Great Getaways: Sunriver, Oregon

Sunriver Resort

The birds.

That’s one of the first things you’ll notice as you take an early morning stroll along the paths in Sunriver. Their songs. The clarity of their songs in an otherwise nearly silent setting among towering ponderosas, a lazy river and breathtaking mountain views.

Enjoy it while you can though. Because that tranquil scene and sense of calm slowly fades with each passing hour as families emerge from their rooms or vacation homes to grab breakfast, make it to their tee times or get their kayaks in the water.

Vacation typically doesn’t happen in silence.

The bird songs soon are joined by children laughing as their bike tires rattle the planks of a wooden bridge, the sounds of splashing pool water and the occasional thwack! of a golf ball from the Meadows Course nearby. It’s a pleasant symphony of noise though. It’s the escalating sounds of happiness.

Your perfect family vacation is getting off on the right foot.

A family riding bikes at Sunriver Resort near Bend, Oregon

Day One

It started when your family rolled into town and your luxury rental home from Sunriver Resort,  Sunset Lodging or Discover Sunriver Vacation Rentals. The hot tub and barbecue grill out back will definitely get some use this week because man (and a family of four on vacation) cannot live on eating out alone. And thanks to the farmer’s market every Friday in Sunriver, your at-home meals will have some true Northwest flair.

Lava Lands near Bend Oregon

Today you’ve got a field trip planned to the moon. Ok, so it’s not exactly the moon, but Lava Lands Visitors Center and Lava Butte just north of Sunriver is where the astronauts trained back in the 1960s.  Of course the history you’ll see along the Trail of Molten Lands goes back a little farther than just a few decades; try 7,000 years! The scenery is truly otherworldly.

Barn Owl in Sunriver, Oregon

The exploration continues back at the Sunriver Nature Center, where a gentle, interpretive trail walk and an up close and personal meeting with a raptor and owl await.

The day winds down back at home and back on that patio overlooking one of the bends of the little Deschutes River – captivating in its gentle, slow motion meandering.

Sunriver Resort

Day Two

Vacation mornings often (and rightfully so) start off a little slowly. The hustle and bustle of the morning routine is replaced with lingering cups of coffee and breakfasts that turn to brunch. What’s the hurry, right?

Sunriver Resort

But the day has to start sometime and while sitting along the river and doing nothing all day certainly is an option, other things are on the agenda. For mom and dad it’s a round of golf at the Meadows Course, located just behind the Sunriver Resort main lodge.

Meadows Golf Course, Sunriver Resort

For the kids, it’s a day at Fort Funnigan. Sunriver’s state certified child care center and day camp offers art classes, field trips and more including “Parents Night Out” evening programs that are a hit with both the kids and adults.

Fort Funnigan, Sunriver Resort

After lunch together at the Sunriver Brewing Company (a brewery with children’s play area, mind you) and an afternoon poolside at Sunriver’s huge aquatic center called the SHARC, it’s time for the family to hit the water for a family fun float down the Deschutes. The twilight trip finishes up with smores, beverages and a cowboy sing-a-long that the kids will love and you may or may not regret on the car ride home.

Family Fun Float at Sunriver Resort

Day Three

Today you’ll experience the “urban” side of Central Oregon. Urban, of course, is a relative term when the region’s biggest city of Bend has just 80,000 people. Big enough to offer all the amenities you might need (Best Buy, Olive Garden, Gap) but small enough where boutique stores like Hot Box Betty and Cascade Cottons are able to thrive.

Retail clothing photo by Jill Rosell in Bend, Oregon

You put down your smart phones and find a spot for lunch the old fashioned way – by asking a local for a tip on where to go. They point you to Pizza Mondo where you’re lucky enough to find the sidewalk table unoccupied. After a couple of slices of New York-style pie and some solid people watching, taking a walk through Drake Park is the perfect way to let lunch settle.

Drake Park in Downtown Bend, Oregon

After a couple hours of walking along the pond, tossing around a Frisbee with some locals and grabbing some shaved ice at a local food truck, you cap the day by taking in a $3 matinee movie, tater tots and craft beer at the theater inside McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School Pub and Brewery.

Mcmenamins Theater


Day Four

There’s time for one more walk along that quiet path through the resort. The kids are still asleep and your better half is repacking the bags you (incorrectly) packed night before. Those birds are singing again in the calm before the whirlwind of happiness kicks up again.

The trip will soon be over, but the memories – like morning coffee on vacation – will linger.

Sunriver Resort

Central Oregon Visitors Association
The Central Oregon Visitors Association (COVA) is the "Official" Tourism Information Resource for Central Oregon, including the communities of Bend, Sunriver, Redmond, Sisters, La Pine, Madras, Prineville, Crooked River Ranch, Terrebonne, Culver and Black Butte Ranch. Most of the stories posted online can be found in the Official Central Oregon Visitors Guide.
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