While we all love our Oregon Coast, sometimes there’s nothing like a hassle-free trip to the pool where your kiddos can splash and play and you can kick back in a lounge chair beverage in-hand. If you’ve exhausted all of your local spray parks and swimming holes and aren’t keen on the gloom of the coast (after all, there’s a reason they don’t call the Oregon ocean a beach!), head on over to Sunriver in Central Oregon for some fun in the sun.

Sunriver is ideal for a last-minute late summer or early fall family getaway, and now it is better than ever, thanks to the SHARC, an awesome new aquatic facility that’s one of the most amazing pool complexes you will find throughout Oregon and Washington. The “SHARC” (actually an acronym for Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic & Recreation Center) is much more than a water park. It boasts a playground, basketball court, bocce ball court, outdoor tubing hill and an amphitheater, and of course the new water facility that has all of us buzzing about this great destination. Here are our tips for enjoying a great day at the SHARC.

What You’ll Love: 
With outdoor and indoor pools, a lazy river, two water slides, an obstacle course, an outdoor hot tub (adults only!), fountains and a toddler pool and sand area, this kicks the whole concept of “a pool” up a notch. The sand and water area is perfect for little ones as they can scoop, dig, splash and wade to their hearts’ content. And you will love that the entire area is fenced, so you can veg while the kiddos splash in the eight-inch pool and dig in the beach-worthy sand. Once they are ready to venture to the glorious pools, you’ll be thrilled to discover that both pools and the lazy river feature zero entry — perfect for your little ones!

Be the Smart One:
The only drawback to this watery paradise? At peak times, it can be crowded. But since chances are good your gang has been up and ready since 7:00am anyway, just try to arrive right before it opens to snag an umbrella and a lounge chair — though, let’s be honest, there’s not much “lounging” with the kiddos running around.

What Not to Miss: 
Before nap time, hit the upscale locker room/bathroom facility which sports a super cool feature: an appliance that functions like the spin setting on your dryer, so you don’t have to lug home sopping wet suits and towels.

Insider Tips:

  1. Food at the pool is restricted to the café area, which is appreciated by all: who wants goldfish swimming in the pool? But hungry tots – and smart families – know that they can head just outside to the on-site picnic pavilion near the playground, which offers shade and an escape from crowded pool action.
  1. Parents will crave the upscale “restaurant style” salads and sandwiches offered at the café, which also features all your typical kid faves (hot dogs, burgers, chicken strips). Waits can be long, so plan to order before tummies are rumbling!
  1. Disposable swim diapers are not allowed, but they conveniently sell “reusable swim diapers” at the front desk for $7.50.

Hours:
Open swim is 10:00 am – 8:30 pm daily through the end of September. If your little guys are not yet in school, check it out the week after Labor Day. The weather is perfect and the whole world, it seems has deserted the High Desert, offering you quiet pool bliss.

What it Costs:
It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. Before you rent a place, ask if SHARC passes are included. Many houses include them and all resort guests get in free. Not so lucky? Day fee for adults is $25; ages 5 – 18, $20; four and under, free. There will be a reduced rate after Labor Day: $18/15.

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SHARC
57250 Overlook Road
Sunriver, Or
541-585-5000
Online: www.sunriver-resort.com

“Like” this story if you’ve been to SHARC and then let us know in the comment section below your tips for enjoying a sunny day poolside. 

— Cathie Ericson

first and third photo courtesy of Cathie Ericson; third photo courtesy of Bonnie Nieuwstraten