Every year I declare a winner for best travel destination I visited over the past 12 months, and today I proclaim this past year’s winner to be: Bend, Oregon! Read on to learn why.
Getting to Bend, OR from Portland
Bend, Oregon is located three hours east of Portland, OR, but don’t be daunted by the trip: the Portland to Bend drive is stunningly gorgeous if you want to rent a car, and if you’d prefer public transport, the Amtrak train is very affordable. There are also several flights available.
Why is Bend, Oregon Fun?
So why do so many people love visiting Bend? First, it is the perfect-sized town (at 93,000 people, not too small to be boring, but not to big to be stressful), idyllically positioned along the Deschutes River, nested between a set of breathtaking mountains and lakes along the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway — chock-full of stores and eateries.
Restaurants in Bend, OR
You could stay in Bend for a month and still not run out of places to eat, or breweries to sample! The range of prices and cuisine types also varies wonderfully. My foodie favorite was Sparrow Cafe and Bakery.
Sparrow Bakery in Bend
The line to get our baked goods and breakfast sandwiches was long, but seats on the patio (pictured above) opened up quickly. I went back multiple times, and my chocolate-chip-cookie-loving self was not disappointed by the Sparrow version, pictured in its crispy glory below.
Cool Car Culture in Bend, OR
The region around Bend, Oregon is also known for people with epically cool cars. You’ll see car camping configurations (see the photo below), and repair shops with more character than the hottest TV show.
Bend, Oregon Hotels
I loved the Bend, OR hotel we stayed in! (Note: The following is an affiliate link that provides a small commission at no extra cost to you.) The Campfire Hotel, pictured below, is the perfect mix of unique flavor, community feel (it’s got lovely public campfires, a pool, and a general store), and delightful kitsch — all while being comfortable and clean.
Campfire Hotel, Bend, Oregon
Do note that the Campfire hotel isn’t located directly in the center of town — it’s a little bit of a walk (or drive) — but it’s easy enough, and that removed location provides a calmer feel… though if you visit around July 4 as I did, there’s a fireworks stall right across the street!
Thanks, Bend, Oregon!
So what about you? If you’ve visited Bend, OR, how was it for you? If you haven’t been yet, does it seem like a spot you’d like to see? Do share!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!