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14 Things to Do in Chelan – From Morning Bakeries to Boating Adventures

14 Things to Do in Chelan – From Morning Bakeries to Boating Adventures

Post last updated July 18, 2023

With its abundance of fun outdoor activities and breathtakingly beautiful scenery, Chelan, WA, is the perfect destination for those who love creating lasting memories. 

Whether you’re after a relaxing weekend in nature or an adrenaline-filled getaway, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Chelan. From golfing and hiking to skiing, it’s a place offering something for everyone! 

So if you’re wondering what exciting activities await when visiting Chelan Washington – get ready to rev your engines and explore this area.

1. Explore Vineyards in Lake Chelan Valley

Exploring the vineyards in the Lake Chelan Valley is an absolute must for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers. This officially recognized American Viticultural Area offers an array of vineyards, presenting a beautiful sight that is as pleasing to the eyes as the wines are to the taste buds.

These vineyards are not just about the grapes, they are a testament to the region’s rich wine-making history and its dedication to cultivating quality vintages. 

You should take a free walk through the vineyards, participate in tasting sessions, and meet the winemakers who bring these delightful wines to life. Tour prices and tasting fees vary across vineyards.

This is an experience that combines education, relaxation, and a celebration of taste – a perfect blend for any itinerary.

2. Boating Adventures Lake Chelan

This huge body of water stretches over 50 miles, providing an unparalleled arena for water fun. My favorite thing to do here is boating, but there are a myriad of other activities as well.

From leisurely swimming to jet-skiing and paddleboarding, Lake Chelan invites adventure at every turn. The more sunny spirits may choose to cast a line for a chance at catching one of the many species of fish that inhabit the lake.

A sunrise or sunset cruise presents an opportunity to see in the stunning views of surrounding mountains mirrored in the calm waters. The beauty of the lake’s scenery is free to all, but equipment rental for water sports activities varies in price.

3. Hike the Echo Ridge Trail System

The Echo Ridge Trail System is an irresistible call for outdoor enthusiasts in Chelan. The system, sprawling over 25 miles of trails, is an adventurer’s dream, offering an escape into the wild beauty of the Washington backcountry.

This network of trails has something for every level of hiker. During the summer, these trails are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding, while winter transforms the landscape into a playground for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

The trails are well-marked, and a small day-use fee grants you access to an adventure of your choosing. Whether you’re pursuing the adrenaline rush of a steep climb or seeking tranquility from nature, the Echo Ridge Trail System stands as a testament to Chelan’s raw and captivating beauty.

4. Visit the Lake Chelan Historical Society Museum

Stepping into the Lake Chelan Historical Society Museum is like opening a well-crafted storybook that brings to life the rich past of this region. Located conveniently in downtown Chelan, this museum is a treasure trove of historical gems.

Every exhibit within its walls tells a compelling tale. From the fascinating narratives of indigenous tribes that once populated the area to the adventurous spirit of pioneers who helped shape the city, the museum offers a comprehensive journey through time. 

Artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays help illustrate the story, making history both accessible and engaging for all ages.

The museum offers many educational programs and hands-on activities, ensuring a visit is as much about learning as it is about entertainment. Admission is modestly priced, making it an affordable option for families and individuals.

5. Stroll around Downtown Chelan

Taking a free walk around Downtown Chelan is an experience that reveals the vibrant heart of this charming lakeside city. The downtown area, filled with calmness, presents an eclectic mix of local shops, restaurants, and historical sites that cater to all tastes.

Each storefront in the town offers a unique exploration! A boutique boasting locally-made crafts and products, a bookstore filled with fascinating reads, or an art gallery displaying the talent of local artists. 

The restaurants, with a range that spans from cozy cafes to elegant dining venues, serve a variety of cuisines.

Downtown Chelan also exhibits a historical charm with its well-preserved architecture, offering glimpses into its rich past. Several buildings are significant landmarks, showcasing the town’s evolution over time. 

6. Enjoy a Premium Golfing Experience

Swinging a club on one of Chelan’s beautiful Golf Courses is a great experience for any golf lover. The region has a calm climate and stunning natural views and boasts several beautifully maintained courses that cater to golfers.

Whether you’re a pro golfer seeking a challenging round or a beginner hoping to learn the ropes, you’ll find a course that matches your needs. The Lake Chelan Municipal Golf Course offers a well-designed 18-hole course with sweeping views of the lake and mountains, adding a natural touch to your game. 

Beyond the greens, these golf courses often feature clubhouses with pro shops, driving ranges, and restaurants, offering an all-encompassing golfing experience. 

The green fees vary depending on the course and the time of day, but they are generally considered affordable, making golfing an accessible leisure activity in Chelan.

7. Explore Stehekin

Embarking on an expedition to the remote community of Stehekin is an adventure that promises a truly memorable experience. Located at the head of Lake Chelan and accessible by boat, seaplane, or hiking, Stehekin invites visitors to disconnect from the busy world and reconnect with the raw beauty of nature.

In Stehekin, the pristine wilderness becomes your playground. Hiking trails wind through the landscape, leading you to beautiful locations, secluded forests, and the cascading Rainbow Falls. Wildlife sightings are common; if you’re lucky, you might spot deer, otters, or even bald eagles.

Accessing Stehekin involves a scenic ferry ride across Lake Chelan, with ticket prices varying based on age and season. Despite its remoteness, the journey to Stehekin is part of the experience and adventure.

8. Have a Blast at a Waterpark

Slidewaters is Chelan’s beloved waterpark and is a surefire way to create lasting memories. This facility, located conveniently in town, is packed with various attractions designed to bring out the child in everyone.

The waterpark boasts an impressive array of slides catering to all thrill levels. From the drop of the Purple Haze slide to the relaxed flow of the Lazy River, there’s an aquatic adventure for everyone. The Aqua Zoo area offers a safe and exciting play zone for younger guests.

Slidewaters is not just about the water, though. The park also features a variety of dry attractions, including mini-golf and volleyball courts, ensuring there’s never a dull moment.

Admission prices are reasonable and offer full-day access to all the park’s amenities. Several dining options are available on-site, catering to a range of tastes.

9. Try Local Produce at Chelan Evening Farmers Market

Sampling the region’s produce at the Chelan Evening Farmers Market is an absolute must for food enthusiasts. This vibrant market, held weekly during the warmer months, brings together farmers, artisans, and food vendors from around the region, creating a lively atmosphere. 

From the moment you enter the market, you’ll be welcomed by a ton of fresh produce. Bright, juicy fruits, crisp vegetables, fragrant herbs – all locally grown and harvested at their peak. 

The market also offers a variety of locally crafted products, from fresh-baked goods and gourmet cheeses to handcrafted soaps and unique crafts.

There’s no entry fee to the market, and costs depend on your purchases. The Chelan Evening Farmers Market truly offers a feast for the senses and is a delightful way to spend an evening engaging yourself in the local culture of Chelan.

10. Enjoy the Lake Chelan Winterfest

Embracing the chill at the annual Lake Chelan Winterfest is a must-do for anyone visiting Chelan in the colder months. This vibrant festival, usually held in January, transforms the city into a winter wonderland, offering many activities that celebrate the season’s beauty.

Winterfest starts with a bang, featuring live ice sculptures, wine tastings, ale-tasting tents for beer enthusiasts, and a spectacular fireworks display over the frozen lake. But the festival’s highlight is the magical Winterfest Ice Slide, a hit with kids and adults.

Throughout the festival, the town is abuzz with events and activities. You’ll find live music performances, children’s activities, horse-drawn carriage rides, and an intriguing polar bear plunge for the brave at heart.

11. Skiing at Echo Valley Ski Area

Carving your way down the snowy slopes at the Echo Valley Ski Area is an amazing experience. Located a short drive from Chelan, this family-friendly ski area offers a variety of winter sports options, making it an ideal destination for snow lovers.

Echo Valley caters to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced skiers seeking a thrilling ride. The area includes both downhill ski runs and cross-country ski trails, ensuring every snow enthusiast finds their perfect adventure. Snow tubing and snowboarding are also available, adding to the winter fun.

Amenities at the ski area include equipment rentals, a lodge for warming up and grabbing a snack, and ski lessons for those looking to improve their skills. The lift ticket prices are reasonably priced, making Echo Valley an accessible option for a day of snowy fun.

12. Lake Chelan State Park

Immersing yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Lake Chelan State Park is an essential experience for any visitor to the area. This park, located on the shores of Lake Chelan, offers a diverse range of outdoor activities.

Visitors can explore a network of hiking trails within the park, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes. For water enthusiasts, the park’s boat launch provides access to the lake for boating, kayaking, and fishing.

Wildlife viewing is another popular activity, with the park being home to a variety of bird species, and if you’re lucky, you might spot deer or other local animals. The park’s well-equipped picnic areas provide the perfect setting for a leisurely lunch amidst nature as well.

A small day-use fee is required for park access, and additional fees apply for camping overnight.

13. Adventure at Holden Village

Venturing into the vintage charm of Holden Village is an adventure that invites visitors to experience community, spirituality, and the awe-inspiring power of nature. This former copper mining town, now a Lutheran retreat center, is located deep in the Cascade Mountains.

Holden Village offers various programs, from spiritual retreats to educational workshops, all designed to foster personal growth and community. 

Art, ecology, music, and outdoor activities are all integral to life in the village. Visitors can explore hiking trails, engage in thoughtful discussions, or simply soak in the tranquility of the surroundings.

14. Enjoying Morning Bakeries

Lake Chelan Artisan Bakery is the perfect spot to start your day in Chelan. This small, family-owned bakery offers freshly-baked goodies like Almond Bear Claws and Breakfast Bagel Sandwiches. 

They focus on using ingredients straight from their gardens and the local farmers market to give you the freshest and most unique pastries and baked goods that you can find around. With a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, they are sure to leave you with a great feeling in the morning. 

As a bonus, you’ll have an amazing view of Lake Chelan while you enjoy your breakfast. The bakery is situated right alongside the lake, so you can sip your coffee and enjoy your pastry while taking in the breathtaking sights of the area.

Ashleigh on ferry Island hopping.

Hi, I'm Ashleigh! Welcome to Seattle Travel, my little piece of beautiful PNW. This is home and I'm here to share all my experiences so visitors and locals alike can find the best experiences this part of the country has to offer. I started Seattle Travel in 2012 as a way to journal my experiences and over the years have been encouraged by family and friends to open up my adventures to everyone. I actively seek out the best food, activities, and day trips and give you a local perspective.  The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and my goal is to let you explore it to the fullest. 

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