The Best Things to do on Your Lake Geneva Weekend Getaway

Thinking about going on a Lake Geneva weekend getaway?

Lake Geneva is the perfect destination for families, friends, and couples.

The lake views are amazing and restaurants will not disappoint!

I highly recommend going to Lake Geneva for your next getaway!

Below I reveal the best places to stay, what to do, and where to eat.

These recommendations are based on my experience and hopefully will help you plan your Lake Geneva weekend getaway.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Where is Lake Geneva?

Lake Geneva is located in southeastern Wisconsin and is about 90 minutes from Chicago.

We traveled to Lake Geneva from Des Moines, Iowa, and it took us 5 hours. 

Downtown Lake Geneva is conveniently located right on the lake which makes restaurants, shopping, and some hotels and resorts easily accessible while at the lake. 

The proximity of downtown to the lake was one of my favorite things about Lake Geneva.

You can meander on the lakeshore path gazing at the mansions and then head back downtown to grab some lunch or dinner.

Good to Know

The actual lake is called GENEVA LAKE. The main town on Geneva Lake is Lake Geneva as well as the villages of Fontana and Williams Bay.

Must Know Information

The overall resort area referred to as Lake Geneva actually includes two more lakes besides Geneva Lake. The three lakes that make up the Lake Geneva area are Lake Como, Delavan Lake, and Geneva Lake. Make sure you consider this when you are figuring out where to stay.


Where to stay in Lake Geneva?

You will need to decide whether you want to stay at a hotel or resort with a view of the lake or if you want to stay at another larger resort that will require a short drive to the lake.

Also make sure to check which lake your resort is on.

If it is important to you to be near downtown Lake Geneva or on Geneva Lake, double check that when booking your resort.

Below are a few of the hotels and resorts that I am most familiar with that I would recommend if planning on visiting Lake Geneva.

Geneva Inn

We stayed at the Geneva Inn and absolutely loved it! It is the only hotel in Lake Geneva that is right on Geneva Lake. 

By right on the lake, I mean not across the street from the lake or not just a lake view from a half a block a way, but literally you can walk out the door of the Geneva Inn and be on the infamous lakeshore path.

The Geneva Inn is a cute boutique-like hotel.

The hotel also has a phenomenal restaurant called The Grandview. From the restaurant the views of the lake are absolutely breathtaking.

The Geneva Inn also has a little coffee shop that is open in the mornings.

Additionally, the coffee shop has a few breakfast items you can purchase. This is the perfect grab and go breakfast before heading out to your adventures. 

The one downfall about this hotel is that if you do not have a lakeview room or aren’t eating at the restaurant there is no way to view the lake from inside the hotel. 

There is a nice little lawn area though that you can sit and enjoy the lake outside and as I said, you can walk right on the lakeshore path from the hotel.

My husband and I stayed at this hotel without our children on a little weekend getaway.

If you are visiting Lake Geneva with your kids, I probably would not suggest staying at this hotel.

It does not have a pool which is a huge negative for my children. 

Must Know Information

The Geneva Inn IS right on the lake, but it does take about 30 minutes or so to walk downtown. If you are walking downtown on the lakeshore path, make sure you return before dark as it is hard to see the path after dark and make sure you have good walking shoes on.

Grand Geneva Resort and Spa

We visited the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa on our trip to Lake Geneva.

I would suggest this hotel for families. It has both indoor and outdoor pools plus a large lobby with views of the outdoor pool and golf course. 

The hotel has a couple of restaurants onsite plus many other great amenities for guests.

The downside of this hotel is that you do have to drive about 10 minutes to get downtown and to Geneva Lake.

Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark 

Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark is another great option for families to stay when spending time in Lake Geneva.

All of the rooms in this hotel are suites with full sized refrigerators.

The suites also all have a separate bedroom or two from the living area. 

There are so many family friendly attractions and activities including the waterpark, arcade, mini golf, and weekly resort events.

The Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark is an outstanding hotel for the kids!

This hotel also requires a 10 minute drive to get downtown and to Geneva Lake. 

There are many other superb choices for hotels and resorts for your Lake Geneva weekend getaway in addition to the ones mentioned above.

What to do in Lake Geneva?

Below is a list of entertaining and unique things to do on your getaway to Lake Geneva.

I always love making a bucket list of things I want to do when I visit a new place so I hope this information helps you create your own Lake Geneva bucket list.

Walk the Lake Shore Path

This was my favorite thing to do in Lake Geneva.

The lake shore path length is almost 26 miles and is estimated to take about 8-10 hours to walk.

This shore path is unique to Geneva Lake.

One thing that was a surprise to me about the path is that it is not consistent throughout.

I had not done my research before heading to Lake Geneva so I assumed the path was paved all the way around. This is not the case.

Expert Tip

You CANNOT take a stroller, bike, scooter, or anything with wheels on this path. This is important to know if you are traveling with children.

Each property owner is responsible for maintaining the path that goes along their property line. The path can be stepping stones, bricks, logs, pavers, etc.

It is important to have good shoes on as the path can be tricky and slippery sometimes. 

The most amazing thing about the path besides the lake views of course is looking at all the houses and mansions.

It is entertaining to talk about all the homes, who may own them, and dream about living in some of them. 

When walking along the path make sure to keep in mind that as far as you go one way, you have to return the same distance.

This is especially important to remember if you walk it with kids. 

Expert Tip

Start your walk along the lakeshore path at the Lake Geneva Public Library. It is right downtown and the perfect spot to begin your journey.

Lake Geneva Boat Tours

It is so enjoyable to go on a boat tour and to actually get on the lake.

It is also fascinating to hear all about the mansions along the lake and the peoples’ stories that own them. 

We went on the 1 hour Geneva Bay tour, and this tour is a perfect one for kids of all ages. 

There is also an U.S. Mailboat tour that is recommended for ages 12 and over as it is 2 and a half hours long.

This tour only goes for a few months out of the year.

The cool thing about it is that it actually delivers mail to people by boat. That would definitely be a unique sight to see. 

They also have an ice cream social tour which is PERFECT for the kids!

Eating an ice cream sundae will keep the kids busy and entertained during the 1.25 hour tour of Geneva Lake. This is definitely a special experience to enjoy with your family.

The boat tours depart at the Riveria Docks which are located adjacent to downtown Lake Geneva. 

Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures

If your family is looking for something more adventurous to do in Lake Geneva, going zip lining or doing a ropes excursion is a fantastic option.

They also have hiking and biking trails. This is definitely an exhilerating experience to check out on your visit to Lake Geneva.

Get Ice Cream

Scoops Ice Cream is located right across the street from Riviera Docks and the lake.

It’s a perfect location to enjoy your ice cream inside the ice cream parlor, on a walk through downtown Lake Geneva, or sitting on a bench by the lake. 

Meander through Downtown Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva has so many cute shops and great restaurants.

It is a quaint downtown to spend some time with your family.

Check out all the unique shops and enjoy some good eats at some of the many awesome downtown restaurants.

Have a Beach Day

During the summer Lake Geneva has a few great beaches to enjoy the sun, lake views, and have fun in the sand.

Riviera Beach is right next to the Riviera Docks so is very convenient to downtown Lake Geneva.

You can enjoy an afternoon at the beach and then head to one of Lake Geneva’s outstanding restaurants for dinner or take a beach break and enjoy some ice cream at Scoops.

A view of the Riveria Docks from Geneva Lake in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Riveria Docks

Go to a Magic Show

Make it a point to go to the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre to enjoy a special magical experience with your family.

My kids love magic shows so this show would certainly thrill them. This show not only combines magic but also large scale illusions. 

I personally have not been to this show yet but have heard so many great things about it!

Head to the Geneva Lake Museum

The Geneva Lake Museum takes you through what would be Main Street, Lake Geneva from 1830-1930. Visitors inside the museum can see historic homes, stores, and more.

My kids love museums like this where they can actually get a sense of what it was like to live during the time period.

They love imagining things so a museum like this really gets their imaginations going!

This is definitely a great place to check out on a rainy day or if you just want to learn and experience more about Lake Geneva’s history. 

Where to Eat in Lake Geneva?

Lake Geneva has so many delicious restaurants for families, date nights, or for just going out with friends. Below are some of my favorites.

The Grandview

The food is fantastic at the Grandview but honestly the thing that makes this restaurant so special and why I love it so much is the lake views

You will be mesmerized by the absolutely breathtaking views of Geneva Lake while you dine at this great restaurant. 

This restaurant is located inside the Geneva Inn which is an easy five minute drive from downtown.

The Grandview does have a kid’s menu too!

Popeye’s on Lake Geneva

Popeye’s on Lake Geneva is a fun lakeside restaurant. It has both indoor and outdoor seating and just an overall cool vibe. 

They have a variety of foods plus a kid’s menu. Popeye’s is known for its rotisserie chicken. 

I would definitely recommend taking your family to Popeye’s if you are looking for a yummy and fun place to eat.

Front of Popeye's on Lake Geneva which is located in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Popeye’s on Lake Geneva

Gino’s East

Our family loves pizza, especially Chicago style pizza. Gino’s East is a well-known Chicago style pizza restaurant. 

Whenever we come across a Gino’s we have to stop so we did the same in Lake Geneva. This pizzeria also faces the Geneva Lake so has some incredible views to enjoy with your pizza. 


Oakfire is a popular Lake Geneva restaurant and especially known for its Neapolitan pizza.

Did I mention our family loves pizza?!

This restaurant also has a neat vibe to it and is located conveniently downtown and right across the street from the lake. 

Oakfire has some additional dishes besides pizza as well as a kid’s menu.

I highly recommend checking out Oakfire with your family on your Lake Geneva weekend getaway.

Front of Oakfire Pizza which is a restaurant located in downtown Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Oakfire Pizza

Egg Harbor Cafe

One morning we had breakfast at the Egg Harbor Cafe, and it was delicious.

The Egg Harbor Cafe is located downtown Lake Geneva although it does not have a lake view.

It is an easy walk to the lakeshore path or beach after enjoying breakfast here.

I recommend their strawberry orange juice. It is so yummy. The kids will enjoy it too. 

Egg Harbor Cafe is open for lunch as well. They also have kids menus. 

This is another great restaurant to put on your list.

Recommended Restaurants

Oakfire (across from Geneva Lake)
Egg Harbor Cafe (downtown Lake Geneva)
Popeye’s on Lake Geneva (across from Geneva Lake)
The Grandview (located inside the Geneva Inn on Geneva Lake)
Gino’s East (across from Geneva Lake)

MORE MIDWEST FUN: Visiting the Lincoln Presidential Museum

Tips for Planning Your Lake Geneva Weekend Getaway

  • Make sure you double check where your hotel is located. Consider if you want to be near downtown Lake Geneva, if you want a view of a lake, or a view specifically of Geneva Lake, or if there are other must haves in a hotel.
  • Bring good walking shoes to walk along the lake shore path.
  • Make sure to bring a baby carrier for carrying a baby or young child since you cannot use a stroller or anything with wheels along the uneven lake shore path.
  • Create a bucket list of all of the places you want to eat and fun things you want to do on your Lake Geneva weekend getaway.

I hope this gives you a good overview of Lake Geneva and helps you know what to expect on your visit to Lake Geneva. 

Lake Geneva is a fantastic vacation spot that you can enjoy with the whole family.

Download my free travel itinerary planner to help you plan your getaway to Lake Geneva.

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Tell me about your favorite thing about Lake Geneva. Mine was certainly the lakeshore path.

May you LOVE your adventure. KW

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