Have you noticed all the talk about Bend, Oregon in recent years? It seems almost everyone I know is planning a trip or has just been there, including Coastal Lifestyle feature photographer Lindsey Meeks, who shared photos from his recent trips with us for this article.
There’s good reason the Pacific Northwest and Bend are travel hot spots: the high-desert weather is nearly perfect for year around outdoor activities and there are some interesting things going on indoors as well. Summers aren’t as rainy as the rest of the region, with warm days and cool nights. Winters are cold and snowy, but with abundant sunshine. The Deschutes National Forest and the Cascade Mountains surround the city—in fact, some mountain trails start right at the town’s main street—so it’s also a hiking and mountain biking haven. There are unique lava caves, formed by molten lava flows from ancient volcanoes, and rivers for whitewater rafts, standup paddles, or float trips.
“Frankly, I don’t think I could ever run out of great places to take photos. It’s a photographer’s dream,” Meeks said. “I liked hiking at Smith Rock State Park and along the Columbia River Gorge, both of which are beautiful. McKenzie River is amazing and just one hour from Bend. I took tons of photos of waterfalls there and the famous ‘Blue Pool,’ where the river returns to the surface after traveling underground for three miles. The color of the water there is gorgeous, a topaz blue that is almost iridescent.”
The area’s highest peak, Mount Bachelor, is also only a few minutes from Bend and presents more opportunities for photos and fun. “I was skiing there well into May, which was pretty cool,” Meeks said. According to reports, the mountain didn’t close for skiing until the end of May in 2016, a fairly typical year.
When you must go indoors, Bend is home to award-winning restaurants and art galleries, distilleries, wineries, and nearly 25 breweries (most on the Bend Ale Trail), giving this city of 82,000 people the most breweries per capita than an other city in the U.S. One other thing to mention: The recreational use of marijuana is legal in Oregon, so there are plenty of places to buy it in Bend. Using it, however, is a bit more complicated and you can read more about that here: www.whatslegaloregon.com
No matter what your preference when it comes to recreation, indoors or out, you’ll find it in and around Bend, Oregon.