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Get a taste of Bend spring no matter where you live

Tulips in snow

Normally this is the time of year, I’d gush about awesome spring experiences in Bend

But with COVID still raging and travel advisories cautioning folks to stay put a bit longer, not everyone has the chance to experience Bend’s springtime splendor.

Or do they? 

If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s how to get creative while keeping our souls fed and our brains sane. 

Mostly sane.

With that in mind, here’s how to get a taste of a Bend spring no matter where you are.


How to experience Bend’s spring ambiance

If you’re in Bend: 

If you’re riding out spring weather in the High Desert, get ready to crank the heat on your morning commute and switch to A/C on the way home.

Shoulder season weather

Blogger Tawna demonstrates how to layer up (or down) for shoulder season in Bend.

I’ve long referred to this season as yo-yo weather, and there are some upsides to it. Dressing in layers is a necessity, so it’s a good excuse for some Bend shopping to score seasonal clearance items and fun spring accessories. Many Bend shops implemented online shopping during the pandemic, so you can have a Bend shopping spree from the comfort of your couch.

Playing outside this time of year is an exercise in going with the flow. The hiking trail you’re eyeing might be sunny and clear, or it might be buried under six inches of fresh powder. Maybe you can ski all morning and kayak all afternoon? The possibilities are endless, and not always within your control, thanks to that saucy minx, Mother Nature. It’s a great time to make sure you have plan A, plan B, plan C, and maybe even plan D. 

Good thing you’ve perfected that skill through the pandemic, right?

For travelers who can’t travel:

That online shopping I mentioned for locals? That’s your jam, too, since so many Bend retailers let you scoop up Bend souvenirs online these days. You can even grab gift cards to support Bend businesses while setting yourself up for a sweet future trip.

Okay, but what if you want to experience Bend? Like…really experience it.

Start by opening your freezer and shoving your face inside. Wait a few minutes. Extract face and close freezer door.

Now, preheat the oven. Get it nice and warm, then pop open that door and hover above like a sun-seeking lizard perched on a tree branch. Do that a few times over the course of a day and congratulations! You’ve experienced your own Bend spring.

If that doesn’t rock your world, settle for dreaming and plotting your future Bend vacation. Our Plan a Trip page lets you create lists of landmarks, activities, and dining experiences you want to see, do, and gobble up the next time you’re here. You can even share with friends to get everyone hyped for your post-pandemic trip to Bend.


Savoring spring’s small wonders

If you’re in Bend:

It’s the little things that make Bend magical this time of year. The sweet desert wildflowers blooming in the Badlands, or tiny tulip buds wiggling between pavers in Downtown Bend. While wetter climates see flashy explosions of color this time of year, the High Desert takes her time yawning her way out of a winter nap.

sand lily in Central Oregon

Sweet little sand lilies are gems of the high desert, and something to watch for in springtime.

Plan a leisurely stroll up Pilot Butte to look for sand lilies in the dust. Walk alongside Bend’s canals as the floodgates open and water gushes in a jubilant burst. Watch daring (and possibly insane) surfers riding waves in the Bend Whitewater Park with snow still on the riverbank.

Take a few moments to feel grateful there’s light at the end of the COVID tunnel. If you feel extra grateful, consider making a donation to Pledge for the Wild so the wild places that have soothed your soul through the pandemic will be tended and treasured for generations to come.

For travelers who can’t travel: 

Buy a bunch of daffodils at a local flower shop. Bring them home, and instead of tucking them in a vase, put them directly in the freezer.

Okay, maybe that’s not the best of Bend spring (though it is often the reality).

Instead of killing flowers, why not look ahead to a future Bend experience that’s a bit less brutal? Study the concert calendar and consider we’re *this close* to having life look a little more normal. Before you know it, you’ll be dancing barefoot in the grass with a beer in one hand and your favorite performer strutting across the new Les Schwab Amphitheater stage.

Think about what you want to do the next time you’re in Bend. Maybe a whitewater rafting trip with Sun Country Tours or a moonlight kayak outing with Wanderlust Tours. Perhaps this is the summer you’ll get brave on a mountain bike thanks to Cog Wild, so why not plan ahead and buy gift certificates for those experiences? 

It’ll give you something to look forward to, plus those businesses will get a much-needed boost coming out of the pandemic.


Embrace the wonder of spring snow

If you’re in Bend: 

Walk outside and spot your car covered in a foot of snow. Look at your snow shovel. Cry. Repeat as necessary.

While some locals feel weary of the white stuff in March, others embrace it as a boon for spring skiing. The High Desert is famous for some of the best bluebird spring conditions in the country, so be sure to check websites for Mt. Bachelor and Hoodoo for updated information on how the pandemic or weather might impact

Mt. Bachelor

Spring skiing is one of Central Oregon’s finest treats.

your options.

If snow just isn’t your scene, hiking can be pretty awesome this time of year. Here’s a roundup of winter hikes that’ll score you some fresh air without all the pesky white stuff on the ground.

For travelers who can’t travel: 

Travel advisories change faster than Bend’s spring weather, and it’s crucial to keep an eye on what health authorities suggest as far as traveling versus keeping your butt home a bit longer.

Even if overnight trips aren’t an option, a day trip might be. From Salem to the sno-parks near Hoodoo, for instance, it’s about an hour and a half. That means you might venture out for a morning snowshoe outing or a good old-fashioned snowball fight.

Then head into town and scope out some of Bend’s best takeout options to refuel with a meal you can gobble on the go. You’ll still get a taste of Bend while keeping your own risk—and the risk you pose to others—at a minimum.

Cheers to springtime, regardless of where you are. We’re almost through this thing, guys. Thanks for keeping each other safe!

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