Head to the Lake this Summer


When it’s time for a water-filled vacation, many families gravitate to the beach. But hitting a lake can provide just as much fun.


Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Located about an hour north of Milwaukee, this charming town is dominated by cute shops, independent restaurants and historic lakeside resorts. Families will love the Osthoff Resort, a sprawling spot that hugs the shores of Elkhart Lake and offers everything from a kid-friendly activity center, watercraft rentals, a sandy beach and a full-service spa. One- to three-bedroom suites feature full kitchens, comfortable living spaces and dining areas to accommodate a few or a crowd, making this a terrific spot for multi-generational getaways. The resort has two restaurants, as well as poolside service and a dining deck with lake views. The nearby Shore Club is another family-friendly option, offering bike and paddle board rentals, along with its own lake access.


Elkhart Lake is a racing town, so car enthusiasts will want to check out Road America, offering a season of racing to show off the thrill of speed. There’s a family fun zone and concessions, along with a great gift shop, so it’s easy to spend the day here. On select race weekends, guests can try their hand at karting and other motorsports.


Dining options abound, many of the restaurants independently owned and operated, adding to the town’s community feeling. Harry’s Pizza e Vino is a go-to for Italian, Lake Street Cafe has a menu filled with eclectic American fare and Gesserts Ice Cream has confections kids and adults will love. Moms and dads should be sure to pop into Vintage Elkhart Lake, a wine and specialty food shop that’s cozy and inviting, with a terrific selection.


Lake Winnipesaukee
This New Hampshire destination midway between Nashua and the White Mountains is a destination known for sailing, swimming, fishing and other water fun. Hop aboard the M/S Mount Washington, which offers daily cruises around the lake, including themed options like Haunted Winnipesaukee or Christmas in July.


The Grand View Resort in Laconia sits up a hill from Weirs Beach. Families can check into a lake view cabin or a cozy cottage. At the Piping Rock Resort, you’ll find cottages and condos with stunning views. Kayaks and paddleboards are available to guests, and the resort offers volleyball, badminton and a playground.


For more than 55 years, Funspot USA has been an arcade destination at Weirs Beach, with games, an indoor mini golf course, bowling alley and dining. Nearby Daytona Fun Park lets guests ride go-karts and bumper boats. Tour this historic Castle in the Clouds, which offers hiking and walking trails, a cafe and ducks to feed.


Open summers only, Town Docks is a beach dining spot where burgers, lobster and homemade ice cream dominate the menu. Guiseppe’s wins high marks for its pizzas and pasta dishes, while George’s Diner serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering comfort food fare.


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