Shoulder season. It’s that perfect in-between time. Tourism slows down, and the best parts of Bend get a little bit sweeter. Everyone thinks summer and winter are the best time to visit—and we agree that these seasons are absolutely epic in Central Oregon! But here’s a little secret: fall and spring can be just as great.

here is why shoulder season is bend’s best-kept secret:

jack nicklaus golf course at Pronghorn Resort in Central Oregon at sunset

GOLF. Play golf almost year-round.

While the summer months draw the biggest crowds of golfers to Central Oregon, our favorite time to play is in the fall. The early winter and late spring can be decent as well. Did you know? The average high temperature in September in Bend, Oregon is 75 degrees? It’s pretty perfect. We maintain excellent course conditions throughout the month of September and October, and many years we are playing golf on Thanksgiving. If our courses have to close during the winter due to weather, Pronghorn Resort is consistently the first course to reopen. Some years we don’t have to close at all. Our location east of town is more moderate than the courses to the west, so take advantage of the extra play time! You’ll also enjoy lower rates, beautiful weather and quiet courses.

COOL EVENTS. Find fun and interesting things to do.

Bend is well-known for its event scene, and summer is the pinnacle. But some of the most interesting and fun events happen in the shoulder seasons. There’s the Bend Fall Festival, BendFilm Festival, Bend Design Conference and Swivel Creative Conference in October, Oregon WinterFest and Pronghorn’s Fat Bike Festival in February, plus many other cultural and culinary special events throughout the year.

Bicycle bicyclist splashing | Pronghorn Bend Oregon

HIKE AND RIDE. Hit the trails when they are quiet.

The crowds begin to thin out after Labor Day, which makes the Central Oregon trail experience all the more enjoyable in the fall. It’s a great time of year to hike up Tumalo Mountain, ride Phil’s Trail, or take a refreshing trail run in the high desert. In the late winter and spring, east-side mountain biking trails open up to early-season rides and many of the west-side trails are still in good snowy condition to rip around on a fat bike.

TOUR A SLEEPY MOUNTAIN TOWN. Skip the crowds and explore.

Downtown Bend is quaint and full of boutiques and incredible restaurants. Explore the downtown area in the shoulder season for a more authentic look at life in Bend. You’ll see families, college students and working professionals going about their business and enjoying their hometown. Bend is known for its friendliness. Strike up a conversation with a local at a brew pub. You’ll probably learn about some secret spots to visit and experience. The walkable downtown area is perfect for a day of shopping, eating and enjoying the incredible happy hours. You can even take in a show at the memorable Tower Theater.

DEALS, DEALS, DEALS. Did we mention, great deals? 

Because shoulder season is a slower time for the tourism industry, you’ll find great deals all around. This is the best time for travelers on a budget or anyone looking for an awesome discount. Pronghorn Resort offers special lodging rates at the Huntington Lodge as well as off-season rates on the golf course. You’ll also find special packages that include bundled savings on spa services. Saving money on lodging and golf in Central Oregon means you’ll have more money to spend on the incredible dining scene in Bend! Although you can find great deals during happy hour and special rates during Restaurant Week in March. Here’s a tip for how to use all of that money you’re saving during shoulder season in Bend: Treat yourself to a night of signature dining at Cascada at Pronghorn Resort or Bos Taurus in downtown Bend. Our two favorite spots!

SEASONAL BEERS. When the best once-a-year releases happen.

You’ll find seasonal, fresh-hop beers in September, pumpkin beers in October, and perhaps the most anticipated local release—Deschutes Brewery’s Jubeale, available October through December. In the late-winter or early-spring, you’ll find beginning of summer swill-iness as well as Zwickelmania, Oregon’s statewide celebration of craft beer. Beer lovers, you cannot go wrong during Central Oregon’s shoulder seasons.

Take another look at shoulder season in Bend and think about all the things you will enjoy when things quiet down. This is one of our favorite times of year and we look forward to sharing it with you. 

And keep an eye out for our special offers for discounts on lodging, golf, spa and dining!