Today is my last full day in Oregon, and this post is all about the magical city of Bend. In fact, it’s official: Bend stole my heart. This month has been perfect. If I could, I would like to put September 2022 on repeat for a while.
A few years ago, I read a book on the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement. The author and his wife were on a quest to find the best place to live in the United States, based on the cost of living and quality of life. After a year of cross-country exploration, they ended up moving to Bend. It’s been on my radar ever since. When I started traveling earlier this year, I knew I had to spend time here.
Located in the geographic center of Oregon between the Cascade Mountains and the high-desert climate, Bend has more sunny days than cloudy ones, the friendliest people I’ve ever met, and seemingly endless outdoor activities. It truly is “Oregon’s adventure capital.”
This whole month I’ve been in an outdoor oasis, far from big city life. But at the same time, I can drive into town and find any store or restaurant I’m used to. From the City of Bend website: “With a population of around 100,000, we’re a small city or big town, depending on perspective. Big enough to have great restaurants and other amenities, small enough that everyone is friendly.”
Bend is definitely experiencing a population boom. I’m staying a few miles from the west side of town, where housing developments are popping up everywhere. One day I drove around town for 40 minutes, and every home, business, sidewalk, or road looked like it was built in the last year or two.
Some quick Bend fun facts:
- Bend averages 158 clear days per year, with an additional 105 days that are mostly sunny.
- It’s a great place to raise a family—or a dog. There are so many dogs!
- The last Blockbuster on Earth is in Bend.
- The Deschutes River twists through town, where people tube—and even surf—whenever the weather is nice, which is basically every day.
- Roundabouts are my favorite type of intersection, and they’re everywhere in Bend. There are so many, the city has created awesome roundabout sculptures to make them more exciting.
- Bend has over 30 breweries and 24 dispensaries in town.
The Bend Pledge
Bend is a special place, indeed. With more and more people discovering it and moving here, city officials are doing everything they can to keep it special. They encourage everyone who visits to take The Bend Pledge:
- Smile, say please and thank you, give right-of-way, and simply slow down.
- Adventure and explore in a manner that is respectful to the land, wildlife, and the people you share it with.
- Plan and prepare for your time on the trails, in the mountains, and on the water.
- Walk more, drive less, and stick to established trails, routes, and parking areas.
- We must take care of the places that take care of us; we are all visitors here.
Driving around Bend this week has been bittersweet. I honestly don’t want to leave! I can’t wait to come back. Maybe during a winter month so I can explore the endless number of trails on snowshoes!
I’ve created a photo gallery of my favorites from my time in Bend. Enjoy!