Your guide to the perfect 48 hours in Bend, Oregon this summer


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Your guide to the perfect 48 hours in Bend, Oregon this summer

Picture this: You’ve got two days to spend in beautiful Bend, Oregon this summer. That’s 48 hours or 2,880 minutes or 172,800 seconds or—you know what? Let’s quit counting and start planning the perfect Bend itinerary.

With the spellbinding Real Reel video as inspiration (plus a few of my other favorite haunts!), here’s what you can see, do, taste, and experience with two perfect days in Bend.

This is no faraway land of make-believe — This is Bend

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the full video here. After you have watched the video, be sure to enter for a chance to win a two-night Bend vacation!


8 a.m. Rise and shine in Downtown and Drake Park

A stroll through historic Downtown Bend gets better with a warm bevvy and a breakfast treat. What’s your pick—an empanada and espresso from Bellatazza? Maybe cappuccino and a crunchy-sweet liege waffle at Lone Pine? You could also try Thump for a bagel and some locally-sourced tea.

Belly filled and beverage procured, meander over to iconic Drake Park. This spellbinding 13-acre wonderland is home to Mirror Pond, not to mention countless community events, picnic tables, grassy lawns, and even an outdoor stage. Stroll the stunning pathway along the river to the scenic bridge where you can snap a pic of mountains bathed in morning light.

Pro Tip

Always follow Leave No Trace practices when you’re recreating in Bend’s outdoor spaces. Make sure our beautiful spaces stay special for years to come!

9:30 a.m Saddle up for a bike ride 

Bend’s a bike lover’s paradise, whether gravel biking’s your scene or a mountain bike ride is more your jam. We’ve also got plenty of e-bike rental shops that can help you navigate where it’s legal to pedal with electric power.

If you’re bringing your own gear, peruse our Bend biking page to explore the best spots. Craving the ease of a guided ride? Call our friends at Cog Wild and they’ll hook you up with the gear, guide, and know-how to give you the bike adventure of your dreams.

12 p.m. Lunch and an Old Mill District stroll 

You know how shopping districts tend to be bland and gray? That’s not how Bend rolls. Head for the Old Mill District where dozens of shops line a lovely stretch of the Deschutes River. Browse a fun mix of locally-owned stores and well-known chains, then find your lunch fix. You’ll have plenty to pick from, including riverfront restaurants where you can watch happy floaters and kayaks glide past.

Fly fishing on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon.

2 p.m. Snag an afternoon snack and more shopping

If you finish at the Old Mill in time to make it to Cafe des Chutes before closing time, treat yourself to an afternoon snack. Their Oregon Roll—delectable croissant dough rolled with marionberry jam topped with luscious hazelnut butter glaze—is the ultimate explosion of uniquely Oregon flavors. 

And while you’re in Bend’s Old Iron Works District, why not browse a bit? You’ll find fifteen private artist’s spaces and more than thirty cubbies filled with local arts and crafts. Sign up for a pottery class from Mud Lake Studios or browse for one-of-a-kind gifts to take home. For the fishing enthusiast in the family, Bend Fly Shop can hook you up with all the goods you need.

And hey, if shopping’s not your scene, just take your new fishing gear and head for a scenic spot on the Deschutes River. Any local shop can share the top fishing holes and what’s tempting the trout wherever you’re headed.

4:30 p.m. Plan a Shevlin Park picnic or dinner on the town 

You’re still getting the lay of Bend’s land, so it’s time for another park fix. If you’re feeling picnicky, stop first at Newport Market to fill up your basket. Now make your way to Shevlin Park and do me a favor? Put aside pictures of playgrounds and soccer fields because Shevlin’s not that kind of park. It’s a whopping 981 acres filled with towering pines, epic mountain views, a meandering creek, and nearly 1,000 acres of trails for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking.

Leave plenty of time to explore, and when you’ve had your fill, head back to your Bend hotel or vacation rental. If you didn’t get your picnic in, you’ll find plenty of great dining spots along Newport Avenue, including Flights Wine Bar, Trattoria Sbandati, Broken Top Bottle Shop, Kanpai, and more. Bon appetit! 

Foraged food experience with Wanderlust Tours in Bend, Oregon.

7 p.m. Enjoy an evening under the stars with Wanderlust Tours

It’s time for the highlight of your day. Make that starlight and moonlight as you embark on a guided adventure with Wanderlust Tours. Their offerings shift seasonally, but summertime means moonlight canoeing on the high Cascade Lakes. Leave the driving, gear, and storytelling to their talented naturalist guides as you seize the chance to see Bend’s natural beauty from the center of a moonlit lake.

Got fondness for early bedtime? Wanderlust also offers daytime tours, including lava cave outings and a unique forager tour where you’ll find and prepare a forest-fueled meal at a table tucked under towering ponderosa pines. 

However you finish your day, you’ll head back to your Bend hotel with a satisfied belly and a head filled with stars. Get a good rest! You’ve got another big day of adventure ahead of you.


8 a.m. Time to explore Tumalo Falls

Get an early start so you skip the crowds that tend to swarm Tumalo Falls this time of year. Clever of you to have a plan in place for a grab-and-go meal to start the day. How about a bagel sandwich from Big O Bagels, a tasty breakfast burrito from Los Jalapeños, an acai bowl from Active Culture, or a smoothie and breakfast sando from Mother’s Cafe?

Fortified for your morning adventure, head out for a hike at one of Oregon’s most iconic waterfalls.Tumalo Falls features a 97-foot vertical drop, plus plenty of accessible viewpoints, hiking trails, and additional waterfalls upstream. Pick the hike that fits your schedule and skills. Maybe the 6.4-mile out-and-back-trail if you’re feeling ambitious, or opt for a chill experience with just a few quick steps to the main viewing platform beneath the falls. Another quarter mile gets you to the viewpoint above for an alternate view.

Pro Tips

Headed out hiking? Read up on permits to get the skinny on which (if any) permit you need wherever your boots may take you.

Snow sticks around at high elevations. Be especially mindful of conditions in spring and early summer when seasonal road closures start lifting and snowpack dwindles. Check social media for up-to-the-minute info from agencies like the Deschutes National Forest.

Plan ahead for parking. Popular spots like Tumalo Falls, Smith Rock, and Elk Lake draw big crowds in summer months, and parking lots fill fast. Try carpooling with pals to ease congestion, and time your visit for early morning or late afternoon when crowds are smaller.


10 a.m. Head for the lake

What’s a summertime visit to Central Oregon without a little lake time? Aim for scenic Elk Lake and pack a picnic if you like. Otherwise, plan on grabbing a burger or a salad at historic Elk Lake Lodge. From here, you can rent kayaks, canoes, or even sailboats. It’s fun to watch them zip past as you enjoy a refreshing swim in this cool mountain lake.

2 p.m. Get your Mt. Bachelor fix

Sounds weird to visit a ski hill in the middle of summer, but trust me on this one—Mt. Bachelor is more than just a winter mountain. Summertime offerings include a downhill mountain bike park, a zipline course, and even dog sled rides in a wheeled cart. There’s also a fantastic new 11-mile hiking trail, courtesy of the Bend Sustainability Fund.

If you’re sticking around for supper, schedule one of their legendary Sunset Dinners. You’ll ride the chairlift to 7,800 feet for an epic dining experience filled with great food and sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains. Afterwards, enjoy the lift ride down beneath a blanket of stars.

Beer being poured at Bevel Brewing in Bend, Oregon.

5 p.m. Alternate plan: Dinner and a show!

Since Mt. Bachelor’s Sunset Dinners happen only from July to September, you may need alternate plans. But don’t think a visit to Bevel Brewing comes in second best. This friendly locals’ favorite features some of the best brews in town and a pod of food carts guaranteed to please any palate. Since Bevel’s owned by two professional disc golfers, you’ll even find a fun mini disc golf course on site.

After your meal, hit Greenhouse Cabaret to catch a quirky-cool drag show or whatever’s showing in this intimate black box theater. Buy tickets beforehand, since shows sell out fast. Bonus: See that amazing plant shop at the front of the venue? It’s been voted Bend’s best plant shop for several years in a row. Plan your morning departure to swing by Somewhere That’s Green for a living memento of your epic Bend adventure.

Congrats, friends! You’e just enjoyed the ultimate Bend experience.