The word for Central Oregon is sunshine. The area is the center of the state and it boasts 300 days of sunshine a year. That makes it a great place for outdoor activities both winter and summer.
If you travel here from the west or north it is like someone drew a line in the dirt and said this side is for rain and will have lots of trees and this side will be dryer with lots of sunshine and desert. The change is almost that sudden. You are driving through a dense forest one minute and the next minute you are driving across the desert.
It's not the kind of desert with sand dunes but that of sage brush. Where irrigation is available it is rich farmland for wheat fields, alfalfa fields, grazing for sheep, cattle, and horses.
The mountains are not far away though. The snowcapped peaks of the Cascade Range provide for a lot of the fun things to do in this area.
In the winter it is powder snow for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding. The major ski area is Mt. Bachelor. There are also many trails that lend themselves to backcountry skiing and snowshoeing.
In the summer when the powder snow melts, the rivers and lakes provide a different sort of entertainment. Whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and both river and lake fishing. Whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River is a thrilling experience. You can raft all the way to the Columbia River.
Also at the top of the list in the summer is hiking, mountain biking, cave exploring, horseback riding, camping, and rock climbing. Smith Rock is a choice rock climbing location.
For fishing, hiking, horseback riding, camping, swimming, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling visit Paulina Lake and East Lake south of Bend in the Newberry Crater. For cross-country skiing and snowmobiling you will find 330,000 snow-covered acres beginning in mid-December. Rent a cozy rustic log cabin at Paulina Lake Lodge right on the lake.
Golf is another major sport in Central Oregon and there are plenty of courses to choose from. Golf Digest rated the area in the top 25 "Worlds Greatest Golf Destinations."
The beautiful Sunriver Resort just 15 miles south of Bend is one of the most popular places to go for playing golf. Sunriver is actually a family resort with loads of outdoor recreational activities for both young and old.
A trip over the McKenzie River Pass and exploring the lava fields is a fun daytrip.
There are several resorts in this part of Oregon.
There are music festivals, handmade quilt shows, dog-sled races, native American festivals, buffalo roasts, art festivals, cycling races, antique shows, and much more. A major event each year is the Sisters Oregon Quilt Show. This event draws quilts and visitors from all over the United States and beyond.
The major towns of Central Oregon are Bend, Madras, Redmond, Sisters, and Prineville. There are many choices for lodging--cabins, camping, hotels, condos, bed and breakfast, and vacation homes.
There are some excellent campgrounds near Bend and other areas of Central Oregon.
Newberry Volcano is just a few miles south of Bend. The area was designated Newberry Crater National Monument in 1990. Here you can see lava flows, visit a huge lava tube cave, a lava cast forest, and Paulina Lake and East Lake. There are several campgrounds, hiking trails, horseback riding trails, and waterfalls in the caldera formed by the volcanic eruptions. Other lakes include Crescent Lake which is on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Here you can have world-class fishing, camping, swimming, boating, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and hiking. You can even rent a cabin from the Crescent Lake Resort.
Central Oregon is the perfect place for a great Oregon vacation.