I’ve been coming to Lake Chelan for summer vacations since I was little. My brothers and I would swim in the pools at Campbell’s all day long and on the last day of vacation we would go to Slidewaters, where I would dream that someday, I would be a lifeguard– a teenager– with a blue swimsuit, a golden tan, and the power to wave people onto the slides when their turn came. At the end of the day we were each allowed to get a Slidewaters t-shirt, then we piled into the car and slept for hours while my dad drove us home.
I still love this trip and I try to go every year.
Last year, on our way to Lake Chelan, my husband and I made a pit-stop in the town of Cashmere and serendipitously discovered the barbeque of the Gods, Country Boys BBQ. Thus a new tradition was born.
We stopped there again this year for dinner Friday night on our way into town. We also picked up a pound of brisket, which we had as a main course for brunch (for which we used our picnic basket) on our patio at the hotel on Saturday and Sunday.
We stayed at Campbell’s Inn*, which for me, IS Lake Chelan. I’ve stayed other places, and although this place has its faults, it’s my favorite resort in Washington State. Everywhere here, there are happy families enjoying the fleeting northwest summer together. It is right on the lake, and yet also in the middle of town. There is a Safeway and a Starbucks right across the street, as well as a variety store that has been there forever. It also has a restaurant, and after sampling a few other places in town, this is still my favorite place to have dinner in Lake Chelan.
We spent Saturday floating on inner tubes on the lake, and had dinner at the Pub and Veranda at Campbells, where we got these parmesan truffle fries.
On Sunday we did a little wine tasting. Lake Chelan does not have the best wines in Washington State- for that, you have to go to Walla Walla. But it does have some great wineries with some stunning views. The first winery we went to was Benson, where we got a case of Pinot Noir.
Next we went to Nefarious Cellars.
The last thing we did that day? Slidewaters**, of course!
On our way out of town we made sure to stop at a roadside stand to get fresh cherries, peaches, corn, and zucchini, so we will still be enjoying the fruits of our vacation all week.
*Here are some tips on making reservations at Campbells. The best rooms are the ground floor rooms, where you can easily go in an out of your room from the resort. This is especially nice if you are traveling with kids. Rooms fill up fast, so it’s best to make your reservations by at least December, and if you reserve your room for the following year when you check out, they will give you your same room for the same weekend again. All this being said, last year we decided to go to Lake Chelan at the last minute, and were able to book a room for the weekend just 4 or 5 days ahead due to cancellations. I also think Lake Chelan is slightly nicer outside of the peak season that is roughly 4th of July to Labor Day. In June and September it is still warm, but the crowds are thinner and it’s not quite as hot.
**One of the things I love about Slidewaters is that they still have many of the original slides, including the Thunder Rapids tube ride (which will always be the “River Ride” to me) and the four original slides with their original names- the Blue Blaster, the Sidewinder, the Corkscrew, and the Bonzai Pipeline. Even many of the signs are what I remember from when I was a kid.