It’s time to make memories
(Updated Mar. 8, 2022)
A belief close to our hearts is that family time outside is important and irreplaceable. Lucky for us, Central Oregon offers plenty in the way of family-friendly activities for all ages, ensuring your time in Bend is fulfilling, memorable and safe.
Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:
Take in the Beauty of the Deschutes River
While Bend is commonly known as the gateway to the Cascades, the Deschutes River is truly the heart of our town – and really, Central Oregon overall. Bend’s Deschutes River Trail system makes it easy for families to explore the beauty, tranquility and wildlife in and around this natural resource. Whether walking or on the saddle of a bike, the trails connect notable parks, districts and sites all through town.
Explore the Badlands
Immerse yourself among ancient juniper, volcanic vistas, sand and sagebrush – a natural area of beauty and seclusion that can only be found in the Badlands Wilderness Area located 16 miles east of Bend. With more than 50 miles of trails, you can explore the Badlands on foot, bike or horseback. You and your family will find plenty of solitude among this high desert wilderness area, along some awe-inspiring panoramic views. Just dress appropriately for the weather and download a quality map onto your smartphone. Trails are easy to moderate. Learn more from the National Park Service webpage.
Build Your Own Pies
Everyone loves pizza, right?! At Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria in Bend’s Old Mill District, kids can personalize their own wood-fired pizzas, helping ensure lunch and/or dinner is satisfying and delicious for the entire family. Flatbread also offers a menu filled with authentic recipes that stay true to the culinary traditions of Neapolitan pizza, as well as a full menu of local and regional beers and wines to warm you after a day on the slopes.
Hunt for Outdoor Art
Not all the beauty of Central Oregon is of the natural type. Our region is home to high-end artists of a variety of styles, which becomes evident as you begin to notice colorful murals adorning buildings, walls, alleyways and walkways throughout the area. Such creative beauty is a source of pride in and around Bend, and taking a walking tour of these public art pieces is a great way to learn about our town and its culture. To learn more about exploring great outdoor art in area, start with the vibrant mural scene throughout the Old Mill District.
Visit Tumalo Falls
If you love waterfalls, Tumalo Falls is an impressive site. Located about 15 minutes west of Bend, this 97-foot waterfall is surrounded by forest and cliffs that combine to make an amazing backdrop for a vacation-style family portrait. As the falls live at a higher elevation, it’s possible you’ll need to hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski the additional three miles from the main parking lot, but the payoff is worth the effort. If you need to rent snowshoes or skis for the trek, visit REI in the Old Mill District for help. And for trail information, visit the Tumalo Falls Forest Service website.
Oregon has one of the highest rates of reported Sasquatch sightings in America, and Central Oregon lies in the heart of what some consider Bigfoot country. Now, whether you believe such a beast exists or you simply feel the thrill of the unknown is reason enough to invest time and money into a new adventure, Leading Edge Aviation in Bend has you covered. This air tour company offers 30- and 45-minute helicopter tours that will net you some awesome aerial mountain and forest views along with memories your family will talk about for years.