It’s all about getting on the water in the Dells. Boat tours introduce today’s visitors to what first drew tourists to this region, and water parks thrill them with wave pools and towering slides. Check out our picks for what to do, where to eat and where to stay in the Wisconsin Dells.

By By the editors of MidwestLiving.com
Dells Boat Tours. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Dells CVB.

Do

Bigfoot Zipline Thrill-seekers glide above Sasquatch Lake and treetops during two-plus-hour tours. bigfootzip.com

Bigfoot Ziplines. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Circus World Museum In Baraboo (12 miles south of the Dells), see exhibits and shows on the grounds of the original Ringling Brothers Circus winter quarters. Kids can create a circus performance at KidsWorld Circus. circusworldbaraboo.org

Dells Boat Tours See the Dells' signature sandstone cliffs from a double-decker boat. Sunset tours feature dinner, live music and a shoreline stroll under lit torches at Witches Gulch. dellsboats.com

Dells Boat Tours. Photo courtesy of Dells Boat Tours.

Devil's Lake State Park Its 29 miles of hiking paths and 6 miles of off-road bike trails wind along the spring-fed lake and through forests. Beaches, boat rentals, camping, a nature center and ranger-led programs round out activities. dnr.state.wi.us

Devil's Lake State Park

Fawn Creek Winery Sample wines and cheese flights on a deck overlooking the 7-acre vineyard. fawncreekwinery.com

H.H. Bennett Studio Exhibits show how 19th-century landscape photographer H.H. Bennett made the Dells famous. hhbennettstudio.wisconsinhistory.org

International Crane Foundation A trip to the Dells means you're only minutes away from this Baraboo animal habitat, the one place in the world where all 15 species of cranes live. Take guided or self-guided tours through savanna and tallgrass prairie, see whooping cranes in a wetland and learn about preservation efforts. savingcranes.org

Mirror Lake State Park Three miles from the Dells, this park-named for its calm lake that reflects a wooded shoreline-offers a quiet retreat. Bike, boat, canoe and kayak rentals are offered; the lake also has a beach. dnr.state.wi.us

Noah's Ark Water Park Spend the day on lazy rivers, bumper boats, slides and rides like a twisty water roller coaster at America's largest water park. noahsarkwaterpark.com

Original Wisconsin Ducks World War II-Era "Duck" vehicles go off-road past fern-filled canyons, glide down the Wisconsin River and plunge into Lake Delton. wisconsinducktours.com

The Tommy Bartlett Show Still going strong after 67 years, the 90-minute show on Lake Delton wows audiences with water-skiing, water stunts, and daredevils. tommybartlett.com

Eat

B-Lux Grill and Bar We couldn't resist the shakes served in Mason jars and burgers, such as the Cheesehead, with cheddar, beer-battered cheese curds and chicken-fried bacon. b-luxgrill.com

Brat House Grill Dig into beer-soaked brats and German spaetzle at this family-friendly tavern in a former church. brathousedells.com

High Rock Cafe Views of the Dells accompany specialties like pot stickers with sweet chili orange marmalade. highrockcafe.com

High Rock Cafe. Photo courtesy of High Rock Cafe.

Ishnala Supper Club Set on a bluff overlooking Mirror Lake, it serves old-school supper club meals in a setting straight out of the Prohibition era. ishnala.com

Kaminski's Chop House Views of the Wisconsin River complement huge portions of corn-fed, dry-aged beef at this classy steakhouse at Chula Vista Resort. kaminskischophouse.com

Monk's Bar and Grill Chow down on a burger loaded with toppings at this local favorite decorated with Badger memorabilia. monksbarandgrill.com

Moosejaw Pizza and Dells Brewery Company Dine on pizza, burgers and ribs washed down with a pint made by the brewmaster on the third floor. dellsmoosejaw.com

Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille You can't go wrong with the fried cheese curds, burgers or pizza. Live music, Tuesday bike nights and Thursday car nights all add to the fun. tripleplaybargrille.com

Stay

Baker's Sunset Bay Resort The Lake Delton resort has pools and a beach. sunsetbayresort.com

Resorts Our picks include Chula Vista for its water parks and golf (chulavistaresort.com); Great Wolf Lodge for family-friendly activities such as story time and morning yoga for kids (greatwolf.com); Mt. Olympus for water and theme parks (mtolympuspark.com); Spring Brook for fishing and golf (spring-brook.com); Kalahari for its indoor-outdoor water park and indoor theme park (kalahariresorts.com/wi); and Wilderness for accommodating both family or quiet getaways (wildernessresort.com).

Mt. Olympus. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Sundara Inn and Spa A 40,000-square-foot expansion in 2018 added a second outdoor pool, fitness studio, restaurant, salt treatment room, meditation room, eight new suites and more to the wooded adults-only retreat. sundaraspa.com

For ­information: Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau wisdells.com

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