Travel to Visit Madras, Oregon
Whether you're spending the day or staying the night, you'll find no shortage of things to do in Madras, Oregon—from outdoor recreation to one of Central Oregon’s most colorful lavender farms to craft food and beer. Here are a few ideas for enjoying your time in Madras.Take a Virtual Tour
Things To Do In Madras
Best Time to Visit Madras, Oregon
As is typical in Central Oregon, Madras enjoys sunny skies most of the year, precious few days of rainfall, and balmy temperatures that make it a joy to visit all year long. Here's a breakdown of what to expect in each season.
With sunny skies and high temperatures ranging from 55º to 70º, spring is a great time to visit Madras—and explore the high-desert expanse at The Cove Palisades State Park nearby.
Come summer, balmy highs around Madras typically reach 80º to 85º—with just one or two days of rainfall per month. Make the most of the weather with a laid-back walk through colorful gardens at Cascade Lavender Farm or an adrenaline-fueled adventure with Skydive Awesome!.
High temperatures around Madras range from 60º to 75º in fall—boasting crisp, fall mornings and warm, summer-like afternoons. Savor the sun by checking out Madras Bike & Skate Park or visiting the Erickson Aircraft Collection.
Even in the heart of winter, you'll appreciate a mild climate where highs typically top out between 45º and 55º. Warm up by exploring Madras' culinary offerings and burgeoning craft beverage scene—preferably around one of the city’s many fire pits.
Madras—the county seat of Jefferson County, Oregon—started in the early 1900s to serve the region’s ranchers. Over the years, it grew into a trading post and community for nearby farmers, many of whom grew (and continue to grow) garlic, carrots, onions, and other crops. Even today, you'll still see ranches on the rolling hillsides outside of town and farms lining US-97—but change is afoot.
As Madras grows, it’s beginning to serve new audiences alongside the longtime standbys. Today, visitors can sample beer and spirits crafted in town, peruse a new wave of growing dispensaries, and find plenty of outdoor recreation—from a skate park and skydiving to camping, boating, hiking, and more. With so much to see—and so much change in recent years—it can be tough to know where to start. So scroll on and discover ideas for planning your next trip to Madras.
Stay in Madras
If you’re coming from points north, Madras acts as a kind of gateway to Central Oregon—making the city a popular overnight stop. Plenty of international chains line US-97 through town, but if you’re looking for something a little more local, consider the Inn at Cross Keys Station; the three-story, 72-room hotel offers a wealth of amenities—including an indoor pool and hot tub, outdoor patio, free Wi-Fi, and an exercise room.
If you’re looking to rough it a bit, several RV parks and campgrounds can be found nearby. In particular, The Cove Palisades State Park hosts some of the best camping in Central Oregon, with more than 250 sites and three cabins spread across two campgrounds; amenities include flush toilets, showers, ranger-led interpretive programs, and easy access to nearby Lake Billy Chinook.
Dine in Madras
Madras is home to dozens of eateries, from national chains to a growing number of restaurants and food carts serving fare from around the world. The city, in particular, hosts a robust number of Mexican food offerings. Mi Casa Restaurant, for instance, is known for its hefty burritos and filling street tacos crafted with homemade tortillas; nearby, Rio Distinctive Mexican Cuisine serves a menu of inventive dishes that draw on both modern and traditional influences. And the family-friendly Madras Brewing Company pairs its refreshing ales and lagers with pub favorites crafted with fresh ingredients—including sandwiches, pizza, and dinner entrées.
Sip in Madras
Whether you want to kick back or keep the party going, Madras has plenty of nightlife to suit your needs. Madras Brewing Co. brews its own beers and pours a variety of wines and cocktails to pair with a food menu. And just south of town, in the community of Metolius, the Desert Inn Sports Bar and Grill boasts a lively atmosphere with pool tables, shuffleboard, a classic pub food menu, a full bar, TVs for catching the big game, and an outdoor beer garden with a horseshoe pit, fire pit, and a stage for live music.
Interesting in spirit tasting? When you sip a spirit from New Basin Distilling Company, you're truly enjoying a taste of Madras. The distillery sources its grains from a Madras farm and prides itself on crafting small-batch spirits—including vodka and a variety of whiskeys. Want to learn more about the region's craft beverage producers? Kick back with more on distilleries around Central Oregon.
Things to Do in Madras, OR
Visit The Cove Palisades
Just a half-hour southwest of town is The Cove Palisades State Park, one of the most popular hiking, boating, and angling destinations anywhere in Central Oregon. The park sits where the Crooked, Deschutes, and Metolius rivers come together to form Lake Billy Chinook, the backbone of the park’s outdoor recreation opportunities.
Watercraft and water toy rentals are available between April and October, a few hiking trails crisscross the park, and wildlife viewing (especially of raptors soaring overhead) is a popular pastime in the park’s high-desert expanse. And while Lake Billy Chinook might be massive, with 72 miles of shoreline, it’s far from the region’s only body of water—so learn more about the lakes in Central Oregon.
Walk through a Lavender Farm
Every summer, the normally tan landscape of Central Oregon's high desert is awash in vibrant hues of pink, blue, white, and (of course) deep purple at Cascade Lavender Farm. Between late June and early August, visitors can pick their own lavender from more than 4,000 plants—and other family-friendly attractions include a plant nursery, lavender shop, farm animals, and more.
Experience Aviation History
Just north of Madras, the Erickson Aircraft Collection showcases a private collection of more than 20 rare, vintage aircraft—some of which date back to World War II and many of which are still in flying condition today. If the aircraft collection grabs your attention, make time for other museums across Central Oregon that showcase natural history, the region’s earliest residents, and more.
Catch Some Air
Beginners and experts alike find plenty to love about Madras Bike & Skate Park, which hosts several fun features—such as deep bowls, rails, and ramps—that cater to athletes of all skill levels. A set of bleachers even encourages parents to stick around and watch their little boarders and BMX riders test their mettle. Want to know where else you can shred around the region? Learn more about Central Oregon skateparks in our kid-friendly section.
Visit a Dispensary
Since Oregon voters approved a measure to legalize marijuana for those 21 and older in 2014, dispensaries have grown (sorry) like weeds around the state—and Madras is no exception, with a handful of dispensaries around town. Plantae, for instance, sources its flower from a farm in Central Oregon—and sells concentrates, edibles, topicals, and more. Nearby Green Knottz Dispensary is locally owned and operated and boasts a wide selection of products, including indoor and sun-grown flowers, edibles, extracts, and more—all produced and processed in Oregon. Learn more about cannabis around the region.