18 Best Things to Do in Lake Chelan, WA

Lake Chelan, WA

As I breathe in the fresh morning air, the calm waters of Lake Chelan glimmer invitingly beneath a sun-drenched sky.

Nestled in the heart of Washington, this sparkling 50-mile jewel has been my backdrop to countless adventures and serene moments of respite.

It's a place where memories are made, whether you're a thrill-seeker, a nature enthusiast, or someone searching for tranquility.

Let me guide you through the best things to do in Lake Chelan, Washington.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Take a Daily Stroll through Chelan Riverwalk Park

Wooden bridge at Lake Chelan Riverwalk Park
SoisudaS / Shutterstock.com

Ah, the tranquil beauty of Chelan Riverwalk Park.

On any given day, you can find me taking a stroll through this lovely 12-acre waterfront park.

I lace up my walking shoes, leash up my dog, and set out to enjoy the vibrant green spaces, picturesque trails, and refreshing spaces for picnics.

The park has become an essential part of my daily routine.

A unique appeal of the park is the adjoining riverwalk. This loop trail has several entry points, making it easy to switch up my route occasionally.

Sometimes, I walk along the western side to learn about the planets through informative displays.

They are not only educational for me but also a fun way for kids in the community to learn.

Chelan Riverwalk Park is also notable for its boat launch, a sight to behold when boats glide through the water, rippling reflections of the sun's rays on the surface.

Paved trail at Lake Chelan Riverwalk Park
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It's a soothing experience, and I highly recommend it when you need peace.

The park also has a wealth of shady trees, offering a cool respite on hot summer days.

Equipped with benches facing the water, it's a perfect spot to sit, relax and let the world pass by.

The serene lake view reminds us of the natural beauty we are blessed with.

Yes, it can get busy, especially around the picnic areas and shelters - but that's a small price to pay for experiencing this community gem.

Remember, if you plan to bring your pet along like me, they must be kept on a leash.

But don't worry; they'll love the park as much as you do.

Chelan Riverwalk Park is a must-see, and I am lucky to have this gem at my doorstep.

Pavilion at Lake Chelan Riverwalk Park
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Fun Times at High Trek Chelan Ropes Course & Ziplines

It was an unforgettable day when I decided to take my family to High Trek Chelan Ropes Course & Ziplines at Slidewaters.

This place may be part of a chain but it has a warm, local feel.

Still, bring plenty of drinks, food, and utensils.

You might also consider bringing extra chairs and a canopy if it's too hot.

The High Trek Chelan Ropes Course & Ziplines outdid themselves to ensure we had a wonderful time.

We're excited to return and try out the sky course and zip line – the kids can't stop talking about it!

It's an easy recommendation for a day full of adventure and fun.

Discover Serenity and Adventure at Lake Chelan National Recreation Area

Living in the heart of nature is an adventure in itself.

Let me tell you about my backyard, the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, where you will be sandwiched between majestic mountain ranges that frame the lake's serene beauty.

The first thing you notice about the area is the tranquility permeating the surroundings.

No cell reception, no internet, just the raw beauty of mother nature.

It's like stepping into another world, far removed from the daily grind, the perfect escape to recharge your batteries.

One of my favorite experiences here is starting a hike at the Bridge Creek trailhead, traversing through a loop to Rainbow, and returning via the N. Rainbow trail to McAlester Lake.

The journey takes you through age-old growth and sprawling meadows where you can witness breathtaking vistas.

You can even spot some wildlife if you're lucky.

The campsites are top-notch, with some equipped with bear lockers and tree-round tables for cooking.

Just remember to bring a mosquito net!

The lake is not just about tranquility, though. It's also packed with fun-filled activities.

You can try your hand at fishing, go boating, or even rent some bikes and ride to Rainbow Falls.

The sight of the setting sun casting a golden hue over the waters of the lake as you relax on the lakeshore will stay with you long after you've left.

Moreover, the area undergoes a tranquil transformation outside of the summer, with most things closed.

But, I enjoy this quiet beauty. The stillness of the entire landscape covered in a blanket of snow is a sight to behold.

Lake Chelan National Recreation Area is a place of rare beauty and adventure.

It's a must-see for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. So, when are you planning your visit?

Visit Tildio Winery

One of my favorite spots I've grown fond of over the years is the Tildio Winery.

Just the other day, I arrived a few minutes before closing time, but they were kind enough to let me soak in the beautiful evening while sipping on a glass of their finest wine.

Tildio Winery's covered patio is an absolute delight, offering a spectacular view of the lakes.

It's truly a sight to behold, especially as the sun begins to set over the waters.

Every sip of Tildio Winery's port wine served in a chocolate cup sends a burst of flavor that is simply exquisite.

It's one of those little indulgences I look forward to whenever I visit.

On another occasion, a friend of mine - a fellow wine enthusiast - joined me for an afternoon of wine tasting at Tildio.

We both found their whites more appealing than their reds.

It was a busy day, and the service was slow, but we didn't mind.

We took it as an opportunity to explore their gift shop and appreciate the excellent soaps they had in their bathroom.

Tildio Winery, situated in Manson, on the edge of Lake Chelan, is far from the stuffy wine-tasting experience you might expect.

It's rather relaxing, with no reservations needed.

You can just show up, unwind in their barrel Adirondack chairs, enjoy their delightful wine, and leave the world's chaos behind.

It's a little slice of heaven right here in our town.

Go on Adventures at Miller's Lake Chelan Auto Museum

Ever since moving to this town, I've been fascinated with the hidden gems within its corners.

One such treasure is Miller's Lake Chelan Auto Museum.

I'll tell you, it's no ordinary place.

I remember taking a group of kids from my neighborhood down there.

Their excited gasps and wide eyes were worth a thousand words as they looked around at the exhibits.

The museum spans four buildings, housing cars from the 1930s to the 1980s. It's like walking through a time capsule of America's automotive history.

They have an eclectic mix of vehicles, mainly USA domestic. Rest assured. There's something to pique everyone's interest.

The main building is a treasure trove of auto memorabilia and assorted items neatly arranged in display cases. It's like stepping into a mechanic's dream.

And the best thing is, there is no admission fee to visit.

They have a 'donations are greatly appreciated' box, which I feel is a humble and welcoming gesture.

I've enjoyed every moment of my visits to the museum. It's a delightful part of our community that's worth exploring.

Unwind at Lake Chelan State Park

The waters of Lake Chelan State Park
Eugene Kalenkovich / Shutterstock.com

Let me tell you, Lake Chelan State Park is my go-to place for a serene getaway amidst the bustle of daily life.

Nestled on the shore of the longest lake in Washington, the 127-acre park has a calming presence, making it a perfect retreat.

Booking a campsite here is part of my annual ritual.

You need to plan well in advance, a good 3-4 months ahead for a guaranteed spot.

The park offers shared and private campsites along the water, and waking up to the gentle lapping of the lake is an experience unlike any other.

You can't help but feel refreshed and rejuvenated here.

Also, my favorite activities there are paddle boarding and kayaking.

But here's the real kick, the park is also pet-friendly!

Picnic tables on Lake Chelan State Park grounds
Dawn Umstot / Shutterstock.com

So, my dog always gets to tag along.

There's nothing like a sunny afternoon, paddling out on the clear lake with my pup swimming alongside me.

The park is equipped with showers and toilets, maintained impressively clean.

My family and I love cooling off on a hot summer day in the magnificent lake.

We usually spend hours in the water, swimming, paddle boarding, and just soaking in the striking watercolor.

The place can get crowded, especially on weekends, and parking can be challenging. But trust me. It's worth it!

Just a word of advice, try visiting during weekdays. The park feels even more tranquil, and you can enjoy the serene surroundings.

It's the perfect spot to relax and unwind with family. Lake Chelan State Park, you're my favorite!

Ride the Waves at Lakeside Surf

There's something undeniably magical about surfing, and that magic is amplified tenfold at Lakeside Surf.

I've always been a bit of a thrill-seeker, so when I first discovered this place, it was like finding a hidden treasure.

The buzzing atmosphere is alive with the energy of both beginners and experienced surfers, making it a joy to be a part of this vibrant community.

This place is not just for surfers, though.

Plenty of seats around the surfing area make it a perfect spot for families to sit back and watch their loved ones ride the waves.

Whenever I feel peckish after a long day of surfing, the Vine Cafe and the Tacos truck in the park are my go-to spots.

The food is reasonably priced and incredibly tasty, just what you need to refuel.

For the kids, there's a connection to Slidewaters, a fun-filled water park where they can enjoy the slides and the lazy river.

Lakeside Surf is truly a gem. It has made my time in town exciting and made me fall in love with surfing again.

I can't thank them enough for the fantastic experiences and the memories I've made there.

Visit Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards

Just last week, I decided to spend an afternoon at one of my favorite local spots, Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards.

I've been visiting this place for years, and it's always been a highlight of my weekends.

Hard Row to Hoe's wines are always delightful, with the Good in Bed champagne being a personal favorite.

Their theme is hilariously charming, and the winery has an incredible backstory that's usually the highlight of the visit.

If you're in town wondering where to spend a leisurely afternoon, I recommend visiting Hard Row to Hoe.

While my latest experience wasn't the best, I still have high hopes for this local gem.

It's a great place to relax with friends, enjoy wine, and share laughs around the cozy fire pits in their lovely outdoor seating area.

I, for one, am looking forward to my next visit.

Make a Splash at Slidewaters

Having lived here for years, I've had my share of sun-soaked afternoons at Slidewaters, our local family aquatic park.

With mat, body, and tube slides, a floating river, hot tubs, and stunning lake views, it's a favorite spot for families, kids, and the young at heart.

The park has evolved over the years, adding some great amenities.

There's now a volleyball court for the sporty ones, a zip line for the thrill seekers, and a gift shop for those who like to bring a little piece of their day home.

The shop also sells powdered sugar candy in a tube - a sweet treat after a day of water fun.

Since the park is bustling on weekends, I prefer weekdays. It's less crowded and more enjoyable.

If you plan to come on a weekend, try to have a specific number of people in your group to avoid overcrowding.

Also, take note of the discount after 3:00 p.m. - it's a great deal if you're planning a late afternoon visit.

One thing I've learned over the years is to pack snacks.

The food here is slightly overpriced, but that's to be expected.

You probably won't even feel hungry between the slides' excitement and the floating river's relaxation.

Remember, if you're eyeing the surfing part of the park, you need a separate ticket, and it's best to book in advance.

Overall, Slidewaters is a fantastic place to enjoy a sunny day. So, grab your swim gear and take the plunge!

Discover Local History at Chelan Museum

Exterior of Lake Chelan Museum
Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Did you ever wonder how much history is tucked away in our backyard?

I sought to explore my town's past and admired the architecture of a 1907 bank building.

This historic structure is now home to the Chelan Museum, an unpolished gem that weaves stories of our local history and culture into an engaging narrative.

Once inside, the museum lays bare a rich tapestry of the area's past, diligently preserving the heritage of Chelan and Manson.

It was profoundly moving to see the extensive collection of local Native American artifacts.

From intricately woven baskets to delicate beading, the exhibits were a testament to the craftsmanship of those who lived here long before us.

Journeying through the museum felt like flipping through the pages of a history book.

I was transported back to a different era, with rooms that recreate how people lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

It was fascinating to see the vast array of objects from our town's early businesses, from banks and movie theaters to agricultural tools and Apple Cup hydro races memorabilia.

There was something to spark curiosity around every corner.

I was particularly intrigued by one display featuring old switchboard operators' equipment.

Just imagine, our town was using switchboards until the 1970s!

That quirky trivia and the array of nostalgic photographs made the visit all the more enjoyable.

Descending to the bottom floor, I discovered even more exhibits.

The dimly lighted corridor added an air of mystery, drawing attention to the brightly lit displays behind the glass.

I chuckled when I stumbled upon an old-fashioned hair curler from a bygone beauty salon.

It was a stark reminder of how beauty standards and technologies have evolved.

Exploring local history at the Chelan Museum was an enriching experience.

It made me appreciate our town's legacy and journey to where we are now.

Discover the Charm of Don Morse Memorial Park

My days are often filled with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but I head over to the Don Morse Memorial Park to unwind and reconnect with nature.

It's a gem of a place in our neighborhood, offering many activities to enjoy.

There's nothing like taking a dip in the lake at Don Morse Park on scorching summer days.

The water is clear, sparkling, and always refreshingly cool.

Moreover, its beach area is pretty shallow, so it's a safe spot for kids to splash.

I've spent countless hours swimming there, sometimes pushing my limits to get the buoy that marks the "no wake zone."

Observing the fish in the water is one of the most exciting things I've experienced.

On a sunny day, the clear water allows a view of the vibrant underwater life.

Armed with my waterproof camera, I've snapped some incredibly vivid images of the marine life here.

The gadget also measures water temperature, usually around 65 degrees on warm days.

It's not all about the water, though. The park is beautifully maintained and offers plenty of greenery and shaded relaxing spots.

The snack bar provides a great place to refuel after a day of physical activity.

This park is a beautiful place to unwind and spend quality time with family and friends.

So, if you haven't yet, explore the charm of Don Morse Memorial Park.

Pick Apples at Buckner Orchard

I've lived in the Stehekin area for years, and there’s hardly a more delightful way to spend a day than a visit to Buckner Orchard.

It is neatly tucked away in the North Cascades National Park.

My favorite thing about the orchard is the fruit-picking activity.

It's blissful to just stroll around the lush green orchard, picking fresh and ripe apples right off the trees.

The experience is much like stepping back when life was slower and sweeter.

The apples? They're the crispest and juiciest you'll ever taste!

What's unique about the Buckner Orchard is the gravity-fed irrigation system, a four-mile network of hand-dug ditches that water the trees.

It's a marvel of ingenuity and a testament to the hard work invested in maintaining the orchard.

While hiking from the trail that follows the irrigation supply, I've often spotted deer strolling about in the orchard.

The serenity of the place is truly captivating, and it's lovely to share it with these gentle creatures.

However, the orchard isn't just about apple trees and deer.

You've got to ask a local (or me!) about getting over to the river, and if you're feeling adventurous, look for the ruins of the old swimming pool.

Every corner of this enchanting place harbors a story waiting to be discovered.

Whether biking in on the entry road or hiking along the trails, a day at the Buckner Orchard will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Make a Getaway at Chelan Falls Park

Chelan Falls Park is my sanctuary.

It's a cozy nook nestled within the surrounding hustle, where the din of the city fades into the lullaby of the lake and where you can forget about the world for a while.

During the wild summer months, when the city is brimming with tourists and locals alike, I find this 33-acre park my haven.

It's quieter than most parks and offers a less crowded waterfront experience.

There's nothing like settling down under a shady tree, picnic basket in hand, with my family to enjoy the calm, refreshing lake all to ourselves.

One can't help but notice the joyous laughter of children as they scamper around the playground or the rhythmic thud of a tennis ball on the court.

The park also boasts a boat launch, which has seen many memorable family trips kick off in style.

Regardless of the season, Chelan Falls Park has its charm.

Whether it's the verdant greenery of summer or the beautiful barrenness of autumn, there's always a gorgeous scene to capture.

Make a Tranquil Escape at Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park

Sunset at Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park
Cole Quinn / Shutterstock.com

The Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park is my refuge between breathtaking mountains and the mesmerizing Lake Chelan.

This 235-acre park is my go-to spot whenever I need an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The charm of this place is staying off-grid, making it a perfect destination for adventurers like me who love to disconnect and immerse themselves in nature's splendor.

You've got to experience the drive to the park itself!

The Wi-Fi signal fizzles out as the urban landscape recedes, leaving you with nothing but the scenic beauty of the boulevard leading to the garden.

My typical day here includes setting up camp in the well-maintained campground.

The sites are close, yet they afford enough room for privacy and a comfortable setup.

Each campsite has a fire pit for those cozy storytelling sessions around the fire and a dining table for outdoor meals.

The activities here are endless!

There are numerous ways to enjoy the park, from a volley match at the on-site net to a relaxing picnic in the designated area.

If you're a water lover like me, the beach area is an absolute delight.

You can also rent a motorboat and explore the shimmering Lake Chelan from another perspective.

Parking? Not an issue. There's plenty of space for your vehicle at the park.

I term the 'secret beach entrance' my favorite spot in the park.

It's a hidden corner designed for our furry friends who may not be the best behaved but still deserve a good day out.

And for the cherry on top, they have an ice cream shop.

Because what's a perfect day in a park without some delicious ice cream, right?

Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park is a haven of tranquility.

Whether you're here to unwind in a tent, party with friends in a travel trailer, or simply enjoy a day out with your family, you're bound to create unforgettable memories at this scenic locale.

Unwind at Vin Du Lac Winery

Vin Du Lac Winery is my favorite place to relax and escape it all.

The first time I set foot here, I was entranced by the stunning view.

Sitting right on the edge of Lake Chelan, the place offers a breathtaking panorama that instantly puts a peaceful mood.

What differentiates Vin Du Lac from any other winery is its calming ambiance and fantastic culinary experiences.

I've spent countless afternoons playing Cornhull games on their lawn, sipping their exquisite wines, and savoring their delectable dishes.

Their Chicken Pozole soup with a small Spring Mix Salad has been my go-to choice for lunch, and I must say the Cilantro Parsley dressing is to die for.

But it's not just their soup and salad - the Brussels sprouts and the risotto are also unique. Alt

One thing I love about Vin Du Lac is its relaxed atmosphere.

It's a place where you can bring your kids to play while the adults can sit back, relax, and take in the beautiful surroundings.

There's just something about Vin Du Lac that makes it feel like home.

Visit Lake Chelan Winery

When I often want to unwind, I wander to the Lake Chelan Winery, my local sanctuary.

This family-owned winery is a jewel in our town, producing a delightful range of reds and whites.

What's more? You can taste these exquisite wines right on-site.

The winery has a unique feature that's quite a hit among us locals - their "BBQ in the Vineyard."

You're right amongst the grapevines.

With a gentle breeze brushing past, it's an experience that's hard to forget.

Once, I ordered their family meal, and when it arrived on my picnic table, the smell was enough to make my mouth water.

The food was cooked to perfection and tasted divine.

It was so generous that I had to pack up leftovers for later, and for what you get, the price is unbeatable.

Not just the wine or food but the overall ambiance of the place is what draws me in time and again.

Picture this – walking in the vineyards, soaking in the beautiful weather, and picnicking in the dedicated area.

It's a perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon in Chelan. Plus, the staff there is amiable and fun to interact with, adding to the overall charm of the place.

The winery also houses a quaint shop that feels like a general store from times gone by, offering an assortment of intriguing items.

Plus, for casual gatherings, there's high-top barrel seating and space for larger parties inside.

You may visit many places in Chelan, but the Lake Chelan Winery, with its award-winning wine selections and relaxed setting, is truly a place to enjoy and remember.

Explore the Natural Wonders of Beebe Springs Wildlife Area

One of my favorite places to escape when I crave serenity is the Beebe Springs Wildlife Area.

It's like stepping into a 207-acre masterpiece of Mother Nature's unspoiled, lucid, and captivating artistry.

The joy of being a resident is the luxury of exploring this area at different times and seasons.

Likewise, the trails here are easy, winding through spectacular water views and vibrant greenery.

Moreover, the rustling leaves and bird songs are my perfect soundtrack while I stroll.

I often stop by the viewing area. It's a fantastic bird-watching spot.

I've spotted beautiful species like the Cedar Wax Wings, Goldfinch, and grey catbirds.

But it's not just the birdlife that captivates me. It's also the art.

The wildlife area is dotted with striking steel sculptures that reflect Native American culture and life.

These evocative pieces by Smoker Marchand continue to inspire me on every visit.

One charming feature is the fishing pond, designed exclusively for kids - an oasis of fun.

On hot summer days, the fishing pond is a hive of activity as children try to catch a big one. It's simple joys like these that make this place unique.

Beebe Springs Wildlife Area is a treasure trove of natural beauty, teeming with life and history.

On hot days, I recommend visiting in the afternoons. The park's captivating charm is best enjoyed when the temperature is comfortable.

And to those who bring their pets along, please clean up after them. Let's keep this gem pristine for everyone to enjoy.

I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to those interested in experiencing the magic of Beebe Springs Wildlife Area.

Just remember, leave only footprints. Take only memories.

Final Thoughts

Living here is as if I'm on a permanent vacation. Every day, there's a chance to discover something new and exciting.

I feel privileged to be a part of this vibrant, beautiful community, and I can't wait to explore further.

This is Lake Chelan, where every day is an adventure and every sunset a painting.

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