Outdoor fun is king in Central Oregon

Nestled in the base of the picturesque Cascade Mountains, the resort communities of Bend, Redmond, Sisters and Sunriver offer spectacular settings for outdoor recreation. Famous for its high desert sunshine and high mountain vistas, this vacation paradise features outdoor recreation of all kinds. The sparkling rivers and alpine lakes offer some of the finest fishing in the West. Rafting, hiking, boating and biking are popular pastimes.

This year, new attractions mix with some old standbys to offer fun for everyone:

New SHARC in Sunriver

SHARC is an acronym for Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center: www.sunriverowners.org/Welcome-to-SHARC!~416166~13934.htm.

Located in the heart of Sunriver, this new $18 million facility opened Memorial Day weekend. SHARC is 22 acres of year-round family fun, offering indoor and outdoor recreation pools, outdoor adult hot tub, outdoor lazy river, two water slides, tot pool and sand play area, cafe, picnic area, playground, basketball court, bocce ball court, tubing hill and warming pavilion, event/meeting rooms and outdoor amphitheater.

Summer Concerts

This summer concerts at Les Schwab Amphitheater will feature: The Shins, Beck, Norah Jones, Michael Franti and Huey Lewis. For details: www.theoldmill.com/events/bend-summer-concerts/

Summer Sundays at 2:30 pm are free concerts from June 10 to Aug. 12. Dates and performers can be found at www.theoldmill.com/events/free-summer-sunday-concerts/.

Other musical highlights include:

• The Athletic Club of Bend and C3 Events will present Peak Summer Nights, starting June 28 with Leftover Salmon.

• The BMC Munch & Music Free weekly concert series at Drake Park starts July 7 and continues every Saturday evening.

• Bill Cosby is appearing at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds July 22.

Let it Ride

Historic Bend tours while riding an electric bike are educational and fun: letitridebend.com.

New for Central Oregon Golf

With 30 courses designed by legendary architects such as Jack Nicklaus, Peter Jacobsen, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and David McLay Kidd, golf in Central Oregon is considered to be among the “Top 50 Golf Destinations in the World” as proclaimed by Golf Digest. The 2012 golf season welcomes the reopening of the Glaze Meadow championship course at Black Butte Ranch Resort after a $3.5-million overhaul by acclaimed designer John Fought; and the half-million-dollar renovation of the greens at Sunriver Resort’s Crosswater Golf Club.

Bend Ale Trail

The city of Bend claims more craft microbreweries per capita than any other U.S. city. Discover the Bend Ale Trail (www.BendAleTrail.com) celebrating Central Oregon’s craft microbreweries and their tasty brews. Grab a Passport or use the Bend Ale Trail iPhone or Droid app as your guide to nine craft breweries and one more in neighboring Sisters. Get your passport stamped at each location and bring it to the Visit Bend Welcome Center for a commemorative Bend Silipint – a collapsible silicone pint glass for beer lovers on the go. (Silipint is a local company, based out of Bend.) Those going the extra mile to the brewery in Sisters receive an additional prize.

Cycle Pub

Bend’s peculiar bar/bike hybrid (www.cyclepub.com) that lets beer drinkers peddle their way along The Bend Ale Trail; is a head turner in town. The creator of CyclePub is local entrepreneur James Watts.

Wanderlust Tours

Bend Brew Bus or The Local Pour Tour (www.bendbrewbus.com) do the driving while you grab tastes at some of Central Oregon’s finest microbreweries, wineries and distilleries.

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Also known as “SUP” – Stand-up paddleboarding is emerging as a very popular flatwater recreational sport. SUP fans paddle on the Deschutes River in Bend’s Old Mill District or in downtown Bend’s Drake Park. Some take boards up the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway to paddle in calmer flat water in a high Cascade Lake.

Rentals and lessons are available at numerous outfitters in Bend.

Other Central Oregon family favorites include: The award-winning High Desert Museum, Paulina Plunge, tubing/floating down the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District, white-water rafting and surrey rentals to tour town.

For additional information and a free Central Oregon Visitors Guide, contact the Central Oregon Visitors Association at www.VisitCentralOregon.com or 800-800-8334.

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