It’s still April, and odds are good we’ll see snow at least once more before warm weather arrives in Bend and decides to stick around.
You might think that means you’ve got plenty of time to plan your Bend summer vacation, but you’d be wrong. Here are 5 things you need to do RIGHT NOW if you want to visit Bend during peak summer season.
Book your lodging
I know this seems premature if you have fond memories of the days you could cruise into town on a Saturday in July and expect to have your pick of Bend hotel rooms.
But times have changed, and the city’s lodging operates at or near capacity from June through September. That means you need to plan ahead, especially if there’s a special Bend vacation home or bed and breakfast you’ve been eyeing.
Don’t risk having your summer vacation plans torpedoed by a lack of lodging. Plan ahead, then kick back and relax for another couple months.
Get your gear ready
Most folks journeying to Bend have outdoor recreation on their minds, whether it’s skiing and snowboarding in the winter, or rafting and hiking in the summer.
Don’t make the mistake I’ve made and discover hours before a big hike that your twenty-year-old hiking boots are on their last legs (no pun intended). Plan ahead by inspecting your boots and other outdoorsy attire right now and figuring out what to repair or replace. Bonus: You’ll have time to break in new footwear before hiking season really heats up.
This is also a great time to inventory and inspect things like camping gear or specialty recreation items. Are all your tent stakes present and accounted for? Do the float tubes hold air? Does your bike need a tune-up? Does your sleeping bag smell like something crawled inside and died?
Make sure everything is in working order so there are no unpleasant surprises when it’s time to throw everything in the car for your Bend vacation.
Make a bucket list and a schedule
Last year I was lucky enough to spend three weeks traveling all over New Zealand. I sat down beforehand and sketched out which towns we’d visit and what activities we’d enjoy on each day of the trip. Then I heard echoes of my twenty-something self scoffing about how I used to be a free-spirited, seat-of-her-pants adventurer who never planned ahead, and now I’m just a huge dork.
But my dorkiness paid off.
With pre-made reservations in hand, we didn’t panic when a massive mountain biking event booked up every hotel room, kayak trip, and wine tour in town.
We also didn’t have to spend precious vacation time making phone calls, doing internet research, and trying to plot out the best route from point A to point B.
A Bend vacation is a special thing, so you owe it to yourself to make the most of it. Spend some time researching beforehand at www.visitbend.com and decide what activities belong on your Bend bucket list. You can even peruse this blog for specific recommendations on tours, drinking and dining, and kid-friendly attractions.
Then make a list, make a schedule, make reservations, and kick back knowing you will maximize the ever lovin’ heck out of your Bend vacation.
Watch for special events
Concerts, festivals, and special events are abundant in the summer months, and if there’s some flexibility in your dates, it pays to sync your visit with the ones that cater to your interests.
Art fanatics might wish to time their trips with Art in the High Desert August 25-26, while foodies might prefer to aim for a June 23-25 visit to hit Bite of Bend.
The Les Schwab Amphitheater has already announced dozens of summer 2017 shows, including Paul Simon, the Avett Brothers, Steve Miller Band, Michael Franti, Jack Johnson, Diana Krall, Ween, and more.
There are also oodles of events like foot races, mountain bike competitions, kayak classes, and more.
For the most comprehensive Bend event calendar on the interwebz, go here.
Grab a good guidebook
I’m a sucker for good guidebooks, and you’ll never catch me boarding an international flight without at least one good tome outlining the top attractions at my destination.
A few of my favorite Bend guides include Bend Overall by Scott Cook (notice all the sticky-tabs in my copy?!), Bend, Oregon Daycations (Day Trips for Curious Families) by Kim Cooper Findling, and Day Hiking: Bend and Central Oregon by Brittany Manwell.
Visitors with more specialized interests might dig guides like Mountain Bike Bend by Katy Bryce or Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon by Eli Boschetto.
Grab whichever guide interests you most and study up. There will be a quiz later, and I promise you’ll love it.