We had such a fabulous time on our visit to Bend and I wanted to share even more about the attractions and things to do around Bend Oregon that were great to do as a family! If you’re looking for more of an adventure while you’re in town, there are lots of outdoor activities to enjoy including hiking, biking, climbing, water sports, and snow sports during the winter months. These two activities really get you outdoors!
Wanderlust Volcano Tour
I have always been fascinated, and somewhat terrified, of volcanoes. So, with Bend being surrounding by two mountains considered the 9th and 11th most active volcanoes along with a whole bunch of inactive volcanoes I was really intrigued by idea of a Volcano tour with Wanderlust Tours. We scheduled the tour before we headed to Bend and the day of our tour ended up being a really rainy, wet day but we still had a great time and learned a ton about the ecology of the area surrounding Bend. Our tour guide, Chip, took us up to an inactive volcano which is one of the youngest volcanoes in Oregon having erupted 1300 years ago.
We learned about the Native Americans that would have come to the mountainside for summers to build tools with the obsidian rocks that littered the side of the mountain. My boys loved pointing out the smooth black rocks that felt like glass along our path. We even saw trees that were able to grow despite the rough terrain and poor soil. We got to a lookout point that looked over to the lake and the decided to turn back at that point as the rain was starting to come on pretty heavy.
We then headed into the forest to learn about the different types of trees and how you can tell the ages of the trees common in the forest. The red bark indicating that the trees were 80+ years old and seeing how the younger growth was growing in beside the older trees. Chip showed us some of the growth from the trees and we laughed as all the boys made mustaches with the hair-like moss.
Finally, we stopped to see Paulina falls which is a massive waterfall just a few minutes to walk to. It is definitely worth the visit! We really enjoyed our tour and our guide was fabulous with the kids playing with them and teaching them things at their level with games to make it fun and easier to remember the things we talked about. Next time we head to Bend, Oregon, we’d like to try their cave tour which I hear is a great family tour as the kids love climbing through the caves and wearing head lamps to explore.
Sunriver Brewing and SHARC Aquatics Center
The next day, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day so we took the opportunity to head to SHARC, Sunriver Homeowners Association Recreation Center. This is a community center in the neighboring town of Sunriver just about 20 minutes from Bend. It has an impressive shopping area with lots of dining and shopping options with a walking area to stroll around the shops giving you an outdoor mall feeling to the plaza.
We stopped for lunch at Sunriver Brewing which is the smartest restaurant I’ve been to! They have a whole area for the kids to play with puzzles and blocks and similar toys to keep the kids entertained while the adults can talk and visit! My boys loved to play and then where ready to sit and eat without being rowdy when the meal arrived. We all loved our meal choices. I picked their bacon hamburger which had thick amazing bacon and was a really juicy burger.
After lunch, we headed to SHARC which is a water park that has something for every age. They have several play pools with varying water depths of 2’ and 3’6” that let my little boys feel comfortable in the water. They have pool play areas both inside and outside that lets you enjoy the water even if it is cold outside. We really enjoyed both the indoor and outdoor pools but the indoor pool had something really unique that the boys LOVED!
There is a circular wall area built in to the 3’6″ area of the pool. Once you enter into the circle there is a jet stream in the pool that will push you around the circle creating a mini lazy susan. They played in that area for a LONG time until I dragged them out so we could check out the outside pool. SHARC has two waterslides as well, but you do have to be 4’ to ride on either of the waterslides. We floated around the lazy susan, soaked up some rays, and ad a great day cooling off at the pool.
For more information on things to do around Bend Oregon, see my earlier post, Bend Oregon vacation guide! You can also find tons of other resources and help on the official tourism sites VisitBend.com and Central Oregon Visitors Association!
Complimentary admissions were provided to experience the attractions above. The opinions expressed above are my own.