Best Towns Near Leavenworth To Explore (Leavenworth = $$$)

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most stunning landscapes and charming towns. But do you know what else it has? A million tourists. Literally.

The secret of the PNW has gotten out it seems because everywhere I go I have to fight for elbow space.

And there’s no better example of that than Leavenworth around Christmas time. This past year my wife and I were left either paying an arm and a leg to stay in Leavenworth or finding somewhere to stay in a town near Leavenworth.

Well, we both like our arms and legs.

But it turns out that there are several towns near Leavenworth that don’t feel that much like a downgrade! Not only are they charming towns in their own right, but they were close enough that we could still enjoy all the Christmas festivities in Leavenworth itself.

Here are the towns nearby we considered staying in (and will probably put on our list to visit):


Cashmere is a small town located in the Wenatchee Valley of Washington State. At around two hours away from Seattle, it’s worth a visit whether you’re planning on paying your dues in Leavenworth or not.

I’ll also mention that about halfway between Leavenworth and Cashmere you’ll pass through the town of Peshastin. While there are some places to stay in Peshastin, I’d recommend pushing on to the “big city” of Cashmere (population of just over 3,000).

Location and Accessibility

Distance From Downtown Leavenworth: 12 miles (~15 minutes)

Cashmere can be reached via Interstate 90 or US Highway 2. The nearest airport is Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee which has daily flights to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Public transportation options include Greyhound buses that run between Spokane and Seattle with stops in Cashmere as well as Amtrak trains that stop at the nearby Leavenworth station.


Cashmere offers plenty of outdoor activities for visitors including hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, and more. There are also several wineries nearby offering tastings and tours of their vineyards.

For winter visitors or those looking for something more low-key, there are numerous antique shops throughout town as well as art galleries featuring local artists’ work on display.


Visitors to Cashmere have a variety of lodging options available ranging from cozy bed & breakfasts to luxurious resorts with all the amenities you could want during your stay such as spas, pools, and restaurants on-site. Additionally, there are campgrounds nearby if you prefer roughing it outdoors while still being close enough to enjoy all that Cashmere has to offer.

Our Recommendation – Cascade Valley Inn

While not quite in Cashmere, we consider this the best place to stay nearby. Cascade Valley Inn, an adults-only B&B just 15 minutes from Leavenworth, offers a serene retreat on 20 acres with stunning valley views. The four spacious guest suites boast luxurious amenities like fireplaces, en-suite bathrooms, private decks, and complimentary Wi-Fi. You can enjoy the nearby attractions of Leavenworth and then unwind in the peaceful surroundings of the inn, taking in the breathtaking scenery from the spacious Great Room or your own private patio.


If you’re looking for an actual city with real amenities, you’re after Wenatchee.

Wenatchee is more than 10x the size of Leavenworth and is populated by actual people who shop at real grocery stores and eat at normal restaurants (as opposed to the tourist carnival of Leavenworth).

When we stay in or around Leavenworth we do all our shopping in Wenatchee.

Location and Accessibility

Distance From Downtown Leavenworth: 23 Miles (~30 mins)

Wenatchee is situated on the Columbia River at the base of the Cascade Mountains. It’s about two hours east of Seattle and four hours north of Portland, Oregon.

By car, it’s easy to get here from either direction via Interstate 90 or Highway 97. Amtrak also stops here twice daily for those who prefer to travel by rail. The Pangborn Memorial Airport provides service for those flying into town as well as flights out to other cities throughout Washington state and beyond.


With its close proximity to both mountains and rivers, Wenatchee has no shortage of outdoor activities available year-round. During summer months, you can go hiking in nearby national forests or spend a day fishing on one of many local lakes such as Lake Chelan or Lake Entiat – just be sure to bring your license.

In wintertime, skiing at Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort is popular among locals and tourists alike; they offer everything from beginner slopes all the way up to advanced terrain parks for experienced skiers/boarders looking for a challenge.

Downtown Wenatchee offers an array of shops ranging from antique stores selling vintage items all the way up to modern clothing boutiques with something for everyone’s style preferences.

There are also several restaurants serving up delicious meals that will satisfy any appetite – whether you’re craving Italian food at Visconti’s Italian Restaurant or Mexican cuisine at La Fuente there’s something tasty waiting around every corner.

If you’re looking for some nightlife entertainment after dinner then head over towards Pybus Public Market where live music performances happen regularly during weekends – grab yourself a beer while listening along with friends old & new.


Unlike Cashmere, Wenatchee has a dozen decent hotels and is probably worth the drive if you are with your family and need a “normal” hotel to stay at.

Our Recommendation – Residence Inn by Marriott

Residence Inn Wenatchee by Marriott provides comfortable accommodations for both short and extended stays.

The suites are especially helpful as they are equipped with full kitchens so that you can cook and keep costs down. Don’t worry about cooking breakfast though as a hot breakfast is complimentary!

This pet-friendly hotel also features an indoor pool, a fitness center, an on-site bar, patio dining, and is close to local attractions like Apple Capital Loop Trail, Walla Walla Point Park, and Mission Ridge Ski Resort.


View from the Chelan-Stehekin ferry dock

If neither Cashmere or Wenatchee are quite up you’re alley, you might be out of luck.

There are other places but you’re committing yourself to a more significant drive (especially in winter) and no other towns are suitable in you’re planning on actually spending time in Leavenworth and just want to sleep somewhere else.

However, if you’re still game, there are several places available if you head north out of Wenatchee on the Sunset Highway. You’ll pass through Orondo and glimpse Entiat on the way up Lake Entiat to Chelan. If you’re going to be driving this far anyway, just head all the way to Chelan where you’ll have many more lodging and activity options.

Location and Accessibility

Distance From Downtown Leavenworth: 55 miles (~1 Hour)

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Chelan, this quaint little town can be reached via Highway 97A from Wenatchee or US-2 from Leavenworth.

The nearest airport is Pangborn Memorial Airport (EAT) in East Wenatchee which has regular flights to Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA). There are also Amtrak trains that run through Chelan with stops at both Wenatchee and Leavenworth stations.


Lake is the main attraction of Chelan (which made it less than ideal for our Christmas vacation). With its picturesque lakefront setting, Chelan provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation such as fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and camping.

Visitors can also explore the nearby Cascade Mountains or take a scenic drive along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway for breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and cascading waterfalls.

For those looking for more extreme adventures, there are numerous whitewater rafting trips available down the Methow River or kayaking tours around Lake Chelan itself.

If beer is more your thing then check out Icicle Brewing Company located right downtown where you can try their handcrafted ales while enjoying live music every weekend.


Most of the places to stay in Chelan are resorts centered around the lake so, of course, that’s what we recommend!

Our Recommendation – Lake Chelan Shores by Vacasa

This year-round resort on the north shore provides 900 feet of lakefront property, a private boat ramp, and dock, as well as boat and jet ski rentals. Guests can unwind in comfortable stucco homes and enjoy amenities like a clubhouse, six tennis courts, a basketball court, a fitness center, and five swimming pools.

In addition to enjoying Lake Chelan, visitors can explore nearby trails at Story Mountain and Devil’s Backbone or try adrenaline-pumping activities like hang gliding and parasailing. Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, just 37 miles away, offers relaxing hikes and stunning scenery. With 37 vacation rentals, Lake Chelan Shores is the perfect getaway for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking relaxation alike.

FAQs in Relation to Towns Near Leavenworth Washington

What is Leavenworth close to?

Leavenworth is a small town located in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, about two hours east of Seattle.

It is close to many popular outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and fishing. The area also offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Leavenworth is just a short drive away from other attractions like Lake Chelan, Wenatchee National Forest, North Cascades National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park.

Where to stop between Seattle and Leavenworth?

If you’re traveling between Seattle and Leavenworth, there are plenty of great stops along the way.

Ellensburg is a popular stop for its historic downtown area and proximity to outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and fishing. Wenatchee is also worth visiting with its many parks, orchards, wineries, and restaurants.

Why is Leavenworth so expensive?

One reason why Leavenworth can be expensive is due to its location. It’s situated in the Cascade Mountains, which makes it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to hike, ski, or enjoy other recreational activities. This high demand for accommodation and other amenities drives up prices.

Additionally, the town’s Bavarian-style architecture and festive atmosphere make it a unique destination, which also contributes to its popularity and higher prices. Many of the shops, restaurants, and accommodations in Leavenworth cater to tourists and may charge higher prices compared to other towns in the area.

Finally, because of its location and popularity, Leavenworth attracts a lot of investment, which can drive up the cost of living and business operations in the area. This can translate to higher prices for goods and services.

Should I stay in Leavenworth?


If you can book your stay well in advance and don’t need to prioritize saving money then staying in Leavenworth when visiting Leavenworth is the perfect plan.

However, we usually stay in Wenatchee because we put off planning until the last minute and then don’t want to pay $500/night for a hotel to save 30 minutes of driving.

Is there good camping near Leavenworth?

Camping is a great option for both fun and money-savings when visiting Leavenworth.

The best place (in my opinion) is Lake Wenatchee State Park and that’s where we typically pitch a tent when we want.

You can also check out Icicle River RV Resort, Eightmile Campground, or Tumwater Campground.


No matter which of these towns near Leavenworth Washington you choose to visit, you’re sure to have a great time.

Whether it’s Cashmere with its small-town charm, Wenatchee for the outdoor activities, Chelan for the wineries and lake views, each town has something unique to offer.

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