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Bend, Oregon takes preservation and conservation seriously, with locals putting forth the effort to keep things clean and pristine, while still enjoying the natural gifts of the area’s beautiful landscapes. Travelers can do the same thing by keeping an “ecotourism mindset” while visiting. Visit Bend even asks that you take The Bend Pledge to maintain a standard of environmental conduct while here. Check out these great activities to help keep your earth-friendly goals when in town.
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Bend Oregon Nature Photography Tour
What Is It? Wanderlust Tours hosts a huge variety of excursions, from snowy bonfire trips to summer lake canoeing. Another great one is the nature photography tour, which gives a lesson in both capturing surroundings, and interpreting them.
Why Do It? A photography tour can enhance your skills, while taking you deeper into places you may would have never gone. It has little impact on the environment.
Good to Know: You’ll need to bring your own gear, but transportation from Bend is typically provided. Dress in layers and for whatever season.
Hiking Areas like Tumalo Falls
What Is It? Bend borders the Deschutes National Forest, and other natural scenery of central Oregon, so the land of volcanoes and rivers is a pristine one to hike. Traverse to Tumalo Falls for sky-high views of a towering waterfall, or follow the path to the Metolius River.
Why Do It? Hiking is a way to experience nature while having little impact on the earth. We can even do our part along a trek by picking up any trash to keep things gorgeous.
Good to Know: Always pick up pup poo and take your bags out with you. Keep a “leave no trace” mentality when hiking any of Bend’s nearby trails.
Kayaking the Deschutes
What Is It? Kayaking trips can venture out on some of the various nearby lakes, or onto the Deschutes River, a well-conserved feature that runs through the heart of the city. Tours can last from a couple of hours to a whole day.
Why Do It? Kayaking the Deschutes, you might see native wildlife, like river otters or soaring osprey, while gently floating the surface in a fuel-free vessel.
Good to Know: Always be mindful of wildlife habitats and enjoy viewing from a distance. Warmer months are more pleasant for kayaking as you’re bound to get even the tiniest bit wet.
What Is It? Bend is famous for its dark sky, which is illuminated by countless bright dots at night. Even in town one can look up and appreciate the vibrancy of the stars in this part of the United States.
Why Do It? Being this close to a healthy town, it’s awesome that one can see the display so crisply. It’s easy to park somewhere and lie in the back of the truck with a few snacks on hand. Bonus—it’s free.
Good to Know: Looking for something a bit more educational? Do you want to know exactly what you’re looking at? Stargaze with an expert at an observatory. Worthy Brewing actually has a pretty awesome one, with a scientist on hand, and they only ask for donations.
What Is It? Bend has more breweries per capita than anywhere else around, thanks to flawless volcanic water that makes for great brews. Most establishments are quite eco-friendly and use tactics like thermal energy and recycling. Brewery tours mark off major stops along the Bend Ale Trail—even Wanderlust Tours hosts spectacular trips.
Why Do It? Guests will get to taste a variety of this environmentally friendly beverage while learning a bit about the beer-making process.
Good to Know: Be sure to download the Bend Ale Trail Passport to be stamped at each stop—you can win prizes. The Visit Bend site provides extra info if you want to do a self-guided tour, for example, info about alternate transportation!
What Is It? Ditch the car and bike the two-wheel friendly downtown area. Parking can be hard to find in any city, so bikes are a great option for your night out. No fuel-burning vehicle means you are making the earth a little healthier.
Why Do It? It’s good for the earth! And of course, it’s a fun way to see everything a little more up close. Downtown has fairly easy terrain to traverse.
Good to Know: Bend is even more famed by cyclists for challenging mountain biking trails, so take advantage of that if you are really into the sport.
Visit the High Desert Museum
What Is It? The High Desert Museum is a unique mix of wildlife and history exhibits, that come together first hand to help those who visit more deeply appreciate Bend’s past, and current natural state.
Why Do It? Kids and adults can see native animals up close and learn about their importance. This helps us understand why conservation is so vital as well. At the same time, Native American artifacts and art help us appreciate the early years.
Good to Know: The museum is typically open from 10am-4pm, and tickets are available for purchase online. This is a great place to take kids for a day of education while having fun.
What Is It? Bend is brimming with locally fused shops, whether downtown or sprinkled through the outskirts. Oregon Body & Bath offers handmade soaps and the most moisturizing lotions made by residents. Thrift stores and antique shops can be commonly sighted.
Why Do It? When you shop local, you are fueling that economy, which is ultimately environmentally friendly. Products that are made around Bend also have a certain level of quality and purity.
Good to Know: Even if you are shopping in a bigger store, there’s often products made by locals. These items sometimes feature a made in Oregon sticker or stamp.
What Is It? Eating local is easy in Bend—fast-food chains are swallowed by a buzzing foodie scene with delicious regional dishes made with refined techniques. Finding allergen-friendly food is a breeze as well.
Why Do It? Same as when shopping locally for your souvenirs, tourists can help the economy rather than filling corporate pockets. And we all know those carefully crafted eats at those long operating joints taste the best.
Good to Know: Where to start? Bangers and Brews is a small joint with some serious comfort food of fries and sausages. Riff has a killer coffee-infused Bloody Mary. Sparrow Bakery makes delicate breads that they either use for sandwiches, or they ship off to other local restaurants for their tasty creations. Looney Bean has the strangest, best latte—the Killer Bee with honey, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. It’s not a stretch finding incredible food in Bend that’s also beneficial to the environment.