Family and Kid Friendly Activities in Bend, OR
Looking for kid friendly activities in Bend, Oregon? Bend has so much to offer for both kiddos and adults and based on our trip, I rounded up the top places to hike, play, and eat damn good food that are kid/toddler friendly.
If you follow us in Instagram then you know that The Talamo fam took a little road trip to Bend, OR last week. Oh the chronicles of traveling with a toddler will live on. Some fun lessons learned, but all in all we had a great time enjoying the sunny, laid back, and friendly town of Bend, OR. Traveling with a toddler is just a little bit different and I am still learning as I go, but I did discover some toddler/kid friendly activities related to getting outside, eating wholesome damn good food, and sweating of course! My hope is that this list will take some of the stress away from your planning! Let's be real though, vacation with kids may not actually be a vacation... note to self, live closer to grandparents in another life so they can help babysit your kids on vacation. Ours are on the other side of the country and we don't see ourselves leaving the beautiful PNW any time soon, so mama will share any hacks she comes up with along the way.
- Hike Smith Rock State Park-- Misery Ridge if you feel confident in your backpack carrier skills (there is a huge incline in the beginning so may not be worth it) or there are other trails at the park that are flat and would be a great place to have a picnic, such as the River Trail. The park is only 35 minutes from Bend and was the perfect outdoor excursion given the time of the year we went since it's a desert. We were able to do Smith Rock Misery Ridge, which is about 4 miles and make it back in time for a 1PM nap time. There are also picnic tables right by the parking area and a cute little rock climbing wall if you simply want to stop by and take in the views. Ives, Andy, and Luka did this same hike and also found it doable with the backpack carrier.
- Tumalo Falls, which is a 6.5 mile hike would be a great hike to check out if you wanted to rent snowshoes or if you go in late Spring/Summer. I probably wouldn't take Kaila here, but if I had a smaller babe that sits still this would be a good one. It's also less than 30 minutes from Bend, making it easy to get back for naptime (if that's a concern for you like it was for us).
- There are also SO many great parks all around Bend, we were looking for a playground close to where we stayed (Old Bend, close to Old Mill which is where everyone said to stay) and found Harmon Park, which is just on the other side of Drake Park. It's worth a long walk in the stroller (if you can get them to sit in a stroller) or a bike ride along the lake. I'm realizing now there is also an El Sancho close by, so you could make a whole day out of it and grab tacos and a margarita after your walk/park excursion.
Eat Damn Good Food:
- Active Culture Cafe-- This cafe was pretty much my dream. They had a large menu with fresh salads, grain bowls, smoothies, Acai bowls, coffee, tacos, and breakfast burritos. I came back three times because it was less than a quarter mile away from our AirBnB, but I would recommend stopping by if you need a second to unwind and entertain your kiddos while you enjoy a healthy and DELICIOUS treat. Not only did they have an outdoor area for your kiddos to play in a huge sandbox with slides and toys, but it's fenced in and had tables surrounding, so you can still keep an eye on your kiddo like catching up with a friend and/or partner. If you go, my favorites include the Java Joy Smoothie (added spinach), the protein Acai bowl, the wholesome bowl, fancy toast, and the classic salad. Okay, now I am a little embarrassed for how much I ate here, but I couldn't help myself especially on the days that dad worked and mama and Kai both wanted to have a little fun. I also heard great things about their breakfast burrito, but we never tried it. They also had an indoor kitchen play set, which helped keep my very active toddler busy on a day they were packed and we were just grabbing an order to go. They even have a healthy, delicious kids menu.
- Jackson's Corner-- This place has such a cute local market feel and also had an outdoor turf area for your kiddos to run around in and a kids menu that I consider upgraded. Pizza and mozzarella sticks seemed to be a favorite, but made with real homemade ingredients. We got the charcuterie plate for Kaila since she just had pizza the night before and I got a delicious salad. The meatballs were also so delicious and if you are prego like me, they have Kombucha on tap.
- Other food joints that were just SO good and you need to try are El Sancho, get their tacos and Sparrow Cafe and Bakery-- get the egg sandwich and Ocean Roll. They both were kid friendly in that they were laid back and had outdoor seating, but didn't have an area for your kiddo to run around in.
- Sister's Coffee-- if you happen to go explore the cute town of Sisters, definitely stop in Sister's Coffee Shop. They had an energy bite that gave me a run for my money and served a rotating salad based on what was in season, this always call my name! Plus, the coffee was sooo good and right across the street they had a book store where we snagged a few sticker books and a paint with water book that kept Kaila entertained for hours in the car and during our down time at the AirBNB. You could definitely find these at Target or Amazon for cheaper but it was fun to support local and also mama just didn't have time given how busy her work week was, so if any other mamas are in the same boat and are in a pinch, then check out the book store across the street from Sister's Coffee.
Sweat-- when on vacation, my sweat is usually a few at home workouts where I bring bands for resistance, but I try to take it outside if I can for a walk, run or hike. So in addition to the hikes/parks listed up top, here are a few running/walking routes in the city.
- The Deschutes River Trail-- there is a 2.7 mile loop around Oil Mill that connects to multiple other trails if you are looking for a long run or walk in the city. Kaila and I did the loop in her stroller (walking for this mama right now). But it's flat the entire time and would be a great jogging stroller route that could be extended to make even longer.
- Pilot Butte View Point-- Hike up one of the three trails to a summit view. If you go before April 15th the road up to this viewpoint is closed and would be great to run up with your jogging stroller if you are feeling brave. It's less than a mile up, but you could easily bring the hiking backpack on the trail portion if that isn't your thing. If you have older kiddos, my guess is that they could hike it themselves and it has a beautiful view of the entire city as well as the cascade mountain range to take in, including Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Black Butte and Mt. Hood.
Enjoy your trip and let us know if you give any of these a try!