Midwest Lake Resorts For Great Getaways
Your perfect lake might be a quiet body of water only you and the loons know about. Or a serpentine reservoir ruffled by the wake of speedboats. Or one of the mighty Great Lakes, with beaches as fine as any ocean's. Wherever you'd like to spend your getaway, there's a great resort waiting for you.
Saugatuck, Michigan: Lake Shore Resort
Lake Shore's motor-inn vibe is the real deal—more than half a century after Joseph and Anna Milauckas built it in 1952. Andrew Milauckas is now caretaker of the property his grandparents created overlooking Lake Michigan, and as he has taken over the reins from his parents, he's completely renovated Lake Shore.
New touches include sleek mid-mod furniture, lakeside yoga classes and meditation sessions. Free bikes, kayaks and breakfast create an all-inclusive feel. But the best parts of Lake Shore haven't changed, including the Lake Michigan views. Walk down to lounge by the waves—and stick around for sunset to complete the show.
Mackinac Island, Michigan: Mission Point Resort
On the southeast end of Mackinac Island, Mission Point Resort begins where the island's main street ends. An expansive front lawn with unobstructed views of Lake Huron greets visitors and guests. Check into one of two lodges before exploring all the amenities, including an 18-hole putting course, heated swimming pool, a health club and sauna. Dine at one of the four outstanding restaurants before catching a first-run flick at the island's only movie theater. This sprawling resort completed a $10 million renovation in 2019, refreshing rooms and adding a coffee shop and enhanced wellness perks.
Nisswa, Minnesota: Quarterdeck Resort
Founded in 1957, Quarterdeck Resort got a major makeover in 2018. New owners renovated the lodge suites and added several cottages and beach houses, plus a new restaurant. The goal is to appeal to 21st-century travelers who want the throwback resort feels but not the quilted polyester bed covers. Every Main Lodge room has a lake-view balcony.
Ridgedale, Missouri: Big Cedar Lodge
Upscale Big Cedar Lodge on the southern tip of Table Rock Lake features hotel rooms in three lodges (with rooms overlooking the lake, of course). Log cabins hidden among the pine trees are also a big draw. Wooden decks have their own gas grills, and room service will gladly provide all the fixings for a do-it-yourself barbeque, so you dine in seclusion while watching boats laze on the water below.
If you want to do more than just relax, activities for both kids and adults will keep you entertained. Guests enjoy standup paddleboard yoga, yoga hikes, pools, a 62-foot luxury dinner yacht and kids' programs (including Fun Mountain with 11 indoor adventures).
Arnolds Park, Iowa: The Inn Hotel
The Inn Hotel opened in 2019 in the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes, a fish-hook-shape cluster of glacial pools that teems from May through September with fishermen, families and fudge-lovers. While the building is new, it channels the spirit of the early to mid-20th century, with gilded accents, black-and-white postcards of vintage Okoboji, and The Beach Club Lounge. Guests can also chill in a rooftop pool or borrow bikes to take to the trails.
Brainerd, Minnesota: Madden's on Gull Lake
Historic Madden's on Gull Lake lands the perfect balance between family fun and serious pampering. Make your visit easy by booking an inclusive plan, featuring dining options at the resort's five restaurants. We love the lakeside Madden Lodge dining room.
Families prefer lakeside cabins; golfers score rooms facing fairways. Spend days playing tennis, boating, trap shooting, biking or jumping off the trampoline into the lake.
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin: The Osthoff Resort
This elegant Victorian-Era resort recaptures the days when guests wore starched collars and flowing skirts while rowing boats on Elkhart Lake. Behind the classic white facade are modern amenities such as the luxurious Aspira Spa, a fitness center and an on-site culinary school. The all-suite Osthoff Resort also features indoor and outdoor pools and a small beach on the lake. We recommend booking one of the 48 newer suites.
Between Two Harbors and Lutsen, Minnesota: Lutsen Resort and Grand Superior Lodge
In Lutsen along Minnesota's North Shore, the four-season Lutsen Resort has plenty of draws for summer visitors, including scenic kayak tours, wildflower hikes, evening campfires (pictured), fly-fishing, horseshoes and bocce ball. Unwind along the rocky shoreline before settling into the Scandinavian lodge or a villa.
North of Two Harbors, Grand Superior Lodge offers amenities like kayak tours and massages. Choose from rooms, cabins or lakefront homes.
Osage Beach, Missouri: 1932 Reserve
This all-new destination's original building was the lake's oldest-known hotel, dating to 1932—just one year after the Osage River was dammed, forming Lake of the Ozarks. Six lofts, including a six-bedroom penthouse, have cool details like headboards made of salvaged flooring (itself legendarily recycled from the dam's construction). The restaurant has water views and is one of the hippest spots for a meal on the lake.
Kelleys Island, Ohio: Kelleys Island Venture Resort
A pastel yellow exterior marks Kelleys Island Venture Resort, the only resort on this idyllic Lake Erie hamlet. Thirty apartment-style suites feature spacious bedrooms, a living area, Wi-Fi and outdoor living spaces. On clear days, the steel roller coaster skyline of Sandusky's Cedar Point amusement park appears in the distance. Other amenities include a swimming pool and hot tub amid beautiful landscaping and bikes for exploring the 4-square-mile island with 313 residents.
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota: Fair Hills Resort
Become a member of the Fair Hills family at this welcoming resort near Detroit Lakes. The cabins aren't anything fancy (no fridges, microwaves or TVs) but you'll love the activities, including a nine-hole executive golf course, tennis courts, outdoor pools and fire pits on the beach. Fair Hills Resort serves three home-cooked meals each day and a special Tuesday night smorgasbord dinner before their popular Hootenanny variety show during the summer.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: Grand Geneva Resort and Spa
The famously clear Geneva Lake, ringed by resorts, vacation homes and 19th-century mansions, is anchored by the town of Lake Geneva on its east end. Just northeast of downtown Lake Geneva, choose a room, suite or villa at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa; enjoy two golf courses and excellent restaurants, as well as an updated WELL Spa + Salon and a fitness center.
Shell Knob, Missouri: Stonewater Cove Resort
Guests looking for a secluded getaway in the Missouri Ozarks will enjoy the 500 acres of Stonewater Cove Resort, overlooking Table Rock Lake and surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest. Geared to active adventurers who want luxury accommodations, the resort offers guided activities, such as ATV tours, boat rides, low ropes, zip lines, archery and tubing; guests can also canoe, kayak, hike, bike, fish and swim or enjoy spa services. After a busy day, relax in the hot tub overlooking Table Rock Lake.
Mackinac Island, Michigan: Grand Hotel
For an unforgettable experience, stay at this Victorian-Era landmark, with its 660-foot porch overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. Golf, a pool, lawn games, gardens, tennis courts and fine-dining restaurants might tempt you not to leave the property—though of course you'll want to walk, bike or take a carriage ride to explore car-free Mackinac Island.
Chetek, Wisconsin: Canoe Bay
Couples come to hide away on honeymoons or rekindle relationships in Canoe Bay's 23 rooms and cottages around Lake Wahdoon. Favorite activities include canoeing (of course), hiking or snowshoeing on the 280-acre couples-only property, taking horse-drawn carriage or sleigh rides at a nearby farm, having in-room relaxation massages and reading (the resort has an extensive library). Breakfast comes to rooms discreetly, adding to the atmosphere.
Nisswa, Minnesota: Grand View Lodge
Guests might come to Grand View Lodge for the three spectacular 18-hole golf courses, but they stay for the quality accommodations and views. Choose from townhomes, villas, cabins or clubhouse suites; we love the red cabins lining Roy Lake. In addition to golf, the resort offers a beach, spa and indoor water park.
Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin: Blacksmith Inn on the Shore
Enjoy harbor views after a soak in a big tub at this cozy Door County spot. Nice extras at Blacksmith Inn on the Shore in Baileys Harbor include in-room whirlpools and gas fireplaces, plus kayaks and bikes. Choose a package to suit your event: honeymoon, anniversary, or just a quiet getaway for two.
South Haven, Michigan: The Victoria Resort Bed and Breakfast
Relax in luxurious rooms or guest cottages a short walk from the beach and South Haven's many restaurants, shops and other attractions. All rooms at The Victoria Resort feature Victorian-esque décor, spacious modern baths and flat-screen TVs; deluxe rooms offer whirlpool tubs and gas fireplaces. You can borrow bikes to cruise around town as well as enjoy the B&B's pool and tennis court.
Branson, Missouri: The Village at Indian Point
Near Table Rock Lake's shore, the condos at The Village Indian Point have fireplaces, private decks and great views. Enjoy two pools and access to a boat ramp.
Hayward, Wisconsin: Treeland Resorts
It's easy to see why many families consider Treeland Resorts their must-visit vacation tradition. Located 18 miles east of Hayward, this pretty resort is all about family fun with an outdoor pool, modern playground, volleyball and tennis courts, and plenty of boat access. The resort's log lodge houses a large bar and dining area with tables overlooking the lake. Enjoy dessert at the ice cream fountain, then retire to one of the 29 vacation homes and cabins or 10 motel suites for the evening.
Northeast Minnesota: Gunflint Lodge
All-inclusive packages draw guests to Gunflint Lodge, a lakefront resort at the edge of the Boundary Waters. This four-season resort 43 miles northwest of Grand Marais embraces its prime wilderness location with activities like horseback riding, fishing, hiking and canoeing. Soar above the trees on the Towering Pines Canopy Tour. Comfortable cottages include stone fireplaces and two-person spas; guests can also opt for one of the well-appointed cabins or lake homes
Lake Ozark, Missouri: Point Randall Resort
Guests at the family-owned destination enjoy clean lakeside cabins and cottages, a fishing dock and swim dock, a beach, and 1,000 feet of shoreline.
St. Joseph, Michigan: The Inn at Harbor Shores Resort
Access to golf, a spa and a marina make the 92 lakeview rooms in St. Joseph, on Michigan's southwest shore, all the more appealing. Indoor and outdoor pools and a variety of dining options round out your stay at The Inn at Harbor Shores Resort.
Birchwood, Wisconsin: Stout's Island Lodge
The Stout family brought their lumber fortune and summer-home dreams from Chicago to this 1,800-acre haven on Red Cedar Lake. Frank D. Stout modeled Stout's Island Lodge after the Adirondack resorts in upstate New York. Today, the 1912 lodge still sports gleaming, wide-plank hardwood floors; framed black-and-white family photographs; and wool spreads on some of the king-size beds. Its 43 rooms capture turn-of-the-20th-century class, and some of the eight cabins have twin beds in sleeping porches. Spend the day canoeing, fishing, playing croquet or just curling up with a good book. In the evening, dine on garden-fresh soups, tasty burgers and cooked-to-order steaks.
Brainerd, Minnesota: Kavanaugh's Sylvan Lake Resort
One- to three-bedroom cottages and condos at Kavanaugh's overlook Sylvan Lake. When you're not at the beach or on the lake, try recreation options such as indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, rental bikes, and hiking.
Munising, Michigan: Roam Inn
A lumber baron's home has morphed into the lodge-like Roam Inn in Munising, part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Some of the 18 guest rooms offer Lake Superior views. Spend your days on active adventures like hiking and kayaking in nearby Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.