I’m obsessed with dogs. When I’m away I miss my dogs so intensely that, while traveling with one of my friends, she said she was afraid I’d have a seizure whenever I saw a dog available for petting. Luckily, I live in Bend, so 90 percent of the time I’m in “dog town USA” with my critters close by. In another stroke of luck, Bend is extremely dog friendly, so I can take my dogs out with me nearly everywhere I go.
If you are also the parent of a canine fur baby, Bend might be the perfect place for your next family adventure. Here are a few things I’ve found in the area that are perfect for your pup.
Go to the dog park
If your puppies play well with others, Bend has a variety of off-leash dog parks. The styles of park vary, depending on what you (and your dog) like best. On Bend’s west side in the Old Mill District, is a wide open park that sits right on the Deschutes River. The nice thing about this park is you can keep a watchful eye wherever your pup is frolicking (plus the views can’t be beat). On the east side, the Pine Nursery dog park has two sections: one for small dogs and one for large. With varied terrain, trees and bushes, this one provides some interesting places to sniff. There are actually eight official off-leash dog parks in Bend, so you can certainly find one that fits your needs.
Go out to eat
You read that right. While health code doesn’t allow animals inside most buildings (unless service animals), the Old Mill District has many offerings for people dining with their dogs. Better yet? Most of these options include outdoor patio dining overlooking the picturesque river! If you head to downtown Bend, J-Dub restaurant is debuting its new “dog friendly” menu and housemade “Pooch Hooch,” a nonalcoholic non-carbonated Amber ale just for your dog.
Take a hike
Known for its great outdoor recreation options, Central Oregon is the perfect place to get outside and get some exercise with your best friend. Stay near the riverside with a network of trails in the heart of Bend, complete with interpretive signage, or venture further out to the Cascade Lakes Highway where day hikes abound, including my favorite to Green Lakes. My dogs are old now, and one even rides in a stroller, so it is great to have so many options in order to still enjoy time with them in the outdoors.
Spend the night
One of the hardest things for families traveling with dogs is finding pet friendly lodging, especially for larger breeds. You can filter searches online for hotels that allow pets, like MyPlace Extended Stay Hotel or Townplace Suites by Marriott. Most require an additional fee, but usually no more than it would cost you to board your dog – plus the added cost of your unhappiness at being without him or her.
There’s no need to leave a precious family member behind when you travel to Bend. Bring your fur baby along and enjoy the area with many dog-friendly options for your next vacation.