A stay at Brasada Ranch: a Central Oregon family golf resort

If your image of Oregon consists of only evergreens and rainy days, it’s time to visit Central Oregon’s high desert. One of our favorite regions for Oregon family vacations, Central Oregon offers beautiful mountains, lakes, and rivers for whitewater rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, golf, and every snow sport you can think up. It’s also home to a number of family resorts, including Bend Oregon’s Brasada Ranch, a Preferred hotel and spa.

Brasada Ranch preferred hotelBrasada Ranch is a year-round destination resort on 1,800 scenic acres, much of it wilderness. We visited in late summer, in time to experience the first crisp mornings and cool evenings. Our days were packed with activities, but families could just as easily do nothing but lounge on their sun-kissed deck, swim, and dine in one of Brasada’s two family-friendly restaurants.

It’s hard to describe the beauty of Brasada until you’ve seen it with your own eyes. The lodge and recreation buildings fold gracefully into their natural surroundings; everywhere you look, you’re greeted with restful earth tones and understated architecture that showcase the surrounding buttes and peaks and never-ending sky. Lodge rooms are available, but families will want to book one of Brasada’s Sage Canyon Cabins tucked along the Brasada Canyons golf greens and between sage-covered hills. Our cabin was a two bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom unit, and included a full gourmet kitchen, living room, dining space, and deck with hot tub. We had more than enough room to spread out (and larger cabins are available for bigger family groups). We were able to make our own meals, sit around our fireplace at night, and come and go as we pleased (covered parking makes winter visits easy, too).

Recreation at Brasada Ranch:

Brasada Ranch has, hands down, the best included recreation options of any Central Oregon resort we’ve reviewed. Their Athletic Center includes exercise equipment and classes, but also three pools (with additional wading pools and hot tubs), an excellent kids’ space called The Hideout with ping-pong, XBox Kinnect, Wii games, a rotating climbing wall, air hockey, and a toddler space, plus an outdoor playground, basketball court, beach volleyball court, and tennis courts. (Balls and rackets are available at the Athletic Center front desk for at charge.) Families could spend all day here and never encounter extra fees (unless you charge drinks or lunch to your account from the on-site grill).

Brasada outdoor pool

In addition to the above pool, Brasada’s second pool is calmer (yet still kid-friendly). Also on-site at the Athletic Center is a full indoor pool (with bay windows that rise to keep the heat down in summer) and wading pool with water squirters and splash area. A plunge waterfall cools kids down, and a full waterslide is great for younger kids.

Brasada pools

Brasada pool

Additional resort activities:

If you can tear your kids away from the Athletic Center, families have many other options during a Brasada Ranch stay. Miles of hiking and mountain biking trails are accessible right from the resort, and Brasada’s two ponds are stocked with fish. During our visit, we took a horseback trail ride with Wrangler Chris at the Brasada Equestrian Center. Our kids had trail ridden before, so they knew what they were talking about when they declared their high desert ride their ‘favorite part of our Brasada vacation’. What made it special? The attention to each rider (groups are kept small), the beautiful scenery, and the fact that they were allowed to trot their horses along the trail.

Brasada trail rides

Off ranch, Brasada’s recreation center can arrange for fly fishing excursions, helicopter tours, whitewater rafting, or bird watching, and can direct families to the best off-site hiking trails. In winter, families can snowshoe or cross country ski, or take Brasada’s van service to Mt. Bachelor for downhill ski and snowboarding. Brasada excursions, horseback riding, and golf (below) come at an additional (significant) charge; if you’re working within a budget, as most families are, we recommend picking your favorite 1-2 to experience as a family, and spending the remainder of your time busy enjoying the many included recreation options.

Brasada fly fishing

Brasada Canyons Golf:

If Brasada’s crown is the natural beauty of the high desert, then its crown jewel is Brasada Canyons. I don’t even golf, but still considered my accompaniment of my husband and kids on the course as one of the most enjoyable parts of my Brasada stay. While Brasada Canyons is certainly challenging, it’s family friendly: just explain that you’ll be golfing with young children or beginners (as the case may be) and the pro shop will be happy to help you book an appropriate tee time and show you the five levels of tee boxes to choose from. We opted to golf only nine holes with our two beginners, and found it easy to manage with golf carts well-stocked with ice water, bathrooms on-course, and friendly staff.

Brasada Canyons golf

Brasada Canyons golf

Brasada dining:

It’s relaxing to eat in your cabin, but families can’t leave Brasada without experiencing at least one high desert sunset on the Ranch House or Range deck. The Ranch House features more casual fare: think burgers, wraps, and salads, while Range showcases Oregonian farm-to-fork cuisine that’s truly exquisite. Expect a leisurely dining experience of at least a few hours at Range if you order several courses; while waiting, let the kids play on the lawn or gather around the communal fire pit if eating outdoors. At either restaurant, don’t leave without trying the homemade s’mores.

Brasada Range Restaurant

Brasada Spa:

The Spa Brasada is located adjacent to the Athletic Center building, making it easy for moms (or dads) to step away for a treatment. I don’t often spend time in spas during family vacations, opting for group activities instead, but if you have the time, a visit to this spa is well worth it. I loved the infusion of the natural surroundings brought indoors: the spa’s signature oils and scents are lavender and sage. If you book a treatment, plan to come early or stay late to take advantage of the relaxation room and private pool and hot tub.

Date last visited:

August 2012

Distance from the nearest interstate:

15 minutes off Highway 97.

Room and cabin rates:

Two-bedroom cabins such as the one we enjoyed range from approximately $299-399 depending on season and date. Lodge rooms can be had for less, but either way, book early: Brasada fills up fast in the prime months. Brasada Ranch packages are always offered, and are worth checking!

Directions:

Brasada Ranch is located at 16986 Brasada Ranch Road, Powell Butte, Oregon. It’s only 15 minutes from Bend, Oregon off Highway 97.

As I disclose whenever applicable, my family and I experienced Brasada Ranch as guests of the resort, allowing us to review it for our readers. This hospitality came with no expectation of a positive review.

Bend on Dwellable

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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  1. Wow! This place looks amazing! I need to take a road trip up to Oregon!

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