Lake Chelan is a breathtaking gem nestled in the heart of Washington State. With its pristine waters stretching over 50 miles, this enchanting lake sets the stage for a myriad of unforgettable experiences. From thrilling water adventures to serene lakeside strolls, no matter when you visit, there are so many things to do in Lake Chelan. Join us as we uncover the top activities and hidden gems that make this destination a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.
Attend Local Events and Festivals
During your time in Lake Chelan, make sure to attend local events and festivals for a taste of the region’s vibrant culture. Swing by the Chelan Farmers Market to mingle with local farmers, artists, and artisans as they showcase their produce and crafts. If you’re a wine enthusiast, you’re in for a treat with over 35 wineries in the area. Many of these wineries, such as Lake Chelan Winery, host events and tastings throughout the year, giving you the perfect opportunity to indulge in their delicious wines.
Visit Cultural and Heritage Sites
No trip to Lake Chelan would be complete without exploring some of its cultural and heritage sites. Make your way to the Chelan Museum to learn about the area’s rich history and see fascinating exhibits showcasing the region’s past. If you’re a fan of silent films and vintage movies, you won’t want to miss a visit to the Ruby Theatre, a historic movie theater located in the heart of Chelan. Here you can enjoy movie screenings in a beautifully restored vintage atmosphere.
Engage in Traditional Experiences
For a truly immersive experience, engage in some of Lake Chelan’s traditional activities. A visit to the charming community of Stehekin is a must. Only accessible by foot, boat, or air, this secluded village offers a unique glimpse into the simpler way of life embraced by Lake Chelan’s early settlers. With its friendly, conversational tone, Lake Chelan offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere that invites you to take part in their cultural experiences and make everlasting memories.
Things to do in Lake Chelan: Outdoor and Nature Activities
Nature Trails and Hiking
Lake Chelan offers an abundance of nature trails and hiking opportunities for you to explore. One of the best things to do in Lake Chelan is head to Lake Chelan State Park, a vast area with campgrounds and picturesque trails. The park is nestled in the Cascade Mountains and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Another great option is North Cascades National Park, where you can explore the majestic mountains and pristine wilderness. With countless trails to choose from, you can enjoy various levels of difficulty and distance to match your preferences and abilities.
Being a pristine lake, Chelan naturally offers a wide range of water activities. Fishing is one of the best things to do in Lake Chelan. With abundant fish populations, you can cast your line into the Columbia River or the lake itself to angle for your next big catch.
Lake Chelan Parasail & Watersports provides thrilling water activities such as parasailing and jet skiing. Feel the adrenaline rush as you soar high above the water or enjoy the thrill of racing across the surface on a jet ski.
For a more relaxed experience, you can rent kayaks and canoes to explore the lake at your own pace. Paddle across the glistening water, taking in the breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains.
Lake Chelan isn’t just about water-based fun. There are plenty of land-based adventure activities to partake in.
Horseback riding is an enjoyable option for exploring the picturesque trails that wind through the idyllic landscape. Saddle up and ride through the beautiful terrain, taking in the panoramic views of the lake and mountains.
If golf is more your speed, the Lake Chelan Municipal Golf Course offers a challenging and scenic 18-hole course. Swing your way through the rolling fairways while gazing out at the stunning backdrop of the Cascade Mountains.
Whatever your preferences, there are plenty of things to do in Lake Chelan that involve the outdoors and nature.
Relaxation and Wellness
Spas and Wellness Centers
Looking for a way to unwind and rejuvenate during your Lake Chelan visit? Treat yourself to a delightful spa experience at one of the many spas and wellness centers in the area. Indulge in services like heavenly massages, luxurious facials, hot rock spa treatments, or even acupuncture. As you immerse yourself in these calming treatments, feel the stress melt away and your energy levels restored.
Beaches and Pools
What better way to relax and soak up the sun than on the pristine beaches and pools of Lake Chelan? With a variety of options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings. Take a refreshing swim in the lake or one of the many pools available to help you cool off and enjoy the natural beauty around you.
Some great spots to consider are:
- Chelan Riverwalk Park: A picturesque park with a beach area, perfect for family picnics and swimming
- Don Morse Park: Featuring a swimming area, sandy beach, and a playground for the kids
- Manson Bay Park: A quiet and scenic beachfront location with a swimming area and restrooms
Parks and Gardens
Lake Chelan offers an abundance of parks and gardens where you can relax and reconnect with nature. Immerse yourself in the green, serene spaces that Lake Chelan is known for, and experience the region’s stunning mountain forests, botanical gardens, and river walkways.
Some must-see parks and gardens include:
- Chelan Riverwalk Park: This beautiful park features a one-mile loop trail along the Wenatchee River and is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic
- Lake Chelan State Park: Situated at the edge of an expansive forest, this park offers plenty of hiking opportunities and lake access, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers
Food and Culinary Activities
Local Cuisine Tasting
Lake Chelan offers a diverse range of dining options to satisfy your taste buds. In the mood for a slice of mouthwatering pizza? Check out Local Myth Pizza for a delicious slice paired with a crisp salad. If you’re a fan of cheese, indulge in a curated charcuterie board at a local eatery. Don’t forget to explore the area’s numerous restaurants, featuring culinary delights sourced from local ingredients.
Looking for things to do in Lake Chelan where you can learn new skills? Sign up for a cooking class to master the art of creating scrumptious, region-specific meals. This hands-on experience allows you to connect with local chefs and fellow food enthusiasts, discover new techniques, and return home with an arsenal of recipes to share with your family and friends.
Visit Local Markets
Nothing beats the freshness of farm-to-table produce. Soak in the vibrant atmosphere at Lake Chelan’s local markets to taste and purchase seasonal fruits, vegetables, and artisanal products. Browse through the stalls and converse with the people who grow and make these delicious offerings. From fresh-picked apples to handcrafted cheeses, you’ll find a delightful array of gastronomic treasures to relish during your visit.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Live Shows and Performances
Looking for a fun night out in Lake Chelan? Check out the various live shows and performances available in the area. Whether it’s a concert at Vin du Lac Winery & Bistro or a live music event at one of the many local wineries, there’s always something going on to keep you entertained. Don’t forget to explore downtown Chelan, where you might find a theater playing the latest movies or even a live performance at the picturesque Antheia of Chelan.
Bars and Nightclubs
If you’re more into bars and nightclubs, Lake Chelan has a lot to offer. Take a trip to Wine Girl Wines and enjoy their beautiful wine bar and regular live entertainment. You can also stop by Sunset Bar & Grill for a delicious pineapple concoction. For those who love craft beer, be sure to visit Stormy Mountain Brewing, a local brewery that offers a great selection of beers along with tasty food options and a friendly ambience.
Evening Cruises or Tours
Elevate your Lake Chelan experience with an evening cruise or tour. Chelan Electric Bikes offers guided bike tours that allow you to explore the area and soak in the beautiful evening views. Alternatively, you can opt for a scenic boat tour on Lake Chelan, taking in the breathtaking sunset from the water.
Children’s Museums and Attractions
Looking for things to do in Lake Chelan with your kids? Head to Chelan’s various museums and attractions. Explore interactive displays and exhibits that cater to child-friendly interests. These creative and educational spaces are perfect for your little ones to learn and play.
Parks and Play Areas
Lake Chelan offers plenty of parks and play areas for your family to enjoy. Your kids will love running around in open spaces or swinging on the playground sets. Many parks feature vast grassy areas, perfect for playing baseball or enjoying a picnic. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, as the region is known for its sunshine-filled days!
Keep your kids entertained and engaged with interactive workshops available throughout Lake Chelan. Local organizations offer various workshops tailored for kids, including arts and crafts, science experiments, and more. These workshops provide a fun and educational experience for your children.
When visiting Lake Chelan, it’s essential to be mindful of local customs. Be respectful of local residents and businesses and always clean up after yourself when enjoying outdoor activities. If you’re unsure about specific etiquette in any given situation, don’t hesitate to ask a local for guidance.
Safety should be a top priority during your time in Lake Chelan. Remember to always wear life jackets when participating in water activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and parasailing. When exploring the area’s hiking trails, make sure to pack essentials like water, snacks, and a map or GPS device. Pay attention to posted signs and trail markers, and stay on marked paths.
Be cautious of the wildlife in and around Lake Chelan. Secure your food and belongings, especially when camping, to avoid attracting bears and other wild animals. Additionally, be aware of the rumored Lake Chelan Dragon, although there have been no confirmed sightings.
Lake Chelan offers a wide range of activities and experiences that cater to a variety of budgets. For wine lovers, there are over 35 wineries in the area, but remember that tasting fees can add up. To save money, consider splitting tastings with a friend or joining a wine club for discounts at specific establishments.
When it comes to outdoor activities, rent equipment from local businesses like Chelan Parasail and Watersports or Shoreline Watercraft. Booking activities in advance may provide early-bird discounts.
Dining options in Lake Chelan are diverse, catering to various tastes and budgets. For a more cost-effective visit, consider packing picnics or preparing your own meals from time to time. Don’t forget to include local produce from farmer’s markets or roadside stands.