You’ve hit every playground, park and beach within a 15-mile radius of your ‘hood and exhausted every indoor attraction. Now, you and your crew are itching to get out of town and explore. But where do you go with just a month left before school starts? Suncadia Resort, A Destination Hotel is where. Whether you’re looking to hike, bike, fish, boat, swim or golf, you can make it happen (and more!) at this premier, all-season mountain resort. So, put your back-to-school shopping on hold, pack your bags and read on. The perfect end-of-summer family vacay is waiting for you!
A Mountain Oasis
Located just 80 miles east of Seattle, Suncadia Resort, A Destination Hotel offers families an array of lodging choices. The Lodge at Suncadia, the resort’s main building, is inspired by the grand lodges of our National Parks and beautifully captures the spirit of Washington state with its magnificent architecture. Choose from the 254 guest rooms, suites and penthouses; most with full kitchens and washers and dryers. For families who’d prefer a smaller and more exclusive lodging experience, The Inn at Suncadia, located just a short walk from The Lodge, offers upscale, pet-friendly rooms and suites with gorgeous views of the Cascade Mountains and golf course. And for those families who desire more space, the Trailhead Condominiums are another great option. The classic mountain architecture and spacious, well-furnished one and two bedroom units are located within walking distance to the resort’s main amenities and feature living/dining areas, full kitchens, washers and dryers, fireplaces and decks with outdoor dining options.
Hit the Trails
With miles (and miles!) of paved trails and countless miles of scenic trails, you will have no problem keeping your family moving amidst the stunning views and lush surroundings of Suncadia’s forests and hills. But the easiest way to get out at Suncadia is to descend the 1,000 steps behind The Lodge and spend time along the banks of the Cle Elum River. As you make your way down the 21-flights of stairs, there are plenty of spots to sit and take in the views with your sidekick, while reading tidbits about some of the animals you might find along the nearby trails. The steps let out at Riverfront Park, a picnic-able, kite fly-able, Frisbee-throw-able area that’s a starting point for outdoor hiking adventures. Sure, your kiddos will love throwing rocks into the river, and climbing around the gigantic tress lining the shore, but when they need to get moving again, we suggest crossing the bridge (pictured above) to find easy trails that wind through the lush forest. Families can also take the River-to-Lodge trail up the backside of the hill. There’s no doubt it’s a steep climb, but there are plenty of spots to stop and catch your breath, and the views at the top of the ridge are worth the trek!
Go for a Spin
Over 40 miles of mostly paved trails make biking another go-to family fave when visiting Suncadia Resort, A Destination Hotel. You can bring your own from home, or rent anything you can think of: bikes, motorized scooters, bike trailers, jogging strollers, trail-along bike extensions, to make the most of a pedal-powered adventure around the property. With minimal traffic and wide, mostly flat trails, tooling around with the kids couldn’t be a simpler, stress-free afternoon activity. Psst…pack a portable lunch and make a pit stop at a scenic overlook or at one of the well-placed picnic tables around the property before heading back to The Lodge.
Even More Places to Dive In!
The indoor pool at The Suncadia Club Swim & Fitness Center boasts a combination lap pool and leisure pool with basketball hoop, a whirlpool spa area, saunas and steam rooms as well as two, two-story-high waterslides. When the skies are unforgiving this is where all the action’s at. But when the sun’s out and the temps are blazing, it’s hard to pass up diving into the deep end of the outdoor pool. With mountains looming in the background, Suncadia’s own food truck, The Kitchen, stationed off to the side, and poolside service, life is simply good here.
Another swim-tastic option for families (and brand-new this summer) is the Nelson Farm Pool, located at the Historic Nelson Farm. This awesome new swim center offers three separate bodies of water totaling close to 6,500 sq. ft., plus a new seasonal restaurant, Nellie’s at the Nelson Farm. The casual eatery offers alfresco seating throughout, while the menu features Pacific Northwest favorites inspired by The Nelson Farm’s Hay Creek Garden. On the menu, fresh herbs and vegetables are the star ingredients accompanied by main dishes like salmon skewers, slow roast BBQ pork baguettes and Washington apple burgers. Nellie’s also serves a variety of grab-and-go items and ice cream treats that pair well with a lazy day at the pool. For mom and dad, an array of beverages are also available at the restaurant’s walk-up bar, including a selection of craft brews and frozen cocktails.
Families with small children will especially love the zero-entry leisure pool at Nelson Farm and the interactive splash pad, and everyone (including mom and dad!) will love the small-scale lazy river and whirlpool and the in-pool loungers. They are the perfect place to chillax (and keep an eye on your little fish) when the temps are soaring. The Nelson Farm Pool is available for use by all resort guests and also offers men’s and women’s restrooms, changing rooms and an exterior open-air shower and lockers. Psst…the pool is not within walking distance of The Lodge, but is just a short drive away.
If you and your crew are itching to get on the lake, set sail by visiting the Village Pavilion. They’ve got kayaks, canoes and paddle boards for rent here ($22-$27 per hour) all summer long. Once you’ve picked out your sea-worthy vessel, take it for a spin on the alpine lake that skirts The Suncadia Club Swim & Fitness Center. No matter the time of day, you can count on smooth sailing here, with calm waters and a just-right size, it puts parents and kiddos at ease as they make their way around the curves and bends.
photo: Allison Sutcliffe
A Place to Play All the Sports
Pick up a protein pack at the Coal House Caffe to fuel an afternoon spent climbing on the playground and playing every sport you can think of at Dawson Park. Quite possibly the best playground ever, it’s got everything families need to get active on a sunny summer day. The Recreation Cabin is where you’ll find balls, games, hoops, stick, ropes and more, so you can make the most of the expansive grassy fields surrounding the play area. Psst…it’s an easy way to try out a new sport or rekindle a family fave. Pus, everything in the cabin is free to use during your stay. Score!
Daily Kids’ Activities
During the summer months, Suncadia hosts a variety of daily activities to keep little visitors and their grownups happy and entertained. From tie-dying t-shirts, to kite making, to sustainable crafting activities, there’s an outdoor adventure for every age and stage. Kids ages 4-12 who want to experience everything Suncadia has to offer “kids style” will love going to the Suncadia Junior Rangers program. The three-hour or full day sessions, led by a highly qualified and talented group of facilitators, include special programs, crafts, field trips, games, kayaking, canoeing and bike riding in addition to a healthy snack and lunch for full day campers. Plan your kids’ experience around your game of golf or spa treatment and you can thank us later! Three-hour sessions take place during the summer months from 9 a.m.-noon, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m. and full day sessions take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is $40 to $70 per child.
A World Class Spa
Enroll the kids in Suncadia’s Junior Ranger Program and beeline it to the Glade Springs Spa for the ultimate R&R experience. This ahh-mazing spa not only offers four hot outdoor mineral baths of varying temperatures, but meandering creeks, rustic saunas and a fireside for relaxing. The spa also features a private women’s garden, complete with a hot outdoor mineral bath and spa and stunning views of the forest and mountain can be found from the common space inside. The spa offers massages, body work, facials and couples’ spa treatments focusing on balance, relaxation and rejuvenation. Need we say more?
Fuel Up with Good Eats
Suncadia offers several dining options to fit your family’s tastes and budget. The Coal House Caffe at The Lodge offers espresso, beverages, pastries, breakfast sandwiches and sundries as well as those little things you might’ve forgotten to pack. (Why does someone always forget their toothbrush?) At The Suncadia Club Swim & Fitness Center, the resort’s own food truck is conveniently parked next to the outdoor pool and offers salads, sandwiches and a variety of tasty treats. Portals Restaurant (pictured above) is a fine dining establishment at The Lodge that offers creative Pacific Northwest-inspired dishes and welcomes kids for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their yummy kids’ menu is specifically designed for ages 12 and under and offers lots of kid faves (think: chicken tenders, burgers and pasta with meatballs). Overlooking the Rope Rider golf course, Swiftwater Cellars Winery has a tasting bar, restaurant and pro shop. Bring the kiddos to lunch and enjoy the views as well as their flatbreads, sandwiches and dessert items. Psst…both Portals Restaurant and Swiftwater Cellars have large outdoor dining patios with spectacular views.
Amenities That Go Above & Beyond
Our favorite upside to all this activity is that you and your petite posse can enjoy some of the deliciously decadent amenities Suncadia has to offer, guilt-free! Say “yes” to sitting down for complimentary nightly s’mores around the campfire with your kid crew. From 7 p.m.-9 p.m., you’ll find all the fixings and skewers you need to roast up this summertime fave at each of the two fire pits on the property. Psst…we recommend picking up your s’mores kits at the front desk promptly at 7 p.m. (since sometimes they run out) and head to the fire pit near the 1,000 steps because s’mores and sunsets go together as well as marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate do!
Suncadia Resort, A Destination Hotel
3600 Suncadia Trail
Cle Elum, Wa 98922
866-904-6300 or 509-649-6400
—Kristina Moy (all photos courtesy of the writer unless otherwise noted)
This trip was paid for by Suncadia Resort, A Destination Hotel, but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.