We travel full-time in our Bago, but consider Central Oregon “home.” For the third year in a row, we have spent at least a couple of months here during the summer and have still only scratched the surface of all the things to do and see. Bend is the largest city in Central Oregon and the secret is out that this former lumber town is a world-class destination for beer and outdoor recreation. Here are our current favorites for where to camp, eat, drink, and play.
As Thousand Trails members, our choice is the Bend-Sunriver RV Campground just outside of town next to the Sunriver Resort area. The campground features large spots and access to the nearby Deschutes river and Mt. Bachelor. We might be biased, but we think Oregon has some of the nicest state parks anywhere, and if you get into La Pine State Park or Tumalo State Park, we think you will agree. The Bend area also has plenty of public land where boondocking is allowed. Check Campendium for the details, and get more boondocking tips here.
Drinks & Eats
If you’re a beer lover, you have come to right place as the Bend area boasts one of the highest per capita concentrations of craft breweries. On the Bend Ale Trail, you can visit breweries to get a passport stamp in your map or app to earn a free trophy. Some of our favorites are Crux Fermentation Project, GoodLife, Boneyard, and McMenamin’s Old Saint Francis (Jaime’s former Catholic grade school). Don’t forget to designate a driver or utilize ride-sharing options, which now include Uber.
You can grab a bite at most of the brewpubs, but probably the best happy hour deal is found at the Pine Tavern where $5 scores you a half pound burger and kettle chips. McMenamin’s also has a great daily happy hour. Many cities now have food trucks, but Bend ups the game with fire-pits, seating, and beer on tap at The Lot and The Bite.
In winter, Mt. Bachelor is the big draw for skiers and snowboarders. Ski season can extend well into spring and even summer on a good snow year.
In warmer months, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, open June through October, offers opportunities for hiking and enjoying alpine lakes.
Outside Magazine also named Bend its “2014 Best SUP Getaway.” The Deschutes River has a range of areas from whitewater to calm, including the Old Mill District where you can float down the river in a tube and catch a ride back on a shuttle in summertime. My favorite mountain bike trail also follows the Deschutes River. It’s just an overall great outdoor place!
Is the Bend area on your RVing bucket list yet?