Here is our list of the six best Midwest resorts.
Everyday life can be exhausting. There’s almost always something you’re supposed to be doing or somewhere you’re supposed to be going. That’s what makes vacations feel so good — they give you permission to take a break. On the best vacations, there is no “supposed to be.” You can just be.
Which is why going to a resort can be so appealing. You get to kick back and enjoy some pampering and a whole bunch of amenities, all in one place. Luckily, the Midwest is home to a number of spectacular resorts that offer year-round opportunities to recharge your batteries.
Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior, Two Harbors, MN
Situated on 40 acres of private woods along Lake Superior, this resort offers beautiful views, tranquility, and plenty to do. Whether you’re looking for an active vacation filled with hiking and backcountry skiing or you want to pamper yourself with massages, sauna visits, and hot tub soaks, Larsmont Cottages can provide it.
You’ll stay in one of the property’s finely crafted cottages, many of which offer lake views, fireplaces, and private jacuzzies. No matter which cottage you choose, you’ll have access to the resort’s restaurant, bar, fitness center, and indoor pool. You’ll also be able to rent everything from hammocks and bicycles to snowshoes and trekking poles.
Rates for single rooms during the winter season are as low as $71, while larger, three-bedroom cottages are upwards of $500. Voted the 2nd best resort hotel in the Midwest by Travel + Leisure, Larsmont Cottages is truly a must-visit locale.
Barefoot Resort, Lead, SD
If you’re looking to fully escape the hustle and bustle of daily life (and who isn’t?), you owe it to yourself to check out the Black Hills’ Barefoot Resort. Surrounded by a mountainous landscape, this South Dakota destination is about as peaceful as it gets.
The resort features indoor heated pools, outdoor hot tubs, and multiple saunas where you can relax the day away. If you prefer something more active, it’s within walking distance of the Terry Peak ski area. Featuring the Black Hills’ best skiing, Terry Peak boasts the highest ski lift between the Rocky Mountains and the Alps!
Depending on when you visit, you can also enjoy snowmobile trails and nearby access to the Badlands, Jewel Cave, and Mount Rushmore. If you do make the trip between September and May, note that 4-wheel drive is mandatory to get up the mountain. Accommodations at Barefoot are condo-style, so pricing varies greatly between different options.
Woodland Resort, Devils Lake, ND
Located on the shores of Creel Bay, Woodland Resort is the perfect place to escape, no matter the time of year. Perhaps best known as a premier fishing destination, the resort offers a variety of guided fishing packages. Their cold-weather offerings include an ice fishing package that provides you with multiple heated fish houses. You’ll never ice fish more comfortably!
Accommodations at Woodland vary depending on your preferences. You can choose to stay in a suite in the main lodge, a cabin on the property, or in the motel complex. No matter which you choose, you’ll have full access to the on-site amenities. This includes the restaurant and bar, as well as a bait & tackle shop, a fish cleaning station, and a boat rental facility.
Pricing at the Woodland Resort depends greatly on your choice of accommodations. The largest suites feature lakefront views, full kitchens, and patio access (for grilling fish) and can run up to $400 per night. Smaller lodge units are typically available for closer to $125.
Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, MN
If you’re seeking a rustic but elegant resort experience, look no further than the Ozark’s Big Cedar Lodge. This Ridgedale resort labels itself as “America’s Premier Wilderness Resort,” and it’s hard to disagree. Big Cedar Lodge offers endless outdoor experiences, from picturesque scenery to adventure opportunities. And some pretty stunning indoor accommodations to boot.
No matter the season, you’ll find plenty of activities on tap at this resort. Summer brings cruises on Table Rock Lake, incredible hikes in the Ozark, and pedal bike fishing. Not to mention multiple premier golf courses. Fall brings leaf-peeping opportunities, bonfires, and tram rides to local historical sites. During the winter, you can enjoy ice skating and a number of special holiday events.
If that wasn’t enough, Big Cedar Lodge also hosts an 18,000-square-foot spa and salon and multiple fine dining options. Accommodations range from log cabins and lakeside cottages to luxe lodge rooms.
Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Dubuque, IA
In terms of the sheer number of activities available, it’s hard to top Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark. As the name implies, this Dubuque resort houses its own waterpark — indoors! This means that even during the winter season, the young at heart can enjoy thrilling waterslides and activity pools. Those looking for a more relaxed experience can float on the lazy river or luxuriate in one of the spas.
Grand Harbor also boasts an impressive arcade and a laser maze to keep kids entertained for hours. For those over the age of 21, the Diamond Jo Casino is within walking distance. This Las Vegas-themed attraction boasts table games, slots, and live entertainment.
Grand Harbor is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, and many of its 147 rooms offer beautiful harbor views. The resort also includes a complimentary breakfast buffet and an on-site restaurant and bar. You can expect to pay between $125 and $225 for a night at Grand Harbor.
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, WI
Grand Geneva Resort has something for just about everyone. During the warm months, you can golf on championship courses or soak in the beauty of Lake Geneva. When it gets colder, you can ski and snowboard at The Mountain Top or lace up and enjoy the ice skating rink. And no matter the season, you can sign up for any number of decadent spa and salon treatments.
Grand Geneva’s Well Spa + Salon was chosen as the Best Spa and Skincare Service by Wisconsin Bride in 2023. Their menu of services includes everything from deep tissue massages to full body exfoliations. There’s nothing like being pampered at the spa to make your troubles seem far away.
Lodging options are plentiful at Grand Geneva, which means you can experience this resort at a variety of price points. Suites in the Main Lodge are frequently available for as little as $225, while 3-bedroom villas can cost north of $800. Whatever your budget, the resort experience you’ve been craving awaits at Grand Geneva.
Whether you’re looking for a getaway that’s jam-packed with activities or you just want to put your feet up and do nothing, the best Midwest resorts will cater to your desires. And that’s what you really want out of a vacation, isn’t it — the chance to do whatever you want, whenever you want to?
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