The Wisconsin Dells is still the water park capital of the world, a zany place where kids race go-karts through the belly of a Trojan horse. But it also holds a refined side. Couples will find inventive cuisine, romantic B&Bs, wineries and upscale boutiques. Check out our trip guide recommendations.
What to do
Bigfoot Zipline Tours Glide over the treetops and a picturesque pond, plus make shore and island landings on this thrilling, two-hour tour. (608) 254-5555; bigfootzip.com
Dells Boat Tours Dinner, live music, a shoreline stroll under lit torches and a view accompany the seasonal sunset cruises. (608) 254-8555; dellsboats.com
Devil’s Lake State Park Drive 20 minutes south to relax at Wisconsin’s most popular state park, famed for its unique, billion-year-old quartzite hills. (608) 356-8301; dnr.wi.gov
Fawn Creek Winery, about 10 minutes north of Wisconsin Dells, doesn’t have formal tours, but you’re welcome to stroll the 7 acres of vineyards.
Fawn Creek Winery Tucked into quiet woods, this newer winery offers tastings for free and cheese flights for purchase. (608) 253-4400; fawncreekwinery.com
H.H. Bennett Studio Learn how 19th-century photographer H.H. Bennett turned Wisconsin Dells into a Midwest tourist destination. (608) 253-3523; hhbennettstudio.org
Where to shop
Alpha Beta Karma You’ll have fun trying on the fashionable—and reasonably priced—clothes at this boutique, which also sells stylish footwear and gifts. (608) 254-8880; Alpha Beta Karma on Facebook
Affordable Leather and More Browse a variety of quality leather goods, all priced at 50% or less of typical retail prices. (608) 253-0441; affordableleatherandmore.com
Where to eat
High Rock Cafe Menu options include a sauteed veggie wrap finished with tomato-basil mayo and Pop Rocks cheesecake; diners enjoy watching the action in downtown Wisconsin Dells from their second-story perch. (608) 254-5677; highrockcafe.com
Kaminski's Chop House.
Kaminski’s Chop House Picturesque views of the Wisconsin River vie with insanely large entrees at this classy steak house inside Chula Vista Resort. (608) 254-2001; kaminskibros.com
Monk’s Bar and Grill Chow down on an Original Monk’s Burger—topped with fried onions—while taking in Wisconsin Badger memorabilia in this Dells favorite. (608) 254-2955; monksbarandgrill.com
Sprecher’s Restaurant and Pub This gastropub serves great brews and pub grub. Soft pretzel sticks arrive with a generous three dips, including a tangy root beer mustard. Crispy beer-dough flatbread toppings include amazing short ribs with caramelized onions. (608) 253-9109; sprecherspub.com
Where to stay
Inn at Wawanissee Point.
Inn at Wawanissee Point This spacious home features views of Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River Valley 800 feet below, plus woodwork meticulously crafted by a master Bavarian cabinetmaker. Rooms include a wine-and-cheese hour and a full breakfast. (608) 355-9899; innatwawanisseepoint.com
Sundara Inn and Spa You’ll talk for years about the luxury and service you encounter here. Sundara nestles within a 26-acre pine forest; a new meditation trail feels about as far from a water park as you could imagine. (888) 735-8181; sundaraspa.com
For more information: Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau (800) 223-3557; wisdells.com
(Prices, dates and other details are subject to change, so please check specifics before making travel plans.)