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Unplugged Family Vacation in Chelan, WA

I admit, I love technology. My phone is often in my hand, browsing the latest social media posts, or just looking for something informative or entertaining. More and more, I’m coming to realize that as my girls are growing older, I’m missing chances to be with them and instead giving myself and my energy to other people and things on the world wide web that honestly don’t even come close to the importance of my girls.

So often I see posts about controlling kid’s screen time, but what about us adults, we need some controls in place too. Recently I traveled to Chelan, WA, a small town practically in the middle of Washington State, for a press trip and took my oldest daughter along with me. I can’t even count how many times my daughter said to me, “thanks for bringing me mom” and, “I’m so happy to be here with you.” It was a very simple and laid back trip, filled with fun, unplugged family vacation moments, which is why I’m sharing it here in case you’re looking for a great trip to unplug yourself and reconnect as a family.

Hitting the open road on a mother & daughter adventure!

Hitting the open road on a mother & daughter adventure!

Our three hour road trip journey started off from the north area of Seattle, Everett, Washington, across Highway 2. If you’re traveling to Chelan from Seattle, you’ll need to plan for an almost 4 hour trip. We prefer Highway 2 since it’s more scenic stretch than Interstate 90, plus we always stop into downtown Leavenworth, WA for a sausage/hot dog at München Haus. As we drove I realized how fun it was to have a one-on-one trip with my oldest. There was no sibling rivalry, no grown up talks or distractions, instead it was just the two of us, laughing about funny things we saw, listening to favorite songs, and stopping randomly whenever one of us saw something special.

Once in Chelan we were ready to see what this charming lake town had to offer, so here’s a peek at our family fun adventures, and why I think Chelan makes a perfect spot to plan an unplugged family vacation.

Mountain View Lodge

We checked into our lodging which was a charming motel style family owned property in the tiny town of Manson, WA. The reason I’m mentioning the Mountain View Lodge in regards to unplugged family travel is because of their back to the basics amenities that invite families to unplug and reconnect. Upon check in we were told that there were games and sporting equipment stocked in the lobby family room, ready and waiting for guests to check out and play. Lizzy was quick to grab a volleyball and after getting to our room we headed down to the net in the yard area and bumped the ball back and forth. Even this simple act of just getting out and playing was something I haven’t done with my girls in a long time.

The lodge also has a pool and hot tub, which we enjoyed, and I have to note it was very clean and well kept. The whole property was actually well-cared for and you can see that the family truly cares about welcoming guests. Another great amenity is the outdoor grills and tables, perfect for planning a family campout.

Another accommodation choice that is very close to the Mountain View Lodge that would also be great for families looking to unplug is the Wapato Point resort. This is a condo style timeshare community that can be booked like a hotel, and whereas the MVL is small, this is quite large and spread out. The Wapato Point resort does have lake access and some fun family activities like miniature golf and water sport rentals.

Lake Chelan Boat Ride

Here’s one of the best experiences we took, and while it was a big chunk of time, it is the perfect activity for families who want to relax and reconnect. We hopped aboard the Lady of the Lake ferry service and traveled along the 50 mile long Lake Chelan from the town of Chelan at the south tip, up to the remote town of Stehekin on the north tip. The long boat ride is the perfect opportunity to pack some board games and puzzles and have some unplugged family fun while you travel. You can also head up to the top of the ferry to step outside and enjoy the gorgeous mountain trip.


Lake Chelan & Downtown Chelan

If you’re looking for some water fun, Don Morse Park is a 40 acre city park that is ideal for boating, swimming, or just relaxing together as a family, so pack your swimsuits and sunblock and go enjoy the outdoors! When you’ve worked up an appetite, walk up from Don Morse Park to the iconic Lakeside Drive In for a diner burger and a family bucket of fries. Swimsuits don’t matter since it’s a drive in with outdoor setting, and you’re sure to find a table with a view.

Another fun unplugged family activity is to head over to Chelan Lanes and have a family bowling battle. We went on a Saturday night, and took part in their cosmic bowling event which happens each Friday and Saturday evening and features fun lights and serious surround sound top 40 music.

For enjoying some of downtown Chelan, head to the downtown main street of E Woodin Ave, and stroll along the shops. Just realize that many shops may have limited hours in the off season. I’ll tell you my five favorite stops in downtown Chelan that you should check out if you’re strolling along main street: 1) the Chelan Visitor’s Center is packed full of useful info and maps; 2) Twisted is an unbelievable yarn shop that Lizzy and I ready to learn to knit; 3) St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church is a tiny old church which is the oldest permanent structure in Chelan; 4) Riverwalk Books is a lovely bookstore that is open and bright and has a great selection of books especially for kids and teens; and lastly, 4) Bear Foods is a fabulous natural foods market that is full of a lot of healthy and tasty snacks and treats.

Wine Tasting

Chelan is a top destination in Washington State for wine tasting, and many may think wine tasting and families do not go together, but in Chelan they do. The visitor’s center explained that many, if not most, wineries in the area are family and kid friendly, and I experienced that first hand at the Wapato Point Cellars. This is a fabulous spot for families to unplug and close out a busy day of exploring in Lake Chelan. While adults can walk up and take a flight in wines or one of their delicious ciders, kids will be greeted alongside their parents and offered their own choice of beverage to enjoy. Then once you’re set with your drinks of choice you can head outside onto the restaurant deck which spills onto a large yard area that is stocked with backyard games. Kids will have fun playing volleyball or bean bag toss, or even making new friends, while you and your partner can sit back and relax.

Another mention that I have to make is in downtown Manson. You’ll find a cider tasting room called Rootwood, and it offers a cider tasting flight, as well as some delicious apple cider for the kids. Very family friendly and fun!

We also had a great time enjoying a local festival, the Manson Apple Blossom Festival, during our visit, and started our first attempts at geocaching during our trip to Chelan. You can see how our lodging that got back to the basics of family fun, our disconnected long boat ride, our exploration of downtown, our cosmic bowling battle, and our simple enjoyment of sipping our favorite drinks led to an amazing time to reconnect and unplug, and why Chelan, WA is great for families!
Wanting to plan an unplugged family vacation? Do you dream of enjoying the outdoors and having some family fun? Plan a visit to Chelan Washington!

Chelan Washington is the perfect destination for an unplugged family vacation

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35 Best West Coast National Parks You Need to Visit

Friday 14th of October 2022

[…] national parks. Many visitors love to road trip around the park, and I’ve really enjoyed the Lake Chelan ferry to […]


Thursday 19th of July 2018

Thanks for these tips! Great help in preparing for our first visit to Lake Chelan


Tuesday 14th of June 2016

What a sweet story! I can tell how much the time together meant to you both and Chelan seems like a great place to unplug.


Thursday 16th of June 2016

Thanks Tamara, we really did enjoy the trip. It also made me realize how much my girls just want a bit of my focused attention. I'm probably one of the biggest offenders of being plugged-in in our family, so this trip made me see how I need to be more plugged-in to my girls not my online world.