Sammies and Sandos: Central Oregon’s Best Sandwiches

Sometimes after a day full of adventure, all that you crave is a simple, yet delicious, stick-to-your-ribs sandwich. (And a beer, obviously.)

Whether you call it a “sammie,” “sando,” or “sammich,” there’s an amazing sandwich waiting for you at the end of the trail in Central Oregon. Heck, even if you’re one of those weirdos who consider a hot dog a sandwich, we have you covered. For the purposes of this story, we’re not including burgers in the “sandwich” category, but rest assured there are TONS of great burgers here. (Don’t see your favorite listed? Tell us where to find the best sandwich in Central Oregon in the comments!)

In the iconic downtown Bend breezeway, the Beach Hut Deli offers a great selection of hot and cold sandwiches in a “chill” setting perfect for catching a game on TV or just people watching on Mirror Pond Plaza. Try the Surfin’ Bird with turkey, avocado, bacon, cream cheese, mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato, red onions, lettuce, Greek peppers and cheese.

In beautiful Sunriver, Sunriver Brewing‘s menu is filled with post-adventure favorites, but one of my staples is the Turkey Dip with smoked turkey breast, pepper bacon, tomato, Tillamook white cheddar on a french roll with a side of natural turkey jus. Pair it with a Fuzztail Hefe and your afternoon is golden. (You can get the same sandwich at Sunriver Brewing’s Galveston Pub in Bend too.)

Sunriver Brewing Co. Galveston Pub

Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters is a perfect rest stop after hiking up Black Butte, fishing at Camp Sherman or mountain biking the Peterson Ridge trails. And for me, there’s not a better sandwich in all of Central Oregon (or anywhere for that matter) than the legendary Chicken Bacon Tater. NBD, just your basic sandwich with grilled chicken breast, thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, fries & chipotle ranch all rolled together in a toasted pita, “Taco Style.” Yes, that’s right: THERE’S FRENCH FRIES IN THE SANDWICH! Pairs nicely with a Knotty Blonde.

The Row at Bend’s Tetherow Resort has a great pub-style menu that includes all your favorites like burgers and wings and a rotating beer menu featuring several local breweries. And while it sounds simple: sourdough bread, smoked ham, and Tillamook cheddar cheese served with daily soup – the grilled cheese is top notch (especially served with the tomato soup that’s usually available.)

Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project is easily one of Bend’s favorite brewpubs. The pub features three hugely popular food carts outside on the lawn. And while the pub itself has a limited menu, the Banh Mi sandwich has long been a standout dish. It’s porter-hoisin roasted pork belly, cubed ham, fresh cucumber, cilantro, do Chua, and sweet chili aioli. My colleague Kristine implores you to get EXTRA CILANTRO!

Exterior view of people on the patio at 10 Barrel on Bend, Oregon's westside
The patio at 10 Barrel Brewing’s West Side Pub.

You can find a great steak sandwich on just about every menu here these days (most here are made with locally grown beef,) but you probably won’t find a better one than the one at 10 Barrel Brewing‘s West Side pub. Know how I know? Because my wife says so and, well, she’s kind of a steak sandwich expert (or so I’ve been told.)

For an out of this world dining experience, Worthy Brewing is your place thanks to the world’s first “Hopservatory.” Founder Roger Worthington will tell you the Salmon Sando is the best in the universe: grilled Atlantic salmon, Tillamook pepper jack cheese, fresh guacamole, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, chipotle aioli on ciabatta. (Pro tip from my colleague Kristi: Get it as a lettuce wrap.)

And finally, Brother Jons has two locations in Bend and both have great menus. You can’t go wrong though with the Cuban: Pulled pork, ham, melted swiss, sautéed onions, dill pickles & spicy brown mustard on a grilled hoagie roll. (While you’re waiting, the habanero cheese dip is worth noshing on – it’s a white wine & garlic habanero cheese sauce with house-fried yellow and blue corn tortilla chips.)

Winter Weekend – 48 Hours of Winter Fun

It’s a triple play when it comes to the perfect two-day winter stay in Central Oregon – starting and ending with three distinct experiences.

Sisters

Based out of Sisters, after a pleasant night’s stay at FivePine Lodge, head to one of the town’s renowned bakeries to start the day. If you’re staying at Black Butte Ranch, brew up a cup and lay out some pastries in your vacation rental. After that, head to Hoodoo Ski Area to ski, ride or do a little innertubing down these Cascade slopes.

After a morning full of downhill runs, head back to Sisters for a late lunch or refreshments at the Three Creeks Brewing Company. If you haven’t been able to find time to see the latest movie, head next door to the Sisters Movie House, built inside a big red barn. If the slopes have gotten the best of you, there’s always the Shibui Spa at FivePine Lodge, just a two-minute walk from the theater and brew pub.

Day two is exploration day. It begins in Sisters with a relaxed cross-country ski tour on the Peterson Ridge trail system, a hike around nearby Suttle Lake or an amble along the Metolius River and into Camp Sherman. Try lunch at The Lodge at Suttle Lake.

Back in town, it’s time to troll the art galleries or hit the winter series of the Sisters Folk Festival, where you can find big acts in an intimate setting.

A family ice skating at Seventh Mountain Resort

Bend

If you’re launching from Bend, and staying at DoubleTree, Riverhouse on the Deschutes or the Hilton Garden Inn, try McKay Cottage or Sparrow Bakery before heading up for a day of alpine skiing.

Those wanting to be a bit closer to Mt. Bachelor will find a haven at Seventh Mountain Resort, five miles from downtown on the way to the ski area.

Legs a bit weary and ready to head back from the slopes, stop by The Row at Tetherow for apres ski or head right to town for a brew and a burger at either 10 Barrel Brewing Company or Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. Lodge.

Come evening, Bend has dozens of wonderful dining options such as the venerable Pine Tavern near Mirror Pond in the heart of the city.

After dinner, downtown has several music clubs, regular big-time music acts at the Tower Theatre, wine bars and places to simply sit back and relax after a long day on the mountain.

Or, an alternative itinerary for Bend would be to start off the day heading up Century Drive for cross-country skiing at one of the designated Sno-Parks, sledding at Wanoga Sno-Park or dog sledding with Trail of Dreams at Mt. Bachelor.

Back in town, explore the shopping downtown or in the Old Mill District. The dinner fare in town runs from Middle Eastern, to Far Eastern to Pacific Northwest and Western. In any case there are top-notch restaurants for every whim.

The Village at Sunriver Shopping

Sunriver

A third two-day excursion starts in Sunriver, with its wide variety of accommodations from lodge rooms and condos to rental homes. In winter, Sunriver is like being in a classic European alpine mountain community – small enough to walk everywhere yet replete with a central shopping and restaurant village.

The drive to Mt. Bachelor from Sunriver is short. When your legs can’t take any more on the mountain, head back to Sunriver Resort, where there’s Sage Springs Spa to minister aches and pains, Sunriver Brewing Company for conviviality and several excellent dining choices at the Lodge and in The Village at Sunriver.

Day two in Sunriver starts with a leisurely breakfast at Sintra before heading up to Edison Butte for a cross-country ski tour. By the way, dogs are welcome at Edison Butte.
Ending the tour with a picnic lunch on the snow is a fitting finale to two wonderful Central Oregon days.

Sisters Weekend Getaway: Romance, Bike Rides & More

A visit to Sisters, Oregon is both a step back in time and a visit to the lap of luxury. Downtown, experience a bit of the old west through vintage storefronts welcoming visitors to a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries. Venture down the road a bit and you’ll find an upscale, modern mini-resort in FivePine Lodge. And right outside the back door of your cozy cabin is a world of adventure waiting for you on the Peterson Ridge Trail System.

Rustic Elegance

FivePine Lodge features eight suites in a beautiful main lodge modeled after a historic forestry station and 36 craftsman-style cabins. The campus also offers a spa, Mexican restaurant, movie house, and Three Creeks Brewing Co. With the personal touch of a bed and breakfast, the privacy of romantic, cozy cabins and all the amenities of a resort, FivePine is the ultimate romantic getaway.

Shibui Spa is on site and offers a variety of packages, including a three-hour “Day of Indulgence” that features a massage, facial and pedicure.

Giddyup

Saddle up a two-wheeled horse during your stay with a mountain bike rental from Blazing Saddles. Sisters’ only bike shop is a full-service, one-stop shop for everything bike. And with demo and rentals from brands like BMC, Giant and Felt, you’re sure to get a great ride to experience our amazing trails.

According to our partners, Bend Trails, the Peterson Ridge Trails in Sisters were originally constructed in 1989 as a mountain bike trail network consisting of a combination of single-track and old forest service roads. In 2008, a major expansion of the network increased the amount of single track to over 20 miles and included signage and trail markers to aid riders in navigation.

The trails are fairly level and mostly free of technical obstacles (although some lines do have rocks and roots to negotiate).  The trail network is popular with Sisters’ residents and you can expect to encounter lots of walkers, runners, and dogs on the trails. There are also several Horse trails that interconnect into this system.

Dinner and a Show – Sisters Style

A visit to Sisters wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Three Creeks Brewing on the FivePine Lodge campus. Sisters’ only brewpub is a regional favorite that draws visitors and locals alike thanks to their delicious beers and hearty menu. Their Knotty Blonde and Hoodoo Voodoo IPA are always a good choice, as is the Chicken, Bacon, Tater sandwich featuring a chicken breast, thick cut bacon and fries smothered in a chipotle ranch and wrapped in a warm pita like a taco.

After dinner, walk about 10 steps to the lovely little Sisters Movie House where you can catch a first-run film, grab another beer and settle into the quaint theater for a couple of hours of entertainment.

Looking for some down-home comfort food? The Cottonwood Cafe is a relative newcomer to the Sisters dining scene after a complete transformation from Jen’s Garden – which served upscale French cuisine. The new restaurant has a new look, new menu and new vibe that’s been a hit.

A Patriotic and Fun 4th in Central Oregon

Summer in Central Oregon offers a feast for the adventurous and respite for the relaxers. Come 4th of July, add to that plenty of patriotism.

This year it falls on a Wednesday  – possibly creating a whole FIVE-day weekend for a lot of people. It’ll be a great weekend to find a great hike, play some golf at one of the two dozen courses here or maybe get crazy with a whitewater rafting trip.

Big Eddy Thriller

You couldn’t have picked a better place to celebrate the 4th.

On the 4th, Bend features one of the quirkiest celebrations you’ll ever see – The annual 4th of July Pet Parade is exactly what it sounds like: Thousands of people and their pets parading through downtown in front of some 10,000 spectators. You’ll find all sorts of animals including cats, llamas, mini horses and a dog held airborne by balloons. (You just have to see it to believe it.) The parade starts at 1o a.m. and is immediately followed by an Old Fashioned 4th Celebration down the street in Drake Park. The party features food vendors, arts and craft booths, games for kids, music and much more.

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Fireworks across Central Oregon
Bend: Pilot Butte, 10 p.m.
Redmond: Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, 10 p.m.
La Pine: Frontier Heritage Park, 10 p.m.
Prineville: Reservoir State Park, 10 p.m.
Madras: Sahalee Park, 10 p.m.

After an afternoon of floating the river or heading up to the high lakes to beat the heat, end the holiday by finding a good spot to watch the fireworks show from atop Pilot Butte State Park at 10 p.m. (Local tip – Bend High School and Pilot Butte Middle School (click for maps) both offer good spots to see the show.)

Redmond’s “Baseball, Hot Dogs and Apple Pie 4th of July Parade” through downtown kicks off at 10 a.m. downtown followed by an Old Fashioned 4th celebration at the fairgrounds from 11 to 4.  The fireworks show starts at 10 p.m. at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center.

In Sunriver, you could start the day with the family at the Kids Bike Parade or cool off at the Sunriver Aquatic Center (SHARC) before getting cleaned up and getting your groove on during the opening night of Sunriver Resort’s summer concert series.

La Pine’s Frontier Days actually start on July 1st with a variety of family-friendly activities, cook-outs, live music and more. On the 4th the party starts at 7 a.m. with a “Woodcutter’s Breakfast” followed by a parade at 10:30.

You can officially kick off the weekend with the monthly First Friday Artwalk in downtown Bend. Yes, there’s art – lots of it. But Artwalk is more than that, as businesses keep their doors open later, and offer wine and spirits to create a very festive atmosphere in every small shop you walk in.

To see a full listing of all the events and activities slated for the July 4th holiday weekend, visit our Calendar.

Central Oregon Vacation Rentals Offer an Affordable Home Away from Home

HomeSpun Vacation Rentals/Bend

There’s something quick, easy and consistent when choosing a hotel or destination resort for your vacation lodging.

But there’s something quirky, fun, interesting, spacious, well-appointed, private and luxurious about choosing a vacation rental home instead.

Central Oregon has more than 3,000 amazing vacation rental options, from cozy cottages near downtown to townhomes in the woods to expansive homes along the banks of the Deschutes River. They all provide a lodging opportunity that really lets you feel like a local as soon as you pull into the driveway.

Why choose a vacation rental home?

  1. More Privacy
  2. Less expensive for small groups
  3. You can save money by cooking at home
  4. Most are pet-friendly
  5. There’s often laundry on site

Granted, staying in a vacation rental isn’t the best option for every trip, especially if you’re only going to be in one spot for a couple of days. But if you’re planning a longer trip, say 3 days or more, you’ll likely get a lot of  bang for your buck in a rental home.

For example, if two couples looking for a place to stay close to downtown, the river, shopping, and tons of dining, they could split the cost of a nice 2-bedroom rental home for five days in late June for about $70/person/night. Or, go a little more upscale and rent a house (with a hot tub) on one of Central Oregon’s 30 golf courses for $109/night.That’s considerably cheaper than some rates for hotels during peak season here.

Vacation rental home in Sunriver, Oregon
Bennington Properties/Sunriver

Some rental homes amenities include hot tubs and BBQ grills in addition to cruiser or mountain bikes to check out the sights and sounds around Bend, Sunriver and beyond. Many of the homes are situated within well-established neighborhoods, lending themselves to a “local’s vibe.”

What else makes vacation rental homes so great? Here are a few highlights:

Bennington Properties in Sunriver might be the most dog-friendly vacation rental company on the planet! Not only do they offer an off-leash play area at the management offices, but there’s a complementary dog wash there too so you can clean up the pup after a day of adventuring. Stock up on provisions at Country Market in The Village at Sunriver or grab a bite and brew at Sunriver Brewery.

DiamondStone Guest Lodges in Central Oregon

At Diamondstone Guest Lodges in La Pine, you can stay way off the beaten path.

This rural resort has a wide variety of lodging including a bed & breakfast, a Log Cabin and more, including an upstairs “Treetop Lounge” that can host events. The bed & breakfast has a 3.5-acre meadow for small outdoor weddings. The resort is also home to a 3-day summer music and arts festival known as “The Newberry Event.”

DiamondStone also hosts MOTOFANTASY Motorcycle Rentals.  Experienced riders can choose from over a dozen unique bikes to ride for a day or a week.

Cold Springs Resort

Tucked beneath a canopy of Ponderosa and Tamarack and only steps from the spring-fed Metolius River in Camp Sherman the cabins at Cold Springs Resort offer the perfect family retreat. Hiking, biking, and world-class fly-fishing opportunities abound and all are within walking distance. Bring the kids, the dog and let yourself and your family unwind.

Cold Springs Resort was originally a dairy and the springs were used to keep the fresh milk cool before distribution.

Elk Lake sailboats in Central Oregon
Elk Lake Resort

Elk Lake Resort, on the Cascade Lake Scenic Byway, offers rustic or upscale cabins just steps away from one of the region’s most popular recreation spots. Grill on the deck or head on down to the lodge before renting a canoe for the afternoon. There’s often live music at the resort as well.

Vacation rental home at Tetherow in Central Oregon
Tetherow Vacation Home

Looking for destination resort amenities, but vacation rental lodging? Sunriver Resort, Tetherow, Black Butte Ranch and Pronghorn all offer vacation rental options. Tetherow has the region’s first vacation rental neighborhood called “Cairn,” which includes 4 and 5 bedroom homes along the award-winning golf course.

*These are just a couple of examples and rates will vary, but they are actual examples, from one of Central Oregon’s more popular vacation rental companies. 

New Digs Spruce Up Hotel & Pubs at McMenamins Old St. Francis School

mcmenamins summer resized

More than 80 years ago, the newly-constructed St. Francis School in downtown Bend became a beacon of traditional parochial education for the growing town’s Catholic community.

Times change.

Today, the old campus is one of Bend’s most beloved spots to grab a beer, catch a movie, see live music, eat dinner, spend the night and enjoy a relaxing soak.

McMenamins is known for taking iconic buildings and repurposing them into beautiful lodging and dining properties. The PNW group renovated and reopened the landmark as the McMenamins Old St. Francis School in November 2004. But all the charm and history of the Catholic school remains intact.

According to the hotel, “McMenamins honors the property’s former life by featuring extensive artwork that pays homage to the history of the school and the surrounding community. Photos, memorabilia, artists’ renderings and students’ artwork adorn the walls, making the hotel a unique gallery of sorts.”

The lodging options at the Bend campus expanded to 60 guestrooms in 2016 with the opening of two additional buildings – the Art House and Ed House.

The 24-room Art House features hand-painted scenes from McMenamins locations, lore and beyond. Guestrooms feature televisions, telephones, internet access and private bathrooms with showers. As with all Old St. Francis School lodging, overnight guests can also enjoy complimentary use of the soaking pool. (Take a walk and you’ll discover secret hallways, secret rooms and a secret bar.)

The Old St. Francis School campus is truly an all-everything lodging property – conveniently located at the edge of Bend’s thriving downtown featuring dozens restaurants and shops. Here’s some more info on the unique amenities at the hotel.

mcmenamins-theater
The McMenamins Movie Theater

The Theater

Tucked away in the former parish hall of the old Catholic school is a place much more comfortable to sit than a hard wooden pew. The Old St. Francis School Theater, with seating for up to 120, offers visitors the chance to settle into an overstuffed chair or sofa and watch a recent release, cult classic or sporting event while enjoying a slice of pizza and a handcrafted McMenamins ale.

The Old St. Francis Theater offers pizza, snacks and, of course, popcorn. The full-service bar offers a wide variety of liquid refreshments to quench your thirst – including McMenamins own ales, wines, cider and spirits. So sit back, relax on our cozy couches and chairs and take in all that the big screen has to offer in this unique movie theater in Bend.

Soaking tub at McMenamins in Bend, Oregon

Soaking Pool

The Old St. Francis School soaking pool is a sparkling gem – semi-enclosed in shimmering turquoise tile work, one is reminded of tropical locales, even while the central Oregon snow or rain falls in through the open ceiling! Admire the luminous stained glass window by David Schlicker and the tiles that were handcrafted, fired and painted by Justyn Livingston and installed by Boyer Tiles into a beautiful mural depicting St. Francis and others harvesting grapes.

The pool is filled with soft, buoyant water, which makes for a more environmentally friendly soak. You can feel a difference.

mcmenamins okanes fire
The firepit outside McMenamins’ O’Kanes Pub

O’Kanes Pub

Set in the schoolhouse’s former garage, O’Kanes is now adorned with church doors – one of which dates back to before the turn of the 20th century – and natural light flooding the numerous stained glass windows. The rare, historic Povey stained glass windows were salvaged from a former Elks Lodge in Portland. Cigar smoking is allowed.

Outside, the pub’s large patio, festive lighting and inviting fire pits make it a go-to spot for beers and dining year round.

mcmenamins-restaurant-resized

Old St. Francis Pub

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the pub’s deep booths and original artwork make for a comfortable spot to linger over any meal. Set in the former Catholic school’s main building, our Bend brewpub offers hearty pub fare, handcrafted ales brewed right downstairs in the onsite brewery and seasonal weekly specials. On-site bakers also craft homemade breads, pastries, cookies and desserts, available daily in the pub and at the hotel front desk. The fresh-baked goods are the perfect complement to a cup of McMenamins roasted coffee.

On warm days, guests can sit in the outside courtyard to enjoy their food and drinks al fresco. Or perhaps order some pizza to go for a picnic anywhere.

Pool table at McMenamins in downtown Bend, Oregon

Five for Fall: Perfect Autumn Hikes in Central Oregon

Black Butte
Black Butte in the distance

There’s no bad time of year to go on a hike in Central Oregon. In the summer heat, folks head up to the cooler temps with hikes around our high lakes. In the winter, Smith Rock State Park is downright balmy and the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine. And in the spring, our urban parks and trails are busy with locals eager to welcome the changing seasons.

But if there’s a best time of year to hike, it’s fall. Great weather, beautiful colors and less-crowded trails make for the perfect outdoor experience. RootsRated.com, an outdoor adventure clearinghouse has hand-picked these 5 Perfect Fall Hikes on the High Desert. They’re spot on with their picks!

Smith Rock River Trail
Smith Rock State Park

Accessible Adventure: Easy Hikes for Families near Bend, Oregon

 

There are so many great hikes in Central Oregon, it can be tough to choose where to start. For beginner hikers or families here’s a couple of easy to get to – and more importantly – easy to conquer starter-hikes.

Flanking the Deschutes River near Bend’s Old Mill District, the Deschutes River Trail is a 3-mile loop that starts near Farewell Bend Park. The path is well-maintained and perfect for whatever pace you’re up for, you can even tackle the trail with strollers. Dogs are allowed and there’s plenty of places to relax and take in the sights that seems to get better around every corner.

SUPing at Sparks Lake near Bend, Oregon
Photo Credit: Kourtney Parks

About 25 miles up the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, Sparks Lake offers unparalleled mountain views. The Ray Atkeson hiking loop starts off as a paved pathway but quickly turns into a trek through the forest. This hike is considered easy just don’t forget your water bottle as the hike can get hot in a hurry. If you’re not up for the full hike — follow the paved pathway for a half mile to the viewpoint. It’s impossible to not be awestruck by South Sister and Broken Top and it’s easy to see why this area was named for Atkeson, a famed landscape photographer. No matter what time of year it is, this spot is a photographer’s dream.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get better than that, there’s the hike nearby at Todd Lake. After a short walk from the parking area, you’re hit larger than life views of Broken Top. It’d be easy to stay right there all day, but there’s so much more to experience. The 1.8 mile trail around the lake is heavily used but there’s plenty of room to spread out and find your own little piece of paradise for the day.

mackenzie - todd lake 2

Todd Lake is extremely family friendly because of it’s easy to navigate paths and lots of places to have a picnic. You might wonder why the far side of the lake seems to be the most popular, but it doesn’t take long to find out.

From the looks of it, Todd Lake should probably be called Frog Lake! Kids can spend hours chasing the quick little guys around but be aware, this is strictly a catch and release area.  No matter what hike you decide on, you’re guaranteed a great day when you’re outside in Central Oregon.

mackenzie - todd lake

Hopless in Central Oregon: Experience Scenic Cideries and Vino with a View

 

In an area dominated by craft beer, you might be wondering is there anything else on tap? The answer is, ‘Yes’. Central Oregon is home to award winning cideries and wineries and with postcard-worthy views from their tasting rooms – you won’t be disappointed.

Named after the Three Sisters, Faith Hope and Charity Vineyards is just over 30 miles from Bend. It’s hard to complain about the drive though when furry faces from the Alpaca farm nearby greet you right before you turn onto the property.

The tasting room is in a huge white barn. As soon as you get a glass of vino you can either sit and relax on the patio by the pond or go explore the 15-acre vineyard. The views at Faith, Hope and Charity are larger than life, but take a closer look and you’ll find beauty everywhere.

faith hope and charity 1

From the country to Bend’s Old Mill District, craft beverages know no boundaries. Atlas Cider serves up a good time in more ways than one at their taproom. From outdoor games to an indoor arcade and pool table, you’ll want to hang out here for a while.

Not only can you taste their entire line of ciders, Atlas has fridges stocked with ciders from all around the Northwest and beyond. With unique touches just about everywhere you glance, it’s impossible not to want to share this relatively new spot with everyone you know.

atlas cider 2

A winery on the side of a highway might not sound idyllic, but with panoramic views of Smith Rock and the Cascades, that’s exactly what Maragas Winery is.

Doug Maragas uses old world techniques passed down from his family to craft unique wines on his 40-acre plot of land between Redmond and Madras. The vineyard takes advantage of the unique microclimate here to create European varietals along with French American hybrids. Maragas and Faith Hope & Charity make up part of the new Central Oregon Wine Trail.

The toughest choice you’ll have to make out here is whether to enjoy your wine inside the barrel room, outside on the patio or while playing bocce ball in their court.

From craft cider in Bend to relaxed wineries in the country — these hopless options will hit the spot on so many levels.

Maragas Winery in Culver

Beating the Heat Central Oregon Style: High Lakes & Lazy River Keep you Cool

Whether it’s a relaxing mid-week paddle or a wild weekend float — one of the best ways to beat the summer heat in Central Oregon is to head for the Deschutes River.

Winding through the Old Mill District in Bend, the Deschutes is a quick, easy way to cool off without doing too much work.

You don’t even need your own floatie! Sun Country Tours rents tubes and paddle boards right where most people put in at Riverbend Park.

The dog days of summer really are the best, unless of course you’re wearing a fur coat. The Riverbend dog park on the bank of the Deschutes is the perfect spot for Fido to get some exercise without overheating.

The area isn’t called “The High Desert” for nothing…so when things really heat up a trip to the High Cascade Lakes is in order. There are lots of different lakes to choose from but Sparks Lake is one of the most popular for flat water paddling. Around every corner, there’s a new view to take in and unofficial camping spots allow a day you never want to end to do, just that!

A few more miles down the Cascade Lakes Highway and you’ll hit Elk Lake. Staggering mountain views and warm water make Elk Lake, the destination for tourists and locals alike.

If you’re up for something a little more thrilling than relaxing,how about whitewater rafting? Sun Country runs trips daily and kids as young as six years old can get in on the fun.

You know that saying “no bad days”? So long as you have something to float on — that’s exactly what it feels like to be in Central Oregon during the summer.