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