Redmond and Bend
In the middle of Oregon, where the Cascade Mountains and Ponderosa Pine forests give way to high desert, you'll find the cities of Bend and Redmond. Oregon Trail pioneers named Bend for the fordable part of the Deschutes River, known as "Farewell Bend". You can spot sight free-roaming herds of wild horses. And you can get into the heart of the local action with a river run. Whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River is a signature offering of this region. There are also plenty of spots down the river to calmly kayak and tube, and you can canoe or paddle board on Sparks Lake. An easy hike up Tumelo Creek takes you to a beautiful 97-foot waterfall. Explore the drier side of this area, and its historic volcanic activity, at the Lava Lands Visitor Center. Cruise downtown Bend on a First Friday Art Walk and score free admission (and free drinks) to art galleries.