By Shelby Deering | Photo courtesy Three Bears Resort

Everyone’s definition of relaxing varies. For some travelers, relaxation is represented in the truest sense of the word, choosing spa treatments and quiet nature hikes over hustle and bustle. For others, it means non-stop family fun. No matter what you prefer, Wisconsin has you covered with these seven resorts.


As the “Bluegill Capital of Wisconsin,” it should come as no surprise that you’ll find outdoorsy, rustic lodging in Birchwood. Nestled up north near the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest between Hayward and Manitowish Waters, Stout’s Island Lodge resides on a 12-acre island in Red Cedar Lake that’s only accessible by ferry.

Since 1903, this resort has felt as if it’s worlds away from daily life. For the entire rustic experience, stay in a gorgeous room punctuated with Northwoods-inspired accents. Sit next to the wood-burning fireplace and have dinner in the Main Lodge. Take a canoe for a paddle, available in the boathouse. Do some fishing. Join in the nightly bonfire. Sign up for the Elco Boat Lake Cruise to really soak up your surroundings. Then go off- island to learn about the region through the Birchwood Area Historical Museum and Log Museum, filled with local logging memorabilia.


Tucked away in Green Lake – a town 90 minutes from Green Bay that boasts the title of “the oldest resort town west of Niagara Falls” – the Heidel House was originally built in 1890 as a private estate. It closed in 2019, but in early 2021, its doors were reopened. With 115 rooms, this lakeside locale has been reinvigorated with updated, modern furnishings along with the freshened-up Evensong Spa. Get your fill at the resort’s two on-site restaurants and soak up the local surroundings with your sweetheart, sampling wine at the nearby Vines & Rushes Winery, catching a show at the historic Thrasher Opera House or playing a game of golf together at Tuscumbia Country Club. Then there are those stunning lake views that also create a romantic atmosphere.


Wisconsin Dells won’t have a shortage of exciting activities anytime soon, but if you’re looking for a place where you can discover a whole “mountain” of fun all in one place, look no further than Mt. Olympus for your family vacation. Roller coasters? They’ve got ’em. Go-Karts? Yup! Waterslides? Wave pools? Indoor mini golf ? A rock-climbing wall? It’s all here. With a whopping 1,600 Grecian-themed rooms, it’s an all-inclusive resort that has all the diversions the Dells is best-known for. Keep the adrenaline going with off-site entertainment, like Bigfoot Zipline Tours and Knuckleheads Trampoline park. Grab a milkshake and a burger at B-Lux Grill & Bar, and if the big kids want some fun of their own, visit Asgard’s Underworld Arcade Bar for unlimited old-school games like Frogger and Donkey Kong.


Perhaps you’re interested in the quieter side of the Wisconsin Dells. In this case, book a stay with your partner or friends at Sundara Inn & Spa, considered to be one of the best spas in the country. With its aromatic pine forest, heated outdoor pools and gourmet cuisine, it offers a chance to appreciate nature while getting some much-needed R&R. From spa-inspired suites to entire villas, you can book a day or two of restful treatments, like facials, massages or salt treatment room therapy. Plus take advantage of the amenities, such as complementary wellness and fitness classes or a round at the adjoining Wild Rock golf course. Discover other quiet settings throughout the Dells as well. Rent a kayak to explore the Wisconsin River. Breathe in soothing scents at New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm. Top it off with a hike in Mirror Lake State Park.


Dotted with its famous cranberry bogs, Warrens — located less than an hour from La Crosse — is home to what’s arguably the most famous cranberry festival in the world. It’s also where you’ll find accommodations that your kids are guaranteed to adore: Three Bears Resort. Punctuated with timbers and other Wisconsin-centric décor, the resort has it all: an indoor waterpark filled with activity pools and a lazy river, an outdoor waterpark brimming with slides, along with five restaurants that range from stick-to-your-ribs meals to pizza to snacks, mini golf, a gift shop, an arcade and even a laser maze. Along with September’s Cranberry Festival, you and your family can head out for marsh tours or to savor other local fruits and veggies at Moseley Roadside Market and its accompanying u-pick farm.


If fishing is at the very top of your list of favorite hobbies, you’ve likely been, or at least seen, Hayward’s well-known statue of the World’s Largest Muskie. Hayward is also home to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Down the road, you’ll find another destination made for fishing enthusiasts. Angler’s Haven Resort, located on Lac Courte Oreilles, is certainly a haven for fishing and more. Outfitted with charming, remodeled cabins, this resort is Northwoods Wisconsin at its finest, with a snug lodge that serves up pub grub and ice-cream drinks and a shoreline teeming with walleye, panfish, and, of course, muskie. The area also features several classic supper clubs — such as The Ranch Supper Club — and woodsy- themed activities, like Lumberjack Village Mini Golf and Fred Scheerʼs Lumberjack Shows (open through September) and Village.


Whether you’re after some self-care or looking for a perfect spot for a getaway with friends, you can’t go wrong with The American Club in Kohler. Once living quarters for Kohler Company employees, this brick-clad architectural beauty was built in 1918 and now holds the coveted titles of five stars by Forbes Travel Guide and five diamonds by AAA. There’s certainly no lack of luxury here, with its stunning Kohler Waters Spa (Himalayan salt scrub and a fresh spa lunch, anyone?), access to the resort’s impressive Sports Core Health & Racquet Club, the comfiest in-room bathrobes in the world and storied on-site dining, from the grand Wisconsin Room to The Greenhouse, a destination for tempting desserts. To continue the self-care vibes, don’t miss the nearby Bold Cycle indoor cycling studio, Yoga on the Lake and The Shops at Woodlake for some retail therapy.


Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer from Madison, Wisconsin, contributing to national and regional outlets like Midwest Living, Rodale’s Organic Life, and BRAVA. You can learn more about her at

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