Editor’s note: Oregon’s COVID-19 restrictions have eased, but businesses may ask you to wear a face cover – bring one along and be patient and kind if asked to wear it. It’s also wildfire season – plan ahead and do your part to prevent wildfires.
I’ve been visiting Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon since I was a little girl learning to ski in the early 1980s. Today I visit with my own family, year-round, and we build our long sunny days around water activities. My husband is up early fly-fishing, and our 12-year-old, 16-year-old and dog float the Deschutes River. Still, my kids’ favorite thing about the massive resort has always been the freedom to bike everywhere — especially to The Cove pool.
In summer 2021, The Cove not only doubled the capacity of its summer pool space, it added a year-round indoor aquatic center for both winter and summer vacations. Now, even during ski season, we can splash in the indoor heated pool, grab a drink at the poolside bar or soak in the large jetted spa — all while snow piles up outside.
Even more ways to connect with nature: You can step through the aquatic center’s large roll-up doors into the expansive outdoor area, or hop on your bike that’s parked conveniently outside for easy access to the resort’s cycle-friendly paths. The outdoor pool area is open seasonally. Be sure to check The Cove’s website for the latest capacity rules and to reserve booking windows this summer.
Here are a few highlights of this all-ages, all-season oasis in Central Oregon.
1. Year-Round Waterslide Thrills
The most significant features of The Cove’s new look are the year-round, indoor heated pool and two-story Cinder Cone waterslide (open to those 48 inches or taller). The enclosed, tubular, spiral slide curves outside the building and returns back inside for splashdown. It’s a perfect pairing with the already popular outdoor “Plunge” water slide and gives thrill-seekers more options for play.
2. Relax at the Fire Pits and Cabanas
Guests will appreciate ordering a meal or drinks from the indoor/outdoor poolside restaurant and cozying up to one of the outdoor fire pits. Or perhaps you’ll want to reserve a private cabana for your day crew ($200 for three hours; prebook here). Designed to match the natural aesthetic of Sunriver, The Cove’s spacious outdoor architecture, bar and cafe incorporate regional lava rock and wood to mirror the warm Central Oregon atmosphere. A children’s nature discovery area houses kids’ activities in the summer, featuring native plantings, trails, a natural lake and an expansive patio and lawn for lounging.
3. Lazy Days on the Eddy
When you’re ready to take a break from the waterslide, let the gentle current of the new indoor meandering eddy take you on a relaxing float experience. The term “eddy” references a section of calm water with a light current. Visitors to The Cove can access the eddy from the main pool. No flotation devices are needed.
4. Two All-Ages Pools With Indoor/Outdoor Flexibility
The added 10,000-square-foot indoor aquatic space more than doubles the summer pool capacity with the family-focused addition of an indoor, zero-entry (a gradual slope into the water) heated pool. Plus, the large jetted spa, the eddy, children’s splash pad and Cinder Cone waterslide all complete the indoor aquatic center. Three sides of the building feature large roll-up doors, bringing the outdoors in during warmer months. The open-air facility provides shade and convenient access to the resort’s outdoor zero-entry pool all summer long.
5. Indoor and Outdoor Jetted Spas
Whether you spent the day skiing Mt. Bachelor or walking the golf course, soak up every bit of your vacation with some warm-water therapy at one of The Cove’s two large jetted spas. Spend warm summer days in the outdoor jetted spa. In winter watch the snow fly through the floor-to-ceiling windows from the comfort of the large indoor spa.
6. Indoor/Outdoor Bar and Poolside Family Dining Service
Keep your vacation day going with on-site family dining and bar service. The Cove’s new indoor facility is complete with a poolside bar, full-service poolside wait staff and expanded offerings from the Spotted Frog, the now year-round poolside cafe inside the aquatic center. The cafe’s name is a nod to the endangered Oregon spotted frog, which lives in the protected habitat at The Cove’s adjacent nature discovery area, open to guests only.
At the Spotted Frog, choose from healthy options like hummus plates, salads and wraps alongside vacation indulgences like mini corn-dog poppers and burgers. There’s also a kids’ “Tadpoles” menu with a “Froggy Doggy” hot dog. Seasonal summertime cocktails, Pacific Northwest beer and wine are on hand at the full bar. Resort guests can enjoy a meal at the bar, in the cafe or poolside — indoors or out. Dining is open to pool guests who have reserved a session at The Cove. (No outside food or beverage is allowed.)