Top 10 Classic Summer Lodges

Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off summer. It’s when we shift focus from planning after-school activities to family-friendly vacations. Escape from the gimmicks and gadgetry of everyday life to one of these 10 Classic Summer Lodges, where lakeside swims and games of flashlight tag help recapture the lazy days of summer.

By Margaret Loftus

    1. Northwoods Gem
      Alpine ResortSet in far northern Wisconsin on a pristine lake amid towering white pines, this down-home resort, with its collection of circa 1920s log cabins complete with knotty pine interiors, is a real throwback. These days, owners Kim and Tim Bowler and their ten-year-old daughter, Cameil, host angling lessons off the dock and stargazing around the campfire (look for the northern lights). It can be quiet in the North Woods. “The only sounds you hear in the morning are the loons,” notes Kim. For some, that’s exactly the type of alarm clock they want. Located in Presque Isle, Wisconsin; from $1,703, including two daily meals and activities.
    2. Out of Lake Wobegon
      Fair Hills ResortWith sandcastle contests, smorgasbord night, and family bingo, this classic northern Minnesota lodge is right out of Garrison Keillor’s fictitious Lake Wobegon. Families can choose from a slew of activities—volleyball, tennis, sailing, swimming—laze by the lake, or rehearse for their star turn at the weekly “Hootenanny” talent show. The family-run resort prides itself on its myriad “lifers,” guests who’ve been vacationing here since they were tots. This year, ten of them will celebrate their 50th visit, gratis. Located in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; from $2,862, including meals and activities.
    3. Northern California, Unplugged
      Gray Eagle LodgeOnce they find Gray Eagle Lodge off a two-lane road, most guests have little use for their cars. Days here are spent on foot, hiking to alpine lakes in the Sierras (cabins come equipped with day packs) or going for a dip in the swimming hole fed by a 15-foot waterfall. “There are no planned activities,” explains Tracy Morris, who has taken her children here for years, “unless you count the evening marshmallow toastings around the fire pit or the games of flashlight tag planned by kids who have never met before but have become fast friends.” Located in Lakes Basin, California; from $2,450, including two daily meals.

Rates quoted here are for a family of four for seven nights in the summer. Check individual websites for specifics.

See the entire list of Top 10 Classic Summer Lodges.

Photo: Arvin Abadilla/My Shot

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Northwoods Gem
Alpine Resort

Set in far northern Wisconsin on a pristine lake amid towering white pines, this down-home resort, with its collection of circa 1920s log cabins complete with knotty pine interiors, is a real throwback. These days, owners Kim and Tim Bowler and their ten-year-old daughter, Cameil, host angling lessons off the dock and stargazing around the campfire (look for the northern lights). It can be quiet in the North Woods. “The only sounds you hear in the morning are the loons,” notes Kim. For some, that’s exactly the type of alarm clock they want. Located in Presque Isle, Wisconsin; from $1,703, including two daily meals and activities.

Out of Lake Wobegon
Fair Hills Resort

With sandcastle contests, smorgasbord night, and family bingo, this classic northern Minnesota lodge is right out of Garrison Keillor’s fictitious Lake Wobegon. Families can choose from a slew of activities—volleyball, tennis, sailing, swimming—laze by the lake, or rehearse for their star turn at the weekly “Hootenanny” talent show. The family-run resort prides itself on its myriad “lifers,” guests who’ve been vacationing here since they were tots. This year, ten of them will celebrate their 50th visit, gratis. Located in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; from $2,862, including meals and activities.

Northern California, Unplugged
Gray Eagle Lodge

Once they find Gray Eagle Lodge off a two-lane road, most guests have little use for their cars. Days here are spent on foot, hiking to alpine lakes in the Sierras (cabins come equipped with day packs) or going for a dip in the swimming hole fed by a 15-foot waterfall. “There are no planned activities,” explains Tracy Morris, who has taken her children here for years, “unless you count the evening marshmallow toastings around the fire pit or the games of flashlight tag planned by kids who have never met before but have become fast friends.” Located in Lakes Basin, California; from $2,450, including two daily meals.

Rates quoted here are for a family of four for seven nights in the summer. Check individual websites for specifics.

See the entire list of Top 10 Classic Summer Lodges.

Photo: Arvin Abadilla/My Shot

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

Out of Lake Wobegon
Fair Hills Resort

With sandcastle contests, smorgasbord night, and family bingo, this classic northern Minnesota lodge is right out of Garrison Keillor’s fictitious Lake Wobegon. Families can choose from a slew of activities—volleyball, tennis, sailing, swimming—laze by the lake, or rehearse for their star turn at the weekly “Hootenanny” talent show. The family-run resort prides itself on its myriad “lifers,” guests who’ve been vacationing here since they were tots. This year, ten of them will celebrate their 50th visit, gratis. Located in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; from $2,862, including meals and activities.

Northern California, Unplugged
Gray Eagle Lodge

Once they find Gray Eagle Lodge off a two-lane road, most guests have little use for their cars. Days here are spent on foot, hiking to alpine lakes in the Sierras (cabins come equipped with day packs) or going for a dip in the swimming hole fed by a 15-foot waterfall. “There are no planned activities,” explains Tracy Morris, who has taken her children here for years, “unless you count the evening marshmallow toastings around the fire pit or the games of flashlight tag planned by kids who have never met before but have become fast friends.” Located in Lakes Basin, California; from $2,450, including two daily meals.

Rates quoted here are for a family of four for seven nights in the summer. Check individual websites for specifics.

See the entire list of Top 10 Classic Summer Lodges.

Photo: Arvin Abadilla/My Shot

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

Rates quoted here are for a family of four for seven nights in the summer. Check individual websites for specifics.

See the entire list of Top 10 Classic Summer Lodges.

Photo: Arvin Abadilla/My Shot

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

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