Bend Sustainable Travel Guide: Beers, Mountain Biking and the Last Blockbuster

This post was made in collaboration with Visit Bend. As always, all opinions are our own and we would never promote a destination that we didn’t truly believe in. Bend, Oregon is the real deal when it comes to genuine sustainable travel and a care for our planet.

A trip to Bend, Oregon is so much more than just a weekend away or a family vacation. It’s an all encompassing experience full of exhilarating outdoor adventures, culinary delights and world class craft beers. Traveling to Bend also gives you an opportunity to support a destination that prioritizes and supports sustainable travel. Our Bend sustainable travel guide will show you all the best places to eat, drink, stay and experience around Bend.



Where to Stay in Bend

Bend offers a range of different accommodation options to suit your budget and needs. Family vacation, bougie weekends, group trips or solo adventurers will all find what they’re looking for in Bend’s large and varied selection of accommodation.


sustainable accommodation in Bend Oregon


For us the LOGE Bend provided everything we needed. Just a five minute drive from downtown, LOGE Bend is located on the edge of the Deschutes National Forest, which makes it the perfect jumping off location to explore the wilderness. We loved LOGE Bend because of their emphasis on outdoor adventuring, as well as supporting the environment. They not only prioritize sustainability at their lodging, but they put their money where their mouth is by giving back to nonprofits and groups that help support the protect and preserve the environment.


Where to Eat and Drink in Bend

Don’t be fooled by the breweries and your old ideas about bar food, Bend has some serious gastronomical delights sprinkled around town. Pub grub has come a long way from the standard hot fries, overcooked burgers and whatever other unflavored foods who’s only goal is to fill your stomach so you can drink more. In the era of the microbreweries and craft beers we’re also seeing the craft menus expand to pair perfectly with the beers.


what to do in Bend Oregon


Breweries such as Bend Brewing Company and Boneyard, along with being some of our favorite beers in Bend, also have delicious food menus on offer. If the breweries don’t offer a full menu selection of foods they almost always offer at least bar snacks and have food vendors onsite serving up the perfect beer pairings to fill up that tummy (and soak up the beer).

Crux Fermentation Project is another of our favorite beers and locations to visit in Bend. They have some of the best beers in the biz, an awesome establishment and make the perfect spot to post up for an afternoon session in the sun. Crux has most of the traditional pub snacks on their menu, but they’ve also got food vendors outside. The El Sancho food at Crux makes these even more of a drawcard, because those tacos are bomb dot com. We’d also recommend checking out El Sancho’s main restaurants in town where there’s a wider selection of food.


things to do in Bend Oregon


Other awesome eating locations include:

  • Kanona Cafe has healthy smoothie bowl breakfasts, coffee and is the perfect was to start the day
  • Wild Rose specializes in Northern Thai cooking and is some of the best we’ve had since being back in Thailand. The curry dishes were on point and the deep fried crispy spare ribs were out of this world
  • Boxwood Kitchen and Supper Club has a varied menu of and everything we tried was delicious, especially the brussels sprouts appetizer


Bend Ale Trail

Ok, while we’re on the subject of Bend beer, let’s really dive into it. The Bend Ale Trail is exactly what it sounds like; a trail full of ales in Bend. But much more than just a couple of nice breweries to check out, the Bend Ale Trail is a carefully constructed itinerary of 30 world class breweries that are dotted around the city center and outskirts of Bend. Along with the 30 breweries, there’s also 17 non-beer related stops that include spirits, cider, wine and kombucha. There’s literally something for everyone!


Bend Ale Trail passport


All the locations are neatly compiled into a small booklet called the Bend Ale Trail Passport, divided into 7 territories around town. Each territory has a list of breweries to collect a stamp from once you’re purchased a beverage. The passport is also a convenient mobile app that can be accessed on your phone, but trust us, you’ll want the physical passport as a souvenir.

Collect all the stamps in one particular territory and then head to the Bend Visitor Center to redeem a fun prize. Collect all seven territories and aside from being really drunk, you are officially the Bend beer master and receive an even more special prize. We won’t spoil the surprise!

But what if I don’t drink? Fear not, the Bend Ale Trail is all encompassing and has a unique Designated Driver reward for anyone who is driving their group around for the day. At the back of the passport there is a spot to collect DD stamps. Once you’ve collected 5 stamps you can redeem your special Designated Driver reward from the Bend Visitor Center. Good on you for keeping everyone safe! 


Outdoor Activities

Bend might be famous for its beers, but it’s also an incredible destination for spending time outside (and no, we don’t just mean hanging out in a beer garden!). Take advantage of the river, national forest areas, caves, climbing, mountains and any other outdoor adventure activity you can think of. Bend has it all!

In town there’s beautiful Drake Park that runs along the Deschutes National River. Take a walk through the park and pass over the wooden bridges to explore all it has to offer. On the river itself you can kayak, standup paddle board or canoe your way leisurely through the town, or take on the whitewater rapids for that extra level of thrill.


sustainable activities in Bend Oregon


Just a short drive outside of town there are lava caves to explore, the snowy slopes of Mount Bachelor in the winter and amazing rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park. There are also plenty of beautiful trails to run, hike or walk the dog as you explore the forest and surrounding areas. 


Downhill Mountain Biking

During our visit to Bend we ventured into the Deschutes National Forest with Cog Wild mountain biking tours. While we both enjoy biking around the city, this was the first time that we’d both been on proper downhill mountain bikes and hit the rocky trails.

Cog Wild is conveniently located at the back of LOGE Bend where we were staying, so we had no excuse but to be on time for the tour (punctuality can be a struggle for us!). After rolling out of our room with a minute to spare we assembled at Cog Wild to get fitted for our bike, helmet and gloves, before jumping in a minivan that would take us up the mountain and into the forest.


outdoor activities in Bend


Once on the trail our guide took us through a tutorial on how to handle the bikes and the trails. We’d be traveling down single track trails and the adventure started almost instantly as we encountered some narrow paths and rocky downhill sections right off the bat.

Over the next couple of hours we cruised through the forest, stopping to get expert guidance for any of the trickier sections. We rode across wooden planks, jumped off small boulders, weaved around rocks and enjoyed the smoother, more chill, segments of the route. Our guide was experienced, encouraging and really knew his stuff! It was definitely an adrenaline pumping activity, but we had so much fun pushing ourselves to try some of the more adventurous paths and challenges!


Shop Sustainably, Shop Local

An easy way to be a sustainable traveler in Bend is to shop locally and support local businesses. Not only do you get the authentic Bend experience by shopping from local artisans, eating local foods and doing tours with locals who know the area best, but you also help keep your tourist dollars inside the local Bend economy.

By doing so you ensure local businesses can continue to provide the best and most authentic experiences for future travelers. You also support businesses that have Bend’s best interests at heart, because they’re run by locals who live, work and socialize in Bend.


responsible travel in Bend Oregon


If you’re thinking to yourself, “well all I’ve done so far is visit breweries and drink beer” then lucky for you you’re already shopping locally! One of the best things about Bend is the local owned breweries (and other beverages) that brew and operate right in town.

Aside from the beverages there’s also a wide selection of local shops in the downtown area. Bend has a relatively small city center, so walking around doesn’t take long. Grab yourself an ice-cream at Bontà, one of Oregon’s top gelato spots, and window shop the streets of Bend.

Still thinking of beers while you shop? Not to worry, many of the boutique and hipster shops can help you quench that thirst by offering up complimentary sample size beers while you shop. Flip through racks of plaid shirts with a hazy IPA in hand and really soak in the Bend atmosphere.


The Last Blockbuster in Bend

If you were born anytime after 2010 then you’re going to have to bear with us here. It might be hard to see the nostalgic draw to an old video rental store, but for anyone who grew up visiting video stores to browse the latest new releases and pay their late return fees, this is the spot to go!

Blockbuster, once the world’s largest video rental store chain with over 9,000 stores across the globe, is now down to just one, single store! It’s hard to believe that this powerhouse company, that extended to both our childhoods from across the globe, is now but a relic amongst the saturation of streaming services that all vie for our attention.


responsible travel in Bend Oregon


This is definitely a spot worth making while exploring Bend. Just a short drive from the city center, this nondescript Blockbuster is nestled among your stereotypical strip-mall amenities: a takeout pizza spot, some form of massage or nails shop, a bank and a gas station on the corner.

Rewind (pun intended) 30 years and this would have been a thriving hotspot for families, date nights in and anyone looking to rent the old classics or check out what’s new. Now, while the Bend Blockbuster still operates as it used to, it also doubles as a tourist location and living museum for those wanting to reminisce about their younger years amongst the rows of dated DVDs.


Bend’s Sustainable Pledge

We love nothing more than a destination that truly walks the walk of sustainability. Bend does a whole lot more than just touts its outdoor attractions and calls it a day. Instead, the city put their money where their mouth is and created the Bend Sustainability Fund, a grant program funding projects that create, support and expand sustainable recreational and outdoor experiences in Bend’s backyard. Last year they funded an urban bike park and a summit loop trail on Mt. Bachelor, among other projects.


sustainable travel in Bend


Want to contribute to sustainable fun? Here’s a couple ways to get involved! First, take the Bend Pledge. This is basically a way to pledge that you will bring your best self during your visit to Central Oregon. From respecting the land to committing to driving less, these basic pledges are something we should all keep in mind while traveling!

Wrapping up your time in Bend and want to give back? Make a Pledge for the Wild! All donations benefit the Bend Sustainability Fund to support even more great outdoor projects!

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