Bend is an amazing place. I mean, that’s why we’re all here on this website instead of the one for Visit Blue Ball, Ohio (that’s a real town. I swear).
While Bend has everything you could possibly wish for in a vacation destination, it’s possible you’ll feel like exploring elsewhere for an afternoon. Hey, we aren’t here to judge. We’re here to offer three suggestions for fun day trips you can take from your Bend home base.
Kah-Nee-Ta Resort & Spa (69 miles from Bend)
Located on the Warm Springs reservation northeast of Bend, Kah-Nee-Tah is a fun day trip for families in particular. Though you’ll find all kinds of activities like biking, horseback riding, mini golf, a day spa, and even a casino, the best reason to head to Kah-Nee-Tah is the hot springs mineral pool. It’s warm and soothing in the winter months (heated to 92 degrees) and cooled during the summer. There are two awesome slides, incluging a 184-foot enclosed tube and a 140-foot slide with an open top for claustrophobic fraidy-cats like me. There are a couple hot tubs, a kids’ wading pool, and these adorable bear statues that have been squirting water into the pool since my parents first brought me here in a swim diaper. My gentleman friend and I recently made the day-trip here with his offspring (ages 7 and 11) and the whole family had a blast swimming, splashing, sliding, and snacking. Don’t forget tons of sunscreen and an air mattress, and remember your camera to snap scenic shots of the landscape surrounding the Warm Springs reservation. Rates for the hot springs pool are $15 for those 11 and older, and $10 for kids 10 and under.
Sisters Oregon (22 miles from Bend)
While Sisters makes an excellent outing for recreation-lovers looking to prowl the 1.6 million acres of national forest surrounding this tiny town, that’s not the best reason to visit. Located west of Bend, Sisters is a shopping mecca brimming with quaint stores, art galleries, and unique eateries. Start your day early at the old-timey Gallery Restaurant. Order a hearty helping of corned beef hash & eggs with a side of their homemade applesauce and enjoy it while you check out the walls covered with one of the world’s largest collections of Winchester rifles. With your belly full, browse dozens of cute shops ranging from Beacham’s Clock Co. (one of the world’s few complete master clockmakers that can design and build the entire product) to the Stitchin’ Post (a popular spot for fans of the Sisters Quilt Show) to Sisters Log Furniture (offering handcrafted rustic and western gifts and décor). Time for lunch? Head to Angeline’s Bakery for some healthy eats like raw zucchini noodles with pumpkin seed pesto, or belly up to the bar for some old fashioned grub at Bronco Billy’s Ranch, Grill, and Saloon. Then hit the streets again to browse art galleries, coffee shops, thrift stores, and more. Just make sure you’ve got extra room in the trunk for all the goodies you’re sure to take home.
Crater Lake National Park (105 miles from Bend)
One of the most pristine national parks on the planet is just a little over two hours from Bend. Crater Lake National Park features towering cliffs, stunning volcanic islands, and the most shockingly blue water you’ll ever see. At 1,943-feet deep, it’s the deepest lake in the United States, and the seventh deepest in the world. It formed when Mt. Mazama erupted 7,700 years ago in a massive volcanic eruption. Then the whole thing collapsed on itself, creating a big hole that eventually filled with water to become the amazing lake you see today. Personally, I love visiting Crater Lake in the summer months when roads are clear of snow, chipmunks are scurrying through the pine needles, and brave souls can go swimming in the icy water. If you find yourself there in the winter months, you can explore the area with a free Ranger-guided snowshoe tour. No matter when you choose to go, make sure you’ve got plenty of room on your camera card to snap tons of photos. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime views you’ll want to remember for a long time.