Lake Chelan Visitors Guide – Essential Resources

Sharing is caring!

Nestled in the heart of Washington State, Lake Chelan is a stunning, pristine, natural lake that has captured the imagination and hearts of many. As we begin to explore this breathtaking destination, we want to share with you the wonders, adventures, and beauty that awaits at every turn. With its crystal-clear waters, abundant recreational activities, and charming communities, it’s no surprise that Lake Chelan is a treasured gem in Washington.

Our journey with the Lake Chelan Visitor Guide helps us navigate through this exquisite landscape, providing an all-encompassing look at the region’s natural attractions, accommodations, and must-see landmarks. From wine-tasting and hiking trails to days spent lounging on a picturesque beach, Lake Chelan has something for everyone. As we delve deeper, let us appreciate the many layers that make Chelan not only an ideal destination but also an unforgettable experience.

In this captivating corner of Washington State, Lake Chelan brilliantly showcases the essence of Pacific Northwest beauty. Through the Visitor Guide, we will uncover hidden gems, memorable moments, and lifelong memories to be made in this remarkable region. So, let’s embark on this adventure together and discover the awe-inspiring wonders of Lake Chelan and its surrounding communities.

Getting There

When planning our trip to Lake Chelan, we have several options for transportation. One of the most convenient ways to get there from Seattle is by seaplane. Companies like Chelan Seaplanes offer direct flights from Seattle to Lake Chelan, allowing us to enjoy stunning aerial views of Washington’s landscapes during our travel. This extraordinary mode of transportation significantly cuts down our travel time and ensures we can maximize our stay in the beautiful region.

If we prefer a more budget-friendly option, we can also opt for a scenic drive from Seattle. The journey takes approximately 3 hours, but the picturesque route through the Cascade Mountains makes it a worthwhile adventure. As we approach Lake Chelan, we’ll be greeted by stunning views of vineyards, rolling hills, and the sparkling lake.

Once we arrive at our destination, we’ll find a plethora of activities and attractions to explore, as detailed in the 2023 Lake Chelan Visitor Guides. From outdoor adventures to delectable dining experiences, Lake Chelan has something to offer for everyone in our group.

Regardless of our chosen mode of transportation, we can be confident that the journey to Lake Chelan will be an unforgettable experience in itself. So let’s pack our bags and set out for an adventure-filled vacation at this captivating destination.

Accommodation Options


When visiting Lake Chelan, we suggest considering cozy cabins for a comfortable and rustic experience. There are several secluded private cabins available for rent, either by the night or by the week. These cabins provide the perfect atmosphere for a peaceful and relaxing getaway.


For those looking for more traditional lodging options, Lake Chelan offers a variety of family hotels. Among these options, you’ll find deluxe resorts such as Campbell’s Resort and Grandview on the Lake, both providing excellent service and luxurious accommodations. These hotels cater to various budgets and preferences, ensuring that our guests find the perfect fit for their stay.


For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, camping in Lake Chelan is an experience not to be missed. The area offers numerous campgrounds where we can set up tents or park our RVs to enjoy the region’s natural beauty up close. These camping spots provide easy access to hiking trails, fishing spots, and breathtaking views, making them ideal for those looking to immerse themselves in the great outdoors.

Exploring the Town and Shopping

Lake Chelan offers a variety of shopping experiences in its picturesque small towns. Whether you’re looking for unique gifts, stylish clothing, or locally made products, the Chelan Valley has something for everyone. In this section, we will explore Downtown Chelan, the Manson District, and some fantastic local boutiques.

Downtown Chelan

Downtown Chelan is a charming and bustling area with a variety of shops, eateries, and attractions. One of the must-visit locations here is Chelan Riverwalk Park, a beautiful outdoor space perfect for picnics and leisurely strolls along the river. The downtown area also boasts a range of boutiques offering clothing, home décor, and specialty gifts. Some of our recommendations include:

  • Chelan Clothing Company: A fashion-forward store with an eclectic mix of clothing, accessories, and home goods.
  • Willow: A boutique filled with unique home accents and gifts, perfect for finding that special something.
  • Riverwalk Books: A quaint independent bookstore where you can find your next great read.

Manson District

Manson, located in the heart of the Chelan Valley, offers a more laid-back shopping experience. The district is home to a variety of charming shops, which are ideal for browsing during a leisurely afternoon. Some must-visit places in Manson include:

  • Manson Village Market: A one-stop-shop for all your grocery needs, plus an extensive selection of local wine and beer.
  • Gift Shop at Blueberry Hills: Located on a working farm, this shop offers locally made jams, candles, and other unique gifts.
  • Shoreline Watercraft & Boat Rentals: If you’re looking to explore the lake, this is the place to rent boats, paddleboards, and other watercraft.

Local Boutiques

In addition to the shopping districts in Chelan and Manson, the Chelan Valley is home to many delightful local boutiques. These independently owned and operated stores offer unique products made by local and regional artisans. Some of our favorite local boutiques include:

  • Bear Foods Natural Market: This health food store carries a wide array of organic and locally sourced products, including skincare, supplements, and snacks.
  • Culinary Apple: A gourmet kitchen store offering a variety of kitchen gadgets, cookware, and locally made food products.
  • Tin Lilly Boutique: A stylish clothing and accessories boutique offering the latest in fashion trends and unique jewelry.

Overall, exploring the Chelan Valley’s shopping scene offers visitors a chance to discover the charm and unique offerings in each small town. Thanks to local boutiques and specialty shops, you can find everything your heart desires during your visit to Chelan.

Culinary Delights

Local Restaurants

Lake Chelan offers a variety of delicious dining options to satisfy every palate. In this region, you’ll find an abundance of locally sourced ingredients that elevate each dish to new heights. From casual eateries to fine dining establishments, you’re sure to find the perfect meal to complement your day at the lake.

Wineries and Breweries

The Lake Chelan region is known not only for its pristine waters, but also for its vibrant wine and beer scene. The Lake Chelan AVA hosts numerous vineyards and wineries that offer tastings and tours, providing a great opportunity to explore the different varietals of the area. One notable winery is the Lake Chelan Winery, where you can enjoy a glass paired with their delicious barbecue offerings.

For beer enthusiasts, be sure to visit the local breweries, such as Lake Chelan Brewery, which crafts a variety of unique brews using high-quality ingredients, including locally grown hops. With a mixture of bold and refreshing beers, there’s something for everyone.

Chelan Farmers Market

No visit to Lake Chelan would be complete without a stop at the Chelan Farmers Market. Here you’ll find an array of fresh, locally sourced products, including fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and artisanal crafts. The farmers market is a great place to discover the flavors of the region and support local farmers while enjoying a taste of Lake Chelan’s thriving food scene.

Outdoor Activities

At Lake Chelan, there are numerous outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. In this section, we will discuss the exciting things you can do in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Chelan, including water activities, hiking and mountain biking, and golfing.

Water Activities

One of the main attractions at Lake Chelan is its wide array of water activities. Boating is a popular pastime, and there are plenty of options to rent boats or launch your own. Fishing is another great way to spend a day on the water, with many species of fish, such as trout and bass, waiting to be caught.

For more adventurous water enthusiasts, kayaking and paddleboarding are excellent ways to explore the lake and its surrounding beaches. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, try parasailing or jet skiing on the open water. And, of course, don’t forget to take a break and go for a swim in the crystal clear lake.

Hiking and Mountain Biking

The area around Lake Chelan offers a variety of trails for both hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts. Ranging from easy strolls to more challenging routes, the trails take you through forests, mountain meadows, and offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Some noteworthy trails in the region are:

  • Lake Chelan State Park Trails: A network of trails suitable for beginners and intermediate hikers.
  • Pot Peak Trail: A challenging 9-mile trail that rewards hikers with exceptional views at the summit.

For mountain biking, check out the thrilling opportunities presented in the 2023 Bike Guide, which unveils various scenic routes through vineyards, orchards, and charming towns.


When it comes to golfing, Lake Chelan is home to several beautiful golf courses, offering players excellent facilities and stunning views. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, there’s something for everyone. With well-maintained greens, driving ranges, and stunning lake and mountain views, golfing in Lake Chelan is a perfect way to enjoy outdoor recreation while practicing your swing.

Visiting Stehekin

Stehekin, a remote village in Washington, offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. As part of the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, this idyllic destination is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, from rugged peaks and lush forests to shimmering alpine lakes. Upon arriving in Stehekin, you’ll feel the tranquility that can only be found in a place where nature reigns supreme.

One of the most appealing aspects of Stehekin is its relative isolation. There are no roads leading to this hidden gem, which means visitors must rely on alternative modes of transportation. The most popular option is the Lady of the Lake passenger ferry which will take you on an unforgettable journey through the 50.5-mile Lake Chelan. If you prefer a more private experience, consider using your own boat or the Stehekin Ferry service.

Upon arrival in Stehekin, we recommend exploring the pristine surroundings by foot, as hiking is a significant part of the Stehekin experience. The village serves as a hub for venturing into the 61,949-acre Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, Stephen Mather Wilderness, and neighboring National Forest Wilderness Areas.

The Stehekin River offers a plethora of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, including fishing, rafting, and kayaking. Indulge in the calming sound of the river as you experience the untouched wilderness that this area provides.

Before embarking on your journey to Stehekin, it’s essential to make lodging reservations. Options include cozy cabins, rustic lodges, and charming bed-and-breakfast establishments that cater to various budgets and preferences.

In conclusion, visiting Stehekin will provide you with a unique, immersive connection to the natural world. Whether you’re seeking a weekend getaway or a longer retreat, this enchanting village offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

State Parks and Wilderness

Lake Chelan State Park

Lake Chelan State Park is a fantastic destination situated on the southern shores of Lake Chelan, which happens to be the third-deepest lake in the United States. The park is open during the summer from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., while its winter hours are 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. We particularly love the diverse recreational opportunities it offers, such as hiking, biking, volleyball, swimming, fishing, and camping.

Visiting the park requires a Discover pass, with an annual pass costing $30 and a one-day pass at $10. There’s also a $7 watercraft launch fee for a day.

North Cascades National Park

Nestled within the magnificent North Cascades, North Cascades National Park offers a stunning wilderness experience. Its pristine lakes, glaciated peaks, and lush forests provide an excellent backdrop for our outdoor adventures.

In the park, we can embark on an array of activities such as hiking, mountaineering, and wildlife watching. The park is also home to rare and endangered species, including the gray wolf, grizzly bear, and spotted owl. Remember to always follow the park’s guidelines and regulations to help preserve its delicate ecosystems for future generations.

In conclusion, both Lake Chelan State Park and North Cascades National Park provide us with the opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy breathtaking landscapes. Whether we’re seeking thrilling outdoor activities or peaceful escapes, visiting these parks will surely create unforgettable experiences.

Seasonal Activities

Summer Fun

In the summer season, Lake Chelan provides an abundance of fun activities for all age groups. With over 300 days of sunshine every year, outdoor enthusiasts will have ample opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty and adventures of this region. One of our top recommendations for families is to visit Slidewaters Waterpark. The picturesque setting and exciting water slides make it a perfect destination for some fun in the sun.

Other popular attractions for a sunny day include:

  • Beaches and swimming areas
  • Watersports such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing
  • Hiking, mountain biking, and cycling trails
  • Wine tasting tours through the region’s numerous vineyards

Winter Adventures

As the seasons change, Lake Chelan transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a variety of activities for adventure seekers. For those who love snow sports, the surrounding mountainous terrain is ideal for activities such as:

  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowmobiling

The Lake Chelan Wine Harvest is an annual event that takes place from the first day of fall until Thanksgiving, providing food and wine lovers with an opportunity to experience the flavors of the region while admiring the stunning scenery.

No matter the season, Lake Chelan has something for everyone. So, whether you crave the excitement of water sports or the tranquility of a snowshoeing trek through the quiet wilderness, rest assured there is an adventure waiting for you at this incredible destination.