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Suncadia Resort – Luxury Resort a Short Drive from Puget Sound, Ideal for Relaxation & Outdoor Adventures!

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Suncadia is a beautiful Northwest destination perfect for families! Check out this travel guide for where to stay, eat & play at Suncadia with kids + ways to save on your stay!

Suncadia Resort Travel Guide & Ways to SaveSuncadia Resort

Suncadia Resort is a gorgeous resort area located in the foothills of the Eastern Cascades on the outskirts of Roslyn & Cle Elum, WA.  The proximity of the resort to the Puget Sound area is close – just an hour to an hour and a half from Seattle. Yet you feel like you’re transported away to a relaxing mountain retreat when you head to Suncadia and its breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains & Cle Elum river valley. I’ve been hearing great things about Suncadia for awhile, but had no idea all that it had to offer around the resort as well as the surrounding areas.

What I appreciated about Suncadia is that you could never leave the property & get your fill of both relaxation around the resort & gorgeous outdoor activities.  I could have spent a week there & felt like there was plenty to explore both on site & off. Plus their customer service exceeded our expectations with everyone we encountered at the hotel and restaurants.

View from Suncadia Lodge of Cascade Mountains

View from Suncadia Lodge overlooking the Cascades & Cle Elum River down in the valley

The Suncadia Resort is part of the larger Suncadia community, which features vacation homes, condos, & both the Suncadia Lodge & Inn at Suncadia. The benefits to being part of this larger community  meant they had more amenities and restaurant options available within minutes of each other. The community encompasses over 6,000 acres, plenty to explore, especially with all the wildlife in the area.  You could take the shuttle bus to any of the locations (we didn’t realize this till we were leaving, but now know for next time!). The size of the community meant that there was an abundance of walking & bike trails all inter-connected, making for an awesome family bicycling trip and a multitude of directions to let our girls explore. For those who love to golf, there are 2 challenging courses which wind all around the community with breathtaking views.

Our Visit to Suncadia Lodge::

We headed to Suncadia Lodge on a Thursday evening from the Tacoma area & arrived in less than an hour and a half, which made for a convenient & quick location to head to for the weekend after a busy day. Suncadia offers hotel style rooms as well as 1 and 2 bedroom suites. We stayed in the 1 bedroom suite & we found these suites were ideal for families, as they are very spacious (870 sq feet) with large kitchens and amenities such as refrigerators, dishwasher, oven & keurig to name a few. The bathrooms offered both a shower & tub and the living room had a fireplace, perfect for snowy winters.  The 2 bedroom suites are 1,325 sq feet, making them a great option for larger families or several small families to stay together & split costs, as it sleeps up to 8 with 2 bathrooms & bedrooms, plus kitchen & dining area. Save money by eating some meals in your suite  and then saving some meals to splurge at your favorite restaurants or trying a new activity.

On Friday, we decided to split our time between the resort and the surrounding area. We headed to Roslyn first, known only to us as the filming location for Northern Exposure. Roslyn was a small, quaint historic town, previously a coal mining settlement in the 1800’s. It’s just a few minutes away from Suncadia, with landmarks famous from Northern Exposure, as well as some good restaurants and a few shops to check out, too. There’s also a small movie theater showing 1 movie at a time for entertainment.  You’ll want to call ahead as it did look like some of the shops or restaurants may be open seasonally.

Roslyn Cafe

Of course we had to take our picture in front of the iconic sign on the Roslyn Cafe, made famous by Northern Exposure. The cafe was just as cool inside, with eclectic decor and a very casual & comfortable feel to it. Our breakfast food was great with generous portions and I’d definitely come back for lunch/dinner  (Mushroom & Brie burger, Bacon Blue Burger with bacon & gorgonzola cheese, crispy parmesan fries & more). Our girls loved this kid-friendly cafe, especially the bookshelf filled with activities for kids (they discovered Where’s Waldo books for the first time). Kids’ meals were more pricey at $8.75/ meal.

Maggie's Pantry - An Organic Grocery Store, Cafe & Ice Cream Shop in Roslyn WA

I discovered a little gem of a place just down the street at Maggie’s Pantry,  part grocery store, cafe, and ice cream shop. They carried organic food & home products, fresh produce, and yummy homemade goodies. Their ice cream was amazing (we came back after our hike just for the ice cream!). This is a great place to check out if you’re in need of organic or more specialty items while staying at Suncadia. {There is a small grocery store a few stores down with necessities, as well as a Safeway store in Cle Elum 10 minutes away if you’re needing groceries or supplies.}

Cle Elum Lake near Roslyn

Cle Elum Lake 

After exploring Roslyn,  we headed off on an adventure to find a mountain lake we’d learned about.  Not only did we find a cool alpine lake,  but we found some gorgeous spots along the drive. Our route followed the Cle Elum Lake & then the Cle Elum river, with many picturesque picnic spots along the river and the lake – nice for a romantic outing or a chance for the whole family to cool off in the summer.

Cooper Lake near Roslyn and Cle Elum

Cooper Lake

Cooper Lake was the alpine lake we found, with a boat ramp for those with a kayak or canoe, but no motorized boats allowed, keeping it so serene and quiet. There were only a few people around the lake, but it might be a more popular spot come summertime, as a great place to cool off (possibly even float on inner tubes) & check out the trails leading around the lake.   Year-round fishing also seems to be popular from this lake. If you prefer more of a trek to get to the beauty, there were trails that led up to higher alpine lakes & wilderness areas in the Cascades.

Bicycle Path around Suncadia Resort

Loved the wide paths throughout Suncadia – perfect for biking, walking or jogging

After our adventure in hiking, we headed back to Suncadia for a family bike ride.  Armed with a map of the Suncadia community, we had checked out the various bike trails, which wound near the two golf courses, as well as all around the grounds.  It was definitely one of the highlights of our time at Suncadia, just to experience the beauty of this community. If you’re not interested in bicycling, these were also nice walking or jogging paths as well.

Another option is to head down to the Cle Elum river from the  1,000 steps that launch from the backside of Suncadia lodge or take other pathways down. There are picnic benches along the river when you get to the bottom to sit & enjoy the river.

A favorite activity of our girls at Suncadia was visiting the Swim & Fitness Center. The most popular spot for the kids are the two waterslides that are open Friday evenings thru Sundays. I was surprised to find they were completely in the dark, which kids seemed to love even more for the extra thrill.

Wildlife around Suncadia Resort

Wildlife around Suncadia

We adults were more impressed with the hot tubs, perfect for relaxing after a busy day.  The outdoor hot tub was a favorite of ours with the gorgeous views of the mountains.  We discovered that the wildlife around Suncadia are not very shy as 3-4 deer came up to the gate of the hot tub to graze and stayed eating at a nearby bush for a good 20 minutes, giving us ample time for pictures from afar. On a future trip to Suncadia, I hope to see the herds of elk that live nearby.

Smores around the Campfire at Suncadia

Weekends at Suncadia Lodge in the summertime mean S’mores around the campfire and Suncadia definitely had all the fixins for guests to enjoy an evening around the large bonfire. This may only happen seasonally, so you may want to call ahead to the hotel to ask before you head over in case you need to bring your own supplies).

As I mentioned, there were so many activities around Suncadia, that we only skimmed the surface of all there was to do (see our resource lists below for more activities during the summertime). However, the hands down favorite activity for our family, was heading out on a horseback riding adventure. It was the first time my girls have been on a trail ride so they loved every aspect of riding the horses, while my husband and I found this was the perfect way to explore the forest and views around this area while enjoying the amazing displays of at least 10 varieties of wildflowers throughout the meadows & forest in vivid colors of orange, yellow & lavender. Our trail guide said typically April – early June are the best times to see the wildflowers (although that will vary with the weather every year).

Horseback riding near Suncadia with Three Peaks Outfitters

We found Three Peaks Outfitters from the Suncadia website & couldn’t have been more pleased with the whole experience. Our trail guide was very knowledgeable, sweet with our girls & very skilled with the horses (she led my younger daughter’s horse the whole trail ride with a lead rope). The location was just outside of the road to Suncadia 5 minutes away. The trails were all right in the heart of the Cle Elum river valley, which made for an interesting & scenic ride up & down a little valley as well as some views along a ridge, but still very safe for the kids.  You will want to check with the company if you have younger kids as typically, they offer rides for kids ages 8 & up, but if you call & talk to them, you may find a younger child may be able to go on a lead rope depending on their experience with horses.

Dining:

Within Suncadia Community::

There are several restaurants available right on the grounds of the Suncadia property which are not only very convenient (especially if you take the shuttle), but are also top-notch restaurants that you’ll want to put on your list.

Swiftwater Cellars Restaurant at Suncadia

Swiftwater Cellars  – Before we headed to Suncadia, I asked readers & friends for tips on what to see & do and the number one tip I heard was to visit the Swiftwater Cellars Winery. So, we headed there for dinner on a Friday evening in their restaurant.  This restaurant did not disappoint – this is a must-visit place whether you’re staying at Suncadia or just driving through the area. The fresh Northwest cuisine was delicious with quite the variety of  choices on the menu (several items use Beecher’s Cheese too!), but the main reason we loved it was the location itself, with a fun & festive ambiance and the unique history of the winery & restaurant. The winery & restaurant sit atop a coal mine and you can see entrances to the mine at several spots around the winery, with a metal gate in front to peer inside. It’s the ideal spot for a summer evening with friends or family with their large deck  overlooking the golf course, that has comfy, oversize chairs surrounding several fire pits. On weekend nights, you’ll often find live music and dancing. Swiftwater offers specialty wines from some of the best Northwest vineyards as well. This was definitely our favorite dining spot at Suncadia, but it is one of their pricier locations for dinner, so just keep that in mind when planning your meals as it’s definitely a splurge type of restaurant.

Portals Restaurant – Not only was the food very fresh & flavorful at Portals restaurant, it definitely has the best views from Suncadia, with the ideal location at the end of the Suncadia Lodge, so guests can look out over the Cascade mountains & Cle Elum river. This was a very convenient option for families if you’re just wanting to relax around the resort, while taking in all the magnificent views as they serve all of the meals there. This restaurant is also a splurge restaurant, but well worth it for the convenience as well as the views & delicious food.

Canary Lounge– The Canary restaurant is a seasonal restaurant overlooking the golf course that opens in mid-May for the summer season. This is a nice option for more casual & affordable dinner fare such as burgers, sandwiches & salads.

Coal House Caffe – This is a little gift shop / cafe with pre-made sandwiches & salads in the lobby of the Lodge. It’s a nice option for a picnic lunch or a light meal in your room or relaxing in the lobby.

The Stove House – this is a new spot they have added to the Inn at Suncadia.

Food Trucks are now available seasonally too!

Around the Area:

Both Roslyn & Cle Elum are close to Suncadia if you want to head out for a meal in town. Just a little further up the road at the Lake Easton exit, you’ll find the Mountain High Hamburger stand. It was not only very affordable for lunch or dinner, but they have delicious milkshakes in a variety of flavors. If you’re headed the other direction, there are quite a few restaurants in Cle Elum and I’ve heard great things about Mama Vallone’s Italian restaurant in a quaint, restored boarding house.

Activities around the Resort:

Swim & Fitness Center: 

Swim & Fitness Center Pools at Suncadia

The outdoor pool & spa at the Swim & Fitness Center, plus the outside of the big slides (these are indoors though!)

At the Suncadia Lodge, there is an outdoor pool (opens Memorial Weekend) as well as an outdoor hot tub. Then you can head just a short walking distance away to the Swim & Fitness center.  Inside the center was an indoor pool, indoor hot tub, the 2 indoor waterslides, as well as an outdoor pool (to open Memorial weekend) and an outdoor hot tub. There’s a complete fitness center upstairs as well as exercise class rooms for the various classes they offer during the week. Even the locker rooms were impressive with swimsuit spinners, digital lockers & plenty of areas to primp after your swim or workout.

Outdoor Activities:

In addition to the biking and hiking/walking trails I talked about earlier, there are also river rafting options in the summer along the Cle Elum river. Fly fishing is also a popular activity and they even offer guided tours or classes to teach kids & adults proper techniques if you want to learn this sport.

Golf is a very popular activity at Suncadia with its two courses (open seasonally) and 54 holes overlooking the beautiful Cascade mountains & foothills, as well as the Cle Elum river valley, meadows & forests.

The Glade Springs Spa is a full-service mountain spa retreat which not only offers typical spa services, but also hot, outdoor, mineral baths of varying temperatures for spa guests to enjoy. {Watch for specials on spa services on their Facebook page where I found mini treatments you could try out at a reduced rate or just call the Spa office to ask about specials as they do sometimes offer specials on the mineral baths as well.}

You could rent bikes from Suncadia Rentals which we did for myself and my husband ($15/hr or $40/day) as well as small boats & paddleboards for the pond & more. Teens would enjoy renting motorized scooters to jet around Suncadia. As you can see, plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy.

Make sure to check out the monthly activity guide you’ll find online or in your room for all the variety of options they offer for tours, classes & many more recreation activities.  My only feedback for Suncadia is to make it easier to find out about all the activities & how to get around the resort. We found the Activity Guide helpful and we did get a map from the concierge, but still found that it was a bit overwhelming with the size of the resort and could have used more general information to make it easier to find out all they had to offer since there really is so much to see & do.

Activities Beyond the Resort:

There are countless trails and hikes that are just a short distance from Suncadia & Roslyn deeper into the Cascades if you want to venture out for more solitude & views of the area. There is the Coal Mines Trail that travels from Cle Elum to Roslyn & thru to the tiny town of Ronald, which you can walk or bike (or snowshoe in the winter) for a historic route that offers glimpses into the coal mining trade along the path.

Make sure to check out this extensive resource of hikes all around the Cle Elum & Roslyn areas as well. You’re sure to find a hike that will fit your family’s needs as there are so many areas to explore in the foothills & valley as well as into the Cascades.

Owens Meats in Cle Elum

One other location to mention is Owen’s Meats in Cle Elum, which has been around since 1887. This was another recommendation from many readers (including a few of you that said you’ll travel from the West Side just for this meat store) and it did not disappoint. Specialty meat & jerky, a wide variety of their own special seasonings and sauces, as well as delicious homemade baked good mixes were just a few of the items we loved.

A few day trip ideas from Suncadia::

  • Head to Leavenworth, an adorable Bavarian village filled with shops & delicious restaurants. It’s located around an hour away. Along the highway there, you’ll also find some local fruit stands that are definitely worth checking out in the summer months for fresh, local produce,
  • Visit the Gingko Petrified Wood Forest in Vantage, WA – This is a little over an hour away down I-90 & is considered one of the most unusual fossil forests around.

Ways to Save While at Suncadia::

-Watch for deals on Living Social or Groupon – there are occasional deals for Suncadia on Groupon or Living Social, which is a great way to save on lodging rates.

-Stay during a weekday instead of on the weekend – the price difference between weekday visits as compared to weekends can be significant, especially in the summer, so if you have the flexibility, this is a great way to save on your visit to Suncadia

-Consider staying in a suite to save on some meal costs – If you stay in one of the suites, these are more costly upfront, but calculate how much you might spend on meals if you’re staying in the hotel rooms and you might find that you will save more by staying in a suite & bringing some of your own food for meals. We find that when we stay in suites with kitchens that we can save more on food by bringing some of our own food such as breakfast foods, lunches (we love to make sandwiches & bring along fruit & snacks to have picnics at one of our outdoor hiking spots), and snack foods. We still budget in several splurge meals and/or activities, but having a few meals in the room can save for those extras.

-Split the cost of a 2 bedroom suite with another family if you have a family of 4 or less as they sleep up to 8. You’ll have a memorable trip together as families and be able to help to not only split the cost of the room, but also share costs for meals in the room.

-Tons of outdoor fun that doesn’t cost a penny! Bring your bikes and hiking boots to explore all of the trails around the resort as well as the trails going down to the river (& beyond the resort area). There’s also swimming, fishing, games, playgrounds for kids & more. {This doesn’t even touch on all the awesome winter activities available at Suncadia, but these are just a few of the fall, spring & summer activities.}

We’d love to hear your favorite tips for visiting Suncadia! Do you have any favorite activities or places to go that we’ve missed? What is your favorite thing to do while staying at the resort?

Suncadia Resort Destinations

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2 Comments

  1. True story — my friend’s mom used to own the Rosalyn cafe and had that mural painted on the side of the building. That camel was one that she sponsored monthly that live in California (kinda like a child in Africa). I can’t remember the name of the camel now but we spent her 40th birthday weekend in Rosalyn and took our picture in front of the cafe and stayed in Suncadia. It was my first time. Fantastic place!

    1. Now that is a cool story, Kate! Love hearing the history behind it! We loved the Cafe -they had those cool big fans along one side of the wall near the ceiling that they turned on for our girls, which actually worked well to get air circulating, but also just contributed to the charm of the cafe. Glad you had fun at Suncadia – what a great place for a girls weekend!

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