If you’ve spent any time at all in Washington, then you’re surely familiar with the stunning winter scenery and mountain-town aesthetics of the state’s many cozy cities.
And yes, while Leavenworth is absolutely beautiful and very well deserving of its accolades, it’s not the only town out there that’s great to visit in the winter. There are plenty of great locales all over Eastern Washington that are perfect for a wintery, snowy vacation.
Eastern Washington experiences much colder weather on average than Western Washington, and with the added bonus of dry winds, plenty of precipitation and wide, open valleys, there’s a lot more snow. More snow means more recreation, more cozy winter towns and, of course, more great winter vacations!
Here are just a few of the great spots to visit around Eastern Washington this winter!
6 winter destinations to visit in Eastern WA
Driving into Winthrop is like driving in the wild, wild west — and it almost is, in a way.
Nestled in the heart of the Methow Valley along State Route 20, Winthrop is a tiny little town with enough character to be well worth the drive! It’s most unique feature, by far, is the Western-themed downtown area, with saloons, old-timey storefronts, rodeo pens and plenty of quaint restaurants and hotels to enjoy. The town itself is packed with history and historic buildings — it’s also where the nation’s first western novel was written, hence the strong western theme!
In the winter, this stunning little town surrounded by snow-capped mountains is transformed into one of the most peaceful destinations you could wish for in all the state!
Winthrop Washington on Instagram: "It's a winter wonderland in Winthrop, WA, with bluebird skies as the icing on the cake. 😌 🤩 The trails are groomed, and the snow is perfect. ☃️ . . . . #winthropwa #methowvalley #methowsnow #crosscountryskiing #wintergetaway #romanticgetaway #visitwa #scenicwa #cascadeloop"
57 likes, 1 comments - winthrop.washington on November 10, 2022: "It's a winter wonderland in Winthrop, WA, with bluebird skies as the icing on the cake. 😌 🤩..."
Right on the shores of stunning Lake Chelan, the town of Chelan has everything you’re looking for in a gorgeous mountain getaway. Take a boat ride on the lake, hike up to a peak, browse the local stores, sip on cocoa from a brewhouse or visit any one of the many wineries on the hillsides. It’s your adventure — so go try it out!
For a mountain-town-feel without any of the crowds, head to Chewelah in the north-eastern portion of the state.
Located just an hour north of Spokane in the foothills of the Colville National Forest, this little town is quiet, quaint and just minutes from all the winter recreation you could hope for. Just minutes away is 49° North Mountain Resort with all its ski and snowboard runs, Nordic trails, snowshoe trails and cozy mountain lodges you could want! The national forest also has some great off-road-vehicle trails that wind through the snowy, mountainous valleys and up to stunning viewpoints and lakes — perfect for snowshoeing, campfires, winter camping and tree-cutting!
Afterward, head inside to the local restaurants and breweries before heading back to Spokane or to a local mountain cabin!
Gary Peterson on Instagram: "Nothing like a little Skijoring to get the blood pumping in the morning! Chewelah Winterfest is happening today! Rail Jam at 3PM! @49degreesnorth #winterfest #washington #horses #skiing #skijoring"
668 likes, 8 comments - garypetersonphotography on February 4, 2023: "Nothing like a little Skijoring to get the blood pumping in the morning! Chewelah Winterfest is h..."
Probably the most out-of-the-way you can get is here in Republic — an Old-West-style town that’s known for its logging and mining heritage, as well as several well-known ranches.
Sure, it’s a bit of a trip to get out there, but the drive along State Route 20 is about as pretty as you can imagine — rolling hills surrounded by forested peaks, beautiful mountain passes, scenic viewpoints and more are made just that much prettier by the snowy blankets covering it all.
If you’re looking for a longer stay with some actual, bona-fide peace and quiet, then a ranch in the Republic area is by far the place to be!
Spokane is an amazing winter destination (and, to be honest, it’s great all year ‘round, too!).
Spokane winters are much snowier than winters on the West Side, thanks to the cold air funneled into the Spokane Valley from the foothills of the Idaho Rockies. With manicured parks scattered all over the city and stunning state parks along the Spokane River, this city is by far the best place to go for those dreamy snowy photos your social feed has been waiting for.
Right on the banks of the massive Spokane River Falls, downtown Spokane is packed with local businesses nestled in gorgeous historic buildings. Head to the outdoor ice ribbon at Riverfront Park or hop on a cable car ride over the river; grab a hot cocoa at one of the many coffee-shops-slash-gift-stores then pick up a souvenir from a local bookstore or art gallery. Finally, head to the Historic Davenport Hotel for an evening of opulence housed in the most beautiful hotel lobby you can imagine — in the winter, the second-floor indoor balcony is decorated to the nines with Christmas Trees from local businesses!
And if it couldn’t get any better, you’re also just 45 minutes from Mount Spokane State Park where you can ski, snowboard, snowshoe and cross-country ski to your heart’s content!
Visit Spokane | Fall in Love with Spokane 🍂 on Instagram: "Unwrap the heart of Spokane this holiday season by shopping local this Small Business Saturday. 🎄 Let our local boutiques and shops take center stage on your gift list this year.🌟 #LocalIsBetter #ShopLocal #ShopSmall"
189 likes, 3 comments - visitspokane on November 24, 2023: "Unwrap the heart of Spokane this holiday season by shopping local this Small Business Saturday. �..."
Walla Walla is an absolute gem tucked away in the southeastern corner of the state. And though it seems far away, it takes just as long to get there as it does to get to Spokane and the drive is just, well, phenomenal.
Walla Walla is best known for its high quality wine, with dozens of stunning vineyards all over the rolling plains of the Washington Palouse. Any one of the vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms are sure to keep you warm and cozy inside and the peaceful winter weather outside, and there’s just something about driving through utterly-quiet, snow-covered hills toward a festive wine-tasting that’s just *chef’s kiss*.
The town of Walla Walla itself is quaint, full of character and bursting with unique stores, great restaurants, craft breweries, cute Airbnbs and plenty of warm indoors entertainment to tide you over until your next wine tasting.
Here’s a glimpse into what you can experience in a Walla Walla winter!
Visit Walla Walla on Instagram: "This could be your first Santa sighting of the year, so don’t miss out! Always held on the first Saturday in December (that’s TODAY!) - the Downtown Walla Walla Annual Holiday Parade of Lights this year features over 100 lighted entries. Join the spectators, grab a warm beverage downtown, and herald in the season with this unforgettable and charming small-town holiday parade! Starts at 6:00pm - bundle up and we’ll see you there! :: :: :: #visitwallawalla @downtownwallawalla"
422 likes, 5 comments - visitwallawalla on December 3, 2022: "This could be your first Santa sighting of the year, so don’t miss out! Always held on the fir..."
Why not give these towns a try this upcoming winter? They make for a nice drive from our luxury Seattle apartments and you’ll experience some of the state’s best wintery locales. There’s plenty to do, plenty to see and plenty of people who would love to share their cozy towns with guests this season!
Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/jimdrinkwine