We made our first trip to Bend two years ago and since then we have been longing to return. Return to the mountains, the desert and the relaxed atmosphere.
Our last visit was as bit shorter than we had hoped but we were still able to fit in some delicious meals, plenty of time in nature and a visit to our favorite museum and I’m so excited to share it all with you.
Tumalo State Park. Tumalo State Park is just minutes down the road from Downtown Bend making it the perfect spot to enjoy camping, hiking and adventuring around Bend. We love to stay in the Yurts these although if you prefer tenting or have a camper there are many great sites for you to as well.
While we do most of our eating at the campsite that doesn’t mean we don’t also want to get out there and try some spots in Bend as well. This trip we found a few great spots and one major dud.
Fix & Repeat. This little plant-based restaurant is filled with food that will nourish your body. Here you will find acai bowls, juices, smoothies, toasts and bowls. We stopped in for a light lunch and enjoyed acai bowls and avocado toasts and the best turmeric lemonade.
Wild Rose Thai. I came across this place on Yelp and made a snap decision to try it out. Assuming it would have our normal Thai dishes we were a little surprised to see the menu wasn’t as we expected and while they had clearly labeled vegan options there weren’t many and we actually almost left but considering the alternative, having to quickly get three kids out and still find somewhere to eat, we decided to stay. They were super accommodating and made a few of their kids menu vegan for our littles and Neil and I enjoyed the Gang Om and Curry Basil Noodles. Verdict? This was hands down one of the most incredible meals we have EVER eaten.
Bend Pizza Kitchen. Great little spot for vegan pizza, sandwiches and salads. We all loved the vegan caesar! Has a ton of vegan options, dairy free options and gluten free as well!
Bonta Natural Artisan Gelato. Some of the most creamiest, rich gelato I have ever had. They always have a variety of dairy free gelato and sorbetto options.
Riley Ranch Nature Reserve. This is a fantastic nature walk for little legs. It’s about a mile flat loop with some of the most breathtaking scenic overlooks. There isn’t much shade so if you are headed out in the summer make sure you bring water, hats and sunscreen. If you are feeling ambitious you can actually hike all the way from Tumalo State Park to the nature reserve.
Sunriver Nature Center.This little nature center is super interactive and filled with a variety of wildlife from bees to ground chipmunks, tons of birds free flying birds and live raptors that they have rescued. The nature center also has a beautiful path along the pond where you can spot swans, ducks and I am told the occasional otter. It’s a wonderful spot to visit with small children. There is also an observatory next door that we didn’t visit but hope to visit on a future trip.
High Desert Museum. Easily one of our most favorite museums in Oregon. We loved it so much that we bought a membership because we knew we would be returning again in the Spring. Tip: If you regularly make visits to Bend and have a family with 4 paying family members a membership pays for itself in 2 visits.
Junior Ranger Program. Whether you are staying at Tumalo, or any Oregon State Park, or are simply visiting for the day I encourage you to take advantage of this program. Geared towards children 6-12 years old it’s a wonderful interactive program that encourages kids to get involved with learning about the plants, animals and park protection. Much of our visit revolved around attending events and doing activities so that Edith could earn her Junior Ranger Badge.
Parks. There are so many amazing parks all around Bend. Do a little research and find ones that fit your children’s interest and abilities.
What are your favorite things to do in see in Bend or the surrounding areas?
Looking for more tips for Bend Oregon check our our post from our 2016 stay.