Most people come to Elkhart Lake (80 minutes north of Milwaukee) for weekends of swimming, boating and water-skiing on the 292-acre lake. But there's plenty more to do here in this town of about 1,000 people.

What to do

Elkhart Lake The spring-fed, blue-green lake calls to paddlers, sailors, fishermen, water skiiers and more. Explore on your own or rent a boat from one of several area businesses.

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Elkhart Lake. Photo courtesy of the Elkhart Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.
| Credit: Courtesy of the Elkhart Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Kettle Moraine State Forest Just northwest of town, find hundreds of miles of trails for biking, hiking and running. The popular 3.5-mile Parnell Tower Trail incudes an observation tower with views of the glacier-carved terrain.

Road America A world-renowned 4-mile racetrack draws visitors and has been a favorite of racers (and racing fans) since it opened in 1955.

Road America. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Road America. Photo courtesy of the Elkhart Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Two Fish Gallery and Sculpture Garden Shopping in Elkhart Lake should include a stop here, where works from regional and national artists are displayed in a Mission-style bungalow.

The Wade House Closed due to the pandemic in 2021; expected to reopen in 2022. In Greenbush, about 12 miles southeast of Elkhart Lake, costumed interpreters lead tours of a 19th-century stagecoach inn and visitors explore a carriage museum.

Where to eat

Barefoot Tiki Bar at Victorian Village Resort Gorgeous lake views and alfresco dining complement great drinks, pizzas and sizzling burgers.

Lake Street Cafe The casual dining side offers funky, beer-inspired decor and wood-fired pizzas; the fine-dining side has one of Wisconsin's longest wine lists and entrees like sesame-seared tuna.

L'ecole de la Maison Culinary School Paused as of July 2021 due to the pandemic; check website for updates. Prepare a multi-course dinner alongside others with the guidance of an expert chef at the Osthoff Resort.

Off the Rail Cafe Enjoy breakfast and lunch sandwiches with names like Signal Box Tuna Melt and Flying Scotsman Bagel in Elkhart's original depot.

Paddock Club The seasonal menu tends toward European, with dishes such as grilled hanger steak with red wine veal sauce.

Stop-Inn Tavern Racing memorabilia decorates the walls at this Siebkens Resort spot, considered the best bar on the racing circuit. Check the website for the live entertainment schedule.

Where to stay

The Osthoff Resort Adults enjoy chakra balancing at Aspira Spa and lakefront lodging; families appreciate kid-friendly events (crafts classes, teen yoga).

Siebkens Resort It's the go-to hangout for the racing crowd, with a condo hotel that offers elegant, Prairie-style units with fireplaces, full kitchens and balconies.

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