Outlandish volcanic landscapes, Native American legends, remnants of World War II, and much more make Sunriver a unique and fascinating vacation destination. With so much to do and explore near Sunriver, finding unique activities can sometimes be challenging. Below, we’ve listed five of our favorite fun things to do in Sunriver to help you experience something new!
Visit Lava Lands Visitor Center & The Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Almost 7,000 years ago, molten lava covered the landscape between Bend and Sunriver. Today, you can observe the remnants of this otherworldly landscape from the Lava Lands Visitor Center & Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Besides the incredibly unique rock formations and colors, Lava Lands Visitor Center & Newberry National Volcanic Monument is interesting due to its role in the United States moon landing. Between 1964 and 1966, astronauts and other highly trained NASA professionals descended on Deschutes County to train their astronauts. Briefly, Central Oregon was known as “Moon Country,” and is still considered to be pivotal in properly preparing astronauts for walking on the moon.
You can find the Lava Lands Visitor Center & The Newberry National Volcanic Monument and visitor center by driving north on Highway 97 from Sunriver towards Bend.
Take the Paulina Plunge – Fun Things to do Around Sunriver, Oregon
Named after an indigenous Northern Paiute war chief, the Paulina Plunge is a multi-activity tour near Sunriver. It consists of mountain biking plus waterfall exploration. Appropriate for children ages four and up, the Paulina Plunge tour takes visitors through the Paulina Mountains to six waterfalls. At two of the waterfalls, visitors get the chance to slide down natural waterslides.
While the group is biking between waterfalls, your Paulina Plunge tour guide will share stories and legends about chief Paulina and her lasting legacy. You can take the Paulina Plunge by signing up for the official Paulina Plunge tour that begins in La Pine, Oregon, just south of Sunriver.
Trek Inside a Lava Tube
One of the most fun things to do in Sunriver in Central Oregon is hiking down into an ancient, empty lava tube. Beginning at the Lava Lands Visitor Center, the tube stretches downward for a mile through staircases, boardwalks, and walkways.
The tour is self-guided and typically takes visitors about 90 minutes to complete. The lava tube is dark so be sure to bring a flashlight!
Visit Crescent Moon Alpaca Ranch
Located North of Bend in Terrebonne, Crescent Moon Alpaca Ranch is one of the most unique experiences open to the public in central Oregon! With incredible views of Smith Rock State Park, Mount Jefferson, Mount Bachelor, and the Three Sisters, this ranch is as gorgeous as it is unique.
At the ranch, visitors can learn about alpacas, pet alpacas, and buy alpaca fiber goods from the on-site boutique. We love visiting Crescent Moon Alpaca Ranch because it’s a wonderful stop-through on the way to or from Smith Rock State Park and allows children to interact with these unique animals. We also highly recommend taking home some alpaca textiles from the store!
Visit the Great Hall
Sunriver’s modern history began at the start of World War II. Where present-day Sunriver Resort stands, there used to be a military base named Camp Abbott. Although nothing remains of Camp Abbott, there is one exception: The Great Hall. Once used as a dining hall for soldiers, The Great Hall is now the only standing and preserved building from Camp Abbott.
Inside the Great Hall, visitors will be shocked by giant wood support structures, impressive stone carvings, and hand-crafted details throughout. The Great Hall is now primarily used for destination weddings and special events, but visitors are free to peruse The Great Hall during normal business hours.
Stay with Sunriver Pines
After an exciting day full of activities unique to Sunriver, be sure to come home to a serene and peaceful private home. At Sunriver Pines, we offer spacious, well-designed, and expertly furnished vacation homes in a variety of locations and sizes.
To learn more, simply browse our available vacation rentals in Sunriver online. Each home offers guests something unique!