When it’s time for a rejuvenating getaway, a charming family resort on a pristine lake awaits you at Cultus Lake in Central Oregon, which is situated about an hour’s drive Southwest of Bend on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway (Forest Route 46). From the moment you drive under the carved, wooden Cultus Lake Resort sign, you know you’ve arrived some place special where the best parts of the past have been preserved for you and the kids to enjoy.
What to do: Located in the Cascade Mountain range, deep within the Deschutes National Forest, your home away from home is one of 24 cabins that accommodate four to eight happy campers. Kids will love their cozy little forest home, while adults will appreciate the amenities — heated cabins with comfortable beds, hot showers and fully-equipped kitchens. Outside your cabin, you’ll find a picnic table, fire pit and barbecue grill, along with Adirondack chairs, perfect for reading or lounging.
There are ample opportunities for outdoor fun for all ages from boating, fishing and hiking to hanging out at the resort’s sandy beach and swimming. Cultus Lake Resort is perfect for multi-generational families or groups of friends.
With an on-site restaurant and general store, dock and boat rentals, there’s no need to drive anywhere once you’ve arrived and have been welcomed by the friendly management. Spend your days exploring in and around the lake. Fish for rainbow trout and mackinaw, grab a meal at the restaurant, and don’t forget to pet Ralphy, the friendly resident dog. The Resort is pet friendly — for a small fee your own dog can join in on the vacation fun.
Without the distractions of modern life, nothing need separate you from the outdoors for long when you’re at Cultus Resort, giving the whole family an opportunity to appreciate the lake by day and canopy of stars by night. With only a couple of dozen cabins and not-too-many motorboats you’re likely to enjoy a peaceful getaway at this ideal family spot. You and the kids can play hard all day and when the sun sets the only decision you have to make is where to roast your marshmallows — in the indoor fireplace or the fire pit right outside your door.
What to bring: You’ll need your own linens and bedding, including bath and beach towels, pillows, sheets, and blankets. If you plan to cook, bring your own groceries, though most forgotten essentials, including firewood, barbecue charcoal, fishing tackle, licenses, and other necessities are for sale on-site. Don’t forget your bathing suits and sunscreen. Mosquitoes are mostly kept at bay near the resort, but you may encounter quite a few while hiking, so pack some insect repellant.
Where to stay: What could be better than family fun in a glorious setting with a bed to crawl into each night? Cultus Lake Resort cabins rent out weekly during the peak summer season, which runs July 4 to Labor Day, but are available for early and late season for two night stays.
Campers also will enjoy the adjacent Cultus Lake Campground. Operated by the National Forest Service, 55 first-come, first-serve tent, RV and trailer sites are shady, wooded, and offer easy lake access. Additional hike-in and boat-in tent campsites await the most adventurous families.
Where to eat: Whether you’re staying in the cabins or camping, you’ll likely get tired of cooking at some point. When that moment arrives, head on over to Cultus Lake Resort’s restaurant for family-friendly fare, from hearty breakfasts to sandwiches, salads, and the popular weekend “all you can eat” rib nights. A children’s menu is available.
Cost: The cabins start at a minimum of a two night stay, with the most basic set-up (no kitchen; 2 double beds) costing $85.00 a night, with a maximum occupancy of 4 people. The most lavish quarters (kitchen, 1 double bed, 1 queen hide-a-bed, and 1 bunk bed) cost $155.00 per night and sleeps a maximum of 6. Check their site for more information and reservations. The Cultus Lake Campground is $16 per car per night.
There are also boat, canoe, and jet ski rentals. Their prices are listed here.
– Tricia Kerr