2018 is officially here, and there’s a lot of chatter about rebirth, renewal, rejuvenation, and probably a bunch of other “re” words I’m forgetting.

In case you’re looking to hit refresh (hey, there’s another!) at the start of a new year, here are 4 unique experiences in Bend that can help.

 

Float away your worries

At Float Central in Bend, you can let all your cares float away while you do the same.

Floating is a wellness and healing technique that allows a person to be free from gravity and external stimulation in a relaxing environment. You slip into a tank that’s roughly four feet wide and seven feet long and filled with water that’s heated to skin temperature. Basically, you lose track of where your body ends and the water begins.

Neat, right?

The idea is to let your mind slow down and your body achieve the ultimate relaxation. Since the tanks are soundproof and your ears are below the waterline, noise from the outside doesn’t reach you (though there’s no shame if you’re a wee bit claustrophobic and want to leave the door open).

The water is saturated with Epsom salts at a level that relieves your body from gravity, so you don’t exert any effort to stay afloat. Since your body isn’t fighting gravity or listening to chattering voices and the pinging of cell phones, your brain can spend its energy pumping out dopamine and endorphins while the rest of your body gets to rest, de-stress, and heal by lowering cortisol levels. Think of it as the ultimate meditation!

You can do a one-time float, but multiple floats over the course of several days, weeks, or months is the ideal way to get maximum benefits. Visit their website for pricing and info.

 

Commune with the stars

Some folks feel a strong connection with astral bodies and the heavens above, and if that’s your jam, you’ll find plenty of ways to reset your celestial clock in Bend.

 

Let Wanderlust Tours take you out to commune with the stars.

Wanderlust Tours lets you combine outdoor adventure with a chance to be dazzled by the night sky. In the wintertime, book one of their Moonlight or Starlight Snowshoe Tours, or their ever-popular Bonfire on the Snow snowshoe tours for the chance to revel in glittery fields of snow underfoot and glittery blankets of stars overhead. All gear, transportation, and snacks are provided, plus a knowledgeable naturalist guide.

In the summer months, they’ll take you out on one of the high Cascade Lakes with an epic Starlight or Moonlight Canoe Tour (the difference being the phase of the moon, of course). Your naturalist guide will point out constellations and planets, and pack your brain full of awesome information about everything from trees to animals to the geology of Central Oregon.

If you prefer your stargazing to be a bit more indoorsy (perhaps with a beer in hand?) check out the Hopservatory at Worthy Brewing. Brewery guests climb a spiral staircase or take the elevator to the third floor of the Hopservatory to witness one of the best views in Bend, with a stunning panorama from Mt. Bachelor to Mt. Hood.

Tours take you inside the 17-foot rotating Ash dome to view planets, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, the moon, and the sun through their 16″ reflecting telescope. Visit their website for tour schedules and information.

For other stargazing options around Central Oregon, check out the Pine Mountain Observatory (located 26 miles southeast of Bend) or the Oregon Observatory at the Sunriver Nature Center (about 19 miles southwest of Bend).

 

Seek solitude on a hike

For me personally, there’s no better way to re-center myself than a hike in Central Oregon’s great outdoors.

Blogger Tawna’s favorite place to get re-centered, the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.

Sometimes I crave the silence and solitude of a desert landscape like the Oregon Badlands Wilderness. Other times I want the power and splash of a waterfall. On other occasions, I’m looking to reconnect with family on a kid-friendly hike.

Whatever floats your boat, check out Visit Bend’s hiking page for lots of ideas. You can also snag a good hiking guide book in our Bend Visitor Center.

Make sure you incorporate Leave No Trace practices (like picking up litter and staying on the trail) when you’re out there hiking. You’ll find ideas on how to do that on our Visit Like a Local page. Speaking of which…

 

Pledge to leave Bend better than you found it

The New Year is all about vowing to do better for many of us, and one way to do that is by taking The Bend Pledge.

The idea is simple: Everyone who spends time in Bend is invited to vow they’ll abide by a set of values that Bend lovers hold near and dear. Things like kindness and courtesy, safety and respect. Everyone who takes the Bend pledge will be entered to win a Bend vacation that includes three nights of lodging, meals, and activities for the entire Bend stay.

Go here right now and take The Bend Pledge and start your New Year off on a positive note!

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