It’s winter go-time in the Dells. If you’re looking for proof, then simply consider the reverse snow globe experiences delighting visitors to the indoor waterparks, outdoor hot springs, cozy supper clubs, snow tubing and snowboarding, and cabins with straight-out-of-a-storybook quality. If you need a nudge to step outside during the winter months, then you’re in luck, as we bring you the ultimate Wisconsin Dells winter checklist.
- Tan at an indoor waterpark. Yes, you read that right, you can tan in the middle of winter when you stay and play at the Wilderness Resort, where a massive see-through dome covers their indoor wave pool for a feeling of the tropics. Or visit one of the numerous other indoor waterparks in the area where it’s always 84 degrees.
- Swim outside with snow falling all around. We may not have natural hot springs in Wisconsin, but we do have the next best thing in Wisconsin Dells, and that’s outdoor pools and hot soaks that are heated year-round. At Sundara Inn & Spa, take a dip in the infinity pool, steam rising, snow falling, the scent of fresh pine setting the perfect winter hot springs scene. At Chula Vista Resort, patrons of their Spa Del Sol can relax poolside, where heated waters and outdoor fireplace bring warmth to any winter day.
- Barrel down a snow tube chute. This is a version of old-fashioned sledding, just amped up. The added benefit, no experience needed; just hop in your tube and enjoy the ride. At Cascade Mountain, woosh down the 900-foot long chutes, then ride the “magic carpet” lift back to the top. Christmas Mountain is another terrific spot for snow tubing, with snow-covered chutes delivering heart-racing speeds. If skiing or snowboarding is more your thing, you’ll be happy to know both locations offer great runs for those too.
- Go the silent sports route with snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Outdoor recreation continues to be a big draw for travelers to Wisconsin, even as temperatures drop. Silent sports, including snowshoeing, winter hiking, and cross-country skiing provide a breath of fresh air, inspiring scenery, and a good cardio workout. There are four state parks nearby– Devil’s Lake, Mirror Lake, Rocky Arbor, and Roche-A-Cri – and each has a mix of silent sport options. Added tip: Warm up after with a specialty espresso drink and made-from-scratch waffles at Bella Goose Café, a pretty little bistro perched above the Wisconsin River.
- Try unexpected Wisconsin Dells attractions in the winter. We’re talking ziplining and animal experiences with this entry. Vertical Illusions has a snowshoe zip line eco-experience, while Bigfoot Zipline Tours takes you over red pines resplendent against a backdrop of sparkly white snow. At Timbavati Wildlife Park, you can reserve a behind-the-scenes VIP tour and instantly feel continents away. Or go horseback riding at Woodside Ranch Riding Stables or Red Ridge Ranch Riding Stables.
- Don’t forget that Wisconsin classic, bowling. Go old-school when you bowl a few games at Chalet Lanes & Lounge or try cosmic bowling at Knuckleheads Trampoline Park Rides Bowling or Tom Foolerys. For grown-ups, another activity to consider is axe throwing – we kid you not! The coaches at Asgard Axe Throwing will teach you different techniques, games, and safety. Give it a try.
- Stroll the Scenic River Walk for a snowy view of the Wisconsin River. Every season brings its own spectacular views of the river, but we’re partial to the wintry view, unobstructed by foliage, shining bright for all to see. Pick up the entrance to the River Walk right downtown.
- Have a leisurely meal at an area supper club. No membership is required to dine at a supper club – we get asked that question a lot! Reserve a cozy corner table at Del-Bar, established in 1939 and famous for its steaks and seafood entrées served with impossible-to-resist sides. Another fine dining destination is House of Embers, where the family-recipe BBQ ribs are to die for. At Field’s at the Wilderness, be sure to start your evening with an old fashioned cocktail and some oysters, and save room for the Trio of Crème Brûlée dessert.
- Stay at one of your favorite Wisconsin Dells winter resorts. The waterpark resorts in the community are just as popular in the winter months as they are during high season. Could it be because the indoor waterparks are kept at a balmy 80 degrees, or because many have on-site theme parks, or because dining is right there? Yes. Properties range from sprawling to mid-size to sized right for little ones. You could also go the cabin or cottage route and gather round the fireplace for a rousing game of cribbage or euchre.
- Start thinking spring with a little clothes shopping at Outlets at The Dells. Even though this list is dedicated to Wisconsin Dells winter getaways, we can’t help but close with some retail therapy centered on a look-ahead to spring. The Outlets at The Dells has a really great selection of clothing brands that are sure to stock the latest on-trend wardrobe pieces for spring. We suspect there’s a good chance you can snag some deals on winterwear too, so go for it.
Winter Packing List: Layers, as you never know what the weather will bring in the way of temperature swings. Sunglasses to keep snow glare at bay. A swimsuit if you’re staying at a waterpark resort. Comfy walking boots to explore downtown and the shopping mall. Most important of all, a warm and sunny disposition.
Hoping we’ve made a convincing case for a Wisconsin Dells winter getaway. And if you’d like more inspiration for winter travel destinations in our neck of the woods, it’s all right here.