This past Wednesday marked the official first day of summer, which means Bend’s peak season is officially in full swing. Planning a summer vacation to the outdoor playground of the West? Here’s what you need to know!
Visit Like a Local
Want the inside scoop on everything from trail etiquette to the right way to navigate Bend’s roundabouts? Check out our Visit Like a Local page!
In a matter of minutes, you’ll be an expert on leash laws, the best beverage receptacles, and the proper footwear to don for a river float (hint: NOT flip-flops)!
There’s a lot happening in Bend during the summer months, from concerts to art festivals to sporting events. Many’s the time I’ve heard visitors lament that if only they’d known the dates for Bite of Bend or the Michael Franti concert, they would have planned their trip around it.
Here’s a tip: Check out the Visit Bend Event Calendar to see the full scope of what’s going on during the times you’re considering a visit.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Bite of Bend is this weekend (June 23-25, 2017) and the Michael Franti concert is Sept. 8, 2017.
I won’t lie—traffic can be tricky in Bend’s peak summer months, with everyone scrambling to see the same sights, shop the same stores, and dine in the same fabulous restaurants. This summer, you have two brand new options for navigating without the need to drive your own car.
The first is the new Ride Bend shuttle connecting greater Downtown Bend destinations from June 23 through Labor Day. The shuttle is free of charge, and runs every 15 minutes circulating in a clockwise loop between Downtown Bend, the Old Mill District, OSU-Cascades Campus, and Galveston Avenue. The free shuttle is made possible by a partnership between Visit Bend, the City of Bend, and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.
The second option is a new bike share program that has stations popping up all over town, including in the Old Mill District, Downtown Bend, and at OSU-Cascades. Download the Zagster app for your phone to get started.
And of course, an organized tour is another way to make sure you don’t have to haggle for parking at popular trailheads. Book a canoe outing or volcanic adventure with Wanderlust Tours and leave the driving, planning, and gear to someone else.
Yes, you really do need reservations
Folks with fond childhood memories of cruising into Bend on a Saturday and having plenty of Bend hotel rooms to pick from can get a pretty rude awakening in mid- summer.
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 knowing you have a place to bunk down for the night.
Pick your play
Bend is a cornucopia of outdoor activities year-round, but that’s especially true in summer. On a shorter trip, it can be tough to choose between activities, so you owe it to yourself to study up.
Consider what forms of water recreation you want on your roster—Kayaking? Canoeing? Standup paddleboarding? Fishing? Pick your faves, and study up. It’s especially crucial to understand the rules of floating the river if that’s on your agenda.
Investigate your options for hiking and identify a top choice hike or two.
Knowing you have at least one designated day for play (and what it’s going to be) is a great way to give yourself something to anticipate for your Bend vacation.
Indoorsy options for all
The dry heat of our Central Oregon high desert takes some getting used to, so it’s smart to plan at least one “indoorsy” day filled with air conditioning and a bit of culture.
Visit the High Desert Museum to scope out the cool critters and exhibits. Explore art galleries or see a show at the Tower Theatre. Learn about Bend history with a visit to the Deschutes Historical Museum.
Then get back out there and soak up the sun. With sunscreen, of course.