In Okanogan County, you’ll find pretty much everything, except hordes of people, traffic, long lines...

Share story

Ask anyone on the Eastern side of the Cascades and they’ll tell you there’s more to Washington state than rain and city skylines. In Okanogan County, you’ll find pretty much everything … except hordes of people, traffic, lines…you get it.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re one of those high-octane thrill junkies or high-brow art-types or Lycra-clad snow bunnies or Sorrel-wearing ice fisherfolk or just one of those guys who likes to race outhouses. Okanogan County’s got you covered.

Eclectic, eccentric, sunny and easier to reach than you think, winter on the East side of the North Cascades means clear skies, snowstorms measured in feet rather than inches, uncrowded parking lots, cowboy hats with ear flaps, lift operators who actually smile, and off-the-beaten-path destinations that somehow feel as if they’ve been waiting for you to get there.

Where else can you enjoy laughter and hot chocolate on a horse-driven sleigh, ride fat-tired bikes in the snow, run into deer while shopping, or just unplug and breathe deep and fall in love with winter — iconic and beautiful and just the way it should be.

Bring the family

There is just something about winter that makes it almost impossible not to have fun — which is a huge benefit to parents trying to find something to make every family member happy! From ice skating under the stars, to downhill skiing, tubing, browsing through bookstores, singing Christmas carols on a sleigh ride, stepping into a pair of cross-country skis, or eating dinner in a restaurant where the server, the patrons and, yep, even the chef wear Sorrels — you’ll find that Okanogan Country has you covered.

Creature comforts

The powder might be the finest in the upper left of the U.S. and the hunting or snowshoes might change your life, however, let’s not mince words: It’s cold out there. Fortunately for you, my friends, that chill is temporary. Dappled throughout all four regions of Okanogan Country, you’ll find safe havens of warmth — cozy beds, hot tubs, crackling fireplaces and piping-hot, fresh-baked croissants, steaming mugs of locally roasted coffee or a comforting craft cocktail to set the mood for the night.

Sun Mountain Lodge Winter
Sun Mountain Lodge Winter

Activities galore

Ask someone who lives here about winter and you can pretty much count on getting a story about how cold and snowy it can be on the eastern slope of the Cascades. But keep the conversation going a little longer and you’ll start to notice that winter is also the time of year when our calendars fill with socializing — the kind of activities that just don’t fit into the hustle and bustle of summer.

Winthrop’s annual “Christmas at the End of the Road” fireworks display (held over Thanksgiving weekend), kicks off the season, followed by Conconully’s legendary (and hilarious) Outhouse Races, Methow Trails’ Nordic Fest with its opportunity to  show off your dog and/or your Scandinavian roots.

You’ll also find a seemingly unending series of concerts, gallery openings, wine or craft beer tastings, regional theater productions, music in the pubs, gift bazaars, ski swaps and other opportunities to rub shoulders with the locals.

The Okanogan Country culture

There is something almost ineffable about the character of the characters in this part of the state. The folks in Okanogan Country are rugged, tough and committed to living out every second of the day. The culture values place and experience over the hum-drum, 9-5 workday mentality. They need less home (but more garage because you can never have too much recreation gear), and more wide-open space. Less waiting in line and more blazing trails. Less TV and more art. Less media and more social. In Okanogan Country, if someone smiles at you, they really mean it. They do things a little differently, and that’s okay. Give in to the experience. Live it up.

Fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, horseback riding – we could go on all day. You will find wide-open spaces teeming with wildlife, spectacular scenery and family fun. Let us help you plan your best family vacation ever with our Online Travel Planner.