With lush, forested slopes and magnificent soaring peaks, the Cascade Mountains are one of North America’s natural treasures. They’re also a perfect place to find a charming Leavenworth vacation rental in a small town or forest when you want to get away from the bustle of modern life. Here are some of the best places to stay in the Wenatchee Valley.

1. Leavenworth, Washington

house rental with Christmas lights
Source: Flickr / Jon Vonica

It’s hard to find a more charming town than Leavenworth itself. This unusual village was designed in a classic Bavarian style that may make you forget that you’re still in the United States. Explore the numerous museums, and pick up some souvenirs at the small shops, many of which feature offerings from local farmers and artisans. Visit during October for a traditional but family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration, or stop in at Christmas to see the village transformed into a holiday wonderland. The nearby Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area also offers stunning hikes in a pristine wilderness area.

2. Cashmere, Washington

fresh apples at the farm

Located about 15 miles southeast of Leavenworth, Cashmere is primarily known for its plentiful apple orchards. During the fall, take the family out to a pick-your-own apple orchard for a bit of old-fashioned fun. Look for a vacation rental with a shed or garage so you can bring your bikes along, as Cashmere is near some of Washington’s best mountain biking trails. Devil’s Gulch and Mission Ridge Trails in Wenatchee National Forest are particular local favorites. However, they can be pretty strenuous, so they’re best for older kids with some mountain biking experience.

3. Coles Corner, Washington

viewing the sunset on a snowmobile

Conveniently located at the junction of Highway 2 and State Road 207, Coles Corner is a great jumping off point for wilderness adventures. Bring along snowshoes or cross-country skis during winter months, or rent a snowmobile for a more fast-paced adventure. During the summer, explore the numerous trails winding through the area, or fish in one of the countless lakes and rivers nearby. This quiet little town doesn’t have many amenities besides a quaint country diner, but it’s only 15 minutes away from Leavenworth, which offers better shopping opportunities.

4. Plain, Washington

man playing winter ski

Don’t let the name fool you. This village offers stunning views and a quaint country feel. Many of the vacation rentals in this area are cute wooden cabins or lodge-style homes. There aren’t many amenities in the town itself, but it’s a popular choice for skiers due to its close proximity to Stevens Pass Ski Area. During the summer, the ski area transforms into a family-friendly mountain bike park with trails suitable for all ages and skill levels.

5. Dryden, Washington

group of people inside a raft

Located between Leavenworth and Cashmere, Dryden is an old-fashioned logging and farming town that is shifting to accommodate an increasing number of out-of-town visitors. Located on the banks of the Wenatchee River, it’s a great spot if you’re into kayaking or whitewater rafting. Stroll over to the Take A Break Cafe to chat with locals and fill up on a hearty breakfast before heading out for the day. A small store is available for food and other essentials, but plan to drive into Leavenworth or Cashmere for any serious shopping.

6. Sunnyslope, Washington

fresh berries

Bordered by both the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers, Sunnyslope blends natural beauty and modern conveniences. This town is considered one of the most upscale areas in Chelan County. Plenty of local fruit stands are scattered throughout, so pick up some fresh blueberries or apples to keep in your vacation rental’s refrigerator as a quick and healthy snack. It’s also home to Ohme Gardens, a stunning botanical park. Sunnyslope even has some bus routes on the southern end of town, so pick a rental in that area if you prefer to use public transportation when possible.

7. Entiat, Washington

old bridge over the lake
Source: Flickr / cmh2315fl

Although it is about 40 minutes away from Leavenworth by car, Entiat’s charms may make the drive worth it. This small, close-knit town is located on Lake Entiat, a reservoir formed by the Rocky Reach Dam. Bring along your boat to take advantage of the city’s public boat launch, or find a vacation rental near the river if you want to take a stroll along the waterfront trail in the evening. Although shopping and dining opportunities are limited, you can pick up essentials and grab a bite to eat from locally owned establishments in Entiat’s small business district.

8. Wenatchee, Washington

blue lake and mountain
Source: Flickr / Jasperdo

Wenatchee is the bustling hub of the Leavenworth area. If you want easy access to shopping and a wide variety of dining choices, consider this area. Choose a vacation rental near the Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail to explore the city’s numerous parks. If you prefer to leave your car in the driveway, hitch a ride on the bus and trolley system when heading out for dinner. Shopping and dining options range from major chains to locally owned treasures.

9. Peshastin, Washington

houses viewed on top of the mountain
Source: Flickr / Pictoscribe

From Leavenworth, head about 4 miles southeast on Highway 2 to the pastoral town of Peshastin. This lush valley area is known for beautiful wildflowers, unusual rocky outcroppings, and excellent outdoor activities. Visit the local cafe or barbecue joint for a tasty meal, or stop at one of the local farm stores for fresh fruits, preserves and more. Peshastin’s location on the banks of the Wenatchee River also attracts many whitewater rafters and kayakers. Expect to find a mix of family-friendly events alongside the upscale wineries and galleries.