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6 Reasons to Use a Vacation Rental in Sunriver Oregon

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Disclosure: HomeAway hosted our stay for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own. 

6 Reasons to Use a Vacation Rental in Sunriver Oregon

6 Reasons to Use a Vacation Rental in Sunriver Oregon 

Sunriver and Bend, Oregon, are known in the Northwest as one of the prime destinations for family travel for any season. Located in central Oregon, this area averages 300+ sunny days a year and with the winding Deschutes River and Mt Bachelor just a half hour away, you’re sure to find a variety of fun outdoor adventures for every age in your family.

Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Rental in Winter

Our family loves to find new places to adventure in the snow during the winter and we have heard so much about the Sunriver / Bend area in the wintertime, that it’s been on our list to explore for years. After a busy month hosting 3 teen exchange students in February, we were ready for some fun family adventures & relaxation time. We determined that central Oregon was just what we were looking for, so we decided to head to Sunriver for a long weekend last week. And boy, we lucked out, as that was the weekend that they had tons of snow, which is just what we were hoping for. It was a gorgeous winter wonderland!

Relaxing at a Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Rental Home

Time for relaxing while watching the snow fall

There are a number of places to stay in central Oregon, but we were looking for a quiet place to relax and Sunriver looked like the perfect place to do that while still being close to the places we wanted to visit for outdoor adventures. In Sunriver, the primary lodging is vacation home rentals, so we used this opportunity to try out HomeAway.com, a vacation rental site, which had over 300 vacation rentals for Sunriver. Wow! And HomeAway has more than 2 million properties in 190 countries, so there really are so many different options of vacation rentals from room rentals to entire home rentals for every budget.


What I liked about the HomeAway site is that we could really narrow down our search by using the filters to select features we were hoping for in the vacation rental.  We put our minimum & maximum price per night, fireplace, washing machine, free wifi, parking included, non-smoking, and hot tub (we added this after realizing so many of the rentals offered this) to find just what we were looking for. You can also select rentals that are pet-friendly as well by using the filters (which our rental was dog-friendly).

The prime reason that we like to use vacation rentals is when we see that that there will be more savings for us overall. We love to travel & make memories visiting new places together as a family – it’s a very important family value for us, but we are definitely on a strict budget to be able to make traveling work for our family. It may seem like a vacation rental may be more money upfront, but we have found that when you factor in all the ways you can save by using a vacation rental, in addition to the many conveniences and extra space, it makes it so beneficial to consider this option.

6 Reasons to Use a Vacation Rental in Sunriver Oregon 

Space for Larger Families or Multi Family Vacations

Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Home Kitchen & Dining Area

If you have a large family, it can be tough to find places that have enough beds & space to hang out with your family, so vacation rentals are definitely the best option and you can choose your price range based on the amenities you’re looking for. Our Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Rental was 1800 square feet, with beds for 8 people with 2 bathrooms, full kitchen, dining & family room. There were 3 different bedrooms, so there was plenty of space.

Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Rental Bedroom

We are a family of 4 & it would have worked perfectly to have another family of 4 stay with us & still have plenty of space for all of us to eat, relax around the cabin & enjoy the outdoors. Family reunions are perfect for vacation rentals, too, and Sunriver really is the ideal spot for a family reunion, with the wealth of activities for multi-generations.

If you are headed over to central Oregon, vacation rental homes are definitely the best way to experience Sunriver & Bend, as this area has SO much to offer as far as activities during any season, that you really want to make the most of your stay with an extended stay. You’ll want to stay for at least 4 days, even better if you can stay for a week (review of Sunriver & Bend coming this week), so you’ll want somewhere with enough space for a longer stay.

Food Costs

Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Rental Home Kitchen

When choosing a vacation rental, we always look for a rental that will have a full kitchen because this is one way that we can really save on food costs. If you really want to save the most, you could make all of your meals in the kitchen – breakfast,  lunch & dinner, which can save you at least $100/day if you have a family of 4 and save even more with larger families.

For our vacation to Sunriver, we brought most of the food with us to make breakfast, lunch & snacks for our adventures. We chose not to bring dinners as we knew we’d be out adventuring till the evening hours, so we wanted a break from cooking and to experience a few of the amazing restaurants that you can find in Bend & Sunriver. However, I have friends who bring their crockpots or Instant Pots with them to have dinner ready when they get home, so this would be a great option, too, to save on all those food costs.

In our Sunriver HomeAway vacation home, we had a large, full kitchen with refrigerator, dishwasher, stove/oven and microwave. Plus, there was a full-size freezer in the garage. For summertime, there was also a large grill & outdoor patio set, so you could eat your meals outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Laundry Costs / Convenience 

Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Home Back Porch & Deck

Another reason we love to use vacation rentals like HomeAway.com is to have access to a washer & dryer throughout our stay. This HomeAway rental had a washer & dryer in the garage & we took full advantage of it several times during our 3 night stay. It was a very snowy weekend, with snow 3 out of the 4 days we were there and we wanted to have fun in the snow, so we wore our snow clothes pretty much every day. This meant that we had very wet clothes, such as our snow pants, gloves, hats, etc, so we were able to dry our clothes in the evening to be ready for the next day of adventuring. A washer/dryer is almost a must if you will be spending several days in the snow!

We also used the dryer after heading to the SHARC Aquatic Center for swimming and after using the hot tub on the back patio of our HomeAway rental.  A  washing machine is great to have, so you can pack less clothes, especially if you have a longer stay. Loved the convenience of a washer/dryer, as well as saving money to not have to visit a laundromat to get our snow clothes dried out for more adventures.

Save on Rental Fees

Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Home Kitchen & Dining Area

One of the most popular activities at Sunriver (depending on the season) is to ride bikes. Sunriver has over 30 miles of paved bike trails around this community as well as bike trails to various hiking spots around the area. {Obviously, the snow kept us from exploring by bike ;) }

Here’s what our HomeAway rental included:

  • 8 bikes (adults & kids)
  • Tandem bike attachment (how fun!)
  • Bike trailer for younger kids

If you wanted to rent bikes from Sunriver, you could rent them starting around $18/day for adult or kid bikes, so this is a fantastic savings by having these for your use at your vacation rental.  You could also bring your own bikes, but you’d have to have a large bike carrier to bring down bikes for all of you, especially if you have a large family.

Another piece of gear at our vacation rental that was great for families was a high chair & this is something you could search for when selecting a HomeAway rental to save space in your vehicle when traveling there.

Hot Tub on Back Porch

One big perk to our Sunriver HomeAway rental is that it had a hot tub on the back porch. As I researched rentals at Sunriver on the HomeAway site, I saw a number of the rentals with hot tubs & thought this would be such a fun experience to have an outdoor hot tub in the snowy weather, as well as a chance to relax our weary bodies after days of sledding & hiking. This was such a fun bonus to have right at the house, especially as a way to unwind after a busy day before bed.

SHARC Unlimited Passes

When booking our HomeAway rental, we also made sure to pick a vacation rental home that included SHARC (Sunriver Homeowner Aquatic & Recreation Center) passes for the duration of our visit. I have heard so many wonderful things about the SHARC center at Sunriver that I knew this would definitely be somewhere we would want to visit. However, it would be $15/person to visit each day (or $36 for 3 days) – so that would have been $60/day for us to visit the SHARC (or $144 for the 3 days we were there). So, finding a location with passes included was a big savings for us! Our rental house had 8 SHARC passes – enough for the full capacity of the house. {In the summer, the passes are $25/day, which includes the aquatics & disc golf – so even more of a savings!}

Wintertime at the SHARC:

In the wintertime, you can take advantage of the huge indoor heated pool with various areas of fun for kids.

Plus, my personal favorite part – the outdoor hot tub for adults only (18+). We’d take turns heading out to the hot tub while it was snowing outside, so fun!

Here’s all that is included in the Indoor Pool:

  • Adult Hot Tub (18 and older)
  • Lap Lanes
  • Zero Entry to Shallow Pool

Sunriver SHARC Pool

  • Tot Bubblers, Spinners & Flowers
  • Vortex Whirlpool
  • Social Bench
  • Water Basketball

Tubing Hill – this is another fun adventure at the SHARC in the wintertime – with the SHARC passes, you’ll get free access to tubing (it is $10/person if you do not have the passes)

What’s included:

  • Three runs of varying steepness (ages 4 yrs and older)
  • Tubes (personal sleds/tubes are not allowed)
  • Black Light Blast Nights: Runs are illuminated with black lights and glow sticks – these are on various holidays
  • The largest tubing run is made with a plastic NevPlast that you can tube down with or without snow

Summertime at the SHARC:

In the summer, the SHARC has both the indoor pools and the outdoor pools. It’s really like a little water park from what we could see. They also offer a disc golf course, too.

Outdoor pools include:

  • Waterslides (must be 48″ to ride)
  • Lazy River
  • Water Jungle Gym
  • Tot Pool & Sand Area
  • Lap Lanes

Sunriver HomeAway Vacation Rental Review:

We appreciated the fact that even though our vacation rental home was in a neighborhood, it still felt very private with all the trees between the homes {and those trees were just stunning with all the snowfall we received over the long weekend we were visiting}. This particular home itself was a bit dated with the furniture, decor and darker wood throughout, but with the many amenities it offered, we were pleased with our choice. But, we saw quite a wide variety of newer & older homes available thru HomeAway.com so you can choose something that best fits what you are looking for in your family vacation spot.

Panaromic Views of the Back Yard from the Upper Deck of Sunriver vacation home

(Panoramic view of the backyard from the top deck)

The location was a great fit, too, as we had pretty trees in the back as well as a bike path, but it was also just a few blocks away from the popular Fort Rock playground and park in Sunriver. This would be a great spot in the spring or summertime for the kids for easy access to a large park.

Coffee with a view

After our experience in Sunriver, we absolutely would rent again from HomeAway.com, especially considering the huge number of rentals they offer in Central Oregon, as well as around the Northwest and the world. It was such a nice getaway with chances to enjoy the outdoors & the wintery weather, while also having the opportunity to unwind and relax for the weekend, too.

More Posts about Sunriver & Bend:

5 Winter Activities in Bend & Sunriver for the Family

5 Family Friendly Restaurants in Bend & Sunriver

If you’re interested in checking out all of the Vacation Rental Homes in Sunriver, head over to HomeAway.com and see the 300+ properties to choose from. 



  1. Great post with great info!We are always looking for places to try so we’re excited to learn about this!

    1. I was surprised by how many options there were for HomeAway for that central Oregon area – so I definitely want to check it out for other areas too!

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