Bend vs. beach: Why you should spring break in Bend, Oregon
February 16, 20246 minute read
If your idea of vacation is plunging down whitewater rapids, descending into cavernous lava tubes, flying over whoop-dee-doos on a mountain bike, or sampling some of the world’s finest beers, then Bend, Oregon is the ideal destination for your next adventure.
With so many things to do in Bend, why not make it easy on yourself and learn from the experts on a guided tour? Leave the planning to the pros, get local intel the right equipment for the adventure, and make a new friend or two. From kid and family-friendly activities to seasoned pros looking for their next outdoor pursuit, Bend has plenty of tour operators to feed the excursion needs of everyone in your group.
Here are some outstanding guided tour options in Bend, Oregon, that will help you experience the area’s natural beauty, rich history, and endless outdoor adventures.
Wanderlust Tours is an outdoor tour company specializing in unique, naturalist-guided outdoor experiences in the Bend, Sunriver, and Sisters areas. They’re the premier specialist for Central Oregon outdoor activities, offering a variety of experiences such as canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing, caving, hiking, and more. Renowned for their knowledgeable, approachable, and professional guides, Wanderlust Tours goes above and beyond to help connect guests of all ages and abilities to the great outdoors and instill an appreciation for the natural world.
In the summer, paddle out in the onto the pristine waters of a Cacade lake on a moonlit canoe tour. Go underground and explore the vast network of lava caves. Or get a front-row seat for a vivid sunset at the top of a lava butte on a Volcano and Sunset Hiking Tour.
When the snow falls, explore the powder-covered Cascade Mountains on snowshoes. Wanderlust offers several guided snowshoe adventures, from starlit to daytime tours. Each trip is full of exploration and fun for all abilities and skill levels. And Wanderlust even brings the hot cocoa.
Wanderlust also offers customized tours. Celebrate your corporate event, family reunion, birthday surprise, or any other special event in outdoor style.
If your dream Bend vacation is riding mountain bikes on fast and flowy singletrack, you better call Cog Wild. They offer some serious fun with daily shuttles and guided mountain bike rides. They’ll not only make sure you get the ride you’re looking for, but their trips include an experienced guide, a post-ride beverage, and can include a rental bike. And they’re pros when it comes to safety, mechanical support, and being all-out awesome riding buddies.
From full-day rides to private group camping vacations and family tours, Cog Wild has the intel and expertise to crank up your stoke level on the trail.
On a hot summer day there is absolutely nothing that compares to cruising through whitewater on a rafting tour. Sun Country Tours and Ouzel Outfitters lead half and full-day river rafting trips on the McKenzie and Deschutes. If you really want to get away, check out Ouzel’s multi-day tours — spend 2 or more days rafting and camping along the Deschutes or Mackenzie river, while their experienced guides chef up tasty meals.
Saying that fishing in Central Oregon is a passion is an understatement. It’s an obsession, a frenzy, and for some locals, it’s their livelihood. Because we’re such a fishing destination, the area has several fantastic shops and guide services. Deep Canyon Outfitters, Bend Fly Shop, and The Fly Fisher’s Place, among others, are ready to get you hooked. Choose from half-day or full-day trips or even a multi-day adventure on the Deschutes River. Shops provide the gear you need and, most importantly, an experienced fly fishing guide.
Central Oregon is a rock climber’s paradise, offering a wide range of opportunities from indoor bouldering to world-class sport climbing at Smith Rock State Park. If you need a climbing guide, you’ll find experienced American Mountain Guides Association-certified climbing guides at Smith Rock Climbing School and Chockstone Climbing Guides. Both cater to brand-new and experienced climbers and even kids. Smith Rock Climbing School provides customized climbing adventures, including private, group, and family-friendly guided trips to clinics that challenge and expand your skills. Chockstone Climbing Guides offers a wide range of climbing trips and programs led by local and experienced guides who know the best routes for your skill level. Both companies offer professional, friendly climbing instruction for all abilities and ages.
There’s nothing quite like seeing the beauty of Central Oregon from above in a hot air balloon, airplane, or helicopter tour. Watch the land and geographical features become something completely new, changing shape and color before your eyes as you look down in infinite wonder. Get a glimpse of Central Oregon from above in a peaceful hot air balloon ride with Big Sky Balloon Company. Discover the wonder of Central Oregon from the comfort of a helicopter with Leading Edge Aviation. If you prefer airplanes, consider a tour with Bend Aircraft, which offers a whole menu of scenic aerial tours.
For a wild ride, book with Outriders Northwest for the ultimate all-terrain adventure. Choose from two to four-hour trips exploring the high desert, volcanic buttes, and Ponderosa forest, where they guide, but you drive. Trips are great for couples, families, large groups, and individuals of all ages and abilities.
When the snow hits, look to Central Oregon Adventures—Snowmobile and SXS Excursions for customized snowmobile trips led by professional guides. Choose from a two-hour trip perfect for newbies and kids that takes you around Mt. Bachelor. If you want to add more thrill, the four-hour trip explores high mountain terrain and stops at Elk Lake Lodge for lunch.
When your kids have loads of energy and ideas about what they want to do, take a big old chunk of stress off your plate while satisfying their curiosity, energy levels, and interests by taking a kid-friendly tour. Wanderlust Tours is here to engage and immerse your entire family in our great outdoor playground, from kayaking, canoeing, or snowshoeing. Sun Country Tours and Ouzel Outfitters both offer morning and afternoon whitewater trips on the Deschutes River, as well as multi-day rafting trips. For some spooky fun, Bend Ghost Tours will lead you through the haunted streets of downtown to learn about buried secrets and famous ghosts.
While you’ll find loads of guided tours, you can also enjoy some amazing self-guided tours around Bend. For you foodies, The High Desert Food Trail is a self-guided agricultural and culinary tour featuring 45 unique businesses throughout Central Oregon serving up inviting flavors, stunning views, and experiences you’ll never forget. If you came to Bend to drink our beer, the Bend Ale Trail is a must! It includes over 30 breweries in seven different territories, where you can sample a little or a lot of the award-winning craft beers made right here in Central Oregon. Or how about learning a little something about Bend? The Roundabout Art Route, The Deschutes Historical Museum, and The Bend Hunt are great ways to take in some Bend culture and history.
When exploring the area with a guided tour, here are some friendly tips to ensure you make the most of your experience.