50 Midwest Resorts We Love
Our favorite Midwest resort destinations range from cozy lakeside lodges to water park behemoths. Dive in to check out our top picks for a fabulous Midwest getaway.
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, a 62-foot luxury dinner yacht and kids' programs (including Fun Mountain with 11 indoor adventures). Companion destination Top of the Rocks Ozarks Heritage Preserve features a golf course, two restaurants and a museum, situated to showcase every sunset over the lake.
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.
Related: Midwest Lake Resorts That Have Been Totally Transformed
Wisconsin Dells: Sundara Inn and Spa
Stress evaporates under the powers of Sundara Inn and Spa, where robe-clad guests spend entire weekends in front of crackling fireplaces. The spa, which feels refreshingly apart from the bustling Wisconsin Dells thanks to acres of surrounding pines, asks guests to leave the kids at home and electronics in the guest rooms. On-site dining (robes welcome there, too) focuses on healthy dishes with local ingredients. Yoga classes teach ways to keep the decompression going at home, and guests can swing away at the adjoining golf course.
Grand Marais, 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.
Related: A Perfect Two-Day Getaway Along Minnesota's North Shore
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.
The Villas at Gervasi Vineyard, Canton, Ohio
Get swept away in the romance of Italy without springing for airfare when you stay in one of the 24 suites at The Villas at Gervasi Vineyard. Travertine baths, fresh-baked breakfast treats (delivered in a charming wooden box) and an on-site restaurant encourage you to relax and enjoy your time away from home.
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.
Lake Forest, Illinois: Deer Path Inn
If English gardens, Tudor-style architecture and afternoon tea set your heart aflutter, you'll be right at home at this elegant inn on Chicago's North Shore. Exceptional service and luxurious rooms, plus a variety of on-site dining options make this historic retreat a favorite for Midwest travelers and beyond.
Related: 25 Weekend Getaways Near Chicago
Cook, Minnesota: Ludlow's Island Resort and Pehrson Lodge Resort
Bring the whole family (and some friends) to splurge on Dreamcatcher, an enchanting four-story tree house with fabulous wooded views at Ludlow's Island Resort. If the price tag is too spendy, check out the other 19 cottages, all with decks, wood-burning fireplaces and screen porches. Lots of activities for kids round out days spent fishing and swimming.
The 28 cabins at Pehrson Lodge Resort offer comfortable, quiet and clean lodging, with Minnesotan accents such as loon carvings. A wide, sandy beach promises plenty of room to lounge, and the safely buoyed-off swimming area contains an inflatable water slide. Guests can enjoy kayaks, canoes, sailboats and pedal boats at no extra charge, plus Pehrson features a solid program of kid activities like model sailboat building, fly tying and volleyball.
Custer, South Dakota: Custer State Park Resort
Four historic lodges plus a variety of cabins nestle among 71,000 acres of mountains at Custer State Park. We enjoyed our stay at the State Game Lodge, a 1920 stone and wood masterpiece surrounded by ponderosa pine forest. Activities include hiking, boat rentals, horseback riding, safari jeep tours and a chuckwagon cookout. Be sure to drive the spectacular, winding Needles Highway and walk around lovely Sylvan Lake. For a glimpse of wildlife, ogle the bison wandering on the Wildlife Loop.
Nisswa, Minnesota: Quarterdeck Resort and Grand View Lodge
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.
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.
Grafton, Illinois: Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center
Set amid 8,000 hilly, tree-dappled acres, Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center provides thoughtful hospitality in Grafton, an hour north of St. Louis. The 72 guest rooms have cozy beds, soft towels and squeaky-clean bathrooms. Generations battle using knights and queens half their height on a massive chessboard, and families with young kids unwind at the pool overlooking the Illinois River valley. Creaky wooden floors lead to the dining room, where patrons settle into high-backed chairs under lantern chandeliers for hearty meals of chops, steaks and amaretto cheesecake.
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.
Related: Best Ways to Enjoy Mackinac Island
Kohler, Wisconsin: Destination Kohler
It's a pretty good getaway when you leave with a better understanding of how exercise, nutrition and design influence your health. It's all possible at Destination Kohler, a five-star resort starring the famed Kohler Waters Spa. At the Fitness Core, trainers test your fitness, listen to your goals and produce a personalized workout plan. To ensure you have the energy to complete the workouts, Kohler's chefs lead classes in healthy cooking. And to maximize your good mood, the Kohler Design Center, an art gallery of a kitchen and bath shop, inspires soothing home spaces.
Thompsonville, Michigan: Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa
A destination for all seasons, Crystal Mountain wows with its wide variety of lodgings and classy amenities. In winter, ski out the back door of a mountaintop townhome. Summer allows for speedy runs down the 1,600-foot-long alpine slide. Nourish body and spirit at Crystal Spa, the only LEED-certified spa in the Midwest, and cap off the day at the on-site Thistle , where regional ingredients flavor healthy high-end cuisine.
Branson, Missouri: Still Waters Resort
Spacious condos with giant whirlpools and stylish furnishings sparkle at this Table Rock Lake resort, but the real attraction is fun on the water. Families love the free rentals, including pedal boats, kayaks and bikes. Still Waters Resort also boasts three swimming pools, three hot tubs and a water slide. Dry off with a game of sand volleyball or a hike along one of the trails. Need a caffeine boost? Swing by the on-site coffeehouse for your daily fix.
Related: Top Things to Do in Branson
Marshall, Indiana: Turkey Run Inn
Sitting on a rocking chair at Indiana's Turkey Run State Park inn feels surprisingly like taking refuge deep in the forest. Maybe that's why quiet types flock here-bird-watchers, hikers (13 miles of trails) and history buffs eager to explore the covered bridges of Parke County (about 70 miles west of Indianapolis). Built of brick and stone, the inn anchors one of Indiana's oldest state parks. Patchwork quilts cover comfy beds in 57 modest guest rooms, and common areas are cozy with carved wood furniture and crackling fireplaces. The only thing that seems to break the tranquility is the bustling Narrows Restaurant, which serves up comfort food like breaded pork tenderloins and moist fried chicken.
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 Tavern at the Park restaurant. Guests can also chill in a rooftop pool or borrow bikes to take to the trails.
Related: 10 Okoboji Spots Locals Love
Ashland, Nebraska: Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is all about amenities: trail rides, miniature golf, a driving range, a water park, pedal boats, theater performances and an ice rink in winter. The grounds are as manicured as a golf course, and the cabin clusters look like suburban subdivisions. The Peter Kiewit Lodge features motel-style rooms and a full restaurant with great views of the Platte River Valley.
Lewiston, Michigan: Garland Lodge and Golf Resort
If you've ever wondered what "sophisticated rustic" looks like, book a room at the woodsy Garland Lodge and Golf Resort in northeast Michigan. The massive Up North lodge includes accents like earthy tile floors and oversize stained-glass windows. Four championship golf courses surround the cottages, villas and condos. If golf isn't your thing, saddle up for a horseback ride or explore the Au Sable river in a canoe or raft.
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 , 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.
Boyne Falls, Michigan: Boyne Mountain Resort
Summer brings swimmers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts to this popular four-season resort. Ski lifts transform into scenic rides, and families enjoy Saturday night bonfires with s'mores. Boyne Mountain Resort boasts two world-class golf courses, Solace Spa, Zipline Adventures through the treetops, bike trails and even kids' wakeboarding clinics—as well as Avalanche Bay, Michigan's largest indoor water park. Choose from a wide array of accommodations, including rooms, suites, condos, cabins and villas.
Osage Beach, Missouri: 1932 Reserve
This 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.
Galena, Illinois: Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa
With three acclaimed 18-hole courses plus a 9-hole course, Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa draws large numbers of golfers, but there are plenty of other reasons to travel here. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from horseback riding, hiking or bicycling before relaxing in the spa. Accommodations include 80 rooms in the inn as well as 300 villas and homes. On-site dining means you won't have to leave the complex, but it would be a shame to pass up the chance to browse restaurants and shops in nearby historic Galena.
Sandusky, Ohio, and Wisconsin Dells: Kalahari Resort
Whether you come for the massive water attractions or the African-theme rooms, your visit to a Kalahari Resort will clearly be family-oriented. Indoor water parks at the resort's two Midwest locations are among the nation's largest. We especially enjoyed the unique Flow Rider surfing attraction. With more than a half-dozen restaurants on-site, the resorts also offer plenty of eating options—from by-the-pool grille to nicer eateries or room service. But be sure to try the pizza at least once; it's delicious and affordably feeds a family.
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.
Lanesboro, Minnesota: Cedar Valley Resort
Experience the best of the Root River Valley at this quiet resort near historic Lanesboro. The spacious grassy areas and large cabins at Cedar Valley Resort make this the perfect locale for your next family reunion. Bike to the charming town of Lanesboro along the popular Root River State Trail or go trout fishing and tubing on the water. We wish this place were a well-kept secret, but because it's not, book early. Summer weekends fill up a year in advance.
Traverse City, Michigan: Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
A golfer's dream destination, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa boasts three championship courses, including one that has been rated Michigan's most challenging: the par-72 Bear designed by Jack Nicklaus. But golfing isn't the only draw at this classy 600-room destination. Head up to the 16th floor for culinary paradise at Aerie, where seasonal ingredients flavor a menu that changes weekly. While there, enjoy a glass of Michigan wine and watch the sun sink over Grand Traverse Bay.
Wisconsin Dells: Wilderness Resort
Choose between family-friendly lodging—featuring four indoor and four outdoor, guests-only water parks and rustic-luxury hotel rooms—or a quiet getaway with fully furnished cabins, condominiums and villas at this sprawling resort. Wilderness Resort is so big you'll need a map to find your way around. Families will enjoy the water features—including a Wild West indoor water park, an indoor wave pool and the Hurricane extreme-tubing slide—as well as ziplining and minigolf. Best of all, there's something here for every budget, whether you're looking for a basic hotel room or a spacious five-bedroom cabin.
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.
French Lick, Indiana: French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel
At the century-old French Lick Resort, a free 24-hour shuttle transports resort guests between two hotels, three golf courses, two high-end spas, casino, horse stable and indoor sports complex. The French Lick Springs Hotel is home to a casino as well as family-friendly activities such as movie parties and indoor and outdoor swimming. The Victorian-opulent West Baden Springs Hotel offers upscale amenities, including a spa and fine dining.
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 at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa, choose a room, suite or villa; enjoy two golf courses and excellent restaurants, as well as an updated WELL Spa + Salon and a fitness center.
Cable, Wisconsin: Garmisch USA Resort
Since it opened during the 1920s, this northern Wisconsin spot has been a destination for families, anglers and honeymooners looking for an Up North escape. Guests at Garmisch USA Resort can stay in standard hotel rooms, luxurious suites overlooking Lake Namakagon or well-appointed cabins. Aged timbers support a vaulted ceiling in the lodge, which has a gift shop, library and lounge. Savor meat-and-potato combinations at the lodge's restaurant.
Frankenmuth, Michigan: Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark,
Families love the waterpark, friendly staffers and family suites at Zehnder's. A raft ride, tube slides, zero-entry activity pool and lazy river highlight the 50,000-square-foot water park. Adults can sip a cocktail from the adjacent Elf Hollow Cafe, or the whole family can enjoy a bounteous family-style chicken dinner at Zehnder's Restaurant, a half-mile down the road. Next to Zehnder's: megasize Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.
Related: Top Things to Do in Frankenmuth
Nevis, Minnesota: Royal Starr Resort
Settle into one of 13 well-appointed cabins at this gem near Park Rapids. The year-round Royal Starr Resort sits along the Crow Wing chain of lakes, mean there are ample opportunities for family fun on the water. Rent kayaks, canoes and even hydro bikes on-site, or simply enjoy the stunning lake view from an Adirondack chair. Kids will love the playground and their own fishing pier. A disc golf course was just added in 2022.
Logan, Ohio: Cedar Grove Lodging
Just a half-mile from Old Man's Cave in the Hocking Hills, Cedar Grove Lodging offers six comfortable cabins and three lodges of different sizes for couples, families or groups (one lodge sleeps up to 26). Amenities include a fishing pond, hot tubs, fire pits and gas grills, all close to Logan and Hocking Hills State Park.
Related: Top Activities in the Hocking Hills
Pequot Lakes, Minnesota: Clamshell Beach Resort
Over the last decade or so, this family-owned resort— founded in 1938—has added eight cottages, a lodge with game room, two swimming pools and a spa room. Its small-resort vibe shows in touches like a welcome board listing all the guests and their hometowns, but the spacious new cottages help Clamshell Beach Resort compete with bigger resorts in the area. Guests can borrow croquet sets, tennis racquets and beach toys; take a paddleboat or canoe out on Clamshell Lake; golf at the adjoining Whitefish Golf Club; or check out the movie library and game room. But bring your own toiletries, beach towels and coffee.
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.
Breezy Point, Minnesota: Breezy Point Resort
Choose to stay in lakeside hotel units with balconies or an Arts and Crafts-style reunion house at this popular destination on a Brainerd Lakes-area peninsula. It's easy to fill a week at Breezy Point Resort, no matter the season. During the summer, explore Pelican Lake on Jet Skis, try a round of golf or opt for a narrated tour aboard the Breezy Belle. Winter brings its own fun, including Zamboni-groomed lake skating and snow golf.
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.
Crane Lake, Minnesota: Nelson's Resort
Tucked away near the west entrance of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the classic Up North Nelson's Resort offers 27 log cabins along the shores of Crane Lake. Enjoy three meals a day at the lodge, including candlelight dinners, and a pianist in the cozy dining room. After dinner, relax in the sauna or settle in for a beach bonfire where you can roast marshmallows. Lucky visitors will catch an incredible view of the northern lights.
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.
Related: Top Things to Do in Brainerd