Even though more than 52 million people visit Chicago annually, and it’s home to more than 5,000 restaurants, 125 art galleries and 250-plus theaters, sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all.
Just over the Illinois state line – just a quick car trip away – Wisconsin boasts a slew of beautiful resorts welcoming its neighbors to the south for a weekend retreat.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly place with plenty of activities for the kids or an adults-only getaway for some rest and relaxation, Wisconsin has plenty of resorts that will help you kick back and leave your world behind.
Here are five to consider for your next summer escape:
LOCATION: 419 Highland Dr., Kohler
DRIVE TIME: About 160 miles
two hours, 30 minutes
What first started as a place for immigrant workers to stay in 1918 has developed into a five-star, world-class resort destination in the stunning town of Kohler, Wisconsin.
The original house, which is now known as The American Club, isn’t the only resort on the sprawling grounds; Inn on Woodlake, Sandhill and Riverbend (members only) are also options for overnight stays, as well.
Not only does the land feature four award-winning gold courses that have hosted PGA Championships, but it’s also nestled near River Wildlife, an 800-acre wilderness preserve along the Sheboygan River. If the outdoors aren’t for you, the resort’s five-star Kohler Waters Spa provides the perfect stress-free getaway.
Destination Kohler also has plenty of special events throughout the course of the year, including the Sounds of Summer, a weekly music performance; the Chef’s Table Dinner Series; and Sip, Swing, Smoked – a package that features a night stay, round of golf and whiskey dinner pairing.
A full list of upcoming events can be found by visiting Destination Kohler’s website.
THE ABBEY RESORT
LOCATION: 269 Fontana Blvd., Fontana
DRIVE TIME: Approx. 50 miles
one hour, 20 minutes
Lake Geneva is known as a family-favorite getaway for Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, but the Abbey Resort is upping the ante. The 90-acre resort is located right on the shoreline and is the only full-service resort in the area.
The hotel features indoor and outdoor pools (one is for adults only), the relaxing Avani Spa, onsite Frisbee/disk golf, paddleboarding, bike rentals, and it is also home to the only protected marina on the lake. Waterskiing, parasailing and boat rentals are all part of the fun located just steps away from the cozy accommodations.
Whether you want your own villa, a suite or simply a room to stay in so you can enjoy the outdoors, the Abbey Resort has plenty to offer for couples, friends and a large family. It also offers special packages, ranging from an expectant mom getaway to a bed and breakfast getaway.
Visit the Abbey Resort’s website for more information on packages and events.
ν SUNDARA INN AND SPA
LOCATION: 920 Canyon Road,
DRIVE TIME: Approx. 160 miles
two hours, 30 minutes
Don’t be deceived by the location of this spa, Sundara Inn is anything but the hustle and bustle of the Wisconsin Dells area. Located in a 26-acre pine forest, the resort is adults-only and also is electronics-free in the common areas, which creates a completely tranquil environment for a weekend getaway.
Since 2003, Sundara, which means “beautiful” in Sanskrit, has strived to be the go-to spa destination not only in Wisconsin, but in the entire Midwest. From salon services to massages, bath and body treatments and even “just for him” outings, Sundara is ideal for a girls’ weekend or even a romantic getaway.
The resort is currently in the midst of an addition, which is expected to be complete in the spring of 2018, and will include a new saltwater pool, fitness area, retreat center, rooftop garden, hiking trails and more.
HEIDEL HOUSE RESORT AND SPA
LOCATION: 643 Illinois Ave.,
DRIVE TIME: Approx. 175 miles
While the estate started as a private residence in 1890, after Herb and Lucille Heidel purchased the property in 1945, it turned into one of the most popular resorts for Wisconsin visitors.
There are 180 guest rooms to choose from, but there also are two larger vacation rentals, the Stable house and Guest House, which provide accommodation for more than 10 guests at a time. While swimming, biking, hiking, tennis, volleyball, paddleboarding and canoeing are some of the daily options, guests also can chill out on the resort’s 60-foot catamaran – the “Escapade” – which offers public and private cruises on the lake in the warmer months.
The Tuscumbia Country Club and Lawsonia Golf Courses also are nearby.
For anyone wanting a relaxing day indoors, the Evensong Spa was built in 2006, and it has an interior inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Every session begins with a walk through a labyrinth, which has been used for centuries as a tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. Services include pre-wedding packages, facials, pedicures, massages, day spa deals and overnight packages, such as the baby-moon getaway package and honeymoon anytime package.
LOCATION: 2799 27th St., Birchwood
DRIVE TIME: Approx. 350 miles
five hours, 15 minutes
Literally located on a ferry-accessible, 18-acre island in the middle of Red Cedar Lake, Stout’s Island Lodge was originally built in 1903 as a summer estate for Frank D. Stout’s family. Now, it’s a stunning, quiet getaway for couples or families trying to escape the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day.
Aside from the beautiful lake and private cabin accommodations, the island also features a clay tennis court, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing and even golf (on the mainland).
In addition – off of the island – there is hiking at the Tuscobia State Trail and Ice Age National Scenic Trail, boat rentals, restaurants and a distillery. But, most of all, you definitely don’t want to miss a sunset on the dock – they’re stunning!