Travel to Culver, Oregon
The best way to experience Culver is to enjoy the city as the locals do. That means whiling away an afternoon at the park, munching on savory burgers and sandwiches, and attending a beloved community celebration. Here are a few fun things to do in Culver, Oregon.Take a Virtual Tour
Things To Do In Culver
Best Time to Visit Culver, Oregon
The cozy community of Culver is where Central Oregon farmland meets the region's expansive high desert. As such, you'll enjoy slightly warmer temperatures than in other cities around the region—which leads to outstanding recreation across all four seasons.
Springtime brings crisp mornings (where overnight lows reach the low 30s) and warm afternoons—which means you'll enjoy pleasant highs between 60º and 75º throughout the season. That makes spring the ideal time to visit The Cove Palisades State Park, where breezy afternoons offer the ideal weather for hiking the park's Tam-a-láu Trail.
Summertime highs hover between 75ºand 85º all summer long, with lows dropping into the mid-40s—so bring a light jacket if you'll be out after sunset. You won't see much rain—just two to three days per month—so you’ll get to soak up the sun at the Culver Crawdad Festival, a beloved community tradition.
Fall is a great time to sleep in around Culver, where seasonal lows dip into the mid-30s. Once the sun rises and the weather warms up, you'll enjoy afternoon highs between 65º and 75º. Home to horseshoe pits, a children's play area, and other activities for the whole family.
Culver's warmer temperatures mean less winter snowfall—just 14 inches per year, less than half of what Bend and Sisters receive. So if you're visiting in winter, you'll enjoy high temperatures that hover between 40º and 50ºF. Culver sees just four to six days of light rainfall per month throughout the winter.
Sitting between Redmond and Madras at the heart of a fertile valley, Culver, a cozy community harkens back to Central Oregon’s earlier years with small-town charm to spare. The community of Culver started as a post office in 1900, formally incorporated as a city in 1946—and hasn’t changed much in the decades since.
Given its location, tucked away from US-97, chances are slim that you have passed through Culver on your trip through the region. But there are several reasons why you should get off the beaten path and explore the historic community - fun annual festivals, friendly eateries, and easy access to outdoor recreation.
Stay in Culver
Plenty of lodging options are available just a short drive from Culver. Perhaps the most popular overnight accommodation is The Cove Palisades State Park, which hosts nearly 275 tent and RV sites and three cabins (all open spring-fall) near the park's marina. Elsewhere, Crooked River Ranch Cabins offers an oasis-like stay in the heart of Central Oregon's high desert, and Madras features a number of motel and hotel rooms operated by local purveyors and big-name brands alike.
Dine in Culver
First Avenue runs north-south through Culver—and is home to a handful of restaurants dishing delicious pub grub and classic American fare. Beetle Bailey Burgers, for instance, is a favorite among locals for its wide variety of burgers (with more than a dozen specialties on the menu), as well as sandwiches and fried seafood and chicken items.
Another popular stop along First Avenue is Juniper Cove Bar and Grill, which offers steaks, burgers, salads, and sandwiches in a friendly atmosphere. Is your stomach grumbling yet? Learn more about restaurants in Culver, Oregon.
Sip in Culver
With a population of just 2,000, Culver’s selection of watering holes is small. But what Culver lacks in the quantity of beloved sip stops, it makes up for with friendly community gathering places where the server will know your name long before you've settled your tab.
Juniper Cove Bar & Grill, for instance, is a Culver institution; the homestyle restaurant and bar is popular for its creative selection of cocktails and for a stellar lineup of cold, locally crafted beers. Meanwhile, Beetle Bailey Burgers is an old-school burger joint whose decadent milkshakes are always the talk of the town; save room for a huckleberry shake, crafted from a local delicacy that grows in abundance in the nearby Cascade Range.
Best Things to See + Do in Culver, Oregon
Camp, Hike & Boat
Just 15 minutes west of Culver is The Cove Palisades State Park, a year-round outdoor destination that comprises the scenic Deschutes and Crooked River canyons (good for more than 30 miles of flat-water paddling), two campgrounds, a marina with seasonal boat rentals, several miles of hiking trails, and more—all in the heart of the Central Oregon high desert. One of the park’s more popular hiking trails—the Tam-a-láu Trail—affords views of Lake Billy Chinook (one of the many scenic lakes in Central Oregon), as well as several Cascade peaks to the west. And if you're looking for other parks around the region, we've put together a page on national and state parks in Central Oregon.
Fish, Paddle or Swim
Less than 10 minutes southeast of Culver, Haystack Reservoir is a popular springtime and summertime destination. Between April and October, the reservoir is used to store and regulate the delivery of irrigation water to nearby users—and is unsurprisingly popular for its water-based recreation. A fishing platform can be found on the lake's northwestern shore (rainbow trout and brown trout populate the reservoir, especially in spring and early summer), paddlers enjoy views of the Three Sisters and Mount Jefferson to the west, swimmers appreciate the reservoir's cool waters at the height of summer, and three campgrounds invite visitors to stay the night.
Hit the Links
Just 15 minutes southeast of Crooked River Ranch, a sprawling complex that includes the 18-hole Crooked River Ranch Golf Course. The course boasts sweeping views of the surrounding Crooked River Canyon, along with a challenging fifth hole that forces golfers to shoot across the canyon wall en route to the green. Want to see where else you can tee off around the region? Learn more about golf across Central Oregon.
Every August, Culver honors the humble crawdad—a small, freshwater crustacean that looks a bit like a lobster—with a community-wide celebration: the Culver Crawdad Festival. The festivities usually include a parade through town, a day-long festival with vendors and live entertainment, and (naturally) a crawdad dinner afterward. Interested in more? Check out other festivals througout the region.