explore: travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it.

I’ve lost track of how many times Nick and I have ventured to Bend in the last few years. My parents have recently purchased a 20-acre lot in Alfalfa, about 20 minutes from downtown Bend and have already started on their “hillbilly hot tub” and are absolutely loving it.

Some fun facts about Bend:

  • Unless you’re into snow sports, don’t go in the winter.
  • Coming from Seattle, once you pass through Mount Hood the trees start to change.
  • This is a very outdoors sports-oriented community.
  • The Deschutes River runs through Bend.
  • There are a lot of butte’s (lava domes that were created from extinct volcanos).
  • My sister’s proposal was on top of Mt. Bachelor.
  • You’re inland. The ocean is about 200 miles to the West.

Here’s some of Nick and my favorite places in Bend, Oregon!


  • Smith Rock State Park

This is a bit out of the way but looks like a movie scene


  • Old Mill District

Be sure to walk north and hopefully catch some surfers on the river

Check out REI, the centerpiece of town with smokestacks you can see for miles

Catch a summer concert on the green


  • Green Lakes Trail

Head towards Mt. Bachelor and bring a packed lunch. The trail, follows small rolling waterfalls and is just as beautiful and the destination. If you only go halfway, you’ll still enjoy this hike. The only time I’ve ever seen a bear was while driving to this trailhead. Be sure to keep an eye out and be aware of your surroundings.

Want a quicker kind of adventure? Go a bit further down the highway to Hosmer Lake for views of South Sister and Mt. Bachelor OR stop at Devils Lake on your way for a shallow paddleboard while enjoying the turquoise waters. Devils lake is 3-10 ft deep, so also a nice place for kiddos to splash around in the shallow.


  • Spoken Moto

Hub for the hippest of Bend. Enjoy the outdoor court filled with food trucks of multiple varieties or go inside to grab a cold brew or a beer. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some shopping in too at Dyad Plants & Adornments or Wildflower Mobile Boutique.


  • Hola Mexican and Peruvian Cuisine

This chain restaurant is easy to find with multiple locations in Bend and delicious. I have high standards for quality, freshly made Mexican cuisine and they treated us right at Hola in Old Mill!


  • Too Sweet Cakes

I might be blowing the cover on this local hot spot since I doubt many tourists make it to their location outside of town. One of the best gluten-free cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had… but as true to their name a tiny bit too sweet for my taste. If you’ve removed gluten from your diet, this might be you’re only chance to get an amazing GF treat for a while.


  • LOGE Entrada

Whether you’re looking for a place to crash, an outdoor movie or concert, a bar or cafe or bikes this is the place for you. Encourages you to enjoy the outdoor amenities that bend has to offer and will be psyched to give you recommendations for Rock climbing, River Rafting, Skiing, Biking, and Paddling.


  • Fix & Repeat

A great stop for juice lovers. Only stopped because I’m a nerd for The Office and ordered the Schrute Farms, pretty delicious!


  • 10 Barrel Brewing Burgers

By far the best burger I’ve had in Bend, they even have gluten-free buns… and don’t forget the crispy onions and bacon, yum!


Yet to do:

Painted Hills

Mcmenamins St. Francis pool/movie

Cougar Hot Springs