Need a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life? Central Washington’s Lake Chelan is the perfect getaway to relax, recharge and have tons of family fun. Better yet, it’s just a three-hour drive over the mountains from Seattle. This Pacific Northwest vacation spot, tucked along a spectacular glacier-fed lake, is a sunny respite you’ll want to visit year after year. Here’s why:
Enjoy Water Activities in Paradise
Lake Chelan is 50.5-miles of pristine blue water, with smaller lakes and waterways close by. Kayak, canoe, paddleboard, water-ski, jet-ski, rent a boat… the options for water fun are endless. When you’re hanging out at the beach, snorkel gear is a must-have for kiddos who want to discover the cool sights at the bottom of this crystal clear lake. If you’re a thrill-seeking family, parasail together to take in the sights. Rent your water adventure gear here.
Slide into Happiness
Built into a hill, Slidewaters is a water park like no other—it’s surrounded by exquisite natural beauty and boasts stunning views of Lake Chelan. The youngest kids can zip down perfectly pint-sized slides or ride with a parent on the larger ones. Relax as you float along the lazy river, take family tube rides or race your crew on the water slides. No matter what adventures you slide into, you’ll love spending the day in this sunny oasis.
Locate Lost “Treasure”
Little explorers will enjoy beachcombing on the various beaches of Lake Chelan. During springtime, the lake’s water level drops over ten feet, revealing all sorts of beautiful rocks and minerals. Recommended spots to seek hidden “gems” are Don Morse Park, Lakeside Park, Beebe Bridge Park, Chelan Falls Park and Willow Point Park.
Camp (with Some Comfort!)
No gear, no problem. Stehekin Outfitters’ “tent-to-tent” offering makes area camping easier than ever with fully stocked camps that are set up and ready for travelers. All you need to pack are clothes, food and toiletries. There are various campsites that can serve as your home base when you’re hiking. Supplies include the tent, wood stove, cots, table, chairs and even kitchen essentials to make meals. They also offer “Hike and Like it” guided trips where meals are provided and horses carry your duffels, as well as day rides to sightsee on horseback.
Wind Down at a Winery
Drink in the beauty of Lake Chelan (literally!) at one of the 30 plus wineries dotting the shore. Thanks to rich soil, a sunny climate and thriving grapes, the Chelan Valley is a premier destination for wine enthusiasts. Sit back, sip and enjoy the stunning scenery of vines winding down the hillside. Kids are welcome at many wineries and will have plenty of fun playing and picnicking.
Head to Blueberry Hills
Blueberry Hills Farm is a 20-acre family-owned berry farm with 18 different blueberry varieties. Raspberries, blackberries and peony flowers also grace these gorgeous fields. Picking season starts at the end of June, so this is a great summer activity for the whole family—even your pet. Be sure to enjoy a homemade meal and some fresh pie at their farmhouse-style restaurant.
Go off the Grid at Stehekin
Take a day trip to this tiny, off-the-beaten-path town located at the northern end of Lake Chelan. There are no roads in or out of Stehekin, so the only way to get there is by boat, floatplane or foot. Take a scenic ride on the Lady of the Lake for a visit to this remote, majestic valley nestled in the North Cascades. Listen for the glacial melt running over the rocks of the Stehekin river (yep, even your boisterous kids will turn on their listening ears for that!)
Be a Big Champ Playing Mini Golf
Families love having some friendly competition at one of Lake Chelan’s two mini-golf courses. A championship putting course, “the Green” at Don Morse Park is walkable from downtown. If you’re grabbing a meal at Watson’s Alpenhorn Cafe, a round of nine-hole mini golf is free for kids 12 and under. (It’s nice and shady here if you’re looking for a fun spot to cool off!)
Your Stay, Your Style
There are a variety of places to stay in Lake Chelan. Whether you’re looking for a luxury resort or would rather rent a quaint cabin, there’s a perfect spot for your crew to unwind. Campbell's has been a family favorite since it opened in 1901. With prime real estate right on the lake, this renovated resort is the quintessential vacation destination.