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Bend is charming – an outdoorsy high desert paradise packed with brewpubs, antique stores, and cheerful fleece-wearing families. I’ve spent a lot of time in Sunriver, the large vacation community south of town, and as a child in nearby Black Butte. Bring your bike, skis, canoe, and hiking boots – year round it’s a sunny place filled with outdoor activities.

  • I love the **High Desert Museum – stuffed animals, interesting exhibits on the area, a nice walking path around the grounds. Another must-do.
  • We haven’t skied yet on Mt. Bachelor (a crime), but it’s reported to be world-class. 
  • *Petersen Rock Garden in Redmond is rather sad, we drove by and it needs some love. Skip!
  • **Newberry National Volcanic Monument, home of the Lava Butte lookout, is a very worthwhile stop. Walk through the volcanic rocks, great views of the surrounding countryside.
  • It’s hard to find a bad bike ride or trail around sunriver, but one of my particular favorites is the **Benham Falls East Trail.
  • The **Lava River Cave is a family-friendly cave exploration, well worth the time (arrange in advance, access is limited)

In Bend itself, **McMenamins Old St. Francis School is the popular place to stay, with bedrooms in the old classrooms and a tile-lined turkish bath swimming area.

The **Old Mill District is a nicely redone shopping area on the river, with a range of restaurants. We usually opt for **Anthony’s (burgers, good drink menu).

Crater Lake

If you do drive to Bend, don’t miss ***Crater Lake! It’s never quite on the way, but take the time for the detour! It’s really stunning, a uniquely blue experience. There are many pleasant hikes in the area, and a classic WPA-era lodge and gift shop.

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