Summer vacations spent in Bend or Sunriver are a much-loved tradition for Oregon families. Long, sunny days spent swimming, hiking, and exploring the many lakes, parks and natural attractions that dot the landscape across Central and Southern Oregon. Crisp nights spent re-capping all the fun gathered in camp chairs under the stars or soaking your well-hiked legs in the hot tub before tucking in to your comfortable bed in your private Meredith Lodging home.
Our Bend vacation rentals and Sunriver vacation rentals make for a perfect home base for these day-trip adventures, that might otherwise just be too far away from home. We have assembled a shortlist of fan-favorite days trips from Central Oregon. Summer is a great time for road trips, and we highly recommend you consider these out and back outings on your next #staywithmeredith in Central Oregon. Discover something new about Oregon this Summer!
Recommended Oregon Destination for Your Summer Road Trip
The Painted Hills
One look at this breathtaking landscape and you will understand why it draws photographers from all over the world for the study it provides on light and nature, and its striking landscape. The Painted Hills (aka layers of mountains and earth representing millions of years of history) in sunset colors rise against a bright blue sky. The Painted Hills are one of three units that make up the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Distance from Bend: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway
This beautiful, 66-mile stretch of scenic highway that runs through Deschutes and Klamath Counties is a wonderful day trip from Bend and Sunriver and includes many opportunities to stop and see the sites along the way. Favorite stops include Benham Falls, Dillon Falls and Lava Island Falls (along the Deschutes River Trail), Mt. Bachelor and Dutchman Flats Sno Park (open year round); Sparks Lake, Todd Lake and Devil’s Lake; Elk Lake Resort (where it’s easy to rent boats, kayaks, canoes and more to enjoy the lake); and Crane Prairie, famous for its large “Crainbow” trout and abundant surrounding natural wildlife including osprey, bald eagles, egrets, cormorants and owls. The drive from Bend to Crain Prairie Reservoir takes 50 minutes.
McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway
McKenzie Pass and Santiam pass joins together to make one of the most picturesque drives in the State of Oregon. Beginning just northwest of Bend our first stop on the loop is always Sisters, with its stunning mountain views, charming storefronts, and vibrant arts community. The Santiam Bypass winds its way its way through beautiful mountain terrain and offers many sites to see, including Black Butte, Camp Sherman on the Metolius River, parts of Suttle Lake and the Pacific Crest Trail as well as Lost Lake, which fills every Spring only to be gone by Fall.
Continuing the loop on to the McKenzie Highway Scenic Bypass (a favorite cycling destination), you can find your way to local-favorite Proxy Falls. These two-part falls tumble over forest and fauna makes for a refreshing stop before you get back on the road to continue exploring. As you head back toward sisters amidst stunning views and the North Sister and Middle Sister, we suggest a stop at the Dee Wright Observatory. From this location you can see many of the Cascade Peaks and a particularly close-up and powerful view of Mt. Washington. As you head back down the road into Sisters, keep an eye out for Windy Point for one more breathtaking view. Driving the entire loop from bend and making stops along the way is an easy ½ day trip of 4-5 hours.
Crater Lake National Park
Well Known for its bright blue hue and picturesque Lodge, Crater Lake National Park is also within easy striking distance when you stay with Meredith Lodging in Bend or Sunriver. It is a bit of a longer trip, making it a full day’s outing, but our guests all say it is worth the extra time. Arriving at Crater Lake in the Summer months and you will find hiking trails along the shoreline, abundant natural beauty and many scenic views of Wizard Island and Phantom Ship, formed more than 7700 years ago when a violent volcanic eruption collapsed an ancient volcano, creating Crater Lake. It is always fun to tick a National Park off your list, and we suggest a stop at Crater Lake Lodge dining room, Annie Creek Restaurant, or the Rim Village Cafe before you head for home to Bend or Sunriver. From Bend to Crater Lake is a scenic 2-hour drive.
Newberry National Volcanic Monument / Newberry Caldera
A lot closer to your Meredith Lodging Bend or Sunriver vacation rental is a day trip to Newberry Caldera. This national monument was created in 1990 and included more than 54,000 acres of lakes, lava flows, and stunning geologic sites. Paulina Peak is the highest point within the monument at (7,985 ft, and a steep/fast vertical climb if you are hiking), and offers beautiful vistas of the Cascades, the High Desert and Newberry Caldera. The Newberry Caldera stretches more than 17 miles across the 1200 square mile volcano that is still both seismically and geothermically active today, offering visitors memorable views of cinder cones and vents (more than 400), rhyolite flows of obsidian and basalt flows. Our favorite activities include the hike from the edge of Paulina Lake to the rustic Paulina Springs hot springs and a stop at The Big Obsidian Flow, featuring more than 170 million cubic yards of rugged pumice and glass-like obsidian. The Newberry Caldera is a quick 18-minute drive from Bend and only 12 minutes from Sunriver.
The opportunities for adventure are endless when you stay with Meredith Lodging in Central Oregon. Make memories with your loved ones this Summer that will last a lifetime. View our entire Bend and Sunriver vacation rental collection at MeredithLodging.com.