When I think of wine country the images that immediately pop into my head are dreamy landscapes of France and Italy, or even the Napa and Sonoma Valley’s in California. But since most of us can’t travel over to Europe right now due to the pandemic we thought we’d highlight a trip you can take right here in the United States, specifically Washington State.
Road Trip to Lake Chelan
Joel and I ventured out on a road trip to Lake Chelan a couple of years ago with his parents and we have such fond memories of that trip. I really wasn’t sure what to expect and was completely blown away by the stunning scenery!
Our trip started just across the Tacoma Narrows in Kitsap County Washington and we traveled about 4 and half hours west to Lake Chelan. Winding our way through the Cascade Mountains and hugging the Columbia River we turned north towards Chelan.
As we made our way closer to Lake Chelan we were greeted with views of the glacier fed lake, vineyards from the multiple wineries nestled on the hillside and mountains in the background.
When to go
We ended up traveling in August so we had wonderful sunny weather and high 70’s temperatures. Perfect for wine tasting and driving around to see the sights! Another great time to travel here is in the fall for harvest season. The weather is cooler, the trees are changing colors and not only is wine harvested but also apples, pears and hops. The milder temps are perfect for hiking, camping or taking a ride on The Lady of the Lake ferry to the remote village of Stehekin.
Wine country in this area is fairly young with AVA (American Viticultural Area) status granted in 2009. This means what is produced in Lake Chelan is specific to the area and would not be able to be grown somewhere else. There are about 30 wineries to choose from so we decided to start on Lake Chelan’s South Shore and then mosey on from there.
Our first stop was Nefarious Cellars and man what a view!
We stopped into the tasting room and the owners were super friendly and excited to share their knowledge of wine with us. We promptly bought a bottle of wine and sat out on the patio to take in the view and enjoy the beautiful day.
Fielding Hills Winery
Next stop was Fielding Hills Winery with stunning views and lots of outdoor patio space. If you’re a red wine lover this is the place for you. Their focus is almost exclusively on premium red wines although they have added whites and a rose into their library.
Vin Du Lac
As it became later in the day and the afternoon eased into early evening we decided to head over to the other side of the lake and find some food. About a mile and half outside of downtown Chelan is Vin Du Lac, a vineyard, farm, bistro and winery. Set among a lush canopy of trees we had dinner with a pretty view of the lake.
With night settling in we had to leave and make our way to our Bed and Breakfast located just North in Twisp, WA. Unfortunately we only had a day here but there’s so much more to do than just wineries.
There is more than just wine
Chelan offers more than just fantastic wine and spectacular views. It is also a great place for family vacations especially with kids. Slidewaters Water Park will keep kids entertained all day with multiple water slides, a lazy river, and volleyball courts. Due to Covid the park is currently closed but definitely keep this in mind for the future.
Where to Stay in Lake Chelan
As far as accommodations, there are plenty of places to stay right along the lake. A quick Google search will pull up hotels, cabins, vacation rentals and RV parks.
If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary I found a fun family run motel dating from the 1940’s called Mom’s Montlake Motel. It’s less than a mile from the lake with a 4.7 star rating on Google and a lot of rave reviews on Tripadvisor. Joel and I haven’t stayed there yet but when we make our way back to Lake Chelan we will definitely check it out!
Even more activities
If you’re looking for even more outdoor activities the town has them in spades. You can take boat tours, try parasailing, spend the afternoon fishing and even go scuba diving on the 50.5 mile long Lake Chelan. In additional to the tours and group activities there are also several places you can rent jet skis, boats and kayaks.
There are lots of other great places to visit near Lake Chelan like Leavenworth, Winchester, and Ross Lake in the Northern Cascades. We highly recommend adding Lake Chelan to your next road trip plans when visiting Washington State.
What road trip are you planning?
Let us know in the comments