community staple dating back to 1984. You can even get a behind-the-scenes look at this iconic sweet shop by embarking on a tour at their factory. Free self-guided tours are available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m., and guided tours are $2 per person and include six different samples of Goody’s sweet treats!
What’s your favorite way to stay cool in the summertime in Bend?
Let us know in the comments!