If you're looking for a Pacific Northwest vacation spot that "has it all," it's hard to beat Bend, Oregon, known by Northwest residents for its year-round outdoor recreation, scenic beauty and large number of high-quality accommodations and restaurants.
The city of Bend is located in central Oregon - about a three-hour drive form Portland -- where the city is overlooked by the Cascade Mountains, with their amazing stance and crisp white peaks. With a population of nearly 80,000, it's one of the state's fastest growing cities.
Perhaps the main reason for coming to Bend is the outdoor activities and year-round recreation that is available here. You will find that, because of its location, there is something to do outdoors at any time of the year. The city is close to Mt. Bachelor, known for some of the best skiing in the Cascades, but there are many other outdoor activities available in the area as well:
Golfing: The city offers several golf courses, both private and municipal, which give you high quality golfing excitement. You can rent the golf clubs you need here, practice with locals or even take a few lessons on these fully featured courses.
Fishing: For those who love freshwater fishing, a number of streams, lakes and rivers will help you to enjoy the thrill. A wide variety of fish is available, including some of the largest you will find in the area.
Hiking and biking: Once you get up into the hills and mountains either by hiking or biking the trails, you'll be content to just stand back and enjoy the view. The majestic scenery around you is sure to be empowering.
Kayaking and water sports: The water sport options here are many, and each provides a unique experience on the water. You will find all of the equipment you need readily available at various locations throughout the waterways.
For skiing fun, there are many options. You can visit Mount Bachelor Ski Resort, Willamette Pass Ski Area or the Hoodoo Resort. Stay there or stay in any of the local hotels and motels. The good news is that there are many lodging packages available that help to help keep your trip affordable. Each of these ski areas offers both beginner and challenging trails. You will be able to rent equipment and take lessons as well.
In the summer months, you also will find many outdoor activities to enjoy in Bend, Oregon. A great place to start is with whitewater rafting. The Rogue River rafting adventure you take is sure to be amazing as it winds through 225 miles of valleys and gorges. It ends up in the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach. The rafting takes place in the Siskiyou Mountains in the southern portion of the area. These are class III rapids, and a number of trips are available fit for anyone in your traveling party.
Another favorite summertime activity in Bend is rock climbing. You will find these readily available throughout the city. They allow you to take advantage of the mountains and their terrain in one of the most physically challenging ways. Still, with experts training and monitoring you, you are safe. You will experience an incredible journey to the top.
For those who still want more to do, plan a day outdoors in any of the area's scenic parks. Go horseback riding. Play a game on the expanse of open fields. Spend your evenings star gazing, a local favorite activity (you will even find groups willing to help you to perfect your gaze). You can also enjoy local tours of the city, on foot or otherwise. They will walk you from place to place, learning the history and unique features that the location has to offer.
There are many more things to do in Bend, Oregon. You can stop by High Desert Museum for a look around. A number of exhibits are continuously on display including wildlife tours, art exhibits, cultural experiences and natural resource explorations. Group tours are readily available. Another place to stop is the Deschutes Historical Society. Here, you will learn about Bend, Oregon, its history and its people. This is a unique, hands on museum filled with excellent quality artifacts and history lessons. Visit the numerous art facilities, the Tower Theatre and performing arts centers throughout the city.
There is much to do when you visit Bend, Oregon but you'll also find great accommodations to enjoy when you're tired after a long day of playing. The good news is that there are many great hotels, motels, condominiums, and other facilities for you to stay at during your visit. After a long day on the trail, you can count on finding great food as well. All-American favorites are available, plus many local dishes and international cuisine favorites at several excellent restaurants in Bend.
If you are planning a visit to Bend, Oregon, make it one that is filled with physical activity and outdoor passion. The area features some of the best of both.
For more information on Bend, Oregon, phone 877-245-8484 or go to www.visitbend.com.
PHOTOS, from top: Mountains create incredible scenic backdrop for Bend; McMenamins is popular hang-out; nighttime Bend; Deschutes Brew-pub. All photos courtesy www.visitbend.com.
OTHER DESTINATIONS: If you're looking for other Northwest travel ideas, be sure to check out other Northwest Travel Advisor articles on Salish Lodge, Skitchine Lodge, Lake Chelan and the Rocky Mountaineer.