There are endless places to visit in the state of Washington involving lakes and mountains. The state really has a perfect combination of water and mountains. All summer we saw that friends were visiting awesome getaways only a few hours east of Seattle. Two of these destinations included Lake Chelan and Leavenworth. We weren’t able to squeeze in visiting them in the summer. However, we figured they would make great winter destinations!
Visiting Lake Chelan in the Winter
I am well aware that Lake Chelan is a destination that is popular for summer getaways in the Pacific Northwest. But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit this beautiful lake year round. We chose to visit Lake Chelan in the winter because we wanted to experience some snow in the mountains.
What we Did in Lake Chelan in the Winter
We spent some time exploring the town the day we visited. We were lucky we visited Lake Chelan in the winter and so close to the holidays, because there were some Christmas events! One of the events the kids loved was being able to make ornaments at the local print shop.
Some of the other events included an indoor snowball fight, and a chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Lake Chelan website has a great list of events happening in the town. If you choose to visit Lake Chelan in the winter, they have a winterfest in January as well!. Lake Chelan is also known for it’s wineries, which would be a great way to spend some cold winter days in town.
Where we Stayed
At the southern tip of Lake Chelan we stayed at an amazing resort called Campbell’s Resort and Spa. We were fortunate to get a room with an awesome lake view and a patio that we could enjoy it from. The resort has lots to offer, most of which are great for the summer. Campbell’s Resort and Spa has two pools, and a hot tub that is open year round. There is also a beach area for swimming and water play, and a few slips for boats. While we didn’t have a chance to try it, Campbell’s Resort and Spa also has a highly rated restaurant right on site. Even though we couldn’t enjoy the same things we could if we had visited in the summer, the kids still enjoyed running around the beach and taking in the view.
The rooms are a great size which are perfect for families. Ours had two queen beds, plus a pull out sofa. They were really spacious, which is nice when you have kids who don’t really sit still 😉 Our room also had a kitchenette, which is great when traveling with children and for a longer period of time. Another thing that was great about Campbell’s Resort and Spa is the location. The hotel is located directly in the town, so once you park your car (for free) you can walk everywhere!
Leavenworth for Christmas
This was our first trip to Leavenworth, and we had decided to save our first for this time of year to see the Christmas lights. We planned on arriving around 1pm, however traffic getting in was so bad we didn’t get there until after 2pm. Not only do you need to give yourself extra time for traffic, but keep in mind parking is tricky also. Once you get in, things don’t get too much easier to be honest. Be prepared to wait in some lines, because most of the restaurants are packed. We grabbed some donuts, chili, and some pretzels from a few stands that didn’t have too long of a line. But we really wanted to see what the hype over Muchen Haus was, so we took the plunge and waited in the line. It was worth it for sure, and easy to feed the kids because they love a hot dog and a pretzel. After eating we lucked out and found a wine bar that was kid friendly which was a perfect spot to sit down and warm up.
Once it is dark, they light the Christmas lights at 5pm which is a sight to be seen! The kids loved it and the town felt so Christmas-y once those lights are on. Throughout the day there are also vocal performances happening and other events. If you are lucky to visit when there is snow on the ground also, the kids can go sledding right in the middle of the town!
Sledding at Steven’s Pass
Because the sledding hill in Leavenworth was muddy for our visit, we had to look elsewhere to get the kids in the snow! This year Steven’s Pass has designated an area just for sledding and tubing. The hill wasn’t huge, but it was perfect for a stop on the way home. The kids were really itching to get in the snow, so we pulled over, blew up a tube and let them have at it. The snow was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded, and the kids had a blast.
Chelan County Things to Do in the Winter
These are just a few of the things to do in Chelan County, Washington in the winter. Here are a few other things to try out if you find yourself visiting in the snowy season.
- Leavenworth Sleigh Rides – this one we tried to do, but they had to cancel because lack of snow 🙁 – would be perfect for right around Christmas!
- Skiing or Snowboarding – Stevens Pass, or Summit at Snoqualmie are both nearby
- Wineries, breweries, and cider tasting