Central Oregon has many amazing places where you can enjoy a day of playing in the water and escape the summer heat. Two of my favorites are Tumalo State Park and Sparks lake. Tumalo State Park is only 15 minutes outside of Bend. There is ample parking and lots of trees to provide shade. The creek flows enough for a little floating fun but is calm enough for kids to splash around and swim in. It is $5 to park for the day and you can finish off your day with dinner and drinks at the Bite of Tumalo, a great food cart lot in the heart of Tumalo.
Sparks Lake is great for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, and anything else you can think of in and around a beautiful and calm mountain lake. You can also find a nice place to picnic on the shore. To access Spark lake you need to head south on Cascade Lakes Highway, go past Mount Bachelor about 5 minuets and you’ll find an access road off to your left. This place is truly spectacular. Plan on going early in the morning and later in the afternoon as it can get pretty crazy busy during the day. Crossing our fingers Mount Bachelor Bike Park opens this summer with its new zip line. If it does a perfect day would be riding the Bike Park then finishing your day with a sunset paddle at Sparks Lake.