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What are the best places for water sports near Bend?

You’re in luck. There are great rafting and water sports options around here. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway offers many lakes for flatwater kayaking and boating. The Deschutes River offers kayaking and slow-rafting right in town, or sign up for a white water raft trip with Sun Country Tours, on the river southwest of town. Also in town, try out the new Bend Whitewater Park, with standing waves and awesome floating, surfing and kayaking options.

No doubt, you’ll work up an appetite. Some of my favorite places to eat nearby are Jackson’s Corner, Spork, Hola!, Brother Jon’s, the Lot, Zydeco and Bend Brewing Co.

What are the best lakes to wakeboard near Bend in June?

I’d say the most popular place for wakeboarding in Central Oregon is Lake Billy Chinook. It’s strikingly beautiful and large. Three rivers come together and are dammed into a fantastic waterway for boating.

Another popular spot is Cultus Lake. Both Billy Chinook and Cultus are about the same accessibility from Bend, but they are vastly different in terms of surroundings. Cultus is surrounded by forested mountains while Billy is in a high desert rimrock canyon. Given the time of your visit, I’d choose Billy Chinook. Cultus can be colder as it’s at a higher elevation.

Plus, Billy is simply bigger and, in my opinion, more fun to traverse than Cultus. Have fun!

What restaurants should I try in Central Oregon? Mind you, I’m a chef!

I can recommend many great restaurants. Don’t miss 5 Fusion — award-winning chef Joe Kim is amazing. Ariana and Zydeco are other excellent fine dining choices. For more casual food, try Jackson’s Corner and Nancy P’s Bakery. Also, Hola! has great Peruvian food. Definitely hit a few brew pubs — my favorites for both food and beer are Bend Brewing Co., 10 Barrel and Three Creeks Brewing. Do you need lodging recommendations too? I like the Oxford Hotel, Tetherow and Hampton Inn and Suites.

Do you have any suggestions for day trips on a motorcycle?

I can think of several scenic tours you might enjoy. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a great choice — lakes, mountains and lots of beautiful forest. Take Highway 26 east through Prineville to the Ochocos — another great backroad through forests. Old McKenzie Highway, Highway 242, is amazing, as is the Aufderheide, Scenic Highway 19. A trip to Crater Lake would be well worth the time, too. Have a great trip!

What should we do and see in Central Oregon in September?

Hi! You’re in for a treat. Central Oregon in September is so beautiful.

I have several recommendations for you. Don’t miss the High Desert Museum, which presents natural and cultural history and also has live animals on site. For hiking, try Smith Rock State Park, the Deschutes River Trail, or the Cascade Lakes region. Tumalo Falls is near Bend and easy to access. The Newberry National Monument offers cool volcanic history and views as well as a waterfall, Paulina Falls.

Take a stroll through Sisters - a fun little town with Western flair. Many events take place in Sisters in September, too. There is a ton of great dining in the area – try the Old Mill District or downtown in Bend for starters.

What else do you want to know? Have a great time!

We are staying in Klamath Falls at the end of April. What are some fun day trips we can take from here?

Oh, wow, you are in for a treat! Klamath Falls is a beautiful area with lots to see.

Bird watching and boating are popular on its many waterways. There is also a fantastic geological destination south at Lava Beds National Monument. Try fishing or rafting with Roe Outfitters.

If you are up for a two hour drive north, you’ll catch awesome views of the Cascade Mountains along the way and end up in Bend, the biggest city in Central and Eastern Oregon, where culture, dining, and lots more recreation abounds. Hit the High Desert Museum while you’re up north.

Drive just over 60 miles west of Klamath Falls and end up in Ashland, home of the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival and more great dining, culture and wonderful outdoor opportunities. Absolutely don’t miss the opportunity to drive up to Crater Lake; you’ll have to come in from the south to Rim Village – the only visitors center accessible by car in the winter. Can I answer any other specific questions? Enjoy your trip!

Where are some places to stay near Bend that offer horseback riding?

Hello! Lucky you, there are some beautiful places near Bend to ride horses! Here are my top faves:
Black Butte Ranch (large family friendly resort outside of Sisters with incredible views of the Cascade Range and Black Butte)
Brasada Ranch  (upscale resort near Prineville with luxury touches and also incredible Cascade and high desert views)
Sunriver  (very large resort and community south of Bend on the Deschutes River with tons of amenities)
Please let me know if you need more info! Have fun!

Where is a good lakeside cabin that is dog-friendly and has good fishing?

Elk Lake Resort (www.elklakeresort.net)  might be a good destination for you. Cabins allow pets, though not sure about the “run free” part. There is a beach, however, on the other side of Elk Lake that I know allows dogs off-leash. It’s called Little Fawn. Fishing is popular on the lake, as well as sailing, stand-up-paddle boarding and the like. Only other caveat is that until the Cascade Lakes Highway is plowed of snow, which typically happens around Memorial Day or later, you can’t get there except for on skis or in a snowcat! But for a summer destination, this one is great. You might also check out Paulina Lake Resort and Odell Lake Resort. Have fun!

My husband and I are planning a trip to Bend in August. We have a 14 month-old and would like to hike somewhere that isn’t too difficult and has some safe swimming holes. Any suggestions?

A great hiking option, relatively flat, is the Deschutes River Trail, which runs right through Bend. The trail system is awesome!  People do swim at McKay Park, but it’s not really safe or a swimming  hole, necessarily. If you want that, I’d head up to Elk Lake. Especially in August, the water is warm and definitely safe – try the South Beach for a shallow hole. There is a lot of hiking up there, but it’s more mountainous. Have a wonderful trip!

My fiance and I are planning on spending our honeymoon in the Bend area. We would like to see as much as we can in 5 days. We would like to see the coast or tidepools, or maybe go on some hikes. What are some great spots to visit for a young active couple on a budget? What is the best way to organize our trip so that we can get the most out of it?

I take it you haven’t been here before? I’ll tell you my top five highlights for the Bend area: The High Desert Museum, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, The Deschutes River Trail, Downtown Bend and Mirror Pond, and The Old Mill District on the Deschutes River. I would devote a day to driving the mountains (Cascade Lakes) and a couple of days to exploring town. Maybe catch a concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater? Maybe head north 45 minutes and spend a day at Smith Rock  State Park – it’s spectacular. If you want tidepools and the coast, you’ll need to drive four hours west. Well worth it, but your call if you want to take the time. Enjoy!

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