On our first full day in Bend, OR, Luke and I drove from our campsite to the Old Mill District of Bend, OR. We found a great park, and I mean great park, to set up our “outside home office” for the morning. Within 5 minutes of sitting in the sunshine beside the Deschutes River in the middle of a city, I realized this place is magical. Dogs were everywhere. People walking their dogs, dogs swimming in the river, dogs chasing toys in the open lawn area.
So, putting my work down for a second, I started searching the web for Bend and dogs. Here’s what I found: 49% of central Oregon residents own a dog, Bend won DogTown USA in 2012, and basically everywhere is dog-friendly. Now you don’t have to leave your dog at home during your next vacation, just go to Bend.
Like I said, this place is magical, and our pups agree. Here’s the top 3 things to do with your dog in Bend:
Off-Leash Dog Parks
Bend and the surrounding National Forest have over 13 off-leash dog areas. When you have three dogs who have been cramped up in a RV all day, letting them run free (in a fenced in area) is the best. Visit Bend’s Parks and Rec for a list of parks.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit all the parks, but our favorite one out of the parks we visited was Overturf Butte Reservoir. It features 4.6 acres of natural landscape on a hill. The dogs chased birds, climbed over rocks and made a few dog friends. It was so much more exciting than a rectangular fenced grassy area. Plus they have a picnic table near the top of the hill where we were able to hang out while the dogs ran area. Time of their lives!
Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars
Bend has over 40 dog-friendly restaurants, so it’s not hard to find a place to eat while you’re out with your pup. After a quick Google search, we found Crux Fermentation Project. With or without a dog, you have to check this place out. They have a great outdoor area with corn hole, food stands, picnic tables, and of course, dogs. Luke also found his favorite Bend IPA thus far at Crux. For us celiac peeps, they have a cider and kombucha.
Taking your dog out with you in Bend is probably the best way to meet people. It’s a town of dog-lovers, so pretty much everyone will stop to say hi (to your dog initially). Being on a lengthy road trip, it’s great to talk to someone besides each other and the dogs.
Dogs are Everywhere in Bend
Since almost half of Bend residents own dogs, you see dogs everywhere you go. As a result, several shops have water bowls on the sidewalks and places to tie up your dog, if needed. It’s almost an expectation that you’ll see dogs when walking downtown around, which the best! Heading out the National Forest? You’ll see dogs standing in the river while their owner fly fishes. Walking on a trail? There goes a dog with their owner not far behind.
And with all these dogs, there’s no shortage of pet stores to pick up a souvenir before heading home.
Before you plan your next road trip, remember your sweet pup wants a vacation, too, and head to Bend. You and your dog are welcome in the happiest, most dog-friendly city ever.
Know of other dog-loving cities we should visit on our road trip? Let me know where in the comments!