Cost Effective, Family Friendly Vacations in Central Oregon
One of the biggest questions parents have is how can you take your children along with you on vacation and still make it fit the budget? It can be hard to balance your wallet when you’re trying to create a trip that will be fun for you and your kids. Sunriver offers countless options that has a little something for everyone. Even better, it won’t break the bank.
Kid-Friendly Hikes with a ViewCentral Oregon has beautiful scenery that you can’t miss when you’re out hiking. The Deschutes River Trail is a notable adventure that you can tailor to your family’s needs. The stretch between Meadow Camp and Lava Island is a particularly pretty part of the trail, and extends about a mile in length, making it an accessible and short two-mile hike for your family.
Smith Rock State Park is north of Bend, so it is a bit of a drive from Sunriver, but this is a great spot to visit that has multiple options depending on your family's skill level. There are gorgeous river views and more often than not, you'll encounter some otters hanging out. Watch out for snow and ice if you go in the winter months.
Pilot Butte, located in Bend, Oregon (about 10 miles north of Sunriver) is a dormant volcano turned hiking-attraction. It’s a bit of a steep climb at 500 feet elevation and a mile up, but once at the top you can see views of Broken Top, Three Sisters, Mt. Bachelor, and Mt. Jefferson. If you’re worried about the climb with your younger kids (or for yourself!) you can drive up the paved road during summertime. The base of Pilot Butte has a playground and area to picnic. Bend also has a plethora of kid-friendly breweries as well. After spending some time at Pilot Butte, head on over to one of Bend’s (there's 22!) breweries and get some great food and drinks for you and the family.
Finally Paulina's Lake is a great option for beautiful sites. It's located in a caldera in Newbury Volcano and relies entirely on rain, snowmelt, and hot springs for water. Bring your kids to lake and pond fish and see if they can beat the state record of a 27-pound, 12-ounce brown trout!
Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation CenterMany of our vacation homes comes with Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center (SHARC) passes. SHARC offers numerous aquatic features and other amenities, like a disc golf course. While most popular in the summer, it also has facilities available in the winter, including an indoor pool and hot tub. For more information on what SHARC offers, read our blog, “5 Fun Activities to Explore at SHARC in Sunriver.”
A good way to learn about the history of Central Oregon is to check out some of the museums that are around the area. The High Desert Museum focuses on all aspects of living in the high desert. There are animals like otters, porcupines, bobcats, reptiles, and insects and classes to learn about birds of prey and big predators in the area. Different exhibits occupy the museum and depending on when you go, you’ll learn about Native Americans who lived in the area and other historical moments in history. There’s also a play section for kids if you have young children you’re bringing with you.
Sunriver Area Museums
Another option is the Sunriver Nature Center, which focuses on wildlife and the ecology of the Sunriver area. Like the High Desert Museum, there are also live animal exhibits.