“What should we do when we take a trip to Central Oregon?”
For people planning a Central Oregon vacation, finding the answer is no small feat, because there isn’t a single best answer…nor a bad one! So many things to see and do, and only a set amount of time. To narrow down your itinerary, you have to ask yourself some tough questions:
How long will you be here? Do you like mountains or rivers? Biking or hiking? Five-star cuisine or food carts? One championship golf course or two? The list goes on. Whether it’s a weekend or several weeks, it’s guaranteed you’ll have an Oregon getaway you won’t soon forget.
If you’re an adventurous, DIY type, you can customize your own trip to fill up that bucket list. Our comprehensive Things to Do page will get you going in the right direction, laying out activities and adventures found around each of Central Oregon’s many Cities. Continue onto our Lodging page and decide whether you’d like to rent your own place or build a vacation WITHIN a vacation at one of the area’s premiere resorts. Combine with ideas from our Dining page, and you’ll be on your way to planning your perfect, personalized getaway.
Quick Weekend Trips to
Taking a weekend trip to Bend, Oregon and the area is like dipping your toes in the Deschutes; Pretty soon you’ll want to dive in with a longer trip. Even with just a few days, you will find your itinerary, and likely your soul, full.
For first-timers, pick your passion or interest, and there’s likely an adventure to go with it in Central Oregon. Spend a day mountain or road biking to explore miles of in-town and mountain rides. Beverage lovers and aficionados can spend days quenching their thirst around Bend (aka “BeerTown”) and its drink scene, including brewery tours, cideries, wineries and acclaimed distilleries. If hitting the irons drives your planning, Central Oregon’s world-class golf courses are a hole-in-one. Maybe touring the eclectic eateries and downtown Bend using our foodie guide fits your taste, from food carts to five-star restaurants. If winter is your season, this Cascade mountain mecca has it all: the 6th largest downhill ski area in the country, Mt. Bachelor, serene cross-country skiing and endless snowmobiling trails just to start.
To get a lay of the land, take one of Central Oregon’s many guided tours. Let the locals steer you to the best of Bend, hiking, biking, restaurants, secret spots and more. If you prefer exploring on your own, our Tours and Trails section gives an overview of all there is to do.
Top Central Oregon Family Vacation Ideas
There’s no better way to bond with the family than having fun together. A playground for everyone, Central Oregon is the ideal place for family, kid-friendly adventures and exploration. Depending on the season, there are endless natural wonders to explore, and the indoor fun options in Bend and Central Oregon make stormy weather seem like a treat.
First, it’s important to establish a good base camp. Depending on what’s on the itinerary, families can book vacation rentals close to the action, or book an all-inclusive vacation at Central Oregon’s many resorts. A family tradition for decades, Sunriver Resort tops the list for best family vacation in Oregon. Their central village creates an amusement-park-like experience for kids with bumper cars and games. Get lost in the high desert scenery with bike rentals to cruise their network of paved trails, or stand-up-paddleboard on the Deschutes River.
For an in-town day in Bend, Oregon, the Old Mill district offers some of the best shopping around right along the Deschutes River. Browse this outdoor mall’s shops, and walk along the boardwalk to take in the geese and views of the Cascade mountains. While there, you can let the kids burn off some energy at Free Spirit, a lively, family fitness facility. They can romp, climb and tumble in a fully-padded, all-fun play area during their Ninja Open Play times. Parents can enjoy fitness and yoga, too!
Both kids and adults will be captivated spending an afternoon at the award-winning High Desert Museum, just a short 15 minute drive south of Bend. A Smithsonian partner, its peaceful, professionally-curated indoor and outdoor exhibits immerse visitors in a learning journey of Central Oregon’s wildlife, archeology, cultural history and special events.
For outdoor exploring, try a day up at one of the pristine lakes up Cascade Lakes Highway, or in the winter, book the kids an all-day ski lesson at Mt. Bachelor so Mom and Dad can make some turns. Or take a day trip to one of the region’s many National and State Parks. Whatever direction you go for your Central Oregon family vacation, there will be plenty of stories to share on the car or plane ride home.
in Central Oregon
A top destination for weddings, it’s no surprise that Central Oregon is also one of the best places for a romantic getaway, too. Whether you’re popping the question or celebrating some alone time, this is the place to feel the love.
Capitalizing on the dramatic backdrops and breathtaking scenery of the high desert, Central Oregon’s many premiere resorts offer unparalleled romantic getaway packages that invite couples to disconnect from “real life”…and reconnect with each other. Nowhere else can you hit the trails, get pampered at the spa, and enjoy a candlelit dinner as the sun sets over the Cascade mountains–in a single day.
With its David McClay Kidd championship golf course and jaw dropping scenery, Tetherow Resort makes the perfect romantic golf getaway. Just minutes from downtown Bend, their lodge and cabin rentals offer a luxury escape at the edge of the greens, where couples can play a round after a delectable breakfast at The Row restaurant, and finish with a glass of wine snuggling by a cozy fire pit while your sweetheart serenades you.
Away from it all, Black Butte Ranch is a 10-minute drive west from Sisters, Oregon. Its serene setting might be the best spot for romantic stargazing as couples take in the silhouette of the Cascade mountains against the crystal-clear night skies. Recharge at their full-service spa, dine by candlelight and relax with a glass of wine snuggling in front of the lodge’s mesmerizing stone fireplace.
FivePine Lodge and Spa was Bend Living’s Editor Pick as the “Most Romantic Getaway” in Central Oregon. This retreat amidst ponderosa pines greets guests with an opulent timber lodge, surrounded by cozy, modern luxury cabins that deliver an intimate nature experience. Poised at the base of the Three Sisters mountains, you’re just steps away from the Peterson Ridge trail, a scenic trail system for mountain bikers and hikers. Right next door yet other-worldly, Shibui Spa is a transcendent, Japanese-inspired space where couples can escape, with a lava rock soaking pool, outdoor sun deck, and intimate couples massage spa packages.
Of course, it’s impossible to cover all of the vacations Central Oregon has to offer in one page, the best place to start is making a plan based on your timeline and tastes. We’ve covered some popular types of trips here. Explore these other travel ideas to plan the perfect Oregon getaway for you!
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.