9 Fun, Affordable Winter Weekend Getaways In Wisconsin

9 fun, affordable winter weekend getaways in Wisconsin

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Britteny Dee

December 21, 2023

WISCONSIN—Summertime in Wisconsin might get all the attention thanks to the state’s beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and hiking trails, but there’s plenty to do in the colder months too.

Whether you prefer an outdoorsy adventure or would rather stay warm indoors, winter in Wisconsin offers something for everyone, and it’s the perfect time to take a quick trip and explore.

Not only will a winter weekend getaway allow you to experience Wisconsin in a new way, but because winter is considered Wisconsin’s off-season, many hotels offer discounted rates and deals you can take advantage of. Plus, the Badger State looks beautiful blanketed in snow.

From romantic couples trips to fun-filled family vacations, we’ve put together a roundup of affordable weekend getaway ideas in and around Milwaukee, Madison, and the La Crosse-Eau Claire regions.


Aquatic adventure at Springs Water Park

Beaches might be closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fun day on the water this winter. Fun for the whole family awaits at Springs Water Park. Check into The Ingleside Hotel for the weekend and take advantage of its on-site indoor water park. Featuring tube and body slides, a lazy river, an activity pool, an indoor-outdoor hot tub, and more.

For a limited time, The Ingleside Hotel is offering guests who book at least two weeks in advance a 15% discount on its overnight water park rate. Learn more and book here.

Brewery tour

Fancy an adults-only weekend trip? Take a tour of one of Wisconsin’s many breweries and spend the weekend sampling the state’s best brews.

Lakefront Brewery offers one of Milwaukee’s most popular tours. If you’re touring on the weekend, a ticket will run you $16, a steal considering you get four eight-ounce pours and a souvenir pint glass in addition to the 45 minute tour. Grab a bite at the Beer Hall after your tour, or take your “Beer on Us” coupon—provided by the brewery—that’s good at a number of nearby participating establishments, for a free Lakefront Brewery beer.

If you want to hit up multiple breweries, check out Fun Beer Tours’ Milwaukee Beer Trail, which highlights the ones you can’t miss and organizes them by region.

After a day spent touring Wisconsin’s best breweries, why not spend the night in one too? The Brewhouse Inn & Suites is housed within the original Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery, and it’s Milwaukee’s only hotel in an historic brewery. In January and February, the hotel is offering a Snow Day Savings special, with rates as low as $139 per night.

Winter Realms and Winterfest

Lake Geneva is less than an hour outside of Milwaukee, and there’s tons to do in the area during the wintertime. Winter Realms is a can’t-miss experience. Race down ice slides, crawl through tunnels, and explore caverns adorned with icicles at this one-of-a-kind winter wonderland. Winter Realms comes to life in January and remains open through February or March, depending on the weather.

If you time your trip right, you can also check out Winterfest, which runs from Jan. 31 to February 4. The main attraction at this free event is the US National Snow Sculpting Championship—a three-day competition during which artists create larger-than-life snow sculptures—but other activities include an ice sculpture walk, bonfires on the beach, live entertainment, and more.

Because Lake Geneva is such a popular vacation destination, there’s plenty of lodging options. Geneva Wells Motel is great for budget travelers (book via their website and use promo code ‘directbooking’ for a discount), and Fontana Village Inn is another affordable choice.


Embark on an epicurean escape

From the Late Winter Market to Beer & Cheese Fest, there are plenty of food-focused happenings taking place in Madison this winter, and with the centrally located Mansion Hill Inn as your home base, you can experience them all with ease. This luxury boutique hotel has special winter rates starting at $199 per night, and when you book directly on its website, you get a complimentary cocktail at check-in.

While you might be tempted to spend your entire weekend cozied up by one of the hotel’s wood-burning fireplaces, don’t forget the reason you made the trip: the food. Every Saturday, you can explore the Late Winter Market, presented by Dane County Farmers’ Market, and shop for local meats and cheeses, baked goods, specialty items, and more.

If you’re in town on Saturday, Jan. 20, sample hundreds of Wisconsin brews and cheeses at the 14th annual Beer & Cheese Fest.

Finally, treat yourself to dinner and a show at DelecTable’s Chef’s Tasting Experience. Enjoy a multi-course menu featuring seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients, complete with wine pairings and a blindfold course. For an even more hands-on experience, sign up for a cooking class and enhance your culinary skills. Back at your hotel, enjoy freshly baked cookies as part of your nightly turndown service.

A historic stay at Madison’s oldest operating hotel

When Hotel Ruby Marie first opened in 1873, it was popular among railroad passengers looking for a bare-bones place to rest their head and wash up. But today, this locally owned bed and breakfast beautifully blends historic charm with modern comforts. It’s located across the street from Lake Monona and just blocks from the Capitol building.

Breakfast and happy hour are included in the room rate, and as part of its Winter Escape deal, Hotel Ruby Marie is offering guests who book directly through April 30th a $25 gift card to one of two nearby restaurants.

Cross Country Luminary Ski Trail

Pack up your skis and head to Lussier Family Heritage Center for an illuminating cross-country skiing event. During this year’s Cross Country Luminary Ski Trail on Jan. 19, a two-mile stretch of cross-country ski trails will be lit for an enchanting evening experience.

After you’re done gliding through the trails, refuel and warm up with s’mores around the bonfire before heading back to your hotel. Speaking of, Mansion Hill Inn and Hotel Ruby Marie are both about 15 minutes away from Lussier Family Heritage Center.

Devil’s Lake State Park

State park trips aren’t just for summertime. Devil’s Lake State Park—Wisconsin’s largest state park—is open year-round, and there’s snow much to do there in the winter. Explore the more than 29 miles of trails on foot or give snowshoeing a try. Part of Wisconsin’s famous Ice Age Trail—one of only eight National Scenic Trails in the US—runs through Devil’s Lake State Park and is definitely worth exploring.

If you plan to bring your kids along on this getaway, head to the park’s sledding hill for some family fun.

After a long day of adventuring, recharge at Devil’s Lake Grand Cabin, an Amish-built cabin located near the park entrance. Perfect for families or groups, the cabin features three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a loft with two additional beds. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen and a stone gas fireplace in the living room. Enjoy $50 off per-night pricing on stays through May 1.

If you’re planning a more romantic, adults-only getaway near the state park, The Inn at Wawanissee Point might be more fitting. This luxury bed and breakfast is secluded on 42 wooded acres on top of Baraboo Bluffs and boasts breathtaking views. During the winter season, the bed and breakfast offers a “Snowshoe Special” of $50 off a two-night stay plus complimentary use of its snowshoes.

La Crosse-Eau Claire

Hit the slopes at Mt. La Crosse

Spend the weekend on the slopes at Mt. La Crosse, western Wisconsin’s premier skiing destination. With 18 trails and a terrain park, Mt. La Crosse caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Après-ski, warm up in the St. Bernard Room with a cup of hot cocoa or a beer before heading to nearby GrandStay Hotel and Suites, located in historic downtown La Crosse, for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Pro tip: Bring the kids to Mt. La Crosse on Saturdays for Family Night to take advantage of special discounted pricing, and sign up for Grand Savings with GrandStay Hotels for exclusive savings on stays through March 31.

Artful adventure

If your idea of wintertime fun involves staying warm indoors, consider an artsy weekend getaway in Eau Claire. Learn how to create the perfect charcuterie board at Northwoods Grazing; sip and stare at local art at 2 Roots Gallery, an art gallery and self-serve wine bar; take a planting workshop at Down to Earth Garden Center; or perfect your pottery skills at Half Moon Clay.

If you’re in town the weekend of Feb. 2, check out the popular Banbury Art Crawl. This event combines art, food, live music, and artist demonstrations over a two-day period.

While there are plenty of nice hotels in the area, you can save some money by opting for an Airbnb instead. Franklin House, a new single-family home, rents for around $75 a night, while the historic three-bedroom Hobner Home has a nightly rate of about $130.




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