Lake Chelan has our region’s best beach and it’s right next to a great downtown loaded with restaurants, bars, hotels and shops and the Ruby Theatre, one of the oldest movie theaters in the state. It calls for multi-tasking, in a good way.
What you need to know:
Lake Chelan is one of the deepest and cleanest lakes in the world.
There are many vineyards and fruitstands.
Mill Bay Casino in Manson has slot machines, card and table games, a summer series of big-name concerts, dancing, dining and live music.
Lady of the Lake: Ferry boats connecting Chelan to Stehekin and points in between. Rates: $39 to $59 per person round-trip. (509) 682-4584 or ladyofthelake.com.
Slidewaters: A waterslide park with 12 slides. Includes the completely dark 420-foot tunnel called “Purple Haze” and two inner-tube runs. Race friends down a 200-foot slope on the park’s “Downhill Racer.” 102 Waterslide Drive off Highway 97A. For more information call (509) 682-5751 or go to slidewaters.com.
Lake Chelan State Park: Call 888-226-7688 for reservations.
Twenty-five Mile Creek Campground: Call (509) 687-3610 for more information.
Boat-in campgrounds: Lake Chelan has 15 boat-in campgrounds, available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The campgrounds all have vault toilets and picnic tables, and boat docks that cost $5 per day or $40 for a season’s pass. The docks are most easily accessed in late spring/early summer, as the lake level begins to rise. For more information, call the National Park Service at (509) 682-2549 or the U.S. Forest Service at (509) 682-2576.
Lakeside Park: A 10-acre retreat with a swimming area, boat launch, volleyball and basketball courts, play equipment, boat mooring, picnic tables and restrooms. The boat launch is closed from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Lakeshore RV Park: Offers water, electric and sewer hookups at 163 sites, including 22 tent pads. The park features cable TV hookup, restrooms with hot showers and picnic tables. Open year-round. No dogs June 25 through Labor Day weekend and Memorial Day weekend. For reservations, call (509) 682-8023.
Don Morse Park: Offers a wide range of seasonal and year-round recreation. The park is open all year with a beach, skate park, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, go-carts, playground, picnic shelters and restrooms. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the park also offers an 18-hole natural grass putting course. Parking costs $2 for two hours or $5 for all day. (509) 682-8024. The putting course is open by request during weekdays in May.
Lakeshore Marina: Also located at Don Morse Park, the marina has two dozen 30-foot boating slips equipped with electrical and water hook-ups for overnight use and another 39 20-foot slips with no hook-ups. The marina is open Memorial Day through October, depending on water level. There is also a boat pump-out station for year-round use at no cost. (509) 682-8029. The boat launch is open year-round.
Riverwalk Park: Built and maintained by the Chelan County PUD, Riverwalk Park has an amphitheater, one-mile paved walking trail around the Chelan River, restrooms, covered picnic area, boat launch and short-term moorage.
Mill Bay Casino: Mondays through Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.; Thursday through Sunday, 24 hours. The lounge is open to 2 a.m. every day. There is free RV parking with no hookups. Group tours are welcome. For information call 509-687-2102 or go to colvillecasinos.com.
Located in nearby Manson, Mill Bay offers gaming seven days a week, with nearly 400 slot machines, a variety of gaming tables and a poker room. Featuring a deli, restaurant and nightclub with live music and a dance floor.
History and art
Lake Chelan Historical Society Museum: Located at 204 E. Woodin Ave. The museum features American Indian artifacts, displays on the area’s mining, logging, tourism and fruit industries and an extensive collection of photographs from the early 1900s.
First Fridays: Every month during the summer, the museum offers live outdoor music. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, closing at 3 p.m. on Saturdays, early June to Labor Day. After Labor Day, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information call (509) 682-5644 or go to chelanmuseum.com.
Manson Apple Blossom Festival: May 11-12
Spring Barrel Tasting: May 19-20
Chelan Valley Memorial Parade: May 24
CruiZin Chelan 2011: June 1-2
Manson’s 4th of July Celebration: July 4
Bach Fest: July 14-21
Chelan Man Multisport Weekend: July 20-22
Chelan Fine Arts Festival: Aug. 16-19
Lake Chelan Hydro Fest: Sept. 22-23
Mahogany & Merlot Vintage Boat Event: Oct. 6-7
Chelan Chase: Oct. 20
Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake (about 1,500 feet) in North America.
The name Chelan comes from the Indian “Tsill-anne,” meaning deep water.
Wapato Point is on land allotted to Nekquelekin, known as Chief Wapato John, and his son Peter Wapato. The Colville Confederated Tribes built Mill Bay Casino on tribal land in 1994.
Lake Chelan was given official status as an American Viticultural Area in 2009, meaning the growing region is unique and distinct and wines made from grapes grown there can carry the Lake Chelan designation.
Cast a line
Try fishing for chinook salmon and lake trout on the lake, or take the kids to Riverwalk Park in Chelan, where they can cast their lines from the docks. Lake Chelan is stocked with trout and salmon. You might also want to try nearby Wapato, Antilon, Roses and Alta lakes.
Manson, a center of the fruit-growing industry, celebrated its 92nd Apple Blossom Festival in 2012.
What’s in a name
Manson is named for Manson F. Backus, president of the Lake Chelan Land Co. in the early 1900s.
Sure enough, the hard work of choosing a favorite swimming spot in Chelan can really work up a sweat. That’s why we like the city’s Lakeside Park — its shady lawn, ample beaches, tons of parking and easy access to (oh yeah) a nearby snack store and Tropical Sno hut. Right off Highway 97A, the park’s beaches gently slope away from the shore to make the perfect, shallow swim spot for tykes and older folks relaxing in half-submerged lawn chairs. Plus, the curved shoreline offers a sweeping panorama of the lake’s kinetic activities (soaring parasails, zipping waterskiers, buzzing personal watercraft) and the not-so-kinetic (bikini babes and beefcake dudes lolling on huge speedboats).
Divine providence is one explanation for St. Andrews Episcopal Church’s mint condition. Other evidence points to superior design and construction of the church, now more than a century old. Its precisely notched Douglas fir logs (no chinking required) rising on a foundation of local granite show little wear and tear, thank the Lord, because of the lakeside city’s dry climate and a century of attentitive maintenance crews. Famed architect Stanford White supposedly designed the chuch eight years before his murder by a jealous husband, but that’s not true. The building rose (40 feet high a the bell tower’s peak) from plans drawn by Kirtland Cutter and Karl Malmgren, prominent Northwest architects in the Arts and Crafts tradition.