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The 20 Best Things to Do in Lake Geneva, WI for First Timers

Delavan Lake

Lake Geneva is a city that sits by Geneva Lake in Wisconsin. This resort city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Wisconsin, and this is predominantly because it is a fantastic place to spend time outdoors. However, there are plenty of things to do to suit all tastes as there are activities and attractions that will appeal to all groups. To make sure you get the best possible experience in this city, it can help to plan your trip in advance so that you do not miss out on the things that appeal to you the most. So that you can plan your itinerary, here are the 20 best things to do in Lake Geneva, WI for first-timers.

Lake Geneva Clue Room

20. Lake Geneva Clue Room

Grand Geneva says that a fun activity to enjoy while you are in this city is a visit to Lake Geneva Clue Room. This is an interactive escape room that caters for groups of two to 10 people. Visitors are given 60 minutes to escape from the room via a range of challenges and puzzles. There are three different themed rooms available.

Geneva Lake Brewing Company

19. Go to Geneva Lake Brewing Company

The best-known brewery in this city is the Geneva Lake Brewing Company. Although their beers are on sale in many bars and restaurants around the city, the best place to try them is from the source. They have their own taproom which serves all their varieties of beer and ale. This company was founded by Pat and Jon McIntosh, a local father and son duo.

Fun on the Water

18. Have Fun on the Water

Geneva Lake provides the perfect playground to enjoy some fun watersports during your visit to the area. There are many fun water-based activities you can enjoy on the lake, including boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. You will find several companies offering equipment hire, and some also have instructors for novices. Therefore, you can try activities that you have never tr5ied before.

Spa Day

17. Enjoy a Spa Day

For some people, relaxation is a key element of any vacation. They want to take a break from the stresses and strains of their daily lives. While in Lake Geneva, the best place to enjoy some rest and relaxation is at Abbey Resort. This is a world-class spa that offers a variety of treatments, therapies, and pampering sessions.

Downtown Lake Geneva

16. Stroll Around Downtown Lake Geneva

Downtown Lake Geneva is the business district of the city, and it is somewhere you should spend some time during your visit. It is in this area where you will find most of the shops, so it is a good place to enjoy a little retail therapy. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants in this area, so it is somewhere to go if you want to enjoy a drink or a meal.

Delavan Lake

15. Go to Delavan Lake

Although there are plenty of things to enjoy in Lake Geneva, you should also visit the nearby town of Delavan Lake. This area is known for its waterside arboretum, some excellent restaurants, and two of the best dive bars in Wisconsin. Therefore, you will find things to see and do both in the daytime and in the evenings.

Visit the Beaches

14. Visit the Beaches

Surrounding Geneva Lake, there are some stunning beaches. Each of the beaches has its own identity, with some great for relaxing and others geared towards those who enjoy sports. For example, Riviera Beach is within the town and it is where people go to sunbathe, while Big Foot Beach State Park is connected to multiple nature trails and has a campground. Other noteworthy beaches include the Village of Fontana Beach and Williams Bay Beach, both of which are picturesque spots.

Historic Mansion

13. Stay in a Historic Mansion

Your choice of accommodation is all part of the experience of visiting Lake Geneva. One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty and history of this city is to stay in a historic mansion. One of the best options is Baker House, which was built in 1885 and is in a prime lakeside position. Another excellent choice is the Maxwell Mansion, which boasts romantic rooms. This stunning property was built in 1856.

Lake Geneva Shore Path

12. Walk the Lake Geneva Shore Path

Thrillist recommends appreciating the lake on foot by walking the Lake Geneva Shore Path. This 26-mile hiking trail extends the full length of the lake and past the stunning waterfront mansions. It is an old Native American trail that is predominantly flat but has some steeper sections. It is a brilliant way to appreciate the natural beauty in the city, and it will also appeal to history and architecture lovers as they can admire the different architectural styles of the houses and structures along the way.

Geneva Java

11. Eat Lunch at Geneva Java

An excellent place to grab a bite to eat at lunchtime is the Geneva Java. This restaurant and coffee bar is located in the basement of the First Baptist Church, which is a lovely old building in downtown Lake Geneva. They serve freshly prepared food including soups, salads, and hearty sandwiches that are made with their homemade bread. They also serve freshly baked scones and bread puddings.

Aerial Adventures

10. Have Fun at Aerial Adventures

Those who enjoy the outdoors and want an adrenalin rush during their vacation should go and have fun at Aerial Adventures. This attraction was established in 2008 in an abandoned railway that is now heavily forested. There are three zip lines that descend through the forest, with the first starting from a 45-foot platform. Once you have made it back down to the forest floor, you can enjoy the ropes challenge and the climbing tower. There is also a Bubble Soccer game, which is the latest addition to the attraction. At this attraction, there are sections that are suitable for different ages and abilities.

Tristan Crist Magic Theater

9. See a Magic Show at the Tristan Crist Magic Theater

In the evenings, one of the most popular attractions is the Tristan Crist Magic Theater, which is where you can watch a magic and illusion show. This venue is located on Main Street, and it boasts 51 seats for viewers. The hour-long show combines magic and illusion with comedy elements. It is a fun night out for all the family. This is one of the best activities to enjoy if you need some evening entertainment.

Studio Winery

8. Enjoy a Wine Tasting at Studio Winery

People who enjoy both wine and art can indulge both their passions at the Studio Winery. This attraction was founded by two artists who started making wine in their studio. They now hold regular wine tasting sessions at the studio, so people can sample their wines while surrounded by their artwork. At the tasting sessions, there is also live music. This is a fun, adults-only activity to enjoy during an evening while you are visiting the city.

Lake Cruise

7. Take a Lake Cruise

Your vacation in Lake Geneva is not complete unless you have taken a lake cruise across Geneva Lake. The Geneva Cruise Line Boat company offers a variety of cruise packages across the lake. There are both daytime and evening tours available. These tours showcase the sights around the lake, including the impressive mansions. You will learn about local history as well as seeing the beautiful surroundings. One of the best packages is the evening dinner cruise when you will tour the lake while enjoying an excellent meal and a few drinks.

Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy

6. Explore Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy

Located just north of the Williams Bay Beach, the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy is a park that covers 231 acres. It is a wonderful place to see the diverse mix of ecosystems in the area. One of the best sections of the park is the wetlands, which are on the south end of the park across from the beach. Other sections include a prairie, an arboretum, a meadow, a kettle, oak woods, and two creeks. Visitors to the park can explore the different sections by following the trails, which cover four miles. All the trails are easy to access as they are on raised boardwalks. Along the way, you will see diverse plants, birds, and other wildlife. Some of the species for which this park is home include opossum, deer, foxes, and raccoons.

Dancing Horses

5. Watch a Performance of the Dancing Horses

An interesting activity for animal lovers is to see a performance by the Dancing Horses. Former spectators have described this as a magnificent spectacle. There are several horse breeds featured in this animal show, which involves the horses and their trainers showcasing their equestrian artistry. The show takes place in a small, 300-seat arena, so you feel like you are very close to the beautiful horses while they perform.

Geneva Lake Museum

4. Visit the Geneva Lake Museum

Those who want to learn about the history of the area should include a visit to the Geneva Lake Museum in their vacation itinerary. The museum was founded in 1983, and it is based in the former Wisconsin Power & Light building, which was built in 1929 in downtown Lake Geneva. In addition to what is inside this museum, local history buffs extended the concept of the museum by creating the Main Street Historic District. This covers 2.3-acres, and it includes almost all the buildings in the 700 blocks along Main Street. Along with the artifacts on display in the museum, visitors can go to a restored log cabin that contains a collection of arrowheads, and Potawatomi tools. They can also see a 1920s dental workstation, a fire engine house, a blacksmith shop, and an 1890s schoolroom.

Safari Lake Geneva

3. Explore Safari Lake Geneva

Just five miles outside downtown Lake Geneva is Safari Lake Geneva. This is a unique wildlife habitat that covers 75 acres. The safari is home to more than 60 exotic animals from across the globe. Unlike in zoos where the animals live in captivity, the animals at this safari are free to roam in an environment that was created to reflect their natural habitat. Visitors travel around the park in one of the safari trucks or tour wagons. Some of the animals they will see along the way include domestic yak, American bison, camels, miniature horses, blackbuck antelope, Ankole=Watusi cattle, Brahman cattle, llamas, nilgai antelope, greater rheas, miniature zebu, and scimitar-horned oryx. You may also see wildlife that lives naturally in the forests surrounding the safari, such as painted turtles, muskrats, and white-tailed deer. The tour guides provide information about the different species, and there are opportunities for visitors to feed the animals that approach the safari trucks.

Yerkes Observatory

2. Go to the Yerkes Observatory

A fantastic attraction to visit for science lovers is the Yerkes Observatory. The observatory was established in 1897 as part of the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. It is located in a 77-acre park in Williams Bay, and it contains the largest refracting telescope in the world, which measures 40-inches. Although it is partially a tourist attraction, it also remains an important educational facility. There are public tours of the telescope and the laboratory facilities every Saturday throughout the year. These tours are interesting and educational.

Black Point Estate and Gardens

1. Visit Black Point Estate and Gardens

According to Vacation Idea, the best thing to do in Lake Geneva, WI for first-timers is to visit Black Point. This property was once the home of Conrad Seipp, who was a businessman from Chicago. It was built on the banks of the Geneva Lake in 1887. The Queen-Anne-style property and its grounds were donated to the city in 2005 by William O. Petersen, who is the great-grandson of Seipp. Visitors can now tour this stunning, restored property, which has 20 rooms. Inside, you will see antique décor, period décor, and interesting artwork. Visitors can also explore the 8-acres of beautiful grounds, which include a section of the Geneva Lake shoreline.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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