It’s normal to get stuck in a daily routine every once in a while. Sometimes you’re so busy that time just passes you by while others seem to roll along so slowly you think they may not end. And with the amount of rain we receive in Seattle, you’re going to go a little stir crazy and start craving an adventure every once in a while, even just a short jaunt.
While a cruise through the Caribbean or sipping a Mai Tai in Maui would be a lovely escape, did you know that there are many little weekender trips right here in Washington that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime?
Here are three favorite escapes from Seattle if you find yourself looking for a quick vacation this winter:
For “Bavarian authenticity and Northwest hospitality” you’ll find no better spot in Washington than Leavenworth. A town that now looks like one you might flip through in a storybook, Leavenworth has transformed itself into a bustling small town that sees more than a million tourists each year, and for good reason.
You may already know that it’s a go-to Pacific Northwest spot to celebrate Oktoberfest in the fall, but it really is quite the gem year-round. In the winter, we recommend you partake in the Christmas Lighting Festival that’s held each Friday through Sunday from November 30-December 16. You can expect musical performances, sledding in Front Street Park, a traditional Gluwien tent, and even visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Then, return January 19-20 for Bavarian IceFest 2019 when you can see snow sculptures, live ice carvings, ice fishing, and much more.
Yes, as you see, Leavenworth can provide a relaxing holiday getaway as you stroll through town admiring the many sites, but it’s also an active community. Take your adventure one step further and try ice climbing or dog sledding, backcountry skiing or snowshoeing when you visit this wintery wonderland.
Visiting with kids in tow? Then don’t forget to stop by the one-of-a-kind Leavenworth Reindeer Farm where, by appointment only, your family can take a tour to remember. But don’t be shy because this is a hands-on opportunity to get up close, feeding the reindeer and petting their soft fur. Tours also include visits with pigs, chickens, horses, and you may even see geese.
The Lookout at Lake Chelan
The glacial Lake Chelan is a narrow 50.5 miles long and at the southeastern tip you will find a favorite stop off at The Lookout at Lake Chelan. This picturesque getaway is great all year, featuring a private marina and beach in the summer and campfires and snowman making and sledding in the winter. It’s also the best place to stay if you want to be in walking distance to town, where almost all the action takes place.
While it’s a fabulous destination just a few quick hours from Seattle, an ideal time to visit is during Winterfest, the best wintertime celebration in the state for nearly 30 years! Taking place this year from January 18-27, the local beverage lover won’t want to miss the wine walk, the foodie will want to make sure to attend SoupFest (January 18), and the whole family will enjoy the carriage rides, ice slide, and walking down magical Snowflake Lane.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it for the Winterfest fun though as there is always something going on around The Lookout at Lake Chelan. And with 300 days of sunshine, it’s the perfect escape from rainy Seattle. Slip on some snowshoes for a sunny, snowy stroll, strap on your skis and head off for a cross-country adventure, or take a ride between vineyards, which are open year-round to visitors.
Then, come back for a visit in spring when the wildflowers bloom, the birds begin chirping, and mountain biking season commences as there’s always a new adventure to be had when you stop by The Lookout at Lake Chelan.
With a population of just 439, you might be wondering why anyone would recommend visiting a place so desolate. In fact, you might be thinking places that small only existed in the past. Well, get ready to jump into a fun time machine because we’re taking you to the wild west. And, once the snow starts falling this western town turns into a winter adventurers dream location!
Are you into cross-country skiing? Then you must experience the Methow Valley. It’s great for beginners and experts alike with more than 200 kilometers of interconnected trails that are some of the best in all North America.
Is skating more your thing? Then stop by the outdoor Winthrop sports and ice rink for a day or evening session.
Do you miss mountain biking season? You must try a fat biking – literally, mountain biking in the snow along groomed trails!
While winter sports are fun, you should also make it a point to stop into the oldest legal saloon in Washington state. And, if you want to visit during a popular annual event, then the Snowshoe Softball Tournament held on February 16-17 is the one to watch. Or, sign up to participate as up to eight out-of-town teams are allowed in on this three-decade-old tradition.
Winthrop is a must-see if you live in Seattle and you want a quick getaway, but like the above, winter isn’t the only wonderful time for a visit as each season brings its own unique reason to come.
Sometimes you just need to step away from it all; put down the cell phone, remove yourself from the seemingly endless Seattle rain and go find an experience in your own backyard.
You don’t have to go far to feel like you’re in another world entirely and you’ll return home refreshed before work on Monday morning.