Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon has always been one of my dream destinations. Growing up in Arizona, I knew SO MANY people that went there on vacation every summer but alas, my family never visited. So fast forward to planning our big 2021 summer trip, and I just knew that Sunriver Resort needed to be included. And honestly, it’s one of the best places you can stay when exploring Central Oregon. There’s a ton to do within the boundaries of Sunriver Resort itself, and it’s a great jumping-off point for exploring Bend and the surrounding area.
With lodging options comprised of guest rooms and vacation house rentals, there’s something for parties of every size and budget at Sunriver Resort. The River Lodge rooms are located south of the Main Lodge, have a view of the river, and are slightly larger than the Lodge Village rooms. But, Lodge Village is closer to the Cove Aquatic Center and has a suite option with 2 queens + sofa bed that sleeps 6, so it was the clear winner for our family.
SUNRIVER LODGE VILLAGE 2 QUEEN SUITE
Welcome to the 2 Queen Suite at Lodge Village. Sidenote – as soon as Ellie saw the picture on the key, she wanted to ditch the room tour and head to the pool!!
One of my favorite features of the suites in Lodge Village is that they include a kitchenette – really, they have everything but an oven, including dishes for the whole family. While we didn’t cook in the room on this trip, we often prep easy meals in the hotel to save a little money or have a relaxing evening in.
The living area was spacious and had AMAZING views. The kids said the sofa bed was one of the most comfortable ones they’ve ever slept on!
And everyone was excited that our room had two floors! We have a two-story house at home, so it’s not like it was a foreign concept for the kids, but they all went on and on about how cool the layout was – I think they really liked the loft concept.
Upstairs there were 2 queen beds + the master bathroom. I didn’t include a picture of it, but there was another full bathroom downstairs by the front door. Initially, I was concerned about the loft concept and noise, but it worked out perfectly for our family. And honestly, having 2 bathrooms makes everyyyything easier when traveling with a slew of children.
Of course, there’s more to Sunriver than just staying in the room. In fact, there are tons of different things you can do around the resort!!
SUNRIVER COVE AQUATIC CENTER
As soon as we unloaded the bags and got situated, the kids wanted to go straight to the pool. It didn’t matter that it was only 70º outside – the pools at the Cove Aquatic Center are heated, after all!
The Cove Aquatic Center recently went through a massive expansion and just reopened a couple of months ago. In addition to the outdoor pool, there’s also an indoor pool, new waterslide, hot tubs, and plenty of space to spread out. Head to this post for all of the Cove Aquatic Center details.
The outdoor waterslide, the Paulina Plunge, was a favorite with all the kids. This one is CHILLY, though (just like the real Paulina Plunge waterfall!), so be aware of that if it’s cold outside. The indoor waterslide is heated and perfect for cooler weather!
Located next door to the Sunriver Nature Center, the Oregon Observatory has the largest collection of telescopes available for public viewing in the country. We didn’t have a chance to visit during the day to see the sun, but we did visit for some late-night star viewing!
The Oregon Observatory at Sunriver offers an Exclusive Star Party private event. During this one-hour experience, your family or private group of up to 15 gets exclusive access to all of the telescopes, a laser-guided tour of the constellations, stories, knowledge, AND JOKES(!) from the Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory staff.
We had an absolutely phenomenal time at our Star Party at the Oregon Observatory. The sun doesn’t set until after 9pm in Central Oregon, so I signed up for the latest timeslot to ensure it would be as dark as possible – our private event was from 10:45-11:45pm. Since we often go to bed early/get up early when we’re traveling, I had to make some adjustments to our schedule (like having everyone take an afternoon nap/rest) in order to do the late night, but it was totally worth the rearranging!
I’ve never seen as many stars as I saw that night because there’s too much light pollution on the east coast. Sunriver really is in the middle of nowhere, and it is DARK outside at night!! AND, it was the FIRST TIME that the kids were able to see the Milky Way!! We learned so much, saw everything from globular clusters to nebulas to binary stars, and we had the best time. The Oregon Observatory is definitely a must-do if you’re in the Sunriver area!
GETTING AROUND SUNRIVER RESORT
When you’re staying at Sunriver Resort, you don’t even HAVE to use your car (depending on where you want to go!). You can call the Resort Shuttle from anywhere on the resort grounds, and it will come pick you up and take you resort-wide! The big kids called it one afternoon to catch a ride to the Starbucks in The Village at Sunriver!
Speaking of The Village at Sunriver, it’s full of restaurants, including several coffee shops, a grocery store, and plenty of cute shops. We grabbed a coffee and wandered around for a while before the afternoon rain chased us away.
Pizza is a favorite in our house, and we often order it when we’re traveling since it’s a crowd-pleaser. We ordered from Blondie’s Pizza of Sunriver – more than once because it was SO GOOD! They have free delivery after 5pm to anywhere in Sunriver, and we were pleasantly surprised with how quickly it was delivered!
CARSON’S AMERICAN KITCHEN
Now, we obviously don’t do pizza EVERY night when we travel. Sometimes we like to change it up and have a fancier, sit-down meal. Carson’s American Kitchen in the Main Lodge at Sunriver Resort fit the bill perfectly. Reservations are recommended, but they’re still offering Curbside To Go if you do not want to eat inside or you can’t get a reservation.
They sure do clean up nicely! I love that the kids are at ages where they can appreciate a nicer meal – and behave appropriately the entire time we’re at the restaurant!
We all started with a salad, and this Caesar was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was lemony, perfectly dressed, and the perfect size.
We ordered a variety of entrees, including the New York Strip, the Crab Mac & Cheese, and the Muffaletta (all pictured), but the absolute BEST thing we ordered was the Elk Meatloaf (sadly, not pictured). It was wrapped in bacon, drizzled with Sunriver’s coffee bbq sauce, and it was absolute perfection. We were all too full to order dessert, but they had several options that sounded delicious.
OTHER THINGS TO DO AT SUNRIVER RESORT
- Biking – There are over 40 miles of paved trails on the Sunriver Resort grounds, and the Bike Barn has over 300 bikes available to rent. Rentals are available for 1-6 days, and the daily rate decreases if you pick a longer rental period. Sunriver Resort guests receive a 10% discount on bike rentals.
- Horseback Riding – For the 7 – adult crowd, trail rides are a fun summer activity at Sunriver. There are 45 and 75-minute options, and reservations are recommended. Pony rides are available for younger kids; no reservations are needed. Sunriver Resort guests receive a discount on horseback riding.
- Float the Deschutes River – Visit the Sunriver Marina and rent a raft, canoe, kayak, or SUP and float the Deschutes! We planned to do this when we visited, but the marina closed due to an afternoon thunderstorm. Make sure to check the weather if you’re interested in floating the river. Sunriver Resort guests receive a 10% discount.
- Sage Springs Spa – Make a reservation for some pampering on your next visit! With massage and facial offerings, a nail salon, and a hair salon, you can relax on vacation! Reservations are required.
- Golf – With 4 award-winning golf courses, ranging from 9 to 18 holes, it’s a golfer’s dream. Call or book a tee time online.
If you find that you still have some time to fill on your Central Oregon vacation, there’s so much to do within 30-60 minutes of the resort!
THINGS TO DO NEAR SUNRIVER RESORT
- Newberry National Volcanic Monument
- Paulina Lake
- Mount Bachelor
- Tumalo Falls
- Bend Food Cart Scene
So, have you ever been to Sunriver or Central Oregon?! Is there somewhere that you always wanted to visit as a child? Let me know in the comments!!