Summer not only brings warm weather to Central Oregon, but it also invites tourists to enjoy nature, local breweries and other popular sites in Bend.
An estimated 2.49 million to 3.04 million people visited Bend in 2015, according to a report from Bend’s tourism website, Visit Bend. Although locals are often frustrated with the amount of traffic tourists bring and busy parks, trails and restaurants, visitors have their own reasons for coming to Bend and spent $791 million in Central Oregon during 2015, according to the 2015 Oregon Travel Impacts report.
Jennifer Chalumeau, of Sacramento, California, was walking along the Deschutes River Trail on Sunday and is a returning tourist, she said Sunday afternoon. She is visiting friends this week, but last year she brought young kids with her and said there was plenty to do to keep them busy.
“We think we can stay busy for a large part of the week,” she said. “We came this time last year. This is our first outing, and we’re also planning to do some fishing. We’re probably going to go to Tumalo Falls.”
Chalumeau said the weather in Bend is significantly nicer than at her home in Sacramento, where it was over 100 degrees this past week. Darrine Distefano, also visiting Bend from Sacramento, agreed as she enjoyed the view from Pilot Butte on Sunday.
“It’s beautiful here, and the weather is much cooler here than in Sacramento,” she said. “I’m visiting my in-laws and they come to Bend quite a bit, and they always talk about it so I figured I would see what it’s like.”
Kathy Distefano, Darrine Distefano’s mother-in-law, said she is planning to take her daughter-in-law and grandkids to the Old Mill District and Drake Park and said the group will be staying in Sunriver for three weeks.
Sunriver is also a hot spot for tourists like Rod and Lory Bauer, of Newport. Rod Bauer said the couple plan to go horseback riding and bike riding and want to visit the shops there Monday. They spent Sunday having lunch at Worthy Brewing and enjoying the view from Pilot Butte.
“There’s so much to do in this area, and it’s broken up so conveniently,” Rod Bauer said.
His wife agreed and said she likes Bend because of the change in scenery.
“The nice thing for us coming to Bend is it’s a good balance to living at the beach,” she said. “We’re getting 10 days of mountains and whitewater rafting and all that kind of stuff, so it’s pretty cool.”
Elizabeth Rocher was also a returning tourist, visiting Bend from Mexico City, and said she spent her Sunday afternoon taking the tour at Deschutes Brewery.
“I really like Bend,” she said. “I want to be in front of the river in a chair and just enjoying the views.”
Her friend and Bend local Steve Franklin said he planned to take Rocher hiking along the Deschutes River Trail, up Cascade Lakes Highway and floating the Deschutes River. He said he will go to Pilot Butte on Sunday evening to enjoy the sunset.
Oscar Ibarra said his family made a pit stop at Pilot Butte for a quick look while on the way to their home in San Jose, California, but said he is already planning to return in the fall because of Bend’s beauty.
“We are talking about coming back in September,” he said. “I would really love to come back here. It’s similar to my town in Mexico in Durango. It’s pretty with the mountains and trees and all the pine. It’s very similar, and I really like it.”
Michelle Lara said she was born and raised in Bend and now lives in Los Angeles, but she has missed all the nature Bend has to offer. It has been six years since she has been back in town, and she brought her husband, David Lara, to see Bend and the view from Pilot Butte for the first time.
“This is our last leg of the 17-day trip, and we’re finally heading home tomorrow,” she said. “I still love it up here.”
— Reporter: 541-382-1811,