By Jeniece Smith
Few places epitomize Wisconsin’s Northwoods lake country better than the crystal-clear Eau Claire Chain. Though nowhere near the city of Eau Claire, this 3,200-acre chain of lakes in Bayfield and Douglas counties shares the same French name meaning “clear water.”
Located between Hayward and the Bayfield Peninsula, the Eau Claire Chain comprises 11 deep, sandy-bottomed lakes with pristine water quality. Whether it’s trophy fishing, swimming, water-skiing, boating or just relaxing on the beach that draws you Up North, you’ll find plenty of fun along these hidden gems.
Check out these seven resorts with cabins and cottages on the Eau Claire Chain’s sparkling shores, and find even more places to stay nearby in our directory.
The six rustic cabins at this self-proclaimed “family fishing resort” on Lower Eau Claire Lake each come with their own rowboat and private dock. Pets are welcome for an extra fee, and you’ll love picnicking at the lakeside patio or sheltered flower garden.
If you’re looking for modern comforts like a TV and air conditioning, this isn’t the place for you. But if you want to play on the beach, fish, hunt, ATV or snowmobile right from your vacation spot, Sunny Point equals paradise.
Also on Lower Eau Claire Lake, this four-season resort offers six cabins and a nine-hole private golf course and clubhouse, with clubs and carts available for rent. Bent grass greens and bluegrass fairways offer views of woodlands and water as you unwind and work on your swing.
The modern log cabin rentals range from two to four bedrooms and include a 16-foot fishing boat. In the summer, soak in some rays on the sundeck overlooking the beach, and in the winter, snowmobile to trails right from the resort grounds.
Two families operate this lodge with five housekeeping cabins. You’ll be smack in the middle of the Eau Claire Chain here, with an inflatable swim raft, volleyball net, fire pit and plenty of boats lining the beach.
On the other side of Middle Eau Claire Lake, you’ll find this year-round resort with five cabins and seasonal RV and tent campsites. The cabins are just steps from the water and come with a complimentary rowboat, Wi-Fi, grill and fire pit.
An on-site restaurant and bar serves everything from steaks and fish fries to homemade pizza and the “Murph Burger,” served with mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles, bacon, barbecue sauce and two kinds of cheese.
Located on Upper Eau Claire Lake, the largest in the Eau Claire Chain, Deer Grove offers five cabins close to the water’s edge. Each rental comes with a fishing boat and the use of an on-site fish cleaning house, and guests can rent outboard motors or a pontoon.
Deer Grove is open May through September. No pets are allowed, but kids will love the playground, gently sloping beach and fire pit for making s’mores!
Five cozy cabins tucked away on the smaller, 190-acre Bony Lake all boast fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Most cabins have patios or decks overlooking the lake, and pets are allowed in four of the rentals with an extra fee.
A fishing boat is included with your lodging so you can find your own adventure on the surrounding chain. Should you wish to explore the area’s larger lakes, a channel will take you to Middle Eau Claire Lake, where you can continue on to the Lower or Upper lakes.
If you’re looking for an extra-quiet experience, try these two cabin rentals on Robinson Lake, one of the smallest in the Eau Claire Chain. Both rentals are two bedrooms, with pets allowed in one of them.
Backwoods offers rentals for fishing boats, canoes and kayaks, and you can access seven different lakes on the chain from the resort dock.