Looking for an old-fashioned lakefront getaway? It doesn’t get any prettier or quainter than Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. There’s a small town hospitality here that takes you back to a simpler time. My father-in-law still remembers vacationing here as a kid, and he’s not alone. Generations of Midwesterners have enjoyed the crystal clear waters of this town 2 1/2 hours north of Chicago.
Victorian Village Resort
We enjoyed staying at the Victorian Village Resort, a perfect choice for families who want to make the trip to this charming small town. For over a century visitors have escaped to the natural beauty of this lakeside resort. Today, owner Judy Salzwedel is on hand to warmly welcome a new generation of visitors to this family run resort.
There’s a pristine beach with a floating dock and plenty of water sports, including water skiing. My toddler enjoyed playing in the sand while my 11 year old had just as much fun jumping off the swim platform. There’s also a beautiful pool nestled among pine trees with a picture perfect view of the lake.
There are barbecues if you want to bring your own food, but there’s also a fantastic restaurant as well as the more informal Barefront Tiki Bar, where you can order inexpensive burgers, sandwiches and ice cream. There’s a real party atmosphere at this beachfront bar and grill on the weekends when live music turns up the volume on the excitement. Order your favorite frozen concoction of choice (I opted for the pina colada) and drink in the view— of your kids splashing in the lake or a peaceful sunset— you pick.
Broadway Comes to Elkhart Lake
The entertainment doesn’t stop at the tiki bar. One of our favorite memories of Victorian Village was the staff performance of Broadway show tunes. I felt like I was living my own version of Dirty Dancing, except now I was the parent. Victorian Village Resort has its own theatre and the staff put on a fun “Best of Broadway” production. It was a great introduction to all the show tunes I loved as a kid, but that my 11 year old, sadly, isn’t as familiar with. We all got a real kick out of their song and dance numbers, even my 3 year old, who no one seemed to mind was occasionally standing up in her seat to see better.
Kudos to the owners and staff of Victorian Village for putting on a great show throughout this charming resort!
Disclosure: We stayed as guests of Victorian Village Resort, but, as always, the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Andrea Guthmann is a freelance journalist. She spent many years as a writer and producer for WTTW-TV, the PBS station in Chicago. Her travel stories have been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent, Make It Better and on-line travel sites.
A native Floridian, Andrea’s now a big (windy) city mom of 3, who range in age from tot to teen. After giving birth to 2 beautiful children she’s had the joy of becoming a mom again through adoption. She loves sailing Lake Michigan and visiting the world class museums and restaurants in her sweet home Chicago. Being a scenery starved city girl, she loves escaping to the outdoors during vacations and is working hard to raise 3 happy campers! You can follow her on Twitter at @AndreaGuthmann.