Sunriver, Oregon is a scenic destination that calls as compellingly to the outdoor enthusiast as it does the traveler looking for an ideal place to relax and unwind in style. While an entire summer spent at this resort-style destination in the heart of Oregon would be incredible, it’s more than possible to make the most of the landscape and activities when you only have three days to spare. Seeing the best of Sunriver comes down to knowing where to find the city highlights. When you’re crafting that perfect itinerary, be sure to add the following stops to the list.
Day 1: The Great Outdoors and Skies Above
A trip to Sunriver, Oregon can’t be counted complete until you’ve taken some time on the beautiful trails that wind through this destination. Of all the trails in the area, hiking to Benham Falls is one of the most beloved paths around. The east trailhead leads hikers along a 1.5-miletrek with amazing river and forest views all the way to the cascades. Prepare to be mesmerized by these tumbling falls that make their way downwards from a height of over 25-feet. This trail is dog-friendly as long as furry friends are on a leash at all times.
After working up a sweat in the great outdoors, come cool off at the Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center. This sprawling establishment on Overlook Road houses indoor and outdoor pools, massive waterslides, fountains and splash pools. There’s no better place to enjoy some time out of the sun and in the water as a family.
As the sun begins to set, a trip to the Oregon Observatory on River Road is called for. This world-class destination is home to over 11 telescopes that let guests take in the cosmos from an entirely new perspective. Come learn about the research done at the facility before capturing a glimpse of the stars and planets above for yourself. The extra-clean air and elevation of Sunriver makesit the ideal location for stargazingany time of year you travel here.
Day 2: Sunriver Nature at its Finest
The second day of your trip to Sunriver begins with a trek to Tumalo Falls. This 97-foot waterfall is impressive to behold and lies just west of nearby Bend. Plenty of smaller waterfalls line the Tumalo Creek Trail that leads to this amazing landmark making for a scenic 7-mile walk. Gentle changes in elevation make this a moderately difficult trail, but well worth the effort for the trees, flower, andwildlife you’re sure to encounter along the path.
When you’ve made your way back to the trailhead, make time for a stop at The Artists’ Gallery in Sunriver Village for a chance to immerse yourself in local talent and universal beauty. This establishment is dedicated to highlighting the artistic works of local artists and everything on display is available for purchase. Browse jewelry, paintings, photography and mixed-medium works during your time here. Prepare to be inspired and if you feel the urge, go ahead and sign up for one of the frequent on-site art classes that are held at this location.
Bring day two in Sunriver to a close with a visit to the Sunriver Nature Center. Sunriver is a place packed with fun activities but the heart of the area revolves around the wild landscape it calls its own. The Sunriver Nature Center is a wonderful place to take a closer look at the wildlife and ecosystems that allow the natural world making up Sunriver to thrive. Many live animal exhibits, as well as hands-on activities for children, make this an interactive and engaging stop during your travels.
Day 3: Lava Caves and Pristine Waterways
Oregon is known for its many lava tubes and a visit to Sunriver is the perfect opportunity to encounter one of the most impressive of its kind. The Lava RiverCave is part of the greater Newberry National Volcanic Monument and an amazing visit for those interested in an underground vantage point of this region. 55-steps lead the way to a 1.5-mile portion of the cave that is open for self-guided tours. Be sure to bring a flashlight and a jacket as this excursion is thrilling, but a little bit on the chilly side.
Once you resurface, make your way towards the Sunriver Resort Marina for a chance to warm up on the water. Explore the Deschutes Riverat your own pace or alongside a guide by renting a kayak or canoe for a few hours. Paddle and life jackets are provided making this a safe and beautiful trip to take in the landscape with ease.
As day three comes to a close, make the most dinner by grabbing a table at El Caporal on Beaver Drive. This colorful yet laid back restaurant has been serving up savory Mexican food in the area since 1997 and is a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. Hand-crafted cocktails and tacos never tasted better than they do from the outdoor patio with an unmatched view.
A Captivating Getaway
Sunriver is a place that pleases the senses on nearly every level. Whether you are stargazing, savoring the flavors of fine dining establishments or getting out into nature, there’s a beautyto be found in nearly every corner of this destination. Sunriver finds a way into the hearts of travelers from near and far and once you’ve spent three days enjoying its many gifts, don’t be surprised when you find yourself returning the following year.
Caitlyn Knuth is a travel writer whose own adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafés in Paris, France to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska. Working in association with Sunriver Pines Vacation Homes, she enjoys writing and sharing about Sunriver in the hope others will pack up and head out on Oregon-bound adventures of their very own.