By Amy Bayer
Wisconsin is home to numerous lodging options that offer much more than just a bed to rest your head. Ranging from motorcycle rentals to a French cooking school to sightseeing boat cruises, the variety of amenities and activities are as diverse as the destinations themselves.
Here are just a few year-round properties with on-site activities that are sure to keep you entertained throughout your stay. You may even have to extend your vacation just to fit them all in!
With the unique blend of a casual hotel in an elegant environment, there are numerous activities to appeal to every interest.
The most unique on-site activity is the L'ecole de la Maison Cooking School, which offers a five-hour course in French cuisine. Experienced cooks will guide visitors each step of the way of cooking a meal they’ll sit down and eat together.
In addition to the cooking school, The Osthoff Resort also is home to the Aspira Spa, one of the top-rated spas in the country. And if that’s not enough, it’s located on 500 feet of recreational shoreline to appeal to paddling, fishing and swimming enthusiasts.
Still not enough? Then try out their volleyball, basketball, or tennis courts.
This premier family getaway is like none other in western Wisconsin and offers extreme family fun. In addition to Action City, considered the best arcade in Eau Claire, the Metropolis Resort is the home of the Midwest’s largest indoor go-kart track.
After you’ve sped around the track, you can challenge your friends and family in the laser maze, batting cages, climbing walls, bumper cars, mini-golf and bowling.
If that’s not enough, you can always enjoy the indoor water park as well. There is so much to do in one place you’ll need to stay a week just to explore them all.
Located on the shores of Green Lake, the Heidel House Resort and Spa provides plenty of opportunities for lakefront fun. Enjoy one of their sightseeing cruises on the Escapade Yacht or go ice fishing, bowling or skating in the winter.
During warmer weather, take advantage of the sand volleyball and tennis courts, and Heidel House provides bikes for guests interested in a ride around the lake or a trip down the Mascoutin Valley State Trail.
For those looking for indoor rest and relaxation, head to the Evensong Spa or attend the on-site yoga sessions.
Outdoor lovers should head to Justin Trails Resort near Sparta for their next vacation. This unique property offers plenty of activities that allow visitors to explore nature in every season.
Guests can snowshoe or ski ten miles of groomed trails in the winter, go bird-watching in the spring and fall, and try biking and disc golf in the summer. There’s also skijoring, sledding, fat tire biking, nature hikes, scavenger hunts and stargazing.
The property includes 50 acres of certified organic farming and 150 acres of oak savannah and woodland forest restoration.
Located just outside Mauston, the Woodside Ranch invites visitors to experience an enriching vacation filled with family fun. Enjoy everything from horseback riding on more than 1,400 acres of trails to fishing in their stocked lake.
From beginners to experts, Woodside Ranch offers something for everyone including old-fashioned wagon or sleigh rides, nature trail hikes, a fitness center, line dancing, cross country skiing, a petting zoo and an on-site movie theater.
With a variety of dining and lodging on site, the Woodside Ranch can suit all of your family’s needs, and they proudly customize every vacation to be as active or relaxed as you desire.
Palmquist Farm in north central Wisconsin is a family-owned business that dates back nearly 110 years as a farm, which was then transformed into a lodging destination in the 1940s. The owners make every guest feel like a member of the family with their home-cooked meals and cozy cottages and cabins.
While staying at the Palmquist Farm you can experience an authentic Finnish sauna, meet the farm animals and participate in scavenger hunts.
In the winter enjoy cross-country skiing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, sledding and ice skating. In the warmer seasons explore the area by hiking and biking.
And during hunting season, the Farm offers 800 private acres of forests and fields that are home to ruffed grouse or white tail deer.
Head to America’s largest water park resort for a wide variety of activities and amenities to cater to every member of your family. From ziplining to pottery painting to golf, this property located on 600 acres in Wisconsin Dells has an endless list of attractions.
When you want to explore the outdoors, there are nature trails, wagon rides and mini golf. For those looking for an indoor retreat, check out one of three indoor waterparks, a ropes course, bumper boats, and the Sundara Spa.
Every corner of the property has unique activities to explore.
Surrounded by 850,000 acres of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and located on Lake Namakagon, the Lakewoods Resort offers the perfect Northwoods getaway. This full-service resort offers everything from snowmobile to mountain bike to boat rentals.
One of only three Wisconsin lakes to be managed as a trophy musky lake, this resort has fishing opportunities galore including abundant walleye, bass, pike and panfish. In the winter you can even rent an ice fishing house or you can try snowshoeing or ice skating.
In the spring, head to the resort’s very own Forest Ridges Golf Course or participate in any of their planned family and group activities.
Head to the home of Harley-Davidson for a luxury hotel that was transformed from a 100-year-old warehouse into a one-of-a-kind experience geared for business travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts.
This property has unique amenities and on-site activities like motorcycle rentals, bike nights, a bike washing station and work benches.
They also are big fans of Fido. Dogs of all sizes are welcome and are given a first-class treatment including everything from complimentary dog treats to doggy in-room dining menus.
Located in Fontana on the shores of Geneva Lake, this 90-acre resort has amenities and activities for every season. With on-site daycare, the staff at The Abbey Resort can engage your children in fun on-site resort activities as you head to your appointment at the Avani Spa or tee time.
During the warmer months, rent a boat or bicycle or try a parasailing excursion. During the cooler seasons, rent ice skates or warm up by a fire with s’mores and hot cider.
For more of Wisconsin's top lodging offerings, check out four of the state's most luxurious resorts.