Things to Do in Bend Oregon Area – Bend, Oregon Area Guide

Bend, Oregon

Central Oregon Living At It’s Best

Nestled at the base of the stunning Cascades, along the Deschutes River in Central Oregon, Bend is one of Oregon’s most-loved vacation destinations and with over 260 days of sunshine per year, it is easy to see why! Did you know, it is not only a place to spend the summer? Fall in Bend is a best-kept secret among savvy travelers! You can enjoy all the same summer activities, but with less people and weather still warm enough to enjoy the great outdoors.

Old Mill District, Bend, Oregon

Looking for things to do in Bend, Oregon? If endless outdoor recreation options, great restaurants and shops, and world-class winter sports are your idea of the perfect vacation, Meredith Lodging has you covered with our Bend and Central Oregon collection of beautiful Bend vacation rentals! Ready to plan your fall getaway? Check out our Best Places – Bend list to make planning even easier. Fall in love with the magic of Bend in Autumn!

Places to Stay in Bend, Oregon

Where is Bend, Oregon?

Bend, Oregon

Best Places to Eat and Drink in Bend

Drake Restaurant, Bend, Oregon

Back Porch Coffee Roasters

. Start your day the local’s way at Back Porch Coffee. Named for the site of their original roaster on the back porch of their home, and started by local coffee lovers, Back Porch Coffee roasters has grown to multiple beloved locations throughout Bend. Order a strong drip coffee before heading out for an adventure or treat yourself to a signature specialty such as the Honey Lavender Latte or a salted mocha.

Sparrow Bakery

. If Bend had an official city pastry, it would be the flaky, cardamom-infused Ocean Roll from Sparrow Bakery – buttery croissant dough, sprinkled with cardamom, vanilla, and sugar, and baked to perfection! They are also famous for their scratch-made English muffins, other pastries, and frosted sugar cookies – often with seasonal themes. No trip to Bend is complete without a stop for freshly baked bread and treats at Sparrow Bakery – now with 2 locations!

Crux Fermentation Project

. Bend is considered a craft beer mecca and has even been called Beer City USA. With over 31 breweries and counting, we can’t mention them all, but here is one of our favorites!

If you want a beer with a view, Crux has the best beer garden in Bend. Housed in a former AAMCO Transmission Shop, right in the heart of town, this non-traditional brewery has spectacular views of the Cascade mountains. Watch the sunset at Sundowner Hour ($1 off pints) and take in the stunning scenery. Kids and dogs welcome.


. This classic neighborhood restaurant in downtown Bend (on the best shopping street, Wall Street!) serves up creative comfort food with a local twist. Locals and visitors alike rave about the Drake burger and the buttermilk fried chicken with hot honey. They also offer brunch on the weekends, making Drake the perfect spot to refuel after an early morning on the slopes or trails. And keep your eyes peeled for low-key celebrity sightings, this is a favorite stop among artists playing at the Bend Ampitheater.

Bend Family-Friendly Activities

Father and Son Hiking in Bend, Oregon

Hike to Paulina Falls

. The whole family – leashed pups included – will enjoy this 0.5-mile loop trail to Paulina Falls. From Bend, it is about a 25-mile drive to the falls, but the stunning sight of the side by side, 60-ft high falls is enough to make the trip worth it! If you and your kids snowshoe, or want to give it a try, this is also a gorgeous trail to hike in the winter.

Bike Around Bend

. For locals and tourists alike, the preferred transportation in Bend is bikes! You must spend at least a few hours of your vacation pedaling around this biker-friendly mountain town. Head to Wheel Fun Rentals and grab some cruiser bikes, or a four-wheel surrey bike for the whole family and pedal around the Old Mill District. The surreys also make for a great family photo opportunity!

High Desert Museum

. Just outside of Bend, you can visit the High Desert Museum. Come celebrate the geography, animals, and cultures of the high desert through fun, interactive, indoor and outdoor exhibits. Kids of all ages can encounter live animals, interact with living history characters at the Miller Ranch, visit the 1904 sawmill and see what life was like for early pioneers.

Kid-friendly fun on the Deschutes

. Stand-up paddleboard, kayak, or canoe on the Deschutes! In 2014, Outside magazine honored Bend as the world’s best stand-up paddle board getaway. Whether the kids or the kid in you wants to try stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing, the friendly local outfitters at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe or Stand on Liquid are happy to help, offering lessons and rentals.

Outdoor Recreation Activities in Bend

Sparks Lake, Oregon

Spelunking and caving with Wanderlust Tours

. Lava tubes are a fascinating geological feature unique to Central Oregon. These caves were formed by molten lava when the Newberry Volcano erupted. If you would like to explore these beautiful geological wonders, Wanderlust Tours is the only guide company permitted in these special lava caves. Kids over 5 are welcome, and the tour price includes the shuttle ride, helmets, and headlamps.

Lava River Caves

. (Please note this activity is currently temporarily closed, check back here for updates, because it is really cool!) Another popular cave exploration attraction is the Lava River Caves. This is the longest, continuous lava tube in Oregon, running almost 7,000 feet long. It is a great beginner cave that the whole family can enjoy. Lantern rentals are available at the visitor center along with interpretive maps for a self-guided tour. It is strongly recommended to wear jacket and warm clothes when exploring the cave. Underground, it is about 42°F year-round, regardless of the temperature above.

Hike to Tumalo Falls

. A trip to Central Oregon is not complete without hiking to Tumalo Falls. It is easy to reach from town and is one of the most stunning waterfalls in the area. This 7-mile, dog-friendly loop is appropriate for all experience levels and offers breathtaking fall foliage photo-ops at every turn. There is also an easy viewing platform just steps from the parking lot!

Playtime at Mt. Bachelor Ski and Recreation Area

. Mt. Bachelor is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise offering world-class skiing and snowboarding from November well into spring. The mountain also offers amazing recreation opportunities seasonally, including mountain biking, scenic chair life rides, snow tubing, hiking, exhilarating zip line rides, snow shoeing, and even dog sledding!

Hit the links at Tetherow

. Bend is also known as “the Palm Springs of the North” due to the fact that it is home to more than two dozen golf courses ranging in price and skill level so you can find the perfect course for you. Bend’s Tetherow golf course was recently voted a Top 10 course in Oregon by Golf Digest. This 18-hole championship course offers stunning views of the surrounding Cascades. Be sure to reserve a tee time early as this course is popular with tourists and locals alike.

Retail therapy on Wall Street

. Take a day off from the slopes or trails and stroll the shops on Wall Street. Looking for a unique treasure to take home with you, or a gift for that someone special? Head to Found where you can find beautiful eco home goods, handmade jewelry, and organic self-care. Two of our other favorite Bend boutiques are Jack and Millie and Hot Box Betty where you can find a wide array of curated clothing, accessories, and home furnishings.

Ready to experience all the magic that Bend has to offer?

A stay in a Meredith Lodging Bend vacation rental will be a perfect home base as you explore and discover all that Bend has to offer. We guarantee one visit will have you falling in love! We have beautiful, private vacation homes to suit all budgets and group sizes, from luxury high desert estates to cozy cabins and chalets. You can view our entire Central Oregon Collection online or call our Reservations Team at 877.778.9055 and they will help you plan the perfect trip.