Bend is one of those places that sticks with you.  It’s the city that pops up in magazines as “the best place to live” or “best city for enjoying the outdoors”.  In fact, we had listened to so many people hype it up that we were prepared to be let down by the place.  But, true to everyone’s hype, it was amazing and what we consider to be almost perfect.  This city has a little bit of everything!

best outdoor activites in bend oregon

best outdoor activites in bend oregon

The Outdoors
Whatever you like to do: ski, hike, cycle, kayak, rock-climb, white-water raft, you name it, and Bend has got it.  We were limited on time so we opted for some of the quick highlights.

best outdoor activites in bend oregon

bend oregon lava beds

best outdoor activites in bend oregon

best outdoor activites in bend oregon

The Lava Lands Visitors Center did a great job of guiding us to some quick but rewarding hikes which included the Lava Tubes!

lava tubes bend oregon

 

best outdoor activites in bend oregon

best outdoor activites in bend oregon

Normally we don’t visit a lot of museums but the High Desert Museum wasn’t your average small town museum. It’s more of an animal sanctuary meets living history.  Sure you are learning about the region’s history and wildlife but it’s always so much more fun when you have the real deal versus just pictorial evidence.  For us, nothing beats getting to be a part of it all (or at least pretending to be).

best bend oregon museum

best bend oregon museum

best bend oregon museum

best bend oregon museum

best bend oregon museum

best bend oregon museum

best bend oregon museum

best bend oregon museum

 

Beer
Bend is rich beyond belief when it comes to brews.  With 11 breweries and counting, it’s almost hard to believe there are enough people to drink it all!  It’s by far one of the best craft brew scenes in America and if you can handle it, the Bend Ale Trail is a challenge worth accepting!

bend ale trail

 

Food
It’s no secret that we are big on food (real, fresh food that is) and Bend didn’t disappoint!  There seemed to be a cute eatery with an inviting patio on every street corner.  And if the looks didn’t draw us in, the buzz words would… slow food, organic, sustainable and many from local purveyors.  From the Bario to Jacksons Corner to sushi with new friends, we loved every bite!

best cheap eats in Bend oregon

best sushi in bend oregon

Camping
Sure there are some other campgrounds that might be closer to town but Thousand Trails Bend-Sun River campground makes our top 10 list of favorite campgrounds!  The sites were nice and spread out and the kayaking opportunities on site were some of the best we’ve seen at a commercial campground.  There was even a farmers market on the weekends!  And you know it was lovely when even Cleo and Singa found themselves getting along while frolicking through the meadows.

bend oregon campground

All in all it’s hard to define Bend and its independent spirit.  The diversity in geography and people is what makes it such a desirable place to visit (and live).   Now, if only there were an international airport, and the ocean was just a little closer, then I think it would be perfect!

Have you been to Bend?  What did you find?  Tell us all about it in the comments below.

Disclaimer: While we were compensated to film the campground (thanks Thousand Trails!)…all of our experiences and opinions are NOT purchased and are still our own.