Leavenworth is a magical Bavarian-styled town that feels more like a European village than a destination in the Pacific Northwest. But surprisingly enough, it’s just a few hours outside of Seattle! With Alpine-style shops and restaurants lining the streets, horse-drawn sleighs wandering around the town, and breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains, this cozy town has become one of Washington’s top attractions.
Along with its charming downtown village, Leavenworth is also home to tons of stunning hikes, outdoor activities, and numerous wineries. With so much to see and do, renting a camper van is the perfect way to make the most out of a weekend in Leavenworth!
Getting to Leavenworth: Distance and Estimated Travel Time
The quickest way to get to Leavenworth is from the Seattle Escape Camper Vans hub. After picking up your campervan, drive approximately 129 miles to Leavenworth. It will take you about 2 hours and 20 minutes, which makes this the perfect weekend getaway from Seattle.
For a longer road trip, you can also begin your adventure from the Portland Escape Camper Vans hub. From Portland to Leavenworth, you will have to drive about 272 miles which will take about 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Why Rent a Campervan for a Trip to Leavenworth?
With Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and Lake Wenatchee State Park nearby, Leavenworth is heaven for campers! A camper van provides unparalleled flexibility, comfort, and convenience while exploring this area.
Benefits of Renting a Campervan vs. an RV
While an RV provides some of the same comforts as a camper van, it also has limitations, such as where it can be parked. Renting a camper van allows users to enjoy the perks of an RV with none of the stress!
Here are a few benefits of renting a camper van:
Compact: With its smaller design, navigating Washington’s mountainous roads in a camper van is much easier than in an RV.
More Mobile: Camper vans provide users with the freedom to get off the beaten path and explore places RVs can’t.
No Hookups Required: Escape’s campervans do not require electricity or sewer hookups like RVs, so you can camp more freely in campgrounds and dispersed camping areas.
Adventure-Ready: Escape Campervan’s vehicles are thoughtfully designed for adventure seekers and equipped with everything you need to embark on an epic road trip!
Which Campervan is Best for a Trip to Leavenworth?
Escape Camper Vans offers a range of rental options to match your travel needs, group size, and destination. From both the Seattle and Portland pickup locations, you can choose between the Mavericks, Mesa, and Del Mar van models. These models all sleep up to 5 people (with a rooftop sleeper) and come equipped with solar panels, a kitchenette, and a queen-size bed.
Browse our selection of vans to find the perfect model for your weekend in Leavenworth!
When is the Best Time to Visit Leavenworth?
Leavenworth is open year-round and has plenty of activities to do in each season. That being said, summer and winter are definitely the most popular times to visit.
Before planning your trip to Leavenworth, here are some seasonal differences to consider.
Spring: March to May are rainy months in Leavenworth, which makes early spring the least busy time to visit. Pack a raincoat and you can still experience lots of outdoor hikes and activities without the crowds. You’ll also get the opportunity to see beautiful blooming wildflowers at this time.
Summer: Visiting Leavenworth in the summer provides visitors with warm, dry weather and unlimited options for outdoor activities. Visitors flock to Leavenworth in the summer, making it the peak tourist season here.
Fall: Thanks to the annual Oktoberfest, visitors can experience a taste of this German tradition in Leavenworth each fall. At this time, the leaves start to change colors as well which is why many people like to visit in October. On the other hand, November is Leavenworth’s rainiest month, and it’s also the cheapest month to visit.
Winter: Winter is the most magical time to visit Leavenworth as it looks like a cozy town out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. There are also many winter activities and festivals at this time. However, you will need to prepare carefully for a winter road trip. Check out this article for some extra tips!
Preparing for a Trip to Leavenworth
In order to fully enjoy your weekend in Leavenworth, some preparation is necessary. With these tips, you’ll be able to maximize your time and have a stress-free trip!
Seasonal Clothing: For a spring or fall trip to Leavenworth, pack your rain gear! In the winter, you’ll want to bring a warm coat, gloves, hats, scarves, and depending on your plans, snow pants too.
Layers: Regardless of what season you visit Leavenworth in, you’ll want to bring layers. Even in the summer when the temperature reaches almost 90°F, it can cool off to nearly 50°F at night.
An Extra Sleeping Bag: Escape Camper Vans offers a winter bedding upgrade to help keep you warm through the night. However, for extra comfort, you can bring a sleeping bag or even a heated blanket!
Food & Water: With each campervan’s well-equipped kitchen and the optional kitchen kit, you can cook with ease and enjoy meals right from your van! During a winter trip, we recommend you stock up on hot chocolate, soup, and other warm food and beverages.
Campsites in Leavenworth
Leavenworth is one of Washington’s most beloved camping destinations, and there are plenty of campgrounds here. However, they tend to book up quickly and stay packed from late spring to early fall.
Luckily, a camper van makes dispersed camping easy. This means you can camp for free on federal and BLM land. Download these apps to find free camping spots.
Phones & Chargers: A fully charged phone is an essential road trip tool, so don’t forget a car charger and portable chargers. Additionally, we recommend that you pack an AUX cord so you can listen to your favorite road trip playlist while driving.
Maps: Before hitting the road, download the Google Maps route for offline viewing. It’s also important to have a printed map just in case you lose service along the way.
Sights and Activities in Leavenworth
Leavenworth is a year-round destination known for its natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and charming town. Here are the top sights and activities you won’t want to miss during your weekend in Leavenworth!
Hike the Colchuck Lake Trail
Located in the Enchantments, this turquoise alpine lake beautifully reflects the surrounding mountains. While the 8-mile round-trip hike to the lake is challenging, the incredible views make it completely worthwhile.
Full of cute boutiques, restaurants serving up German cuisine, and even its own Nutcracker Museum, you can easily spend a day walking around this charming village. Or, if you prefer not to walk, you can take a sleigh ride around the town.
From Thanksgiving to the end of February, the village is lit up with miles of Christmas lights. With carolers, Santa sightings, a Christmas market, and the nearby Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, this is the perfect place to experience the magic of Christmas.
If you’ve always dreamed of attending Oktoberfest but haven’t made it to Munich yet, don’t fret. During the first three weekends of October, you can enjoy endless pints of cold beer and pretzels galore, all from Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest!
With over 20 wineries in the area, Leavenworth is an excellent place for wine lovers to indulge. Since many of the wineries are located in the downtown area, you can easily visit several tasting rooms while in town.
Camping in Leavenworth
With numerous campgrounds in and around Leavenworth, visitors have the option to reserve some campsites in advance while others are first come first served. Most campgrounds in Leavenworth are full from April to mid-October. So, if you’re visiting during this time, make sure to plan ahead and arrive early for first come first served spots!
Remember- dispersed camping areas can also be found around Leavenworth using these apps.
Where to Camp in Leavenworth
Leavenworth / Pine Village KOA: Just minutes from downtown Leavenworth, this campground is close to all of the action. Therefore, it books up quickly, especially during the summer and for festivals, like Oktoberfest. Please note that camper vans must reserve an RV spot here or they are subject to an additional fee of $50 per night for parking at a tent site.
Stuart Lake Trailhead:The trailhead that provides access to both the Stuart Lake Trail and the Colchuck Lake Trail is a popular camping spot near Leavenworth. From May 15 to October 31, you will need an overnight permit to camp here. There is an annual permit lottery for these spots, and any remaining spots can be reserved online. This area is closed during the winter.
Eightmile Campground:Located on Icicle Road about 8 miles from Leavenworth, this campsite is perfectly nestled in the forest. It offers 45 non-electric sites, and it’s open from May until mid-October.
The Cove Resort at Fish Lake: A 20-minute drive from the village of Leavenworth, the Cove Resort has 110 campsites, including 20 sites with electric and water hookups. All camping is first come first served, and spots start at $25 per night.
Lake Wenatchee State Park:Also 20 minutes outside of Leavenworth, this state park provides 155 campsites, including 42 sites with electric and water hookups. The park is divided into the South Park and the North Park. The South Park is open year-round and has a winter camping area. However, sites in the North Park are only open from mid-April to mid-October.
Johnny Creek Campground: This first come first served campground is situated 12 miles from Leavenworth and offers 65 campsites. It is open from mid-April to mid-October.
Leave No Trace Principles
While camping around Leavenworth, it’s important to respect nature and follow the Leave No Trace Principles. This means you should always be sure to properly dispose of waste and pack all of your belongings into your camper van when leaving a campsite.
As Leavenworth is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains and near several national forests, the area is home to lots of wildlife.
There have been occasional sightings of black bears, bobcats, wolverines, and coyotes in Leavenworth. Campers should be aware of these animals and take precautions, especially when storing food.
Visitors are likely to see animals like shrews, hares, beavers, squirrels, deer, mountain goats, and birds around Leavenworth. If you do run into any of these creatures, make sure to give them space and never feed them.
Reserve with Escape Camper Vans for Your Trip to Leavenworth
There’s no better way to experience a weekend in Leavenworth than in a camper van! Renting a campervan from Escape Camper Vans makes camping comfortable and convenient while also providing the mobility to explore freely.
Pick up your campervan from the Seattle or Portland Escape Camper Vans locations to start your journey to Leavenworth.