We’ve put together a Sunriver/Bend travel guide to plan an entire trip to Sunriver or Bend, Oregon any time of year. You will be able to easily plan your entire trip with our year-round suggestions including things to do, where to eat, and where to stay.Are you planning to take a trip to Sunriver or Bend, Oregon sometime this year? If not you should, it’s a pretty awesome place.
Bend, Oregon is a great destination year-round with incredible outdoor activities. There are many kid-friendly attractions in and around Bend, Oregon, making it a perfect place to take a family vacation.
If you live around Portland then it’s a perfect weekend getaway.
We have created this Sunriver/Bend Travel Guide to help you plan your entire trip. Our travel guide includes where to eat and lots of activity suggestions. Like all of our travel guides, this one will continue to grow and adapt over time. In February we are headed back down to experience all the great winter activities they have so check back for updates!
Jump Ahead To
During the summer, activities include kayaking, white water rafting, and hiking. If you are new to rafting, raft the Big Eddy first. You will get a small taste of some major rapids without being tossed around too terribly.
Rafting the Big Eddie with Sun Country tours was cheaper then kayaking and horseback riding in Sunriver. Plus it was awesome. We felt comfortable the whole time. The entire operation is streamlined, which is nice.
2. High Desert Museum
A fantastic indoor family-friendly activity near bend is the High Desert Museum, a one-of-a-kind museum that reveals the nature of things in the West’s high desert through artful exhibits, alluring animals, engaging programs and meaningful history. We felt completely immersed in the history as we walked through some of the exhibits.
There are loads of hiking trails around this area, including lots of waterfall hikes.
- Benham Falls – Dillon Falls
- Steelhead Falls
- Tumalo Falls
- Fall River Falls
- Paulina Falls
4. Sharc Water Park
Sunriver has its own small waterpark (shown in the photo at the beginning of the post) that is mainly outdoors, but also indoors as well. Surprisingly, Sharc is year-round aquatic facility. I’m assuming in the winter it’s just the inside portion that is open. Even in the summer we thought the water was really cold.
Military personnel and their families receive 50% off regular admission, which was awesome for our military family!
What was even cooler about going to this water park was that your admission got you unlimited rides on their summer tubing hill. I had never heard of a summer tubing hill, it’s so much fun.
SHARC’s heated outdoor aquatics feature the following attractions:
- Water slides (must be 48″ to ride)
- Lazy River
- Water Jungle Gym
- Tot Pool & Sand Area
- Lap Lanes
- Heated to 83˚- 85˚
5. Summer Tubing Hill at the Sharc
You can tube almost year-round in Sunriver because they have a summer tubing hill. Here’s a video of the tubing hill.
6. Horseback Riding
Sunriver Stables is home to lots of horses and offers trail rides for any level and varying lengths. We took the one-hour ride, but I think 30 minutes would have been enough. All the trail rides offered are fine for beginners. If you are not a beginner, you might actually find the trails here a little boring.
You can rent equipment like kayaks at the Sunriver Marina. They also offer tours. We went on their wildlife tour. During the kayak, we saw next to no wildlife we had a wonderful time. After we got done kayaking they fed us lunch and took us on a short hike to see Dillion Falls.
8. Off-Roading Tours
The entire area has loads of offroading available. You can sign up for an offroading excursion with Outriders NW. They have a handful of tours to choose from and their Polaris Razrs seat four.
10. Sunriver Fitness and Aquatic Center
Kid-Friendly Winter Activities in Bend, Oregon
During the winter you can ski and snowboard up on nearby by Mt. Bachelor. I have an entire post dedicated to taking a weekend ski trip to Bend.
1. Ski and Snowboard
In the winter, it is unacceptable to not go skiing if you are in Bend unless of course you just can’t. Why? Because Mt. Bachelor is just a short drive from Bend and home to 88 runs to accommodate the novice, intermediate, advanced and expert ski enthusiasts. It even has a magic carpet and bunny hill making this an ultra kid-friendly place to ski.
2. Free guided Snowshoeing
If you are a non-skier consider a 90 minute guided snowshoeing tour of the Deschutes National Forest instead. It’s easy to snowshoe and anyone 8 years or older can do it. This kid-friendly activity is free through the US Forest Service up on Mt. Bachelor. During your tour, you will learn about winter ecology at Mt. Bachelor and the geology of Central Oregon, the Deschutes National Forest watershed, and the plants and animals found throughout the area. You will need to wear snow boots and other warm winter clothing. These tours start at 10 AM on Saturdays. You check-in 10-15 minutes prior to the time of the tour at the USFS snowshoe hut just outside the Guest Services building in West Village at Mt. Bachelor ski resort.
3. Ice skating in Sunriver
The Sunriver ice rink is open from mid-November through the end of March and is an exciting activity for vacationers and locals alike. If ice-skating is not your forte, the rink offers a viewing room with a cozy fireplace so you can watch your friends and family skate to their hearts’ content. This is a fairly cheap family activity!
4. Mountain Air Indoor Trampoline Park
No matter where we go we always seem to find a trampoline park. This one is good with over 20 trampolines.
This place was fantastic! This will be our go-to place for breakfast in Sunriver from now on! Other than my crepe being a tiny portion I love everything about it. I just figured when I order the crepes that it would be more than just one of them. My $8 mistake. It’s a cute place. They give everyone toast and it’s a cinnamon toast that’s REAL good. They did not have kids meals but they have some large plates that are good for splitting.
After first eating at their location in a strip mall in Bend I was not impressed. But after visiting this beautiful location in Sunriver right along the river I have completely changed my mind. The cocktails here are huge. HUGE! Plus, they have a lot of cocktail choices. The tequila tacos are awesome. Do not let your children order the nachos off the kids menu. They would be better off eating the complimentary chips and dip.
Inside Sunriver Lodge with a fireplace & lake views, Meadows is a great place to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Craft brewery & gastropub serving creative American eats in a rustic setting with a kids’ play area.
Bend Restaurants for Families
Bend is home to 22 breweries, several with great food.
We love everything about Bend Brewing Company. Their beers are great and on weekend nights they’ve got live music. The Reuben is so large you should order and half or plan to split a plate with someone. They’ve also got excellent salsa!
The chicken BBQ bacon sandwich was amazing. All of the other food was had was great. For dessert, we tried the peanut butter pie and it was ridiculous it was so good. You must try it if you visit!
The Original Pancake House – This place was great. It’s almost all pancakes. A typical order comes out with 6 pancakes. They have options for half orders on their pancakes and french toast. The prices are cheap. I fed 3 adults and 2 kids for around $30.
Extremely creative Asian Fusion
A delicious Thai food restaurant. Located at 150 NW Oregon Ave, Bend, OR 97702. For a family of four without drinks, the cost was $60. Do not go for the super spicy, it will be so hot it will be unedible.
Worthy Brewing Taps and Tacos
A small taco shop with good food. Located at 150 NW Oregon Ave, Bend, OR 97702. For three entrees, chips, and an appetizer is was $50.
Bend Lodging for Families
This is a family-friendly hotel towards Mt. Bachelor with large rooms and entries perfect for putting your ski gear. Plus, they have a pool!
This is another good place to stay in Bend, Oregon. The rooms are a little small, but they’ve got free breakfast.
In my opinion, this is an excellent place to stay. They’ve got an indoor pool and hot tub, free breakfast, a bar in the afternoon, and evenings in the lobby. The rooms are laid out well with loads of power outlets. The location is fantastic in Old Mill District in downtown Bend. Because it is a Marriott they offer a military discount.
They offer airy studios and one-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens. Amenities include complimentary bikes, a fitness center, a complimentary evening reception Monday through Thursday 5:00 – 6:30 pm, and more.
Sunriver has hundreds of homes for rent. Renting a home is nice because you can bring everything you need and spread out.
We got our rental showcased in this video through Bennington Properties a local company with plenty of inventory. We liked staying with them and I highly recommend them.
If possible I recommend trying to stay in the Caldera Springs area. It’s a private area within Sunriver with its own pool. This is where we stayed during our most recent visit to Sunriver and it was excellent.
Bend & Sunriver FAQ
How far is Sunriver from Bend?
Sunriver is 19 minutes south of Bend.