You’ve probably heard about the world-class lifestyle waiting for you in Central Oregon. Your friends have returned from a trip to Sunriver with tales of free-flowing craft beer, the clear water of the Deschutes River, the year-round outdoor sports –mountain biking and hiking in the summer, skiing and snowboarding in the winter. But each of the cities of Central Oregon has its own distinct experience — from the beer mecca of Bend and the swanky stores of Sisters to the whitewater rafting paradise of Maupin and the cultural depth of Madras, there’s something for everyone in the towns that dot Central Oregon. Come explore them all, then find out for yourself which one is your favorite.
Of all the cities in Central Oregon, Bend is the most populous — and most famous. Once known as a bustling mill town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the city has redefined itself with a robust tourism, outdoor and hospitality industry. Today, you’ll find a cutting-edge, fast-growing community filled with entrepreneurs who have chosen Bend as their homebase. You may think you know Bend — its proximity to Mt. Bachelor, its mountain bike trails minutes from a downtown filled with breweries and distilleries and first-class restaurants run by chefs who’ve cut their teeth in top markets. Below the surface there’s even more waiting for you.
One of Oregon’s first resort communities, Sunriver features prominently in the fond memories of generations of Oregonians. Just 20 minutes south of Bend, Sunriver is a perfect spot for a family vacation, or for putting down roots. Here you’ll find 63 holes of golf across four courses, paved bike trails that make the entire resort easy to access on two wheels, and a bustling mall with shops, restaurants and activities year round. Sunriver is also the perfect jumping-off point for skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor. The community has a variety of places to stay — from vacation rentals right on the golf courses to lodge rooms. Whether you find yourself in Sunriver for a family reunion or a wedding, it’s a crowd pleaser for all ages.
Just 20 minutes north of Bend, Redmond, Oregon is quickly stepping out of the larger city’s shadow and making a name for itself. Redmond has many of Central Oregon’s key amenities — Roberts Field is the region’s airport, and the nearby Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center hosts many of the region’s largest events. Beyond these amenities, Redmond boasts a charming historic downtown filled with independent eateries and shops, as well as an ice-skating rink and a city hall reborn from a historic school building. Running north to south through the city is the Dry Canyon, a series of trails and parks that is just the beginning of outdoor recreation opportunities. Redmond is a quick drive from Smith Rock State Park and an easy home base for visitors who want to get into the wilds of the region.
You can’t help but smile when you walk through Sisters. This tiny town has a big Western feel, which it backs up with the Sisters Rodeo each June. Here you’ll find epic views of the Three Sisters, Western-themed buildings and a downtown filled with art galleries. Use Sisters as a launching pad for backpacking trips into the Three Sisters Wilderness, or take day trips to Black Butte Ranch for a day of golfing, swimming or spa-ing. From Sisters it’s easy to swing up to Hoodoo Ski Area for a day on the slopes, then be back at your swanky cabin, a spa massage scheduled and a dinner waiting at the local saloon.
If it’s an authentic Central Oregon city you’re looking for, Prineville is your place. This beautiful small town may just be the best place in Central Oregon to visit if you’re looking for Western wear, a good milkshake or a trip to the horse races. If it sounds eclectic, you’re right — Prineville is also increasingly known for its foray into the tech world, with investments by Facebook and Apple quickly transforming this small city. It’s also a gateway to eastern Oregon’s natural wonders, authentic ranch living and a growing mountain bike scene. There’s truly something for everyone in Prineville.
Madras is one of the most diverse cities in the state of Oregon, poised among farm fields, close to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and right in the midst of the stunning vistas of Jefferson County. Combine this down-home feel with some of the best fishing in Oregon (or anywhere), as you have easy access to the Deschutes, Crooked and Metolius rivers here. Lakes also dot this area, making it a perfect spot for boating.
It’s no coincidence that Terrebonne means “good earth” in French. This small farming community is also home to one of the seven wonders of Oregon — Smith Rock State Park. No trip to Central Oregon is complete without a visit to this epic spot, with spires of tuff rock jutting into the clear blue sky and hiking trails for all abilities. This rock-climbing mecca offers stunning views of the Cascades and plenty of open space to get out and explore.
Dreaming of a whitewater rafting trip along the stunning Deschutes River? Or maybe a fishing excursion to fill your cooler and test your fly fishing skills? Then Maupin is decidedly your place. This small town is one of the best cities in Oregon to visit for outdoor water adventure and authentic experiences.
This small community in the heart of Oregon’s High Desert is perched on the edge of the meandering Little Deschutes River, and is the right spot for those looking for adventure in the outdoors. Make La Pine your home base for exploring the Newberry National Monument, a massive area that tells the volcanic history of this region and provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreation year round.
This Central Oregon city is the center of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and home to Indian Head Casino. The reservation is home to the Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco tribes and offers a deeper understanding of Central Oregon’s rich Native American history. While in Warm Springs, you’ll want to check out events on the reservation, as well as the city’s beautiful museum, one of the finest American Indian museums in the West.
This farming community attracts world-class views and plenty of open space to explore. Cove Palisades State Park and Lake Billy Chinook are popular spots for boaters, and those looking for off-grid camping, hiking and other solitary pursuits will feel at home here in Culver.
Explore Nature’s Beauty
From the sagebrush-covered plains of the high desert to the towering pines and majestic mountain peaks, discover the diverse landscape Central Oregon has to offer.