Distance from Bend: 98 miles (About a two-hour drive)
Elevation: 5,190 feet
Sure, we have our own selection of lakes up here right outside of Bend, including the Cascades Lakes, but if you want to get a real getting-out-of-town experience, consider making the relatively short drive down to Diamond Lake. Located just to the north of Crater Lake, Diamond Lake features three well-maintained campgrounds in addition to the Diamond Lake Resort.On most summer days, you should be able to get down to Diamond Lake in two hours or less and once you do, there is definitely a sensation of being off the high desert, which the thick trees surrounding the pristine lake will help you realize. The lake is open to watersports, something many of the Cascade Lakes prohibit, and the resort features a restaurant and other amenities for you to check out if you want to escape the campsite (there are 238 of them around the lake to choose from) for a bit. Or, if roughing it was really never in the cards, you can enjoy one of the resort's many rooms, which range from suites equipped with Jacuzzis to motel rooms, all of which are more affordable than you'd find in other resorts around the region.
But the lake itself, with its vibrant blue water and mountain-lined shore, is the real attraction here. There are plenty of trails around the lake, including treks that will lead you to nearby Mt. Thielsen and Mt. Bailey, as well as the short but incredibly scenic self-guided trail tour. Diamond Lake has angling enthusiasts covered, too. This year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that there are about 400,000 trout in the lake to be caught.
Again, the drive is easy and the views make those two hours in the car more than worth it, if you're looking for a quick but relaxing reprieve from home.