If you’re looking for a magical place to book your next family trip, I definitely recommend Sunriver, Oregon with kids. Located just 6 hours away from Reno, NV, Sunriver is full of outdoor fun and designed for families to enjoy all year round.
Check out this travel guide to help you plan your family’s next trip to Sunriver.
I have been going to Sunriver for a long time. Sunriver is a beautiful resort town located in central Oregon.
I can remember countless family vacations full of wonderful childhood memories. My sister and I loved riding our bikes around the town and we have countless pictures of our family rafting and hiking through the forests.
Time for a Road Trip
The 6 hour car ride is totally doable in one day, or you can split it up and stop for a quick night at a motel along the way. The kids did surprisingly well in the car. We packed lots of snacks, iPads, toys and listened to music.
This was our first time taking the Tesla on a long trip, so we planned our stops based on the charging stations. It took about a half hour to charge up the car, and this gave us plenty of time to hit the restroom, walk the dogs and grab some snacks.
Find A Rental That’s Perfect For Your Family
There are tons of great options for private home rentals on sites like Airbnb or Vrbo or the Sunriver Resort offers an array of lodge style rooms, suites, vacation homes, and condominiums.
We were able to find a large pet-friendly house with a hot tub and bunk beds that were perfect for my family of five plus my parents and two dogs. It was located in the heart of Sunriver with easy access to the bike paths and access to a communal pool.
I always prefer to have a full kitchen and the ability to do laundry when traveling with kids, so the house met our needs and gave us a home away from home for the week.
Things To Do
The activities in Sunriver are endless. There are so many things the entire family will enjoy! I’m sharing some of our favorites!
Bikes are the preferred mode of transportation in Sunriver. In fact, there are 34 miles of paved pathways. We ended up packing a trailer full of bikes, helmets, strollers and the burley cart so the whole family could ride. Be sure to check the rental listings because many vacation homes come stocked with cruisers and bikes.
Sunriver’s extensive bike paths run throughout the community and are completely separated from the roadways. Adults all the way down to the smallest of cyclists can safely ride for miles on flat paths that connect the homes to The Village in this resort community.
The flat paths weave past scenic Deschutes River views and gorgeous homes nestled in the forest. We walked the dogs and took mini bike rides with the kids every day we were in Sunriver.
My dad is an avid cyclist and did a number of longer rides on the surrounding roads, and my husband also brought a mountain bike and hit up some of the nearby trails. There is definitely something for everybody!
The Sunriver Village
The Village is the main hub of Sunriver and has everything from a grocery store, coffee shops (even Starbucks), restaurants, an ice cream parlor, rentals, gift stores, family entertainment, and activities for kids.
We had a delicious outdoor and pet-friendly lunch at Sunriver Brewing Company when we first got into town. It was so good, my husband and I escaped here again for a date night and beers.
Check out the schedule of events for live music, shows, and activities at The Village. The kids can enjoy a full day of fun with passes for bumper cars, mini-golf, trampolines, and a climbing wall. My boys were especially excited about the train! During the winter there is even an ice skating rink.
Even if you don’t have a huge budget for shopping or eating out, it’s fun to just walk around The Village and people watch. Tons of people have dogs and you can let the kids burn off energy in the play area.
Lava National Park and Lava Caves
I can remember hiking through the Lava Caves 16 years ago when my family last visited Sunriver, so I was excited to share this adventure with my kids. The Lava Caves are a mile-long hike in an old lava tube.
Be sure to bring strong flashlights or rent them at the park. Your cell phone light will definitely not be bright enough. It is pitch black inside the caves.
Dress warm and wear closed-toe shoes with traction for the uneven footing and stairs. The temperatures inside the caves average 42 degrees.
I love that this tour is self-guided, so your group can move at your own pace. I carried my youngest on my back in a carrier, but my 4 year old and 7 year old were able to do the whole hike just fine on their own.
The kids did get a little nervous in the complete darkness of the caves, but I mostly blame that on my husband for making creepy noises!
Cost: $5 Day Pass per vehicle, $5 light rentals
Hours: Open May- September
My oldest daughter’s vacation request was to go horseback riding. She and my husband booked a one hour horseback ride at the Sunriver Stables.
The guided trail ride took them through the Great Meadow and into the Deschutes National Forest. Even if you don’t plan to ride, you can stop by to watch and pet the horses.
During the winter, the Sunriver Stables also offers sleigh rides through the snow. The sleigh holds four adults and two children, snuggled comfortably under a warm blanket. I would love to do this if we go back during the winter months.
Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center (SHARC)
The SHARC Complex features a seasonal outdoor aquatic park with waterslides, lazy river, sunbathing, tot pool and a sand play area. There is also an indoor pool and adult hot tub available year round.
We decided to splurge on day passes to swim and enjoy the fun amenities at SHARC. Some rentals in the area come with free SHARC passes, so pay attention when you’re booking accommodations.
The kids loved the obstacle course and water slide. I loved that I could lounge with my one-year-old in the tot pool without worrying about big kids being too rowdy.
The only downside for me was that the SHARC Complex does not allow any outside food or drink. There is a small cafe there where you can order food.
Next time I would plan to go to the SHARC Complex first thing after breakfast and then come back for some evening swimming to get the most out of our passes.
Hike to Benham Falls
This was my favorite activity! It was a flat and kid-friendly hike that is only 1.2 miles long. The trailhead is located just outside the village near the volcanic caves. There is a gorgeous bridge, and then you walk on a wide trail along the Deschutes River until you reach the scenic overlook of Benham Falls. It’s a great hike for all ages, and you could even bring a stroller if you wanted.
The older kids had fun exploring the forest just off the trail, and our dog was excited by all of the chipmunks. Make sure to bring your camera because there are some great photo opportunities along the way.
Mt. Bachelor is a snow lover’s destination during the winter, but in the summer the ski lifts offer a new way to explore the mountain.
The Mt. Bachelor Bike Park has lift-served access to 13 miles of downhill oriented trails. They also offer week long mountain biking camps for kids.
If you’re less adventurous or have small kids, like us, you can just take the chair lift to the top of the mountain. There you can take in some fabulous sights of the Three Sisters peaks, Broken Top and the Cascade Lakes. The Scenic Chairlift Rides at Mt. Bachelor takes you from 6,300 feet elevation at the West Village to 7,775 feet at the Pine Marten Lodge.
Once you reach the lodge you can enjoy a meal, snacks or a beer on the deck, hike the trails or play a round of Disc Golf.
We loved the ease of the chairlift, even if the heights made some of us a little nervous. Be sure to pack a warm sweater. It gets windy on the mountain all year round.
Cost: $15 (youth), $19 (senior) $22 (adult/teen) for a roundtrip ride
Sunriver, Oregon is only a 20 minute drive from Bend, Oregon. It’s a full town with all of the big stores for grocery shopping or any of the last minute items you forgot to pack.
Bend is hailed as one of the best towns in the country by outdoor enthusiasts, and I can definitely see why! It is absolutely stunning, and there is so much to do!
Our last day in Sunriver we visited the Old Mill District in Bend, and my husband charged the Tesla. The Old Mill District is full of shopping, dining and riverside trails. It is dog and bike friendly everywhere you go.
The Bend Brewfest was in full swing during our vacation. There are more than 30 local breweries! We even found a ninja obstacle course for the kids to do. We couldn’t leave without grabbing some ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s.
Family Fun For All
We can’t wait to plan our next trip to Sunriver, Oregon with the kids. Next time we go back we would love to try other activities like rafting, golfing and floating the river. We are also considering a winter trip to experience Sunriver in the snow.
Are you planning some fun family trips for 2020? I would love to hear your favorite destinations.
Allison Anderson lives in Sparks, NV where she and her husband of 15 years are raising 3 kids- Grace, Braxton, and Leif. She considers herself an expert in friend-making and resiliency after 18 coast to coast moves as a military spouse. Allison graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in journalism, but has worked in a slew of positions including public relations for veterinary hospitals, Stroller Strides instructor and online ESL teacher to students in China. To date, motherhood is the best job she’s ever had. She loathes making dinner and vacuuming but encourages splashing during bathtime. She enjoys family camping trips in the RV, cheering for the Buffalo Bills and shopping on Amazon.