Given that we love getting off the beaten path and exploring small towns along the way, we found the village of Manson along the shores of Lake Chelan in Washington to be a charming community yearning for your discovery. With plenty of things to do in Manson WA, they have so much to offer their visitors. We regrettably only stayed one night during our drive along the scenic Cascade Loop, but fortunately we were still able to see quite a bit! So, while this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, we want to share with you what we did during our short stay in this scenic and friendly community.
Top 5 Things to Do in Manson WA
1) Drive the Manson Scenic Loop
It’s a loop within a loop! The 10-mile Manson Scenic Loop is a recommended drive while on the much longer (440-mile) Cascade Loop. Cruise along scenic back roads and prepare to stop often as you’ll want to admire the many vineyards and cherry and apple orchards along the way. 7,000-foot mountain peaks towering over a shimmering Lake Chelan makes for quite the dramatic backdrop. Speaking of lakes, you will also see the beautiful Dry, Roses, and Wapato Lakes while driving the Manson Scenic Loop.
2) Explore Shops, Restaurants, and Wineries in Manson
With 17 artisan wineries (and 3 more coming Spring 2017), a micro-brewery, notable restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shops, there is no shortage of ways to spend a few days in Manson. We tried Wine Girl Wines at their tasting room in Leavenworth, so of course we had a get a bottle of their delicious Chardonnay to enjoy in Manson, where their winery is located. If wine isn’t your thing, check out the Lake Chelan Brewery or one of three cider houses. There is a wide array of dining options, encompassing everything from elegant to casual, including several walk-up/take-out/delivery options. No matter your culinary preferences, we’re confident you’ll discover something to enjoy!
We only dined out once during our time in Manson, and we picked a good one for sure! Blueberry Hills came highly recommended by tourism guides and locals alike, as was to be expected, we were beyond impressed with the eclectic atmosphere and huge portions. Much of the food is home-made from scratch and will ensure that you leave full and satisfied. Not only do they offer a farmhouse-style restaurant with a nice deck for scenic dining, they also have a 20+ acre (seasonal) u-pick blueberry farm with 16 different varieties of berries, in addition to a fruit stand and country gift shop. This family-owned-and-operated farm and restaurant should definitely be a stop on your visit to Manson.
4) Take a Helicopter Tour Over Lake Chelan
It’s one thing to see the village of Manson from lake-level; it’s a whole other experience to see it from above! We took to the skies with Lake Chelan Helicopters for a new perspective of the Lake Chelan Valley and couldn’t have been more pleased with the experience… or the views! Pilot Dale picked us up in the field adjacent to our accommodation and with the doors off, we took off! One of the owners from Mountain Valley Lodge, where we stayed during our time in Manson, joined us and helped point out some of the surrounding area’s most notable attributes.
The views were nothing short of spectacular! Fortunately we took flight on one of Manson’s 300 days of sunshine seen throughout the year, which made the turquoise waters of Lake Chelan that much more vibrant! It’s no wonder why in the summer months locals and visitors enjoy Lake Chelan activities such as jet-skiing, swimming, kayaking, sailing, and more! (Though not listed among our ‘Top 5’, another one of the top things to do in Manson WA is to actually get in and enjoy the lake. Cooler temperatures in early October prevented us from doing so ourselves, so we simply enjoyed the views from above!) Flying over the Chelan Mountains was a breathtaking sight, as we looked down upon the abundance of hiking trails meandering through the jagged peaks. It truly was an awesome experience you should try for yourself! With a variety a flight options, including Lake Chelan wine tours and flights to Leavenworth or Stehekin, we can guarantee something will tickle your fancy… well, unless you have a fear of flying!
Fun Fact: The name Chelan comes from the Salish Indian word tsi-laan, which means deep water. Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake in the US and the 28th deepest lake in the world!
For a look at our helicopter ride with Lake Chelan Helicopters, check out our video below!
5) Enjoy a Good Night’s Rest at Mountain View Lodge
For our one-night stay in Manson, we enjoyed a comfortable stay at Mountain View Lodge, a 31-room boutique-style hotel with all of the modern luxuries of a resort. Take a refreshing dip in their glistening pool or soak away your stresses in the delightfully warm hot tub. Grab a bottle of wine from a nearby winery (5 are within walking distance) and enjoy a glass or two around the inviting fire-pit, as you cook your meal on the community BBQ grills. Children and pets (dogs) are welcomed and encouraged, as Mountain View Lodge strives to be known as a family-friendly accommodation. Though we weren’t traveling with children or pets, we had no issues with this open-arms invitation. If you’re planning a visit to Manson as a large group, either rent multiple rooms at MVL or take advantage of one of their 3-bed/3-bath townhomes. Whether it’s just you or your entire family, you’ll love the relaxed feel at Mountain View Lodge.
So, while it may not receive the recognition and number of visitors as its more-easy-to-get-to neighbor (Chelan), Manson is only 7 miles further down the road and definitely warrants your visit! Lake Chelan has 50+ miles of shoreline, so we encourage you to avoid the crowds of Chelan and escape to the equally charming town of Manson, known as the Village on the Bay.
Fun Events & More Things to Do in Manson WA
With four seasons of recreation, there’s always plenty of things to do in Manson WA including, but certainly not limited to biking, hiking, golf, boating, water sports, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and paragliding. Enjoy Winterfest in January, the Apple Blossom Festival in May, and the Lake Chelan Crush (grape stomping) in October. We also hear their 4th of July festivities and Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays & Saturdays mid-June thru October) are pretty awesome as well! So as you can see, there are endless events and activities in which you can enjoy. Also taking into account its absolutely magnificent scenery, we hope you can now see why there truly is ‘More to Manson‘!
We’d like to thank Mountain View Lodge for hosting us during our stay in Manson. And a special thanks to Dale at Lake Chelan Helicopters for a scenic tour of the area! As always, our write-ups are an accurate reflection of the experiences we had.
For a complete look at our drive along the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway, check out our video: