Sightseeing with the Kids in Bend and Central Oregon
Whether your children are curious toddlers or active pre-teens, Central Oregon and the Bend, Oregon area have a myriad of adventurous, yet easily accessible activities, perfect for a memorable family vacation.
When are we gonna be there?
The journey is the destination when your family embarks on the 100-mile loop from Bend around the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway. Along the way, stop at Mt. Bachelor and ride the chair lift to Pine Marten Lodge for lunch. A few miles down the road, the Ray Atkeson Trail along Sparks Lake suggests a perfect backdrop for this year’s family portrait.
With 150 lakes and 500 miles of rivers and streams, Central Oregon is a veritable water park open for splashing, floating, gliding, and paddling. A short drive from Bend, there are a number of scenic water falls, the highest of which is Tumalo Falls that plummets nearly 100 feet into an aquamarine pool below. Dillon and Benham falls are six miles southwest of Bend on Century Drive. Follow signs to Lava Island. The falls are just a short walk from the parking area, and a number of picturesque hikes continue along the shores of the Deschutes River.
Caves are so not boring!
With only a headlamp as their guide, let your children lead you into the darkness of the mile-long Lava River Cave at the Lava Lands Visitor Center where self-guided tours and interactive displays reveal the fascinating geological history of the region. Even better is a guided trek to off-the-beaten path caves by Wanderlust Tours.
Ticket to ride
Pedal along the banks of the Deschutes River in a four-wheeled bicycle cart from Riverside Market. You can rent a bike from Wheel Fun Rentals in the Old Mill District or Let It Ride in downtown Bend. Miles of wide paved trails weave through the Old Mill District and out to Farewell Bend Park where a small beach makes the perfect spot for lunch and an afternoon dip. Or follow the river the old fashion way, when you rent a canoe from Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe and float down into the peaceful waters of Mirror Pond.