While Bend, Oregon is famous as a hub of delicious craft beer and year-round outdoor sports capital, it’s also very popular among those looking for the best place to retire for its active lifestyle, and regularly lands a spot in the “best places to retire to in the U.S.” lists. Just some of the features that make Bend the ideal retirement destination include:

  • A beautiful location in Central Oregon with warm summers, lots of sunshine, and amazing views
  • Activities and events for all ages throughout the year, celebrating food, culture, art and more
  • A central major hospital for any medical needs
  • A city that retains small-town friendliness – and is easy to get around in
  • Plenty of in-city trails for walking and exploring
  • A multitude of breweries and cideries to try
  • Many different living arrangement options depending on preference
  • Very, very pet friendly
  • State tax exemptions for pensions, and no sales tax

Outdoor Activities for Retirees in Bend

Bend, Oregon, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and retirees can take advantage of numerous outdoor activities in and around the area. Here’s a list that retirees might enjoy:

  1. Hiking: With its numerous trails and parks, Bend offers a range of hiking opportunities for all skill levels. Popular trails include the Deschutes River Trail and the Tumalo Falls hike.
  2. Golfing: Bend has several scenic golf courses, like River’s Edge Golf Club and the Old Back Nine.
  3. Fly Fishing: The Deschutes River and its tributaries offer world-class fly fishing. There are numerous guide services and outfitters available to help retirees learn or refine their techniques.
  4. Bird Watching: The area around Bend is home to a diverse bird population. Bring your binoculars and visit places like the High Desert Museum or simply walk along the Deschutes River.
  5. Cycling and Mountain Biking: There are numerous bike trails in and around Bend. The city is very bike-friendly and offers paths suitable for both casual cyclists and those seeking more challenging terrains.
  6. Kayaking and Canoeing: The Deschutes River and the surrounding lakes offer fantastic water sports opportunities. Rent a kayak or canoe and enjoy a peaceful paddle.
  7. Floating: In the warmer months, many locals and visitors float down the Deschutes River on inflatable tubes. It’s a fun and relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
  8. Botanic Gardens: Visit the Oregon High Desert Grotto to appreciate the unique flora of the region.
  9. Photography: With its diverse landscapes, from rivers and forests to mountains and high desert, Bend offers countless opportunities for nature and landscape photography.
  10. Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing & Cross-Country Skiing: In the winter months, the surrounding Cascade Mountains offer opportunities for snow-based activities, including skiing and snowboard at nearby Mount Bachelor . Many trails and parks in the Bend area are also suitable for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
  11. Wildlife Viewing: The region around Bend is rich in wildlife. A drive or a hike in the right area might provide glimpses of deer, elk, and various bird species.
  12. Visit Lava Lands Visitor Center: Explore the volcanic landscape, walk on the Lava Butte, or meander through the Lava River Cave for a unique subterranean experience.
  13. Stargazing: Due to its high altitude and clear skies, Bend is a great place for stargazing. Consider visiting during one of the area’s star parties or simply heading out of town a bit for a clearer view of the night sky.
  14. Farmers Markets and Festivals: Enjoy local produce, crafts, and the community spirit at the Bend Farmers Market or any of the many outdoor festivals throughout the year.
  15. Outdoor Concerts: The Les Schwab Amphitheater in the Old Mill District plays host to a variety of musical acts throughout the summer, making for a perfect evening to picnic under the stars.
  16. Garden Tours: Many local gardens and nurseries in Bend offer tours, allowing you to take in the beauty and perhaps get inspired for your gardening endeavors.
  17. Camping: Whether you prefer RV camping or a more traditional tent setup, there are plenty of campgrounds in and around Bend, like the Tumalo State Park.

Before diving into any of these activities, it’s always a good idea to consult with local experts or guides, especially if you’re new to the activity or the area. They can provide valuable safety and location tips to enhance your experience.

Higher Education Opportunities in Bend

Bend has made significant strides in higher education, catering students of all ages. The primary institution of higher learning in Bend is Oregon State University – Cascades (OSU-Cascades), the first and only baccalaureate and graduate degree-granting institution based in Central Oregon. OSU-Cascades offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs spanning various disciplines, from liberal arts and business to health and engineering. The campus is notable for its commitment to sustainability, community engagement, and research opportunities. It provides students with a high-quality education paired with the unique natural and cultural experiences that Bend and Central Oregon have to offer.

Additionally, Central Oregon Community College (COCC) plays a significant role in the region’s educational landscape. COCC serves the residents of its 10,000-square-mile district with campuses in Bend, Madras, Prineville, and Redmond. It offers two-year associate degrees, transfer/lower division programs, career and technical education degrees and certificates, developmental courses, continuing education, and community education classes.

Together, OSU-Cascades and COCC provide a comprehensive educational experience for additional learning for seniors. Moreover, the synergy between these institutions allows for seamless transitions for students looking to move from a two-year program at COCC to a four-year program at OSU-Cascades.

Shopping and Dining in Bend

Bend offers a unique shopping experience that blends the charm of a small town with the sophistication of a larger city. Nestled against the backdrop of the majestic Cascade Mountains, the city boasts a mix of boutique stores, art galleries, and outdoor equipment shops, reflecting its strong connection to both culture and nature. Downtown Bend‘s brick-lined streets are sprinkled with quaint shops where visitors can find handcrafted jewelry, local art, and artisanal goods, while the Old Mill District, overlooking the Deschutes River, offers a mix of popular retail brands and eateries, making shopping in Bend a delightful blend of the old and new.

A culinary haven for food enthusiasts, Bend boasts an impressive array of restaurants that cater to a diverse palate. Embodying the spirit of the Pacific Northwest, many establishments in Bend prioritize farm-to-table practices, sourcing fresh ingredients from local producers. Whether it’s the bustling breweries offering craft beers with inspired pub menus, gourmet eateries serving up contemporary takes on American classics, or cozy cafes with views of the Deschutes River, the city offers a dining scene that’s both vibrant and eclectic. From savory dishes infused with international flavors to artisanal desserts and coffees, Bend‘s restaurants promise a delightful gastronomic journey set against the backdrop of Oregon‘s stunning landscape.

Transportation in and Around Bend

For getting around Deschutes County, Bend has an excellent public transportation, and ride sharing options like Uber and Lyft are active in the city, but it’s a good idea to make transportation plans ahead of time, too. Ride Assist and Dial-a-Ride services are specifically designed to be friendly for seniors as well. Our relocation company can help answer any specific questions you may have.

Where to Retire in Bend, Oregon

Bend neighborhoods make excellent locations for retirement, and there are many senior care options from assisted living facilities and independent living communities across the city to skilled nursing care facilities. We suggest you explore the the different areas of Bend to see what you’d like most. Do you want to stay at the heart of action and events? Do you want to relax in quiet farmland? Do you prefer mountain forests, or peaceful desert views? There really is something for everyone in Bend.

Looking for a specific recommendation? We suggest starting in the Northwest Crossing area. The homes and living facilities are beautiful, everything is easy to walk to, and there is an excellent collection of shops, restaurants and parks – as well as gorgeous mountain views. Century West is also a good neighborhood to explore if you prefer easy access to the river and river trails. Broader searches should include the excellent retirement community at Sunriver and Eagle Crest homes.

Also keep in mind that Bend’s winters are a great time to enjoy snow-related activities or bunker down in a cozy cottage, but they do make traveling around town a bit more difficult, and the snow and ice can make slopes and steep walkways dangerous. You may prefer to choose a location with this in mind – and our relocation services will be happy to help!