5 Essentials to Pack for a Winter Vacation

Visiting Central Oregon from a warmer climate? Or maybe from where it rains a whole lot? It’s hard to pack for a winter vacation when you don’t deal with winter on a daily basis. We’ve put together this cheat sheet to help you pack for a winter vacation! Once you have a few essentials, you’ll find yourself feeling quite prepared.

We all know that you need a good underlayer, coat, and a pair of waterproof boots that fit well. But what else? Let’s go over five very important items that are often forgotten.

Here Are Five Things to Pack for a Winter Vacation

A Well-Fitting Hat (Or Hats, If You like to Switch It Up!)

While mom was not exactly right that we lose 80% of our body heat through our head, it’s still important to cover that noggin. In reality, we lose the same amount of body heat through our head as the rest of our body. We’re just not as good at covering it up.

To make sure all of your parts are warm enough, don’t forget your hat! A good hat will cover your ears, partly cover the back of your neck, and won’t contain extra flaps, fluff balls, or other accessories. You’ll want to grab something similar, made of a thin and modern material, for maximum warmth.

Good Gloves

Even if you don’t plan on participating in a winter adventure while you’re here, you’ve got to have a good pair of gloves on hand. It can get really cold, and a short walk from the car into a store could have you blowing warm air into your hands. You’ll feel more prepared, more comfortable, and less light-headed from all the blowing warm air if you remember to bring gloves!


While this seems like an item to pack for summer, it should also be in your winter gear. A sunny day spent in the snow with no sunscreen on your face will result in pain later on. The sun’s reflection on the bright white snow calls for a worse burn than you’d get on a day at the lake in the summer.


And, while we’re talking about the sun (because here, in Sunriver, we get lots of snow and lots of sun!) don’t forget your sunglasses. Ideally, you’ll want a polarized pair, but as long as you have some sort of shade over your eyeballs, you’ll be better off than if you’d left them in your beach bag.

A Cup or Thermos to Keep Your Drink Warm

If you plan on going for a walk on the famous Sunriver paths while snow flutters down, or stepping outside to watch the kids throw snowballs at each other, you’ll want a hot drink in your hand. And you’ll enjoy that cozy drink even more if it stays warm. Whether you choose an insulated Hydro Flask or an old thermos, you’ll be much happier with your outdoor time with a warm drink in hand.

Our Favorite (Discounted) Winter Activities in Sunriver

We’ve partnered with some great local businesses with one goal in mind: to help you save money and have a great time during your Sunriver vacation! Plan your winter activities right with these great local businesses. These companies are some of the best recreation providers in our area. Check out the full list to learn about local business and dining discounts on some of our favorite winter activities in Sunriver.

Here Are Our Favorite Winter Activities in Sunriver

Good-2-Go Food & Fun | 541-593-0339

Go snowmobiling at a discounted price with Good 2 Go Food & Fun! These guys will take care of you from start to finish with your adventure. Here, you can rent snowmobiles and have your lunch packed for your days activities. Good 2 Go is offering a 10% discount on any item, trip, or rental to all our valued Village Properties guests.

Central Oregon Adventures | 541-593-8887

Would like to follow an expert through the woods on a snowmobile? Not a bad idea! The guides at Central Oregon Adventures are experienced and know these woods well. For an experience that won’t be forgotten, call up Central Oregon Adventures for a 2- or 4- hour tour. Our favorite tour takes you up to Elk Lake Resort, where you can grab a burger and a warm drink halfway through your tour to fuel up for the ride back to the car! COA offers you, our guests, a 10% discount off any guided tour (Elk Lake stop not included!)

Village Bike & Ski Shop | 541-593-2453

Did you forget your skis? Village Bike & Ski has you covered. Head on over to building 12 at the Village at Sunriver. You’ll find winter gear for sale as well as skis and more for rent. Not only will these guys help you gear up for your mountain adventure, they’re extremely friendly and helpful. You’ll have fun before you even begin your adventure. Village Bike & Ski Shop is offering our guests a 10% discount on equipment rentals.

Wanderlust Tours | 541-389-8359

Wanderlust Tours offers some of the most unique and memorable tours in the area. Go for a nighttime snowshoe tour to a remote and quiet setting in the woods. After, enjoy a bonfire in the snow while sipping some hot drinks. Wanderlust offers a variety of snowshoe tours, cave tours, brewery tours, and more for your winter vacation. Wanderlust Tours is offering Village Properties guests a 10% discount off ½ day guided tours.

These are just a few of our favorite winter activities in Sunriver. We have a ton of local dining partners so you can take a load off and enjoy great food after your day’s adventures. We also have a local photographer who will follow you on your adventures to capture the fun your family is having on vacation! There is a grocery delivery service, a shop that offers painting on a cold day, and so much more. We hope that you have a memorable vacation and that you are able to take advantage of the kind discounts offered here.

Your Guide to Holiday Events in Sunriver

It’s hard to narrow down which activities to choose when visiting a new area. We’re here to help! Here are a few traditions locals hold near and dear to their hearts. Join our Central Oregon holiday traditions by participating in these holiday events in Sunriver.

Here’s Your Guide To This Years’ Holiday Events in Sunriver

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree | November and December

If you’re visiting the area over Christmas, you may want to grab a Christmas tree to put up in your vacation rental for the holiday. Who doesn’t want to wake up on Christmas morning with a beautiful tree by the window with twinkling lights and a few colorful gifts underneath?Leaving home for the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this Christmas tradition.

To really make this tradition a memorable one while you’re here in the forest and snow, head out to the Deschutes National Forest to cut down your own tree! We sell Christmas Tree Permits here at our office for $5 to help you plan. We’ll also share some guidelines and maps with you.

Let’s try to avoid the Griswold family Christmas and do things with a little less drama. Dress warmly so your eyeballs don’t freeze. Sing Christmas carols, but don’t get so lost in them that you drive underneath semi-trucks. You know, things like that.

The Rules

If you’d like to get a headstart on your planning, please read on for some input from the United States Department of Agriculture.

First, consider where you’re heading to find that perfect tree. Pines can be found on flatter and lower ground around Bend, whereas Firs and Cedars are found at higher elevations. Be sure you head to an area that is at least 150 feet from state highways, picnic areas, campgrounds, and other developed areas and at least 300 feet from streams and other bodies of water. Likewise, make sure that you are on National Forest land and not on private property.

The Fun

Getting there is at least half the fun! Consider snowshoeing or cross-country skiing into less accessible areas. The tree selection will be greater and so will the adventure! Make sure to dress warm and pack a Hydro-Flask filled with hot cider or cocoa.

Once you get back to Sunriver, you can use the branches you trim from the tree as holiday greens in other places throughout your home. Immediately cut a one-inch diagonal piece off the bottom of your tree and place the tree in a container with 16 parts water and one part sugar to keep it full and lively.

The Safety

Always let someone else know where you are going to cut your tree down. Bring additional warm clothing, plenty of water and snacks, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a hatchet or ax, and rope to tie the tree down. After you tie your tree tag onto the tree for traveling back to your home, you’re good to go!

Ice Skating at The Village at Sunriver | November 18th – All Winter

Last year, the ice arena at The Village at Sunriver got upgraded with a great new sound system and more! The ice arena is a longtime favorite for the holidays. Ice skating is a treat loved by all members of the family. For open hours or more information, call 541-593-5948.

Gingerbread Junction at Sunriver Resort | December 2nd – January 1st

A favorite Sunriver tradition for 22 years and counting—this is one of our favorite holiday events in Sunriver. Groups and individuals in the community build spectacular gingerbread houses to put on display for the month of December. The houses are on display in the Abbot Room of the Sunriver Resort Lodge. It is free and open to the public. Swing by and take a look as you wander the beautiful grounds of Sunriver Resort!

Elf Tuck-ins | December 8th – 24th

Give the kiddos something they won’t forget this year! The Sunriver Resort offers Elf Tuck-Ins (see available dates below). Santa’s helper will arrive to read a favorite Christmas story, say good night with warm holiday wishes, and give your child a special goodie bag.

Appointment times are available from 5 PM to 9:30 PM in 45-minute windows. Tuck-ins are available for Sunriver, Crosswater, and Caldera Springs communities. This event is for ages 12 and under only. Call 541-593-1000 for reservations.

Dates Available

November 25
December 8-9
December 15-17
December 20-24

Breakfast With Santa | December 16th and December 24th

Bring the kiddos to this yummy and magical event! Brunch seating begins at 8:30 AM and goes through noon. Enjoy a spread of all your holiday favorites! Santa and his friends will be there to greet you at the beautifully decorated Sunriver Resort Great Hall.

You’ll even have the chance to sit with Santa and get some memorable family photos. Reservations are required with a 36-hour cancellation policy. Call 541-593-1000 for reservations.

We hope you enjoy these holiday events in Sunriver. If you’ll be traveling to the area this December, check out our vacation rentals nearby. We have plenty of beautiful offerings perfect for the holidays.