According to the last Census, 8,300 people call Lake Geneva home. But on any given weekend, you’ll find triple that escaping to “the Hamptons of the Midwest.” The area supports more than 6,800 jobs and contributes $66 million in tax revenue.
And, travel to the area is only on the rise. Lake Geneva is located in Walworth County, which reported one of the largest jumps in traveler spending in the state: $594.5 million, or 36% more than the year before. Walworth currently ranks sixth in tourism economic impact among Wisconsin’s 72 counties. However, the top five have significantly larger marketing budgets, according to Visit Lake Geneva.
Travel planning websites like Kayak recommend spending at least three days in the waterside town. But even staying for that much time makes it difficult to pack in every last fish fry, zip line, brewery, trail, and shop.
We’re here to help you make the best of your visit to Lake Geneva. We sent our team to find the best “splurge” and “save” options when it comes to Lake Geneva hotels, restaurants, and attractions.
Lake Geneva Hotels
You’ll find dozens of hotels in Lake Geneva proper, as well as Fontana, Williams Bay, and around the lake. While the most expensive hotels offer upscale amenities and a prime lakeside location, budget-friendly options are just a few blocks away!
Splurge: The Geneva Inn, N2009 S Lake Shore Dr.
The second you step foot in The Geneva Inn, you’ll understand why the property has received regional and national recognition for its excellence. This charming lakefront hotel is just a five-minute walk from Big Foot Beach State Park and close to all the restaurants and attractions the area has to offer. Guests can stay in a deluxe room or upgrade to a luxury room or suite with a private balcony. Each room comes with luxury spa robes, a Keurig coffee machine, a 40” flat-screen TV, and a refrigerator. Rooms start at about $200 per night.
Save: Geneva Wells Motel, 1060 S. Wells St.
The Geneva Wells Motel is a comfortable option that won’t break the bank. This small hotel is situated on a large swath of land, providing a great atmosphere for picnics and outdoor activities on the property, as well as enjoying the seasonal outdoor pool. The motel is only a mile from the city center and each room comes with a 50” flat-screen TV, microwave, and refrigerator. Rooms start at about $100 per night, but you can spend more if you want to upgrade to a room with a kitchenette.
Lake Geneva Restaurants
Dining out is part of the fun of Lake Geneva, and the town’s restaurants do not disappoint. You’ll find several options in all price points, without having to visit a chain. Many of Lake Geneva’s best fine dining options are lakeside or close to it. However, you can find more affordable dining options if you are willing to give up the water view.
Splurge: Geneva Chophouse, 7036 Grand Geneva Way
Hours: Tues. through Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The Geneva Chophouse is located at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, another great upscale hotel in Lake Geneva. Regardless of where you stay, The Geneva Chophouse is the perfect pick for a surf and turf meal. If hand-selected steak prepared on an open-hearth grill isn’t your thing, try the mouth-watering Amish chicken. Chefs also offer a variety of seafood appetizers, including crab cakes, oysters, and tuna crudo. But for the ultimate splurge, try the seafood tower. Guests also have the chance to enjoy perfectly paired wine from a wine list with offerings from all the major global wine-producing regions.
Save: Grandma Vickie’s Cafe, 522 Broad St.
Hours: Tues. through Sat. 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A visit to Grandma Vickie’s Cafe is one of the best ways to save money on a meal or two when visiting Lake Geneva. Almost everything on the menu is under $11, except for the $14.99 Hangover special, which still packs a big punch–coming with eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast, and a biscuit. Other favorites include various omelets, skillets, and scramblers, country fried steak and eggs, and breakfast burritos. Grandma Vickie’s only serves breakfast and lunch, so make sure to stop by early in the day.
Lake Geneva Attractions
Lake Geneva is nestled on the shores of–you guessed it–Geneva Lake, a 5,400-acre expanse that offers endless opportunities to take in the area’s natural beauty. The lake provides picturesque water views and visitors with a boat can enjoy skiing, tubing, fishing, and cruising around to see the area’s picturesque lakeside mansions. But you’ll also find plenty of attractions and activities that won’t cost you a thing!
Splurge: Lake Geneva Ziplines & Adventures, N3232 County Road H
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Whether you’re visiting in the summer or waiting until the fall, ziplining is the perfect way to see the town from above. Located on 100 acres, Lake Geneva Ziplines & Adventures’ course has five sky bridges and three spiral staircases. You can try their short 4-line course for $60 or go for the total splurge: a 9-line course for $120. The longest line is more than 800 feet and, on some parts of the course, zipliners travel up to 45 miles per hour! Regardless of which course you choose, you can experience Lake Geneva from a bird’s eye view.
Save: Geneva Lake Shore Path
Hours: Always open
The Geneva Lake Shore Path meanders through the historic mansions and gorgeous homes for more than 25 miles around the lake. The best part? It’s free! As you explore, you can stop for a swim, have a picnic, or simply watch the sailboats, speedboats, and swimmers enjoy the lake’s clear waters. The path also provides easy access to the family-friendly public beaches along the lake. We recommend Lake Geneva Public Beach, Riviera Beach, and Williams Bay Beach.