Our Favorite Swimming Spots In Central Oregon

Swimming is an all-time favorite summer pastime as is exploring the beautiful outdoor areas of different locations that you visit. With this, we wanted to let you in on some local swimming holes that are fun to visit for the whole family.

Floating The Deschutes River in Sunriver

The Deschutes River in Sunriver is a popular choice for locals and vacationers alike to float, kayak, or paddle!

With 95 miles of river, the Deschutes has something for everyone. Floating the river is an extremely popular activity during the summer months. Check out this blog for our favorite Deschutes River floats!

Twin Lakes Resort

Located on the shores of south Twin Lake this favorite swimming spot offers so many water activities that’s sure to please your entire group! If you didn’t haul your own kayak or paddleboard up, you can find one to rent at this resort. After a paddle around the lake, hop into the resort’s restaurant for some lakeside dining (currently open for take out only. There are several picnic areas nearby for your take out orders to be enjoyed). South Twin Lake has a surface area of 99 acres and an average depth of 33 feet. Another perk of this smaller lake is that motorized watercraft are not permitted, making it a more peaceful mountain lake experience.

Directions: Head West on S Century Drive towards the Cascade Lakes Highway. Drive several miles until you see the brown signs for Twin Lakes Resort (on the right-hand side of the road) and take a left. This will take you to Rd 4260. Head down that road until you see the sign for the resort on the left.

Cultus Lake

This large and breathtaking mountain lake is an experience you won’t want to miss. The resort here also rents out several kinds of boat options for you to experience. Or, you can head to the day use area and play in the shallow water at the beach there. The depths of the lake can be cooler and feel wonderful on a hot day. But the day use area provides a safer and warmer area if you have younger children to entertain. Cultus Lake Resort provides another opportunity for some lakeside dining. They are currently offering take out as well as outdoor seating options. The surface area of this large mountain lake is 1,145.7 acres with a maximum depth of 211 feet.

Directions: To get to Cultus Lake, head up S Century Drive, but stay straight on Spring River Rd until you get to Upper Deschutes Rd (NF-40), leading you up to the Cascade Lakes Highway. Turn left on the Highway at the stop sign and you’ll see the signs to Cultus Lake on your right.

Elk Lake

This is a beautiful, bright blue and green lake and so worth the views. You may visit the resort for another chance to rent a kayak, paddleboard a day dock (pictured. P.S. the day docks are mobile and do float the lake) or more! Also at the resort, you will find a store and restaurant/bar. Or, check out one of their day use beaches for some great swimming and family beach time. Elk Lake has a surface area of 405 acres and a maximum depth of 192 feet.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the Music On The Water series this summer featuring live bands playing at Elk Lake every Saturday evening! It’s the perfect way to cap off your day on the lake!

Directions: From Sunriver, follow the same route you would to get to Cultus Lake, but at the stop sign at the Cascade Lakes Highway, take a right. Elk Lake will be a ways down the highway (towards Bend), on the right-hand side.

Paulina Plunge

For an entirely different kind of water adventure, check out the Paulina Plunge. This tour offers a family-friendly mountain biking adventure the whole family will enjoy. Broken up into four 1.5 mile bike rides—and interspersed with swimming adventures—this beginner bike ride is perfect for nearly all ages.

Accessible via fat tire mountain bikes, visitors will descend more than 2,000 feet as part of a guided mountain bike tour to the Paulina Plunge. Guests ages 7 to 70 can then spend the afternoon hiking, swimming, and exploring the many waterfalls and waterslides unique to the area for an exhilarating expedition. Tandem additions can be added to your bicycle to accommodate ages 4 through 7.

Open May through September, the plunge has been named the third most popular attraction in Sunriver by TripAdvisor and is one of our favorite summer activities. For $70 – $75 per ticket, guests receive a bike, helmet, and daypack, as well as a fully-guided six-mile tour that includes a fifteen-minute shuttle to and from the plunge. The tour features a mythical retelling of the namesake that only adds to the magic and allure of the Paulina Plunge.

Once there, families can have fun plunging into the water, jumping from waterfalls, and sliding down natural rockslides while taking pictures and spending the day exploring all that Central Oregon’s great outdoors has to offer. Eat lunch by the water and wade in the waterfalls as you partake in an adventure the whole family can enjoy.

Book your reservation now to secure a spot during the busy summer months in Sunriver, Oregon.

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