Don’t Fly Over, Stay Over. The Midwest’s Best Resorts

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michigan resorts: Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

From the sparkling Great Lakes to the bustling cityscapes of Chicago and Minneapolis, the Midwest is full of diverse landscapes. It is also home to some of the best resorts in the country. For a cozy home-away-from-home, head to Lake Forest, Illinois, and stay at the Deer Path Inn. Spend a blissful weekend on Mackinac Island while enjoying the Grand Hotel, or treat yourself to a lakeside retreat at Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark Mountains. For an urban getaway, book a night at the Four Seasons in Chicago. Start planning your next adventure at one of these 12 amazing Midwest resorts.

1. Grand Hotel – Mackinac Island, Michigan

Grand Hotel on Northern Michigan’s Mackinac Island is an old-world paradise with horse-drawn carriages and afternoon tea in the parlor. White trim, colorful patterns and antique furniture adorn this dreamy Michigan resort, one of the best hotels in the US. Each room is unique, with ornate details like colorful floor-to-ceiling curtains, delicate chandeliers, gold-trimmed furniture and beds made for royalty.

There are countless activities at the Grand Hotel. Games like cornhole, ladder toss, croquet and bocce are played on the hotel lawn. There is a golf course, a mini golf course, a salon and spa and a pool area with a play area, a water slide, a heated whirlpool and an adults-only area. With a boutique, a gym and 14 dining options, guests don’t ever have to leave the resort.

On-site dining options include an ice cream parlor, a picturesque dining hall, a Bavarian-style restaurant and a cocktail bar.


2. The Deer Path Inn – Lake Forest, Illinois

The Deer Path Inn is a cozy English inn that treats its guests with exceptional customer service. Only an hour from Chicago, this hotel is located in Lake Forest and occupies a building built in 1860. The inn maintains its historic charm, and is comfortable and clean, yet regal and decadent. Rooms feature sophisticated decor, plush sheets, floor-to-ceiling drapery, Frette linens and a stone bathroom. Select suites feature a fireplace, a wet bar and large living areas.

The White Hart Pub services the best English brews and pub food, and the English Room hosts authentic afternoon tea. Guests can sit beside a fountain under lush foliage while dining in the outdoor courtyard.


The indoor lazy river at the Grand Geneva! Photo credit: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

3. Grand Geneva Resort & Spa – Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

This stunning Lake Geneva resort is perfect for your next snowy adventure. Here, guests can spend the day skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing or ice skating, and then come home to a cozy, spacious guest room with breathtaking views of the surrounding southern Wisconsin landscape.

In the summer, guests can spend the day at the Adventure Center, practicing archery, hiking, biking, playing team sports, playing golf or renting a scooter. There are two golf-courses, a charming spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and opportunities for horseback riding. With lots of restaurants and fine dining options, guests at the Grand Geneva Resort will be stuffed with juicy steaks, tasty Italian food and drinks during happy hour.


4. Destination Kohler – Kohler, Wisconsin

This historic five-star hotel inhabits a building that dates back to 1918. Each room is unique, though all accommodations feature plush bedding, cozy decor and a refreshment center. Guests staying in the Carriage House Governor House will love the in-room fitness equipment, rooftop fireplace and the whirlpool bath.

The resort is part of Destination Kohler, which provides a shuttle service and access to the Sports Core Health & Racquet Club. Guests have 13 dining options, shopping options, access to the Kohler Waters Spa and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities, like hiking, skiing or fishing.


5. Chestnut Mountain Resort – Galena, Illinois

This ski resort in Galena is a dream destination all year-round. In the winter, the resort is expertly located for skiers and snowboards, while summer travelers can mountain bike, take a river cruise, enjoy an alpine slide, go ziplining or take a Segway tour.

The lodge has 100 rooms, which are equipped with a mini fridge, a microwave, comfortable bedding and beautiful views. There is an indoor pool, a sauna, a whirlpool and high-speed wifi for those who want a break from the outdoors. There is a mountain top café and a delightful summit restaurant.


6. French Lick Resort – French Lick, Indiana

Located in Southern Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest, the French Lick Resort is a family-friendly, pet-friendly resort that caters to all. The resort is actually made up of three different historic hotels. The West Baden Springs Hotel is a 1902 National Historic Landmark with European-style furniture and décor. Established in 1845, the French Lick Springs Hotel offers classic American rooms and the Valley Tower Hotel is home to modern and spacious rooms.

The resort has three golf-courses, two spas, several outdoor pools, an activities center for kids, lots of meeting spaces and a casino. There are more than a dozen shops at the resort, endless dining opportunities and lots of outdoor activities, including lawn games and hiking trails. There is even a restored trolley that connects two of the hotels. Those interested in history can take a tour of the resort’s hotels.


7. Grand View Lodge – Nisswa, Minnesota

Looking to unwind? Grand View Lodge is a cozy, secluded resort hotel located on Gull Lake. The resort opened in 1916 and has been spoiling its guests ever since. The resort is spread across hundreds of acres, with accommodation options including cabins, villas, duplexes, townhouses and guest rooms in a boutique hotel.

There is a breakfast buffet, a steakhouse, a sports grill and an Italian restaurant with a wine cellar. Guests can even dine outdoors in a private heated igloo.

More than 70 services are available at the Glacial Waters Spa and with more than 25 winter activities, guests will be kept busy all year-round. There are hot tubs, swimming pools, water slides, ice skating rinks and two golf courses.


8. Sundara Inn & Spa – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

The Sundara Inn is perhaps best known for its destination spa. This award-winning spa pampers and spoils its guests with endless services for individuals, pregnant women and couples. Guests can step into the Salt Treatment Room and breath in the rejuvenating salt participles in the air. Or they can reduce wrinkles and reactivate collagen with Cryo T-Shock technology.

Guests can stay in villas, suites or private outdoor units with private hot tubs. Rooms are private, comfortable and, above all, relaxing. The resort offers chauffeur services, a fitness studio, pools with a swim-up bar, a golf course and a variety of dining options. The Sundara is a great home base for exploring the Dells, known for its indoor water parks.


9. The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake – Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio

The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake is an enchanting waterfront resort that spoils its guests with a pool, a jacuzzi, a wine tasting shuttle and a golf course. There is a romantic restaurant where guests can dine while looking out over Lake Erie.

The resort is conveniently close to lots of outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, zip lining, cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing. Guests can enjoy Geneva State Park or explore vineyards in the Grand River Valley. Those more in the mood to relax can sprawl out on the soft bedding found in the Lodge’s accommodations. Guests will feel right at home in these simple and cozy rooms.


10. The Osthoff Resort – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

The Osthoff Resort is a white-painted resort that stands majestically on the shore of Elkhart Lake. With one-, two- and three- bedroom suites, the resort can host individuals as well as larger groups. The resort boasts modern amenities including a spa with a salt room, a cooking school, an arcade room and game room, pools, and whirlpools, a kids’ club, mountain bike rentals and a beautiful lakefront area with a playground, grills, volleyball courts and a bonfire area.

There is always something happening at The Osthoff Resort. Every year, the resort hosts Jazz on the Vine, a live jazz music event that spans three nights. Rock-lovers can attend Snake Oil, a weekend rock event. Musicians of all genres play throughout the rest of the year.


Enjoy a riverboat tour just down the street from the Four Seasons. Photo credit: Shutterstock, f11photo

11. The Four Seasons – Chicago, Illinois

This luxurious resort is an urban retreat located in the heart of Chicago. The hotel is vibrant, stylish and elegant, perfect for travelers who want to relax after exploring city’s vibrant food, art and music scene. Here, guests are only minutes from Lake Michigan and some of the city’s top attractions, including the Architecture Foundation Boat Tour, Shedd Aquarium and the Willis Tower.

With views of either the city or beautiful Lake Michigan, the hotel rooms and suites are comfortable and relaxing. Suites have separate sleeping and living spaces and luxury residences have kitchenettes and access to an expansive terrace. The hotel’s spa and pool facilities are currently closed, but will reopen June 2023. Other amenities include a fitness center, a lounge and a bar and restaurant. There are toys for kids as well as an ice cream man that delivers to the room.


12. Big Cedar Lodge – Ridgedale, Missouri

Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Big Cedar Lodge spans 4,600 acres and overlooks the beautiful Table Rock Lake. Just ten miles from Branson, this lakeside resort will create unforgettable memories, appealing to honeymooning couples and adventurous families alike.

Due to its proximity to the lake, the resort offers countless outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, boating, kayaking and bird-watching. There is also a spa, two full-service marinas, five golf courses, an activity center and lots of tasty restaurant.

Accommodations can be sorted into “on-property” and “off-property,” with the former including cottages, guest rooms and log cabins, while the latter encompasses shepherd’s huts, camp cabins or glamping tents. Outdoor accommodations are tucked into the woods, boasting beautiful lake views.


Adina Keeling is a freelance travel writer from San Diego, CA. She worked in local news for a year until her wanderlust drew her to Costa Rica, where she is now based while freelancing and traveling the world. She has lived in three different countries and traveled to 27. An avid solo traveler, Adina wants to empower other women to safely travel alone.
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