Who can resist the charm of a Bavarian village nestled in the heart of Washington’s Cascades in Wenatchee National Forest? Not us! Leavenworth, WA makes our list of Best Ski Towns for its year-round recreation, sunny weather, and all-round adorableness (that’s an important criteria, right?!). Parents will appreciate the area’s many wineries and distilleries, and kids will love the town’s many seasonal festivals!
Where to ski: Leavenworth plays host to both Mission Ridge and Steven’s Pass ski resorts Mission Ridge is less pricey, but kids will find more programs and runs geared to them at Steven’s Pass. Nordic skiing and tubing is also available at the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club, where you can get an all-day skiing and tubing pass for $22 and under!
Where to stay: We stayed at the Bavarian Lodge, located right in the heart of the village and within 30 minutes of all ski resorts and outdoor recreation. Rooms are spacious with kitchenettes for families, and the hotel is within walking distance of all Leavenworth has to offer. But it’s their complimentary breakfast that puts the Bavarian over the top: there are no store-bought danishes and tired boxed cereal here…instead you’ll find homemade scones, sticky buns, Starbucks coffee, and house-made granola to start your day (and save you a buck or two)!
Where to eat: You can’t travel to a Bavarian village without visiting a beer garden, right? der Hinterhof is family-friendly with simple, unassuming food, live music, and a festive beer garden. It’s especially fun to visit in nice weather (or summer), when they open the outdoor garden and hand out sidewalk chalk to the kids. Families also shouldn’t miss The Gingerbread Factory, where kids can sample this old European treat (and the smell inside is divine!). (You can get lunch packed to go, here, as well!)
What to do when not on the slopes: Leavenworth is ideally located on national forest land near scenic Lake Wenatchee, providing many recreational opportunities any time of year. Hike and bike in the summer, and sled and snowshoe in the winter. Kids and adults will also like Leavenworth’s Bavarian-themed shops in the village (look for wagon rides in summer and sleigh rides in winter).
How to get here: Leavenworth is located on Washington’s Highway 2, two hours from Seattle. From Seattle, take I-5 to I-405 near Everett, then Exit 23 to Hwy 2. From Spokane, take I-90 to Ellensburg, then Highway 97 to Leavenworth.