Take a Road Trip to Lake Chelan for Water, Wine, Art and More

The lake is just the start of this eastern Washington getaway
Get a good view of the Chelan area from the top of Chelan Butte

This article appears in print in the June 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

An arid desert climate with an average summer temperature of 83 degrees and a lake with brilliant blue water make Chelan a prime spot for swimming, wading and relaxing during the summer months—but there’s more than just the lake to keep visitors busy here.

This Just In. Family favorite Slidewaters water park (Chelan, 102 Waterslide Drive; 509.682.5751) introduces a new feature this season: stationary waves. As high as 6 feet, these artificial waves are surfable and join the park’s other attractions, which include slides, tube rides and a lazy river.

One of the slides at Slidewaters water park. Courtesy of Slidewaters

Take In Special Events. On June 22‒23, head to Riverwalk Park for food, music and artwork at the Lake Chelan Arts Festival (Chelan, 17 E Wapato Ave.).

Swirl and Sip. The Chelan area is home to 31 wineries and vineyards, including Nefarious Cellars (Chelan, 495 S Lakeshore Road; 509.682.9505), where you can enjoy a breathtaking view along with the wine. At Siren Song Wines (Chelan, 635 S Lakeshore Road; 509.888.4657), food is part of the experience. Stop in for lunch, perhaps choosing a Parisian picnic from the menu, or book a cooking class with chef Holly Brown.

Catch a View. You take a gravel road for much of the way, but the view from the top of the Chelan Butte (Chelan, 1015 Gorge Road) makes the grinding drive worthwhile. Come in the morning and you’re likely to see hang gliders taking off—the site is internationally recognized as one of the best hang-gliding spots in the world.

Enjoy the BBQ in the Vineyard at Lake Chelan Winery. Courtesy of Lake Chelan Winery

Grab a Bite. Pick your own strawberries, raspberries or blueberries at Blueberry Hills Farm (Manson, 1315 Washington St.; 509.687.2379) and then enjoy blueberry blintzes at the on-site restaurant. If you’re craving something more substantial, head to Lake Chelan Winery (Chelan, 3519 State Route 150; 509.687.9463) for the BBQ in the Vineyard. Pair your meal (including a couple of vegetarian options) with a glass of delicious house wine.

Popular Campbell’s Resort spreads out along the lake shore. Courtesy of Campbell’s Resort

Stay the Night. Many Lake Chelan fans book their stay a year in advance, at family favorites such as Campbell’s Resort (Chelan, 104 W Woodin Ave.; 509.682.2561). If you’re a little later to the game, check out local wineries that offer accommodations, including Amos Rome Vineyards (Manson, 700 Wapato Lake Road; 509.540.3926) and Tunnel Hill Winery (Chelan, 37 U.S. Hwy. 97A; 509.682.3243). Or sleep under the stars at Lake Chelan State Park (Chelan, 7544 S Lakeshore Road; 509.687.3710), which has 103 tent sites, along with some RV hookups.

Before You Head Home. Stop at the Lakeview Drive-In (Chelan, 323 W Manson Hwy.; 509.682.5322) for a burger, fries and a milkshake from this quintessential Chelan eatery, the perfect way to end your getaway. 

Getting There

Lake Chelan is in north-central Washington, about a four-hour drive from Seattle.

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