There’s no better way to beat the summertime heat in North Central Washington, than spending time in the water. Washington’s Playground is host to one of the deepest lakes in the United States, Lake Chelan. Carved by glaciers millions of years ago, this 1,400+ foot deep lake stretches 55 miles long offering ample opportunity for a wide range of water play. Around Leavenworth, the Icicle and Wenatchee Rivers offer both calm and whitewater environments perfect for easy floats and exciting rides.
Searching for a thrill…? Try parasailing or wakeboarding.
Looking for an outing with the kids…? Head over to Slidewaters Water Park.
Maybe something a little less active is in order…? Take a ride on the Lady of the Lake and enjoy breathtaking views. Tour the small towns of Stehekin and Holden Village, and the North Cascades National Park.
With so many ways to enjoy the water on those hot summer days, it’s no wonder Washington’s Playground is one of the most popular summertime destinations in all of Washington State! Below is our list of the Top 10 Water Activities in Washington’s Playground. We’ll see you on the water!
Whether your craft uses man-power or horse-power, Lake Chelan offers a wealth of boating options. Locals and visitors alike flock to this area to spend time on the water while admiring the scenery whether from a canoe, kayak, fishing boat, or power boat. There are a number of boat ramps around Lake Chelan, as well as along the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers.
#2: River Rafting
Riding down the river in an inflatable raft with a group of your closest friends or family is a great way to spend a summer morning or afternoon. Relax and refresh your senses as you admire the beautiful landscapes and wildlife that call this unique part of Washington State home. The Wenatchee River offers both calm and whitewater sections around the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth. Contact one of the licensed rafting companies in the area to learn more about the types of trips offered and to make your reservation.
#3: Inner Tubing & Floating
If you’re after some down time, grab your inner tube or inflatable vessel, or rent one from an outfitter and head for the calm blue waters of Lake Chelan, or over to Leavenworth for an easy float on the river. On hot summer days, this is the most popular way to escape the heat and enjoy a day in the sun. Leavenworth has a variety of activity operators who run shuttles and rent equipment for river tubing excursions. Float down the refreshing Wenatchee Rivers while taking in all the beautiful scenery at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
#4: Swimming & Snorkeling
If you’re looking to spend time “in” the water, it doesn’t get any easier than just jumping in and going for dip. There are a number of city and state parks with sandy beaches and protected swimming areas. And, the crystal clear waters of Lake Chelan offer amazing snorkeling opportunities!
#5: Jet Skiing
It’s hard to beat the thrill of the throttle in your hand and the wind in your face as you race across the water on a jet ski. Bring your own, or rent when you arrive. If you’ve never experienced this, don’t be shy. Take a quick lesson in the area and you’ll be zipping around the lake in no time.
#6: Water Skiing & Wakeboarding
If you enjoy water skiing or wakeboarding, the calm waters of Lake Chelan offer the perfect place to carve your turns while enjoying picturesque scenery. Talk about a photo-opp… This place gives you the best!
Take in views of the lake, the surrounding foothills, and distant mountain peaks from high in the air. Parasailing combines a parachute with a motorboat, allowing riders to be pulled along while soaring high above the water’s surface. Even if you’re a regular to the Lake Chelan area, you’ve never seen views like you will from this perspective.
#8: Standup Paddle Boarding
Sweeping the nation, Standup Paddle Boarding is a great way to explore a waterway. Stand on an oversized surfboard and use a long paddle to navigate. There are many outfitters in the area where you can take lessons, rent, or purchase equipment including personal flotation devices and other water gear. The turquoise blue waters of Lake Chelan and certain sections of the Icicle and Wenatchee Rivers around Leavenworth are popular locations for Standup Paddle Boarding. Consult with a local outfitter and check current river conditions before getting on the water.
#9: Lake Cruise
The Lady of the Lake offers year-round transportation services on Lake Chelan to the remote towns of Stehekin and Holden Village, and the North Cascades National Park. Enjoy snacks and light food items, as well as coffee and muffins, while touring the lake. Make it a day trip and spend time in Stehekin for guided tours of the area, hiking, camping, and more.
#10: Water Park
Slidewaters Water Park in Lake Chelan offers a variety of water slides, tube slides, a wave pool, a Lazy River, an Aqua-Zoo for the kids, and even a 60-person flower-shaped hot tub perfect for relaxing. This is definitely a stop the whole family will enjoy! Slide and splash your way to paradise and enjoy everything that this park has to offer while beating the summertime heat.
That concludes our top 10 list of summertime water activities around Lake Chelan and Leavenworth, WA. Be informed and follow area waterway guidelines to help ensure everyone on the trip enjoys a safe and fun time in and around the water. Check with area activity providers and local agencies for current water conditions and park hours of operation.