What To Do in Bend, Oregon This Summer (2024)

People surfing on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon at sunset in the summer

Bend, Oregon is a treasure trove of natural beauty and outdoor adventure, making it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts, local tourists, and adventure seekers alike. Nestled in the heart of Central Oregon, Bend offers a unique blend of activities that can satisfy all kinds of travelers. Whether you're looking for thrilling escapades or relaxing retreats, here's your ultimate guide to making the most out of your summer in Bend.

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Where is Bend, Oregon?

Bend is located in Central Oregon, nestled along the eastern edge of the Cascade Range. It is situated approximately 160 miles southeast of Portland and 130 miles east of Eugene. Known for its scenic landscapes, Bend is surrounded by lush forests, majestic mountains, and picturesque rivers, making it a prime spot for outdoor activities and nature exploration.

Portland, OR to Bend, OR: 163 mi | 3 hr 15 min | Google Maps

Hood River, OR to Bend, OR: 143 mi | 2 hr 43 min | Google Maps

Eugene, OR to Bend, OR: 129 mi | 2 hr 31 min | Google Maps

Seattle, WA to Bend, OR: 328 mi | 5 hr 43 min | Google Maps

Boise, ID to Bend, OR: 319 mi | 5 hr 24 min | Google Maps

Why we love Bend, Oregon

Bend is known for its scenic landscapes, diverse activities, and vibrant community. With its sunny weather and long daylight hours during the summer, Bend provides ample opportunities to explore the great outdoors, from hiking and mountain biking to river rafting and brewery tours.

Bend has been one of our favorite (if not our absolute favorite) town for a few years now. We've fallen in love with its high dessert climate, friendly locals, pedestrian friendly pathways, dog friendly establishments, endless bike trails, and more. Honestly, I wouldn't be writing this blog post about Bend if it weren't already such a famously wonderful place because I would want to keep the secret to ourselves. But, alas, it's charms an beauty are infamous and we want to share with you why we love it so much and some of the things we most recommend doing during the summer months.

What is the weather like in Bend, Oregon during the summer?

During the summer, Bend, Oregon typically experiences warm and sunny weather with daytime temperatures ranging from 80-100 (°F). The low humidity and clear skies make it an ideal time for outdoor activities. However, visitors should also be aware of the risk of wildfires, which can severely impact air quality. It is important to check local conditions and air quality reports during your stay, especially if you have respiratory concerns.

Average temperatures and days of precipitation in Bend, Oregon by month
Average temperatures and days of precipitation in Bend, Oregon by month

Where to stay

For being a relatively small town Bend, Oregon has a good variety of accommodations from four star resorts to luxury vacation rental homes, to free camping and developed campgrounds, to large vacation rental homes for very budget.

Best hotels in Bend, Oregon

The Oxford Hotel

This boutique hotel in downtown Bend offers comfortable and conveniently located accommodations with eco-friendly practices. With its stylish decor and top-notch customer service, The Oxford Hotel provides a perfect blend of elegance and comfort.

Note: This hotel is pet friendly!

Address: 10 NW Minnesota Ave, Bend, OR 97703 | Google Maps

Check for the best rates at The Oxford Hotel here: Expedia.com | Booking.com | Hotels.com

Tetherow Resort

Located just minutes from downtown, Tetherow Resort features modern rooms with stunning views of the Cascade Mountains. The resort also boasts an 18-hole golf course, fine dining restaurants, and an array of outdoor activities. Visitors have the option of staying in the 50 room hotel or rent one of the luxurious vacation rental homes on property.

Note: This property has both dog friendly hotel rooms and vacation rental homes available!

Address: 61240 Skyline Ranch Rd, Bend, OR 97702 | Google Maps

Check for the best rates at Tetherow Resort here: Expedia.com | Booking.com | Hotels.com

McMenamins Old St. Francis School

A former Catholic school turned into a unique hotel, McMenamins Old St. Francis School combines quirky charm with modern amenities. Guests can enjoy an on-site movie theater, pub, and soaking pool within this historic property.

Note: This hotel is pet friendly!

Address: 700 NW Bond St, Bend, OR 97703 | Google Maps

Check for the best rates at McMenamins Old St. Francis School here: Expedia.com | Booking.com | Hotels.com

Riverhouse on the Deschutes

Situated along the beautiful Deschutes River, this hotel offers picturesque views and easy access to outdoor adventures. The Riverhouse includes a full-service restaurant, an indoor and outdoor pool, and comfortable, contemporary rooms.

Note: This hotel is pet friendly!

Address: 3075 N Hwy 97, Bend, OR 97703 | Google Maps

Check for the best rates at Riverhouse on teh Deschutes here: Expedia.com | Booking.com | Hotels.com

Best Airbnbs / VRBOs in Bend, Oregon

For groups or for families who wish to have more amenities such as laundry and a full kitchen, Airbnbs and/or VRBOs are your best option. Here are a few of our top choices for every budget in the area.

Beautiful dog friendly home in quiet neighborhood

When we visited Bend, Oregon without our camper recently we snagged a stay at this cute Airbnb. We loved having all the extra space to spread out and get work done, plus the chance to wash clothes and cook in for a change thanks to the full kitchen and laundry room. The weather was beautiful when we were visiting so we were able to utilize the sitting area on the back porch which includes a hammock, couch, table and chairs, and even a grill. Highly recommend! The Airbnb host was super responsive and made it a great stay for us!


Chris and Kramer working as digital nomads on the back deck at our Airbnb in Bend, Oregon
Chris and Kramer working as digital nomads on the back deck at our Airbnb in Bend, Oregon
Welcome bottle of wine and local guide at our Airbnb in Bend
Welcome bottle of wine and local guide at our Airbnb in Bend
King size bed in the master suite at our Airbnb in Bend, Oregon
King size bed in the master suite at our Airbnb in Bend, Oregon
Kitchen and dining table at our Airbnb in Bend
Kitchen and dining table at our Airbnb in Bend

Craftsman home in the heart of Bend

This three bedroom, two bathroom home is beautifully renovated and includes a private hot tub, air conditioning, fire pit, and is dog friendly!


Modern Apartment close to everything in Bend

This one bedroom, one bathroom apartment is trendy and modern and features air conditioning, washer/dryer combo, porch with seating, and a relaxing environment.

Note: This is a no pets and no children allowed property.


Camping in Bend, Oregon

Camping in Bend, Oregon provides a variety of options to suit different preferences. For those who love the freedom and solitude of nature, the national forest and nearby BLM land offer ample opportunities for free boondocking. We always enjoy boondocking in these areas, as it allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the natural beauty without the constraints of developed sites. However, if you prefer more amenities, there are also several developed campgrounds in and around Bend that offer facilities such as hookups, restrooms, and showers. This makes them an excellent choice for those seeking a more comfortable and convenient camping experience.

To find the best boondocking spots on public lands, we recommend using the iOverlander app or website. Always verify that you are camping legally on public lands by using either Garmin maps (we use the Garmin Overland Tread) or the US Public Lands app. Read our complete guide on how to find free and epic campsites in the USA here!

If you are looking for more developed campgrounds in the Bend, Oregon area, we'd recommend checking out Tumalo State Park Campground, Cold Springs Resort & RV Park, or The Camp. Keep in mind that we've never stayed in any of these developed campgrounds ourselves so I can't vouch for them personally, but they do all have great reviews and are each a bit different to meet various wants and needs of tourists to the Bend/Sisters area.

What to do in Bend, Oregon

Explore Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Bend. Known as the birthplace of modern American sport climbing, this park offers trails that range from easy walks to challenging climbs. The stunning rock formations and panoramic views make it a haven for photographers and hikers alike.

Address: Google Maps

Cost: The park itself is free but the parking does have a day fee if you do not have the Oregon State Parks annual pass.

Float down the Deschutes River

One of the most popular summer activities in Bend is floating down the Deschutes River. Rent an inner tube or paddleboard and spend a lazy afternoon drifting along the river, soaking up the sun. The river flow is gentle, making it a perfect activity for families and groups. This is the absolute best way to beat the summer heat in Bend and it's a must-do when you're in town!

Where to Rent: Sun Country Tours and Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe both offer rentals and shuttle services.

Cost: Free if you have your own float, rental prices vary vendor to vendor.

People surfing on the river in Bend, Oregon
People surfing on the river in Bend, Oregon

Go for a hike

Bend is surrounded by the Cascade Range, offering numerous hiking options for all skill levels including a portion of the famous Pacific Crest Trail running through the mountains just a few miles outside of Bend. Some of the most popular hikes include:

  • Tumalo Falls: A 6.4 mile hike that rewards you with a stunning 97-foot waterfall. (Google Maps)
  • South Sister: For the more adventurous, this challenging climb takes you 11.6 miles through the mountains to the top of the third highest peak in Oregon. (Google Maps)
  • Green Lakes Trail: A 9.1 mile hike that takes you through lush forests and past pristine alpine lakes. (Google Maps)

Pro Tip: Always check trail conditions before heading out and carry a map, especially for longer hikes.

For a closer to town hiking option with well marked trails and shorter options, checkout Shevlin Park. We especially love getting a midday run in here when we're too pressed for time to get to the mountains. We absolutely love the variety this park offers, not to mention that it's dog friendly and it has Tumalo Creek running right through the park making it the perfect place to cool off after a long workout in the summer heat. (Google Maps)

Go whitewater rafting

Whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River is an exhilarating way to experience the natural beauty of Bend, Oregon. Whether you're a thrill-seeker looking for the adrenaline rush of navigating rapids or a nature lover wanting to take in the stunning scenery from a new perspective, rafting trips offer something for everyone. Several local outfitters including Sun Country Tours and Ouzel Outfitters provide guided tours that cater to different skill levels, ensuring a safe and unforgettable adventure on the water.

Visit local breweries

Bend has earned the nickname "Beer Town USA" for a reason. With over 22 breweries in the city, there's no shortage of craft beer to sample. Many breweries offer outdoor seating, live music, and food trucks, making it a perfect way to unwind after a day of adventure.

Cheersing our beers at Crux Fermentation Project in Bend
Cheersing our beers at Crux Fermentation Project in Bend

Best breweries in Bend, Oregon

Bend Brewing Company

  • Address: 1019 NW Brooks St, Bend, OR 97701 | Google Maps
  • Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Friday & Saturday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Deschutes Brewery (tasting room location)

  • Address: 901 SW Simpson Ave, Bend, OR 97702 | Google Maps
  • Hours: Everyday 12:00 - 7:00 PM

Crux Fermentation Project

  • Address: 50 SW Division St, Bend, OR 97702 | Google Maps
  • Hours: Everyday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

10 Barrel Brewing Co. (Galveston Ave location)

  • Address: 1135 NW Galveston Ave, Bend, OR 97701 | Google Maps
  • Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Friday & Saturday 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM

All of these breweries have dog friendly patios, but our favorites are Crux Fermentation Project and Bend Brewing Company for their laidback and large patios with shaded grassy areas.

Discover Lava River Cave

Explore the underground wonders of Lava River Cave, the longest continuous lava tube in Oregon. This one-mile cave offers a cool escape from the summer heat and a fascinating look into the region's volcanic past.

What to bring: A flashlight or headlamp (the cave is pitch dark) and a jacket, as temperatures inside the cave can be quite cool even in the summer.

Hours: Cave open hours vary during the summer season so be sure to visit the official website for more information.

Cost: $5 per vehicle

Address: 171B Forest Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 | Google Maps

Take a day trip to Sisters, Oregon

A day trip to Sisters, Oregon, offers an abundance of outdoor activities and small-town charm. The area boasts numerous hiking and cycling trails, such as the Peterson Ridge Trail System, ideal for both beginner and advanced adventurers. Make sure to stop by the Sister Coffee Company for a delicious brew and Sisters Bakery for some of the best pastries in Central Oregon, perfect for fueling up before your hike or rewarding yourself after a ride.

Address (Sisters Bakery): 251 E Cascade Ave, Sisters, OR 97759 | Google Maps

Address (Sisters Coffee Company): 273 W Hood Ave, Sisters, OR 97759 | Google Maps

Address (Peterson Ridge Trail System): Three Creek Rd, Sisters, OR 97759 | Google Maps

Working on our laptops at sunrise at Sister Coffee in Sisters, Oregon
Working on our laptops at sunrise at Sister Coffee in Sisters, Oregon
Sunset in Sisters, Oregon
Sunset in Sisters, Oregon
Donut at scone from Sisters Bakery
Donut at scone from Sisters Bakery

Mountain biking in Phil’s Trail Complex

For mountain biking enthusiasts, Phil's Trail Complex offers a network of trails that cater to all skill levels. Whether you're a beginner looking for smooth singletrack or an experienced rider seeking technical challenges, you'll find a trail that suits you.

Bike rentals: Local shops like Pine Mountain Sports and Hutch’s Bicycles offer a range of mountain bikes for rent.

Address: Google Maps

Walking Kramer at Phil's Trailhead which is primarily used for mountain biking but welcomes dogs on leashes, too!
Walking Kramer at Phil's Trailhead which is primarily used for mountain biking but welcomes dogs on leashes, too!

Catch a concert at Hayden Homes Amphitheater

Catch some live music at the Hayden Homes Amphitheater, an iconic outdoor venue located along the scenic Deschutes River. This amphitheater hosts a variety of concerts and events throughout the summer, featuring both local and internationally renowned artists. Enjoy a magical evening under the stars with great music, delicious food from on-site vendors, and a vibrant atmosphere.

During the summer of 2023 we had the chance to see Bon Iver with some friends at the amphitheater which was a dream come true. They were incredible live and the venue was the perfect setting for a summer concert!

Tip: Check the event schedule in advance and book your tickets early, as popular shows often sell out quickly.

Address: 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Dr, Bend, OR 97702 | Google Maps

Bon Iver concert at Hayden Holmes Amphitheater with friends in summer of 2023
Bon Iver concert at Hayden Holmes Amphitheater with friends in summer of 2023

Enjoy a sunset at Pilot Butte

Pilot Butte is an extinct volcano that offers panoramic views of Bend and the surrounding mountains. Drive or hike to the top for a stunning sunset view that will leave you in awe.

Best time to visit: Arrive about an hour before sunset to secure a good spot and enjoy the changing colors of the sky. On a busy day you'll likely have to park at the bottom and walk to the top so wear good walking shoes or get there early!

Address: 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Dr, Bend, OR 97702 | Google Maps

Take a scenic drive on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

The 66-mile Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway takes you through some of the most picturesque landscapes in Central Oregon. Along the way, you'll pass by several beautiful lakes, perfect for a picnic or a quick swim. Highlights include Sparks Lake, Elk Lake, and Devils Lake. If you have a paddleboard or kayak these are the perfect places to put your boat in for a while. Or if you have your hiking shoes with you, hit the trail and discover this incredible region of the majestic Cascades.

Driving tip: Make sure your camera is ready, and take your time to stop and explore the many viewpoints and trailheads along the route.

Go camping off the grid

Camping off the grid allows you to fully immerse yourself in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Bend offers numerous dispersed camping sites where you can enjoy the serenity of the wilderness, surrounded by towering pines and star-filled skies. Remember to follow Leave No Trace principles to keep these areas pristine for future adventurers. Whether you're nestled by a secluded lake or deep within a forest, off-grid camping provides a unique and peaceful experience.

Pro tip: Use iOverlander to find both easily accessible camping spots and more remote locations further in the mountains. We've found some incredible free camp spots deep in the woods by both word of mouth and in the app.

Attend Bend Summer Festival

If you're visiting Bend in July, don't miss the Bend Summer Festival. This annual event features live music, local art, delicious food, and activities for all ages. It's a great way to experience the local culture and community spirit.

Dates: The 2024 festival will be held July 12-14, 2024.

Take a day trip to Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Central Oregon. Known for its stunning blue waters and steep caldera cliffs, the lake was formed over 7,700 years ago following the eruption of Mount Mazama. Visitors can drive the scenic Rim Drive for panoramic views, hike trails that offer breathtaking vistas, or take a boat tour to explore the lake's unique features up close. It's an unforgettable experience that showcases the natural beauty and geological history of the region.

Bend, OR to Crater Lake National Park: 90 mi | 1 hr 32 min | Google Maps

Address: Google Maps

Cost: $30 per vehicle (up to 8 people) or free with the America the Beautiful annual pass

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Relax at Drake Park

Located in downtown Bend, Drake Park is a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the summer weather. With its lush green lawns, river views, and walking paths, it's a favorite gathering place for locals and visitors alike. The park is dog friendly so the whole family is invited for a day of lounging in the shaded grasses next to the river.

Nearby: Grab coffee or a beer at The Commons Cafe and Taproom or grab a beer and dinner at Bend Brewing Company just down from Drake Park.  There are lots of good food options nearby due to Drake Park's location right next to downtown Bend.

Address: 777 NW Riverside Blvd, Bend, OR 97701 | Google Maps

Cost: Free

Walkway at Drake Park in Bend, Oregon
Walkway at Drake Park in Bend, Oregon
Girl and dog by river in Drake Park in Bend, Oregon
Drake park is dog friendly, too!

Stroll the streets and shops of downtown Bend

Exploring downtown Bend offers a delightful mix of unique shops, local art, and charming streets. Among the myriad of inviting spots, FOUND Natural Goods stands out with its curated selection of sustainable and locally-made products. It's a treasure trove for anyone interested in eco-friendly and artisan items. Another must-visit is Dudley's Bookshop Cafe, where you can enjoy a cozy atmosphere while browsing a thoughtfully chosen collection of books and sipping on a cup of coffee. Both spots capture the essence of Bend's creative and welcoming spirit.

Address (FOUND Natural Goods): 1001 NW Brooks St, Bend, OR 97703 | Google Maps

Address (Dudley's Bookshop Cafe): 135 NW Minnesota Ave, Bend, OR 97703 | Google Maps

Tower Theater in downtown Bend
Tower Theater in downtown Bend
Inside FOUND Natural Goods shop in Bend
Inside FOUND Natural Goods shop in Bend
Inside Dudley's Bookshop Cafe in Bend, Oregon
Inside Dudley's Bookshop Cafe in Bend, Oregon

Visit Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Discover an ancient and dynamic landscape by visiting the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. This monument encompasses over 54,000 acres of diverse terrain, including lava flows, cinder cones, and alpine lakes. Explore the impressive Lava River Cave—a mile-long lava tube—or hike to the summit of Paulina Peak for panoramic views of the surrounding area. It's a geologically rich destination that offers unique insights into the volcanic history of Central Oregon.

Address: Google Maps

Cost: Parking fee of $5 per vehicle

Final Thoughts

With its endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, stunning natural beauty, and welcoming community, Bend, Oregon is the ultimate summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts, local tourists, and adventure seekers. Whether you're hiking up a mountain, floating down a river, or enjoying a cold craft beer, Bend offers something for everyone.

Like this article? Checkout some of our other Oregon and Washington travel guides!

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Hi! We're Chris and Sara a husband and wife video making, storytelling, travel loving duo with a passion for sharing travel tips, tricks, and inspiration with others.
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