50 Midwest Resorts We Love

Big Cedar Lodge
Photo: Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

Our favorite Midwest resort destinations range from cozy lakeside lodges to water park behemoths. Dive in to check out our top picks for a fabulous Midwest getaway.

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Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin: The Osthoff Resort

Osthoff Resort sunset courtyard
Courtesy of Osthoff Resort

This elegant Victorian-Era resort recaptures the days when guests wore starched collars and flowing skirts while rowing boats on Elkhart Lake. Behind the classic white facade are modern amenities such as the luxurious Aspira Spa, a fitness center and an on-site culinary school. The all-suite Osthoff Resort also features indoor and outdoor pools and a small beach on the lake.

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Saugatuck, Michigan: Lake Shore Resort

Midwest resort revival
Angela Conners

Lake Shore's motor-inn vibe is the real deal—more than half a century after Joseph and Anna Milauckas built it in 1952. Andrew Milauckas is now caretaker of the property his grandparents created overlooking Lake Michigan, and as he has taken over the reins from his parents, he's completely renovated Lake Shore. New touches include sleek mid-mod furniture, lakeside yoga classes and meditation sessions. Free bikes, kayaks and breakfast create an all-inclusive feel. But the best parts of Lake Shore haven't changed, including the Lake Michigan views. Walk down to lounge by the waves—and stick around for sunset to complete the show.

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Custer, South Dakota: Custer State Park Resort

Custer, South Dakota: Custer State Park Resort
Jason Lindsey

Four historic lodges plus a variety of cabins nestle among 71,000 acres of mountains at Custer State Park. We enjoyed our stay at the State Game Lodge, a 1920 stone and wood masterpiece surrounded by ponderosa pine forest. Activities include hiking, boat rentals, horseback riding, safari jeep tours and a chuckwagon cookout. Be sure to drive the spectacular, winding Needles Highway and walk around lovely Sylvan Lake. For a glimpse of wildlife, ogle the bison wandering on the Wildlife Loop.

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Ridgedale, Missouri: Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge
Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

Upscale Big Cedar Lodge on the southern tip of Table Rock Lake features hotel rooms in three lodges (with rooms overlooking the lake, of course). Log cabins hidden among the pine trees are also a big draw. Wooden decks have their own gas grills, and room service will gladly provide all the fixings for a do-it-yourself barbeque, so you dine in seclusion while watching boats laze on the water below.

If you want to do more than just relax, activities for both kids and adults will keep you entertained. Guests enjoy standup paddleboard yoga, yoga hikes, a 62-foot luxury dinner yacht and kids' programs (including Fun Mountain with 11 indoor adventures). Companion destination Top of the Rocks Ozarks Heritage Preserve features a golf course, two restaurants and a museum, situated to showcase every sunset over the lake.

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Wisconsin Dells: Sundara Inn and Spa

Sundara Inn and Spa
Sundara Inn and Spa. Kevin J. Miyazaki

Stress evaporates under the powers of Sundara Inn and Spa, where robe-clad guests spend entire weekends in front of crackling fireplaces. The spa, which feels refreshingly apart from the bustling Wisconsin Dells thanks to acres of surrounding pines, asks guests to leave the kids at home and electronics in the guest rooms. On-site dining (robes welcome there, too) focuses on healthy dishes with local ingredients. Yoga classes teach ways to keep the decompression going at home, and guests can swing away at the adjoining golf course.

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The Villas at Gervasi Vineyard, Canton, Ohio

The Villas at Gervasi Vineyard, Canton, Ohio

Get swept away in the romance of Italy without springing for airfare when you stay in one of the 24 suites at The Villas at Gervasi Vineyard. Travertine baths, fresh-baked breakfast treats (delivered in a charming wooden box) and an on-site restaurant encourage you to relax and enjoy your time away from home.

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Birchwood, Wisconsin: Stout's Island Lodge

Stout's Island Lodge
Courtesy of Stout's Island Lodge

The Stout family brought their lumber fortune and summer-home dreams from Chicago to this 1,800-acre haven on Red Cedar Lake. Frank D. Stout modeled Stout's Island Lodge after the Adirondack resorts in upstate New York. Today, the 1912 lodge still sports gleaming, wide-plank hardwood floors; framed black-and-white family photographs; and wool spreads on some of the king-size beds. Its 43 rooms capture turn-of-the-20th-century class, and some of the eight cabins have twin beds in sleeping porches. Spend the day canoeing, fishing, playing croquet or just curling up with a good book. In the evening, dine on garden-fresh soups, tasty burgers and cooked-to-order steaks.

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Grand Marais, Minnesota: Gunflint Lodge

Gunflint Lodge
Courtesy of Gunflint Lodge

All-inclusive packages draw guests to Gunflint Lodge, a lakefront resort at the edge of the Boundary Waters. This four-season resort 43 miles northwest of Grand Marais embraces its prime wilderness location with activities like horseback riding, fishing, hiking and canoeing. Soar above the trees on the Towering Pines Canopy Tour. Comfortable cottages include stone fireplaces and two-person spas; guests can also opt for one of the well-appointed cabins or lake homes.

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Lake Forest, Illinois: Deer Path Inn

Deer Path Inn afternoon tea
Courtesy of the Deer Path Inn

If English gardens, Tudor-style architecture and afternoon tea set your heart aflutter, you'll be right at home at this elegant inn on Chicago's North Shore. Exceptional service and luxurious rooms, plus a variety of on-site dining options make this historic retreat a favorite for Midwest travelers and beyond.

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Cook, Minnesota: Ludlow's Island Resort and Pehrson Lodge Resort

Ludlow's Island Resort Dreamcatcher cabin
Courtesy of Ludlow's Island Resort

Bring the whole family (and some friends) to splurge on Dreamcatcher, an enchanting four-story tree house with fabulous wooded views at Ludlow's Island Resort. If the price tag is too spendy, check out the other 19 cottages, all with decks, wood-burning fireplaces and screen porches. Lots of activities for kids round out days spent fishing and swimming.

The 28 cabins at Pehrson Lodge Resort offer comfortable, quiet and clean lodging, with Minnesotan accents such as loon carvings. A wide, sandy beach promises plenty of room to lounge, and the safely buoyed-off swimming area contains an inflatable water slide. Guests can enjoy kayaks, canoes, sailboats and pedal boats at no extra charge, plus Pehrson features a solid program of kid activities like model sailboat building, fly tying and volleyball.

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Nisswa, Minnesota: Quarterdeck Resort and Grand View Lodge

Midwest resort revival
Quarterdeck Resort. Ackerman + Gruber

Founded in 1957, Quarterdeck Resort got a major makeover in 2018. New owners renovated the lodge suites and added several cottages and beach houses, plus a new restaurant. The goal is to appeal to 21st-century travelers who want the throwback resort feels but not the quilted polyester bed covers. Every Main Lodge room has a lakeview balcony. A 5-bedroom, 7-bathroom loft opened in 2023, perfect for large family gatherings.

Guests might come to Grand View Lodge for the three spectacular 18-hole golf courses, but they stay for the quality accommodations and views. Choose from townhomes, villas, cabins or clubhouse suites; we love the red cabins lining Roy Lake. In addition to golf, the resort offers a beach, spa and indoor water park.

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Grafton, Illinois: Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center

Grafton, Illinois: Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center
Kevin Miyazaki

Set amid 8,000 hilly, tree-dappled acres, Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center provides thoughtful hospitality in Grafton, an hour north of St. Louis. The 72 guest rooms have cozy beds, soft towels and squeaky-clean bathrooms. Generations battle using knights and queens half their height on a massive chessboard, and families with young kids unwind at the pool overlooking the Illinois River valley. Creaky wooden floors lead to the dining room, where patrons settle into high-backed chairs under lantern chandeliers for hearty meals of chops, steaks and amaretto cheesecake.

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Mackinac Island, Michigan: Mission Point Resort

Mission Point Resort
Courtesy of Mission Point Resort

On the southeast end of Mackinac Island, Mission Point Resort begins where the island's main street ends. An expansive front lawn with unobstructed views of Lake Huron greets visitors and guests. Check into one of two lodges before exploring all the amenities, including an 18-hole putting course, heated swimming pool, a health club and sauna. Dine at one of the four outstanding restaurants before catching a first-run flick at the island's only movie theater. This sprawling resort completed a $10 million renovation in 2019, refreshing rooms and adding a coffee shop and enhanced wellness perks.

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Kohler, Wisconsin: Destination Kohler

The American Club Resort Wisconsin
Courtesy of The American Club

Destination Kohler —with lodging at the five-star American Club Resort Hotel, Inn on Woodlake and Kohler Cabin Collection—might be best known for its golf courses and the famed Kohler Waters Spa, but there's even more to round out an active getaway. Options include indoor cycling classes, yoga on the lake, tennis and swimming. And to maximize your good mood, the Kohler Design Center, an art gallery of a kitchen and bath shop, inspires soothing home spaces.

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Thompsonville, Michigan: Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa

Thompsonville, Michigan: Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa

A destination for all seasons, Crystal Mountain wows with its wide variety of lodgings and classy amenities. In winter, ski out the back door of a mountaintop townhome. Summer allows for speedy runs down the 1,600-foot-long alpine slide. Nourish body and spirit at Crystal Spa, the only LEED-certified spa in the Midwest, and cap off the day at the on-site Thistle , where regional ingredients flavor healthy high-end cuisine.

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Branson, Missouri: Still Waters Resort

Oasis Pool Stillwaters Resort
Courtesy of Stillwaters Resort

Spacious condos with giant whirlpools and stylish furnishings sparkle at this Table Rock Lake resort, but the real attraction is fun on the water. Families love the free rentals, including pedal boats, kayaks and bikes. Still Waters Resort also boasts three swimming pools, three hot tubs and a water slide. Dry off with a game of sand volleyball or a hike along one of the trails. Need a caffeine boost? Swing by the on-site coffeehouse for your daily fix.

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Marshall, Indiana: Turkey Run Inn

Turkey Run Inn, Marshall, Indiana
Bob Stefko

Sitting on a rocking chair at Indiana's Turkey Run State Park Inn feels surprisingly like taking refuge deep in the forest. Maybe that's why quiet types flock here—bird-watchers, hikers (13 miles of trails) and history buffs eager to explore the covered bridges of Parke County (about 70 miles west of Indianapolis). Built of brick and stone, the inn anchors one of Indiana's oldest state parks. Patchwork quilts cover comfy beds in 57 modest guest rooms, and common areas are cozy with carved wood furniture and crackling fireplaces. The only thing that seems to break the tranquility is the bustling Narrows Restaurant, which serves up comfort food like breaded pork tenderloins and moist fried chicken.

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Arnolds Park, Iowa: The Inn Hotel

Midwest resort revival
Courtesy of The Inn Hotel

The Inn Hotel opened in 2019 in the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes, a fish-hook-shape cluster of glacial pools that teems from May through September with fishermen, families and fudge-lovers. While the building is new, it channels the spirit of the early to mid-20th century, with gilded accents, black-and-white postcards of vintage Okoboji, and Tavern at the Park restaurant. Guests can also chill in a rooftop pool or borrow bikes to take to the trails.

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Ashland, Nebraska: Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Ashland, Nebraska: Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is all about amenities: trail rides, miniature golf, a driving range, a water park, pedal boats, theater performances and an ice rink in winter. The grounds are as manicured as a golf course, and the cabin clusters look like suburban subdivisions. The Peter Kiewit Lodge features motel-style rooms and a full restaurant with great views of the Platte River Valley.

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Lewiston, Michigan: Garland Lodge and Golf Resort

Tony Demin

If you've ever wondered what "sophisticated rustic" looks like, book a room at the woodsy Garland Lodge and Golf Resort in northeast Michigan. The massive Up North lodge includes accents like earthy tile floors and oversize stained-glass windows. Four championship golf courses surround the cottages, villas and condos. If golf isn't your thing, saddle up for a horseback ride or explore the Au Sable river in a canoe or raft.

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Between Two Harbors and Lutsen, Minnesota: Lutsen Resort and Grand Superior Lodge

Between Two Harbors and Lutsen, Minnesota: Lutsen Resort and Grand Superior Lodge
Courtesy of Lutsen Resort

In Lutsen along Minnesota's North Shore, the four-season Lutsen Resort has plenty of draws for summer visitors, including scenic kayak tours, wildflower hikes, evening campfires, fly-fishing, horseshoes and bocce ball. Unwind along the rocky shoreline before settling into the Scandinavian lodge or a villa.

North of Two Harbors, Grand Superior Lodge offers amenities like kayak tours and massages. Choose from rooms, cabins or lakefront homes. The lodg is part of Odyssey Resorts, which runs several other highly rated lodgings along the North Shore, including Larsmont Cottages and Breezy Point Cabins in Two Harbors and Beacon Pointe in Duluth.

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Boyne Falls, Michigan: Boyne Mountain Resort

Boyne Falls, Michigan: Boyne Mountain Resort

Summer brings swimmers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts to this popular four-season resort. Ski lifts transform into scenic rides, and families enjoy Saturday night bonfires with s'mores. Boyne Mountain Resort boasts two world-class golf courses, Solace Spa, Zipline Adventures through the treetops, bike trails and even kids' wakeboarding clinics—as well as Avalanche Bay, Michigan's largest indoor water park. And in 2022, Boyne Mountain also opened SkyBridge Michigan, the world's longest timber-towered suspension bridge. Choose from a wide array of accommodations, including rooms, suites, condos, cabins and villas.

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Osage Beach, Missouri: 1932 Reserve

This destination's original building was the lake's oldest-known hotel, dating to 1932—just one year after the Osage River was dammed, forming Lake of the Ozarks. Six lofts, including a six-bedroom penthouse, have cool details like headboards made of salvaged flooring (itself legendarily recycled from the dam's construction). The restaurant has water views and is one of the hippest spots for a meal on the lake.

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Galena, Illinois: Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa

Adam Alexander/Courtesy IOT

With three acclaimed 18-hole courses plus a 9-hole course, Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa draws large numbers of golfers, but there are plenty of other reasons to travel here. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from horseback riding, hiking or bicycling before relaxing in the spa. Accommodations include 80 rooms in the inn as well as 300 villas and homes. On-site dining means you won't have to leave the complex, but it would be a shame to pass up the chance to browse restaurants and shops in nearby historic Galena.

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Sandusky, Ohio, and Wisconsin Dells: Kalahari Resort

The Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio
Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

Whether you come for the massive water attractions or the African-theme rooms, your visit to a Kalahari Resort will clearly be family-oriented. Indoor water parks at the resort's two Midwest locations are among the nation's largest. We especially enjoyed the unique Flow Rider surfing attraction. With more than a half-dozen restaurants on-site, the resorts also offer plenty of eating options—from by-the-pool grille to nicer eateries or room service. But be sure to try the pizza at least once; it's delicious and affordably feeds a family.

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Kelleys Island, Ohio: Kelleys Island Venture Resort

Kelleys Island, Ohio: Kelleys Island Venture Resort

A pastel yellow exterior marks Kelleys Island Venture Resort, the only resort on this idyllic Lake Erie hamlet. Thirty apartment-style suites feature spacious bedrooms, a living area, Wi-Fi and outdoor living spaces. On clear days, the steel roller coaster skyline of Sandusky's Cedar Point amusement park appears in the distance. Other amenities include a swimming pool and hot tub amid beautiful landscaping and bikes for exploring the 4-square-mile island with 313 residents.

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Lanesboro, Minnesota: Cedar Valley Resort

Lanesboro, Minnesota: Cedar Valley Resort
Courtesy of Cedar Valley Resort

Experience the best of the Root River Valley at this quiet resort near historic Lanesboro. The spacious grassy areas and large cabins at Cedar Valley Resort make this the perfect locale for your next family reunion. Bike to the charming town of Lanesboro along the popular Root River State Trail or go trout fishing and tubing on the water. We wish this place were a well-kept secret, but because it's not, book early. Summer weekends fill up a year in advance.

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Traverse City, Michigan: Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

 Grand Traverse Resort exterior
Courtesy of Grand Traverse Resort

A golfer's dream destination, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa boasts three championship courses, including one that has been rated Michigan's most challenging: the par-72 Bear designed by Jack Nicklaus. But golfing isn't the only draw at this classy 600-room destination. Head up to the 16th floor for culinary paradise at Aerie, where seasonal ingredients flavor a menu that changes weekly. While there, enjoy a glass of Michigan wine and watch the sun sink over Grand Traverse Bay.

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Wisconsin Dells: Wilderness Resort

Wilderness Resort. Courtesy of Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau

Choose between family-friendly lodging—featuring four indoor and four outdoor, guests-only water parks and rustic-luxury hotel rooms—or a quiet getaway with fully furnished cabins, condominiums and villas at this sprawling resort. Wilderness Resort is so big you'll need a map to find your way around. Families will enjoy the water features—including a Wild West indoor water park, an indoor wave pool and the Hurricane extreme-tubing slide—as well as ziplining and minigolf. Best of all, there's something here for every budget, whether you're looking for a basic hotel room or a spacious five-bedroom cabin.

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Detroit Lakes, Minnesota: Fair Hills Resort

Detroit Lakes - Fair Hills Resort
Fair Hills Resort. John Noltner

Become a member of the Fair Hills family at this welcoming resort near Detroit Lakes. The cabins aren't anything fancy (no fridges, microwaves or TVs) but you'll love the activities, including a nine-hole executive golf course, tennis courts, outdoor pools and fire pits on the beach. Fair Hills Resort serves three home-cooked meals each day and a special Tuesday night smorgasbord dinner before their popular Hootenanny variety show during the summer.

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French Lick, Indiana: French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel

French Lick spa
Courtesy of French Lick Resort

At the century-old French Lick Resort, a free 24-hour shuttle transports resort guests between two hotels, three golf courses, two high-end spas, casino, horse stable and indoor sports complex. The French Lick Springs Hotel is home to a casino as well as family-friendly activities such as movie parties and indoor and outdoor swimming. The Victorian-opulent West Baden Springs Hotel offers upscale amenities, including a spa and fine dining.

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Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: Grand Geneva Resort and Spa and The Abbey Resort

Grand Geneva Lake Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Grand Geneva Lake Resort and Spa

The famously clear Geneva Lake, ringed by resorts, vacation homes and 19th-century mansions, is anchored by the town of Lake Geneva on its east end. Just northeast of downtown Lake Geneva at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa, choose a room, suite or villa; enjoy two golf courses and excellent restaurants, as well as an updated WELL Spa + Salon and a fitness center.

At the Fontana end of Geneva Lake, guests of all ages are entertained with classic lake resort activities at The Abbey, the Avani Spa and indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a virtual-reality gaming center.

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Cable, Wisconsin: Garmisch USA Resort

Restaurant at Garmisch USA Resort
Courtesy of Garmisch USA Resort

Since it opened during the 1920s, this northern Wisconsin spot has been a destination for families, anglers and honeymooners looking for an Up North escape. Guests at Garmisch USA Resort can stay in standard hotel rooms, luxurious suites overlooking Lake Namakagon or well-appointed cabins. Aged timbers support a vaulted ceiling in the lodge, which has a gift shop, library and lounge. Savor meat-and-potato combinations at the lodge's restaurant.

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Frankenmuth, Michigan: Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark

Atrium at Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark
Courtesy of Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark

Families love the waterpark, friendly staffers and family suites at Zehnder's. A raft ride, tube slides, zero-entry activity pool and lazy river highlight the 50,000-square-foot water park. Adults can sip a cocktail from the adjacent Elf Hollow Cafe, or the whole family can enjoy a bounteous family-style chicken dinner at Zehnder's Restaurant, a half-mile down the road. Next to Zehnder's: megasize Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.

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Nevis, Minnesota: Royal Starr Resort

Nevis, Minnesota: Royal Starr Resort
Courtesy of Royal Starr Resort

Settle into one of 13 well-appointed cabins at this gem near Park Rapids. The year-round Royal Starr Resort sits along the Crow Wing chain of lakes, mean there are ample opportunities for family fun on the water. Rent kayaks, canoes and even hydro bikes on-site, or simply enjoy the stunning lake view from an Adirondack chair. Kids will love the playground and their own fishing pier. A disc golf course was added in 2022.

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Logan, Ohio: Cedar Grove Lodging

Cedar Grove Lodging
Courtesy of Cedar Grove Lodging

Just a half-mile from Old Man's Cave in the Hocking Hills, Cedar Grove Lodging offers six comfortable cabins and three lodges of different sizes for couples, families or groups (one lodge sleeps up to 26). Amenities include a fishing pond, hot tubs, fire pits and gas grills, all close to Logan and Hocking Hills State Park.

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Shell Knob, Missouri: Stonewater Cove Resort

Shell Knob, Missouri: Stonewater Cove Resort
Stonewater Cove. Diana Lambdin Meyer

Guests looking for a secluded getaway in the Missouri Ozarks will enjoy the 500 acres of Stonewater Cove Resort, overlooking Table Rock Lake and surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest. Geared to active adventurers who want luxury accommodations, the resort offers guided activities, such as ATV tours, boat rides, low ropes, zip lines, archery and tubing; guests can also canoe, kayak, hike, bike, fish and swim or enjoy spa services. After a busy day, relax in the hot tub overlooking Table Rock Lake.

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Breezy Point, Minnesota: Breezy Point Resort

Breezy Point, Minnesota: Breezy Point Resort
Courtesy of Lisa Meyers McClintick

Choose to stay in lakeside hotel units with balconies or an Arts and Crafts-style reunion house at this popular destination on a Brainerd Lakes-area peninsula. It's easy to fill a week at Breezy Point Resort, no matter the season. During the summer, explore Pelican Lake on Jet Skis, try a round of golf or opt for a narrated tour aboard the Breezy Belle. Winter brings its own fun, including Zamboni-groomed lake skating and snow golf.

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Hayward, Wisconsin: Treeland Resorts

Hayward, Wisconsin: Treeland Resorts
Courtesy of Treeland Resorts

It's easy to see why many families consider Treeland Resorts their must-visit vacation tradition. Located 18 miles east of Hayward, this group of pretty resorts is all about family fun with an outdoor pool, modern playground, volleyball and tennis courts, and plenty of boat access. A log lodge houses a large bar and dining area with tables overlooking the lake. Enjoy dessert at the ice cream fountain, then retire to one of the 29 vacation homes and cabins or 10 motel suites for the evening.

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Crane Lake, Minnesota: Nelson's Resort

Crane Lake, Minnesota: Nelson's Resort
Courtesy of Nelson's Resort

Tucked away near the west entrance of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the classic Up North Nelson's Resort offers 27 log cabins along the shores of Crane Lake. Enjoy three meals a day at the lodge, including candlelight dinners, and a pianist in the cozy dining room. After dinner, relax in the sauna or settle in for a beach bonfire where you can roast marshmallows. Lucky visitors will catch an incredible view of the northern lights.

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Brainerd, Minnesota: Madden's on Gull Lake

Brainerd, Minnesota: Madden's on Gull Lake and Lost Lake Lodge

Historic Madden's on Gull Lake lands the perfect balance between family fun and serious pampering. Make your visit easy by booking an inclusive plan, featuring dining options at the resort's five restaurants. We love the lakeside Mission Point dining room.

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