Dog-Friendly Destinations: Bend, Oregon

I have heard so many great things about Bend, Oregon over the years, so I had to include it on my career break itinerary. I knew that Bend would make a great dog-friendly destination. Bailey and I enjoyed 3 nights in Bend before moving on to Southern Oregon. Thankfully, we arrived just after the majority of smoke from the wildfires, although the smoke did blow back in the day before we left. Bend is known as a destination for outdoor adventure, and although I was surprised at how large the town is, I really enjoyed Bend.

Here are the dog-friendly spots we found in Bend, Oregon.

Eat in Bend

There is no shortage of dog-friendly food stops in Bend! We enjoyed several al fresco meals, where Bailey was treated like a valued guest.

Currents at the Riverhouse

Currents at the Riverhouse

I enjoyed a birthday dinner on the patio at Currents at the Riverhouse. Everything, including the service, the setting and the food, was top notch! I started with a pomegranate coconut cider and the Rogue Smokey Bleu Cheesecake. It sounded weird, but I took the server’s recommendation and it was delicious! I would come back and just order this again!

Currents Restaurant at the RiverhouseRogue Smokey Blue Cheese Cake - roasted garlic, pear chutney, baby arugula, crostini

I chose a steak for dinner, and savored every bite along with this amazing view of the Deschutes River. Bailey lucked out and got leftover steak from the couple sitting next to us! We both had filet for my birthday!

Birthday Dinner at Currents at the Riverhouse

McKay Cottage

The McKay Cottage is located very close to the campground we were staying at, so I stopped in for a yummy breakfast on the patio. The outdoor area is really large, but it was full when I visited, including several dogs and families enjoying the fall weather in Bend. Bailey was happy to receive a bowl of water and a dog treat!

Broken Top Bottle Shop

The Broken Top Bottle Shop is a “brew hub” and mostly serves bottled beer, although they do offer a food menu with counter service and outdoor seating. I had a tasty iceberg wedge salad. No beer for me!

Play in Bend

The Bend area offers tons of outdoor adventure activities.

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park is located just outside of Bend and is an icon of outdoor adventure in the Bend area. The park is popular with rock climbers and slack liners, as well as hikers. We hiked part of the Misery Ridge Trail, although turned around when it got too hot. There was no water on the trail, so I didn’t want to push it with Bailey. Instead we headed back and I let her splash in the river.

Smith Rock State Park

Robert Sawyer Park

Sawyer Park is a nice little city park which is also close to Tumalo campground, where we were staying. There’s a bridge over the Deschutes river, that leads to a trail network and offered access to the river for splashing around.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

The Painted Hills unit is almost two full hours from Bend, but well worth the trip. I can’t say that I’ve seen any place like this in the US! I only learned about it when I was looking into a trip to the Painted Mountains in Peru! There isn’t much hiking here, just a short trail up to some overlooks, but it’s a great spot for photography! It’s also a beautiful drive from Bend.

Painted Hills - John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Stay in Bend

Tumalo State Park

We camped at Tumalo State Park for this visit and it remains one of my favorite campsites of the trip. It is practically right in town, but you would never know it when you’re at the park. The lower loop, which did not have hookups, is right along the river and very quiet. The upper loops featured shower houses and you can also rent yurts here!

Tumalo State Park

Tumalo State Park

Riverhouse Hotel

If camping isn’t your jam, check out the Riverhouse Hotel for dog-friendly digs. They were full when I visited, but we were given a tour of the property before dinner at the restaurant. My first impression of the hotel was the scent – the lobby and common areas smell like Westin’s White Tea scent, which is one of my favorites. I was already sold!

The location along the river can’t be beat!

Currents at the Riverhouse

The hotel recently underwent a major renovation, which you can see in the guest rooms. The pet fee at the Riverhouse is a bit high at $75, but if you’re staying more than a few nights, it’s not bad averaged out over the stay. Only 2 of the buildings are pet-friendly, so be sure to reserve early!

The Riverhouse Hotel

Put @VisitBendOR on your #adventuretravel #dogfriendly Bucket List! Click To Tweet


I was provided with a complimentary dinner and a tour at Riverhouse Hotel. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.

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Career Break Month 2 Recap

September is always my favorite month to travel, and this year was obviously no exception! September was my first full month on the road, too! Last month I said I was looking forward to slowing down and that definitely did not happen! The most time I spent in any one place was 3 nights, but more often it was two nights and I had more one-nighters than I would have liked! I tried to cover a lot of ground, which I won’t be doing going forward!

Great Sand Dunes National Park

I started the month in Colorado with 3 nights of camping near Salida. Bailey and I took a day trip down to Great Sand Dunes National Park, and my friend Deborah joined me for a dayhike to Waterdog Lake near Salida.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Starting out for new (to me) territory, I moved on to Ouray, taking the long way through Pagosa Springs and Durango. Read more about my time in Ouray and why it’s my new favorite mountain town. I loved it!! We spent two nights at the KOA, and because of the heat, did a lot of scenic driving. I also took a Jeep tour, which was really fun. There were teeny tiny splashes of fall color and I can only imagine how spectacular it was a few weeks later. I loved the contrast of the Red Mountains and the other Rocky Mountains. (After 1 day, smoke blew in from the PNW fires and everything got a bit hazy)

Red Mountains

Downtown Ouray

Colorado West Jeep TourImogene Pass

After two nights in Ouray, I moved to a hotel in Grand Junction for one night so that I could visit the Black Canyon National Park and Colorado Monument. These are both really cool spots worth exploring, and Grand Junction (or Montrose) would make a good base for a few days.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado National Monument

After Grand Junction, I moved on to Salt Lake City and spent 3 nights at a TownePlace Suites in Layton. SLC was a bit of a bust for me, in part due to poor planning. (I’m struggling with trying to be flexible but that backfires on me a bit as I get lazy if I don’t have a specific plan.) Aside from a short side trip to Park City and a quick drive through Antelope Island State Park, I spent most of my time taking advantage of the wifi and catching up on blogging and photo editing. Basically the same thing I did in Denver. So I need to avoid cities. Or hotels.

Antelope Island State Park

After hibernating in SLC for 3 days, I moved on to Bend, Oregon, where I camped at Tumalo State Park (no wifi) which forced me to get out and about to enjoy nature and stuff. I loved the campground and was super relaxed here, even if I did sneak a little wifi from parking lots! On my birthday, B and I hiked at Smith Rock State Park, and I had a marvelous birthday dinner at Currents restaurant at the Riverhouse hotel! Read more about my visit to Bend, Oregon!

Smith Rock State Park

Birthday Dinner at Currents at the Riverhouse

The next day, I made a side trip (2 hours each way) to the Painted Hills National Monument. It’s a long drive for a day trip, but I’m glad I went as I don’t know when I’ll ever be in that area again!

Painted Hills - John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

From Bend, it was time to head south towards Crater Lake. Unfortunately, the fires were not 100% contained, so the views were hazy and the main roads through the park were closed. I visited the Rim Visitor’s area twice, but really want to return and stay at the lodge, which isn’t pet-friendly.

Crater Lake National Park

We spent 2 nights at the Klamath Falls KOA (terrible!) basically killing time until I was due in Medford for a hosted stay with the tourism board. The campground was swarming with midges, and in a sketchy neighborhood, but I had wifi in my tent so I basically hunkered down and tried to get more work done.

I spent two nights in Medford, exploring the dog-friendly options in town. The highlight of my stay, though, was visiting Harry & David for a factory tour!

Harry & David Store in Medford

After 2 nights in Medford, it was time to take B to a kennel and get ready for my whitewater rafting trip on the Rogue River. I spent the night before the trip at the Grant’s Pass KOA, and met up with the group on Monday morning. We had 3 nights and 4 days that were cold and rainy. At one point, I had 7 tops and 4 bottoms on – basically, everything I owned! But we still had fun, and enjoyed lots of great scenery! Click here to read about my time in Southern Oregon.

After the raft trip, I spent one night drying out at the Courtyard Inn in Medford, before springing B from doggy jail and heading to Northern California. I polled all the California folks on the raft trip and everyone recommended Lassen Volcanic National Park as a good midway stop on the way to Lake Tahoe. It was described to me as a mini-Yellowstone, which I think was pretty accurate (scenery-wise, minus the wildlife) There was even fresh snow to play in!

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Up next is Lake Tahoe, where we spent two nights at the Basecamp Hotel. I had no idea how large Lake Tahoe was, and it’s certainly a beautiful area! The overnight lows were already dipping below 30, though, so I’m glad I had a hotel room! On a hike along the lakeshore, we apparently just missed a bear feeding on salmon!

Basecamp Tahoe South

Now it was time to head south for the desert. I decided to take the long way and drive down the Sierra’s and through Death Valley National Park. Such a cool park that definitely deserves a special trip. I’ll definitely be back sometime, preferably for spring wildflower season.

Death Valley National Park

I reserved 1 night at the Holiday Inn Express in Pahrump, Nevada just on the East side of the park. After 1 night, I didn’t feel like leaving, so I decided to just stay another night and have a rest day. I actually even used the hotel pool! A first for this trip!

Next, I rolled into St George, Utah with no reservations and couldn’t find a campsite for two nights. Silly me. I didn’t feel like setting up my tent for just one night so we found an $89 room at the Crystal Inn. (Actually way better than I expected for that price!) This still left me with a Friday night before my cabin reservation at the Grand Canyon and St George is pretty pricey on the weekends, apparently. Like over $200 for a Holiday Inn Express! Our room at the Crystal Inn was jumping by $50 for Friday night so after much online searching, I decided to say screw it and booked at room at the Red Mountain Resort. I have been eyeing this place for years and always wanted to plan a visit, but 1 quick night would have to do for now. As long as I was there, I managed to squeeze in a pedicure and a yoga class, which all just left me wanting a longer stay. I’ll be back for sure!

Red Mountain Resort, St George, Utah

I closed out the month near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, but I’ll include that in my October recap!

Here’s my month in numbers:

  • Miles Driven: 4,614
  • States Visited: 7 (Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona)
  • National Parks Visited: 5 (Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Crater Lake, Lassen Volcanic, Death Valley)
  • Hotel Nights: 14
    • Candlewood Suites, Grand Junction, CO (1)
    • TownPlace Suites, Layton, Utah (3)
    • Rogue Regency, Medford (2)
    • Courtyard Inn, Medford (1)
    • Basecamp Tahoe South (2)
    • Holiday Inn Express, Pahrump, NV (2)
    • Crystal Inn, St George, UT (1)
    • Red Mountain Resort, St George, UT (1)
    • Jacob Lake Inn, Grand Canyon, Arizona (1)
  • Tent Nights: 16
    • Heart of the Rockies Campground, Salida, CO (3)
    • Ouray KOA (2)
    • Tumalo State Park (3)
    • Klamath Falls KOA (2)
    • Grants Pass KOA (1)
    • Rogue River Trip (3)
    • Lassen KOA (2)
  • Expenses: $4757
    • Lodging: $1620 (way too many hotels!)
    • Gas: $487
    • Food: $451
    • Bailey: $339
    • Other: $1860 (this includes fun stuff like Jeep Tours and bills like cell phone, health insurance, etc)

In October, I swear I am implementing a 3-night minimum at each stop, and hopefully 5 nights at most stops. I had this vision of waking up each morning, going for a hike, working or reading through the heat of the day, another evening hike, etc and it’s not really working out that way because we’re moving too much! So, I guess you can say I haven’t found my groove yet. Maybe I need a job, lol!

My biggest plan for October is meeting my hometown girls in Albuquerque for the balloon festival, and then spending a couple of nights in Santa Fe before they all fly home. Aside from that, I think I’ll spend 2 weeks in the Flagstaff/Sedona area, 1 week in Southern New Mexico and 1 week in West Texas. (I’m hoping to spend the entire month of November in Tucson, maybe even in an apartment, but I need to get through October first)

How was your September?

For all of my pictures from September, click here!

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Career Break Month 1 Recap

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month already! I still just feel like I’m on a vacation and due back at the office at any minute. It’s been a whirlwind month, and I’m looking forward to slowing down a bit more next month.

I started August in Chicago. The 3rd was my last day of employment, and on the 4th I emptied my apartment and headed to my mom’s house in the Quad Cities. After a quick turnaround there, I flew to Europe for 17 days, where I hiked and traveled through the Swiss Alps on the Haute Route.

On the way home from Switzerland, I took advantage of Iceland Air’s layover option and spent 24 hours in Reykjavik. I visited the Blue Lagoon right after landing, spent the night downtown at the Hotel Fron, and in the morning joined Wake Up Reykjavik for a food tour before hopping a plane back to the States.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Sun Voyager Sculpture in Reykjavik, Iceland

Flying to O’Hare and not taking the Blue Line to my apartment was kind of weird. Instead, I crashed in a friend’s guest room and the next morning drove back to the Quad Cities, with a detour to LaSalle-Peru to pop in on the annual Criswell family canoe trip. After two more nights in the Quad Cities, I officially started my road trip!

Bailey ready for our road trip!

Ready for a 4-month road trip!

A 6-hour drive brought me to Olathe, Kansas for 2 nights where I was working with the Chamber of Commerce.

Lake Olathe - Olathe, Kansas

After 2 nights in Olathe, I headed West again to Denver. I stayed in the South suburbs for two nights and aside from dinner with Denver-area friends, I used this time to catch up on blog work before heading to the mountains for the Labor Day weekend.

Dinner at Racine's in Denver with Kathy, Lina, Karen, Margaret, Cheryl and Deborah

September will take me to Colorado, Utah and Oregon – stay tuned for updates! (Sign up for my email updates and you’ll get new posts emailed to you each Friday!)

So…how was your August? Any big plans for September? (It’s the best month for travel, in my opinion!)


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