Here in Central Oregon, we get to experience all four seasons and the changes they bring to our environment. When summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter, the landscape changes, and so do our lifestyles. Yes, winter sometimes means cold toes, icy roads, and less daylight, but it plays an important role in the Earth’s natural cycle, and we think that everyone should do their best to embrace this magical time of year. There are so many opportunities for outdoor recreation in Central Oregon during the chilly months, but we know it isn’t always easy to come up with new and fun activities. Luckily, we have done the research for you, so you don’t ever have to be at a loss for things to do with your family this winter. Grab your coats, gloves, hats, and boots, and join us outside!
Here are a few fun, family-friendly outdoor activities you can try this winter:
- Go for a hike. Park at Meadow Camp, just a short distance up Century Drive, and walk upriver for as long as your heart desires. This out-and-back trail is well maintained and offers spectacular views of the Deschutes.
- Have a hot-cocoa themed picnic at Drake Park. Gather up as many blankets as you can, get bundled in all your warmest clothes, and enjoy some hot cocoa with friends and family. Each person attending the picnic must bring a fun topping, like whipped cream, cinamon, peppermint bark, or marshmallows… the possibilities are endless!
- Check out Bend Winterfest at the Old Mill District. With snow sculptures, fire dancers, and ski/snowboard competitions, this event has something for the whole family.
- Become a volunteer dog walker at the Humane Society of the Ochocos. These furry friends need love and exercise in the winter, just like us!
- Attend a Snowshoe with a Ranger or Junior Ranger event hosted by our partner, Discover Your Forest. These events are free and snowshoes are provided.
- Build a snowman to represent every person in your family. You can dress them with your clothes and accessories. This makes for a great photo opp!
- Go sledding at Wanoga Sno-Park! Running back up that hill is a great way to burn energy and get exercise.
- Test your skills at the Outdoor Ice Skate Rink in Redmond.
- Construct a snow fort from snow in your driveway. Not only will you get the driveway cleared, but your kids will be entertained all day! Expert tip: using tupperware containers as molds for the snow makes for great building bricks of all shapes and sizes. Stack them however to create an epic snow fort!
- Have a bonfire in your backyard and invite friends and neighbors. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, hike to Swampy Lakes Shelter or Virginia Meissner Shelter. These are little huts off Cascade Lakes Hwy equipped with a wood burning stove and firewood.
These are just a few Central Oregon-specific activities that we wanted to share with you, but we know there are so many great online resources that provide ideas as well. If you come across a great family-friendly winter activity, we would love to hear from you!
Like our Facebook page to learn more about what we do, stay up to date on outdoor happenings in Central Oregon, and be sure to tag us in your epic winter adventures! Getting kids outside is at the heart of our mission, and we love to see families enjoying quality time together in nature.