When it comes to planning a family vaca, there’s a reason so many Seattleites head east to Lake Chelan. With 300 days of sunshine, no matter what the season you can nearly always count on fun under the bright North Central Washington sun. And with recreational activities galore, clear mountain air and stunning scenery, and an easy livin’ pace, it’s no wonder families have been making Lake Chelan their vacation tradition for generations. Whether you prefer a tent-cation or a condo-cation, we’ve put together a list of our fave Chelan hot spots. So read on, and get ready to plan your next family vaca east of the Cascades.

Lake Chelan 2013

Blueberry Hills 
This small, family owned and operated U-pick berry farm and country restaurant (specializing in down-home, country cookin’) should be at the top of your to-do list! For just $2.50 a pound, you and Littles can head out into the fields and pick until your heart’s content. In addition to blueberries (which are available July through mid-August), you can pick strawberries and raspberries June through late fall and blackberries August through October. If don’t have the time (or the energy) to hit the fields, Blueberry Hills does sell its blueberries (pre-picked) by the pound at their fruit stand.

berry picking

Depending on the time of day (and your appetite), you’ll want to head inside the barn (aka restaurant) for some homemade grub made just the way grandma use to make it. On the menu: hearty breakfast dishes with names like Pepé Scramble, Joe’s Breakfast, and Cowboy Breakfast as well as smiley face waffles for the kiddos, a variety of lunch items including homemade soups, sandwiches, and burgers, and yummy pies, muffins, and ice cream. If the line is out of the door when you arrive, don’t worry. It moves fast and there’s plenty of seating inside (including an outdoor covered deck which overlooks the blueberry fields). Once you place your order, feel free to walk around the restaurant and look at the variety of collectibles hanging from the ceiling, covering the wall, and peering underneath the glass tables. If the kiddos need something fun to do while you’re gawking at the décor, there’s a play space (with toys) under the stairs. Insider tip: Blueberry Hills is known for their breakfast Blintz, a sweet crepe filled with a blend of ricotta and cream cheeses topped with your choice of warm blueberry or peach (or both) pie filling and whipped cream. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to order one or get one (or two) to go.

blueberry blintz

Blueberry Hills
1315 Washington Street
Manson, Wa  98831
Online: wildaboutberries.com/

Hours: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm during the summer; check online for fall, winter, and spring hours
Cost: $2.50 to $4/pound for berries; $7.95 to $14.95 for lunch and dinner menu items

Located on the Chelan Butte overlooking Lake Chelan, Slidewaters is one of the Northwest’s largest (and most popular) waterslides, offering attractions for every age and swimming ability. Kiddos and parents will love the 500-foot Lazy River (just added last year), the Bug-a-Boo (a beginner slide for parents and toddlers), the Tube Blaster (for single or double tube riders at least 48 inches tall) and the Purple Haze (a dark covered tube for thrill seekers). Of course, lil’ ones will love splashing around in the Aqua Zoo equipped with climbing toys and fountains and mom and dad will enjoy relaxing in the 60 person flower shaped hot tub. Insider Tip: Save money on admission by visiting the park after 4:00 pm.


102 Waterslide Drive
Lake Chelan, Wa  98816
Online: slidewaterswaterpark.com/

Hours: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Cost: $15 to 18 per person (under 2 free); PM Plunge $11 to $14 (under 2 free)

Rally Alley Go-Karts
Ready, set, go! If you’ve got a future race car driver, be sure to check out this super-fun activity in downtown Lake Chelan. The kidney shaped track of Rally Alley allows kiddos (and parents) to race in single or double seated cars while onlookers cheer them on.

Lake Chelan Go-Karts

Rally Alley Go-Karts
Located next to the Putting Course at Don Morse Park
135 East Johnson
Lake Chelan, Wa 98816
Online: cityofchelan.us/parks/donmorse/rally_alley.htm

Hours: Varies per season
Cost: $6 for single riders; $7 for double riders

Lady of the Lake
If you’re looking for a fun day trip or overnight adventure (where no roads can take you), hop aboard the Lady of the Lake and take a 55-mile journey to the head of Lake Chelan known as the Stehekin Valley. Here, you will find breathtaking scenery, hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, river rafting, boat rentals, and fishing as well as a shuttle bus to Ribbon Falls, lodging, and the super-popular Stehekin Pastry Co. The Lady of the Lake offers two boats (depending on how long you want to spend on the water). The Lady Express will get you to Stehekin in about two hours whereas the Lady of the Lake II will get you there in four. Insider Tip: Take the jogging stroller and walk to the Stehekin Pastry Co. for one of their famous cinnamon rolls. It’s a four mile round trip trek so you’ll burn the calories off in no time!

lady of the lake

Lady of the Lake
1418 West Woodin Avenue
Lake Chelan, Wa  98816
Online: ladyofthelake.com/

Hours: 8:30 am to 6:00 pm (spring & summer); 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (late fall and winter)
Cost: $39 to $59 per person

Riverwalk Park
Built and maintained by the Chelan County PUD, this beautiful park has a one-mile paved walking trail around the Chelan River and is the perfect place to take a walk with the kiddos, enjoy a bike or scooter ride or picnic lunch and ice cream from Sojourners (just right around the corner). The park also has restrooms, a nice covered picnic area, and a big grassy play area as well as a boat launch and short-term moorage.

Riverwalk Pavilion

Riverwalk Park
Downtown Lake Chelan
Online: chelanpud.org/chelan-riverwalk-park.html

Lakeview Drive In
This burger and fry joint is a legendary landmark to locals and visitors alike and a “must” for burger connoisseurs! Grab an outdoor seat and enjoy lunch or dinner overlooking the beautiful waters of Lake Chelan or cool off with a delish shake or ice cream cone. Insider Tip: Lakeview Drive In is known for their world famous fries made with homemade seasoning salt and served with a fry sauce to die for. These fries are so tasty you can order them by the bucketful!

lakeview drive in - chelan

Lakeview Drive In
323 West Manson Road
Lake Chelan, Wa  98816
Online: facebook.com/pages/Lakeview-Drive-In-Lake-Chelan/118327679736

Hours: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm

Lake Chelan hosts a number of fun, family festivals throughout the year. Here are some of our faves:

Manson Apple Blossom Festival: Second Saturday in May
Spring Barrel Tasting: Third weekend in May
Chelan Valley Memorial Day Parade: May 23
CruiZin Chelan Car Show: June 7-8
Manson’s 4th of July Celebration: July 4
Lake Chelan 4th of July Celebration: July 6
Lake Chelan Bach Fest: July 12-20
Chelan Man Multisport Weekend (Triathlon): July 20-21
Lake Chelan Fine Arts Festival: August 15-18
Fall in Lake Chelan Car Show & Cruise: September 13-14
Lake Chelan Hydrofest: September 21-22
Lake Chelan Wine Valley Crush Festival: First & Second weekends of October
Mahogany & Merlot Vintage Boat Show: October 5-6
Manson Winter Festival & Santa’s Arrival: Weekend after Thanksgiving
Echo Valley Ski Area New Year’s Ever Party: December 31
Fire & Ice Winterfest Festival: Second & Third weekends in January
Red Wine & Chocolate: Second & Third weekends of February
Wayne Kelly Memorial Top Dog Parade: March 15

For more information about Lake Chelan, visit the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center online or call 509-682-3503 or 800-424-3526.

Will you be traveling to Lake Chelan this year? Tell us about your favorite places to hit with the fam.  

–Kristina Moy

Photo credit: Kenna Konoske, Lady of the Lake Facebook page and Lakeview Drive In – Lake Chelan Facebook page