It’s still April in Bend, and a week ago I was looking out my office window at snow piled around tulips in the yard of a neighboring business.

April 14, 2016 in Bend.
April 14, 2016 in Bend.

We have about two more months of vacillating between sunshine and freezing temps in Bend, which might lead you to think you have all the time in the world to schedule a summer vacation in Bend. Don’t be fooled. Here are five reasons you really need to get a jump on it NOW.

 

Choose where you snooze

Bend’s summers are hot in more ways than temperature. Between June and September, the city sees a staggering surge in tourists coming here for warm-weather activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, rafting, camping, or all of the above in Bend’s great outdoors.

The pine-fringed pool at Mt. Bachelor Village Resort is a great place to lounge in the summer, but you need to book early if you want to visit in peak season.
The pine-fringed pool at Mt. Bachelor Village Resort is a great place to lounge in the summer, but you need to book early if you want to visit in peak season.

It’s no wonder, since the abundance of blue skies, warm weather, and epic rivers, lakes, and trails makes this the perfect summertime playground. But that means lodging books up super-early in summer months, with many regular visitors scheduling their trips more than a year in advance.

Last-minute lodging can be impossible to find at the height of summer, regardless of whether you plan to stay in a Bend resort, a vacation home, a hotel, or even an RV park. Now’s the time to start nailing down a place to stay if you’re hoping to visit during peak months, so start your search right here.

Don’t miss that once-in-a-lifetime concert

When the Les Schwab Amphitheater announced several months ago that Alabama Shakes would play the venue Memorial Day Weekend, plenty of folks got giddy. When the band won a Grammy a few weeks later, it didn’t take long for the Bend show to sell out.

Concerts can sell out at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, so study the calendar and plan ahead if there's someone you want to see live.
Concerts can sell out at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, so study the calendar and plan ahead if there’s someone you want to see live.

A lot of would-be concert-goers were bummed. They had no idea some of the hottest shows at this awesome outdoor venue can sell out before you’ve made up your mind to buy tickets.

Don’t miss out on that concert you’ve been dying to see. The 2016 summer lineup promises a diverse and awesome lineup of artists ranging from Jackson Browne to Steve Miller Band to Slightly Stoopid to Brandi Carlile to Michael Franti and sooooooo many more. Go here to check out the complete lineup, then nab your tickets early to avoid the heartbreak of missing your favorite show.

 

Predicting the weather isn’t tough

When you plan a Bend vacation in October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May, or early-June, you might get snow. Or you might get rain. Or you might get blazing hot sunshine. Heck, you might get all those things in one day.

It's okay to plan ahead for outdoor activities like whitewater rafting if you're coming in mid-summer. We can almost guarantee perfect weather.
It’s okay to plan ahead for outdoor activities like whitewater rafting if you’re coming in mid-summer. We can almost guarantee perfect weather.

The weather is unpredictable from fall to spring, which is one of the amazing things about Bend. (I actually blogged about it last week in this post on embracing Bend’s yo-yo springtime weather).

But if you’re planning something like a family reunion or a once-in-a-lifetime vacation that absolutely, positively requires great weather, you can almost guarantee you’ll get that if you visit Bend between late-June and early-September. That’s when our high desert weather is at its finest (in my humble opinion) with dry, hot, cloudless days and clear, starry, cool nights.

One of many upsides to this is the fact that you can pre-book weather-dependent activities with some relative certainty the weather will cooperate. While Sun Country Tours is unlikely to sign a document in blood promising sunshine on the day of your whitewater raft trip, odds are good it’ll be plenty warm in July or August. Ditto that for things like canoe outings with Wanderlust Tours or a mountain biking adventure with Cog Wild.

Just remember to pack your sunscreen, okay?

 

Consult the calendar to know what’s happening

Not sure which summer month to pick for your Bend summer vacation? Visit Bend’s Event Calendar can help you plan around special events to suit your interests and schedule.

Balloons over Bend happens every July, and Bend lodging books early during the event.
Balloons over Bend happens every July, and Bend lodging books early during the event.

Beer fans might prefer an August trip to coincide with the Bend Brewfest, while families might prefer to time a visit around the Bend Summer Festival or Balloons Over Bend in July.

You can narrow your Event Calendar search to look for things happening in the arts community, for concerts, or for sporting events that tickle your fancy.

 

Booking ahead isn’t for losers. I promise.

Ahem. A personal story.

I spent a big chunk of my 20s and 30s globetrotting all over the world, roaming from Australia to Italy to Venezuela to Morocco to Barbados and a zillion other places in between. I very rarely made reservations anywhere, preferring to roam freely with my grungy backpack and the knowledge I could decide on a whim where to lay my head that night.

Now I’m 41, and when my husband and I sat down to plan our three-week vacation in New Zealand, I was aghast at his suggestion that we pre-book all our lodging. What if I liked Blenheim better than Dunedin and wanted to stay there longer? Or what if the Coromandel Peninsula wasn’t what I expected and I wanted to keep moving?

But after a bit of discussion, I agreed to try it my husband’s way.

You know what, guys? I learned something on that trip. I learned that pre-booking my lodging let me research ahead of time to make sure I get the best lodging deals in areas that suit my style and budget. I learned that not having to scramble with last-minute phone calls and driving around looking for vacancy signs makes vacation a whole lot more restful. And I learned that I would have been in deep doo-doo if I’d shown up in Rotorua (a town we absolutely adored) without a reservation on the day a massive bike race booked every single room in that little city.

So yeah, booking ahead takes a bit of the spontaneity out of travel. But it also takes away a lot of the stress. Do yourself a favor, especially if you’re visiting Bend during peak summer season—BOOK AHEAD!

 

One response to “5 reasons it’s not too early to plan your summer vacation in Bend”

  1. Love this blog and the summers here! (I just moved here a few years ago!) I wonder why I haven’t found this blog before? I’m always looking for new things to do and hidden gems in Bend.

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