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A perfect day in Bend for Brooke Perkins of Wanderlust Tours

kayaking the deschutes river

Brooke from Wanderlust Tours is sharing how to have the perfect day in Bend.

It’s been almost 8 years since I began blogging for Visit Bend, and can count on two hands—no toes required!—the number of times I’ve handed the reins to a guest blogger.

But it does happen on occasion (i.e. when I’m away for two weeks in Guatemala) so I’d like to introduce guest blogger Brooke Perkins from Wanderlust Tours. Wanderlust is one of my favorite operators in Bend, and I’ve been lucky enough to go caving, canoeing, snowshoeing, and countless other adventures with them. Their knowledgeable naturalist guides make every outing that perfect blend of fun and educational, so I’m thrilled that Wanderlust team member Brooke Perkins agreed to stop by and share her idea of a perfect day in Bend.

Take it away, Brooke!


Hi guys, I’m Brooke from Wanderlust Tours, here to give you the perfect day in Bend! Let me start by saying that pretty much any day in Bend is already perfect (as long as you’re into sunshine, mountains, and beer), but if you’re looking to get the absolute most out of your trip, I’ve definitely got some ideas.

Thump Coffee is a great place to jumpstart your day.

First: COFFEE.

There are tons of amazing coffee shops in Bend, and many of them roast and sell their own beans. This is amazing. Seriously. Please take advantage of this.

I’m partial to Thump Coffee in downtown Bend—they have super knowledgeable baristas, and (in my opinion) the best locally-roasted coffee around. If you’re hunting for pastries, try Sparrow Bakery (yes, they’re famous for the delicious cardamom concoction known as the Ocean Roll). We actually love Sparrow so much that we serve a special dessert from their bakery on our nightly Starlight Canoe Tours at Wanderlust Tours!

Checking out critters and natural history at the High Desert Museum is a highlight of a perfect Bend day.

Next up: get a sense of Bend’s history.

Whenever I visit a town, I usually hit up two things: museums, and libraries (it so happens we have a BEAUTIFUL public library right in downtown Bend). Stop by the Deschutes Historical Museum to see some of the faces from Central Oregon’s past! There are amazing historical photos of Central Oregon’s indigenous Warm Springs, Paiute, and Wasco tribes, as well as the area’s early European settlers and the people behind Bend’s rich logging history. Or, if you’re willing to adventure a little farther out, I highly suggest stopping at the fabulous High Desert Museum for more information on Bend’s natural history. This kind of stuff is my bread and butter.

Now, back to food.

There’s so much food here, you guys. You’ve got to go to Wild Rose. You’re going to want to try their Kabocha Curry. I also highly recommend Wild Oregon Foods for their delicious brunch menu. They have a full bar, and an amazing selection of cocktails (try the Oregon Marionberry Smash, made with the mouth-watering Broken Top Bourbon from Cascade Street Distillery). At Wanderlust Tours, we actually partner with Wild Oregon Foods to create super cool custom catered tours, often out in the woods or on the water. James Fink and his team are truly amazing.

An outing with Wanderlust Tours is a must, whether you’re visiting in spring, summer, fall, or winter.

Put a little Wanderlust in your day!

Bend is a real-life choose-your-own-adventure: we’ve got rivers, lakes, mountains, high desert plains, lava fields, volcanos… the list goes on. And, not to brag, but I have an amazing job where I often get to head out into the wilderness and have fun. That’s how I know you need to experience paddling out on the Cascade Lakes! It’s one of the most incredible experiences you can have in Bend, and that’s saying a lot.

Support the work of local artists.

Sometimes it’s nice to go home with a little something more than memories. Bend is a maker’s paradise, with tons of local artists and artisans creating and selling their beautiful items at the Farmer’s Markets, or at one of the local artist collectives like The Workhouse. I personally recommend picking up one of Chaney Swiney’s beautiful, custom-printed maps online at, or at the Wanderlust Tours office. These maps are absolutely gorgeous, and a great way to remember Central Oregon.

Back to food, again.

My favorite dinner spot right now is Joolz, a delicious middle-eastern-inspired spot right downtown. The Seafood Tagine is particularly delightful. Really, anything here is fantastic.

Some of the views you can get when you do a Volcano Tour with Wanderlust.

If you want to end the night with a libation or three (do people still say “YOLO”?) I would recommend heading to The Commons for some live music and a delicious local beverage. They have an extensive beer list, and the atmosphere is super cozy and inviting. This cafe/bar happens to be located in one of Bend’s historic buildings: the Governor’s House! You can read all about it on a little placard at the front door when you visit.

And, after all that, cue me falling asleep at 9 pm.

I’m just being honest here.

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