Chill Out + Get Outside
Summer in Bend is awesome. Gorgeous, sunny days and fresh, crisp early mornings and evenings. (Puffy coats and beanies are always in season around here.) And, while summer 2020 may feel a little different than we’re used to, there are still plenty of ways to get outside to explore, play, and relax, and as the days start to heat up, you’ll want to find ways to chill out.
Here are 4 things you can do to keep your cool on hot days in Bend, Oregon:
1 – GET WET
Float the river
You can still float the river in Bend this summer, but due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, there are no tube rentals in the park and no shuttle service so you’ll want to bring your own gear and plan ahead. Park & Float is offering free parking only with no other services and proper distancing and other health and safety precautions are required.
Depending on your style of floating, you have three options:
- Short – Riverbend to McKay Park, overall time 75-90 minutes
- Short – McKay Park to Drake Park, overall time 75-90 minutes
- Long – Riverbend Park to Drake Park, overall time 120-140 minutes
For all routes, follow directions at access points and in-river signs.
Rules and best practices for floating the river in 2020:
- Bring a high-quality and durable floatie
- Wear a life jacket and proper footwear
- Bring a dry bag and sunscreen
- Always supervise children and non-swimmers in and around the water, there are no lifeguards on the river
- Secure items to avoid littering and leave your glass items at home
- Alcohol use is illegal on the river and parks, as is cannabis
- Stay six feet from others on land and on water and wait for others to enter/exit at river access points – don’t clog up access
- Visit less popular sections and/or at less busy times and go with members of your household or small groups – no large groups
- Wash hands before and after a visit
- Bring your own water as drinking fountains are not available
- If you’re sick, stay home
- Bend Park & Recreation District – river safety, parking information, maps, and more
- Visit Bend – What to know about floating the river in Bend during the 2020 COVID pandemic
- Float the river – Sunriver – head south of Bend for a scenic and peaceful float through beautiful Sunriver
Ride the waves
The Whitewater Channel of the Bend Whitewater Park is your destination for whitewater kayaking, surfing or paddleboarding. This center channel of the park has four wave features for emerging to expert whitewater enthusiasts. Bend Whitewater Park is a feat of innovation and engineering with complexities and seasonal variables keeping the river recreation operators – or wave shapers – busy year-round. Less than 1/10th of a degree in gate movement can mean the difference between good and world-class.
Explore the lakes
There are 14 alpine lakes along the historic Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, easily reachable from Bend within a few minutes. The drive is 66 miles from start to finish and you’ll see spectacular scenery along the way so don’t forget your camera! Enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, camping, hiking, great food, and more. Whether you’re heading up for the day or you plan to stay for longer, you can’t go wrong at any of these beautiful spots:
Hit the pool
Juniper Swim & Fitness 50-meter outdoor pool and 25-meter indoor pool are now open for lap swim, workouts on your own, water exercise classes, and family swim. All use requires advanced registration, more information here.
Cascade Swim Center in Redmond is open with limited hours and by reservation only for lap swimming and water walking, with one person per lane. Make a reservation here.
Enjoy summer fun and pool time with a Central Oregon area resort staycation:
- The Athletic Club at Brasada Ranch features two outdoor pools, one indoor pool, one indoor tots’ pool, two
- Choose from five swimming pools when you stay at Black Butte Ranch, currently available for resort guests by reservation
- outdoor spas, and the outdoor big yellow slide is currently open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
- Sporting an infinity pool, two outdoor spa pools plus a kids’ splash deck, the Quarry Pool at Caldera Springs is a marvel of moving and falling water
- Eagle Crest offers outdoor pools and a kid’s splash pad for resort guests
- With three pools (including two family-friendly pools), and a cavernous water slide, Pronghorn Resort is a favorite destination for summer fun
- Seventh Mountain Resort has two outdoor pools and three outdoor hot tubs for resort guests to enjoy during their stay
- Sunriver’s SHARC facility is now open in a limited capacity for resort guests with indoor and outdoor pools and water slides available by reservation only
2 – GO UNDERGROUND
Explore the vast network of caves near Bend, Oregon! These large, cool lava tube caves are fun to explore and fascinating for the whole family. Bend’s lava caves have a delicate ecosystem that few have experienced to the fullest and Wanderlust Tours is the only guide company permitted in these special lava caves.
Outfitted with helmets and headlamps, your professional naturalist guides will help you discover secret rooms and teach you all about the history of the cave. As you journey through the cave, you will learn about the unique organisms that live and grow within this delicate environment. Learn more and book your cave tour with Wanderlust Tours here.
In Redmond, visit a small piece of public land that hosts a group of 5 caves formed by volcanic flows of molten lava from the Newberry Caldera. Enjoy the cool underground on a hot summer day and follow in the footsteps of Native Americans who used the caves over the last 6,000 years. Nestled inside Redmond’s city limits, and managed in partnership with the City of Redmond, the caves offer a great way to take learn about geology, wildlife, and past human use. Learn more about the Redmond Caves here.
3 – HEAD TO THE MOUNTAIN
While the winter ski season is over, summer fun on the mountain is just beginning. Head up to Mt. Bachelor for fresh mountain air, amazing scenery, and outdoor adventures such as biking, hiking, chair lift rides, disc golf, sunset dinners, and of course, the zipline! Learn more about the zipline and all summer adventures and experiences on Mt. Bachelor here.
Mt. Bachelor Quick Links:
4 – HYDRATE
It’s no secret, we’ve got plenty of liquid libations in town; from beer, to cider, to kombucha, to distilled beverages. Experience the famous Bend Ale Trail, hop on the Cycle Pub, or just sit outside (at a safe distance, of course) at one of the gazillion brewpubs around town with a cold one in hand (see interactive map below):
Now, more than ever, we want to support our local breweries, pubs, and local businesses and encourage you to visit, order takeout, or purchase giftcards for future use. Read more: 5 ways to enjoy local craft beer and support our breweries and pubs right now.
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