The Old Mill District provides a local’s insight for three perfect days during a spring vacation in Bend, Oregon.

Spring is when we really like to stick it to our friends and family not lucky enough to call Bend, Oregon home. Cabin fever is about to break, there’s a warmth to the sunshine and there’s just a little more daylight to squeeze in a little more adventure, and quite literally, anything can happen – from snowboarding to river surfing; Nordic skiing to kayaking (with lots of great beer drinking in between.)

The perfect basecamp awaits at The Campfire Hotel in the heart of Bend. This old motor lodge is now a unique 100-room boutique where “vintage camp style meets urban adventure.” The refurbished lodge includes a salt-water pool, cozy fire-pit and fun lodge bar called The Canteen. They even offer world-famous Breedlove acoustic guitars in your room if you’d like to spend the evening jamming with the new friends you met over dinner.

Aerial photo of Campfire Hotel's saline pool under rays of sunshine in Bend, OR

Now that your lodging is set, it’s time to Bend.

Swing by Sisters Coffee Co. in the Old Mill District on your way to Mt. Bachelor for first chair. Spring skiing is as good as it gets with bluebird skies and plenty of snow. Locals will tell you April has some of the best skiing and you’ll quickly see why. But after a couple of hours of making turns, grab some lunch, call it a day early and head back into town. On your way, pull off Century Drive into Widgi Creek Golf Club for a beer on the patio and a bucket of balls on the driving range. Didn’t bring your clubs? No problem – Widgi has TaylorMade rentals available. Continue the perfect day by heading back to the Old Mill District for drinks at Greg’s Grill and dinner at Anthony’s. Ski bibs and goggle tans are always appropriate attire.

On day two, ditch the skis and lace up your hiking boots. The weather is perfect in town for a leisurely hike along the scenic Deschutes River Trail. The trail offers 12 miles of scenery and includes stretches of pavement through the Old Mill District and a more natural, rugged stretch that takes you though canyons of basalt rimrock formations, pine, ponderosa and juniper trees. Both parts of the trail are doable with kids and the Old Mill stretch of the trail features a fun playground.

After your walk or hike, venture downtown for a bite to eat and a beer at the Deschutes Brewery Public House. Deschutes is the brewery that started the (now famous) craft beer scene in Bend back in 1988 and it’s a must-visit for anyone who fancies themselves a beer connoisseur. Other great dining options include Bend Brewing Co., 900 Wall and a slice at Pizza Mondo – named Bend’s favorite pizza for like a 100 years in a row.

Bird of Prey Exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Central Oregon

Day three take a jaunt to a gem of Central Oregon – the High Desert Museum. This hands-on museum prides itself on “sharing stories of the intermountain west since 1982 through wildlife, art, history and culture.” The museum includes indoor and outdoor exhibits, interpretive trails and more that offer a glimpse into this region’s unique history. You can meet a porcupine, see a raptor up close and personal and watch the river otters playfully perform. We seem to find something new every time we go and the experience gets better and more educational/interesting with every passing year. We recommend talking with a naturalists about the raptor demonstrations, too!

Continue the Central Oregon history lesson with a visit to Lava Lands inside the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and a walk on the Trail of Molten Lands. The windy, paved path takes you through a sea of lava rocks and offers a true sense (without all the heat) of the volcanic activity Bend was built upon. (The Visitor Center is open to the public beginning in May.)

Finish the day with a burger by the river at Red Robin and a sweet treat from Sweet Tooth Candy Shoppe in the Old Mill District. It is like a trip to Candy Land itself!

Find more great ideas to curate the ultimate itinerary from our friends at Visit Bend.

Content contributed by Ted Taylor