Looking for family things to do Lake Geneva? Here are my local preplanned day and weekend family trip itineraries so you can maximize your fun around the lake with minimal planning! I have included several options to fit various lifestyles and budgets. I hope you enjoy the lake as much as my family and I do!
This post is all about Family Things to do Lake Geneva.
Coffee/Geneva Lake Museum Parade of Trees/Lunch in downtown Lake Geneva/Santa Boat Cruise/Cocktails and appetizers (or dinner) at Pier 290 – Stay at The Cove Hotel, Lake Geneva
- Head to downtown Lake Geneva and grab a coffee at Avant Cycle Cafe.
- Drive 5 minutes to the Geneva Lake Museum and walk through the Parade of Trees (Nov 19-Jan 2). Children 12 and under & active military FREE, age 13-17 $5, Adults $12. This beautiful display of Christmas trees is inside the museum (so warm!) and will put adults and kids in the holiday spirit.
- Drive 5 minutes to either Lake City Social (American fare located in the hotel you are staying in) or Sabai Sabai Thai and Sushi in downtown Lake Geneva to grab lunch. Lake City Social only takes reservations for parties of 8 or more; Sabi Sabi DOES take reservations which I highly recommend to avoid a wait.
- Head to hotel and try to check in. Pre-registration is between 1 and 4pm, with official check in at 4pm. If your room is not ready between 1 and 4pm you are still allowed to use the amenities. In winter I have been able to check in a few hours early without a problem but it depends on the capacity.
- Head to Pier 290 for the Santa bout tour! This is one of the top things to do in Lake Geneva in the winter! The Santa boat tour leaves from Pier 290 in Williams Bay and takes you on a magical journey to catch a glimpse of Santa himself. The cool thing is that all of the kids on the boat have their names on a list and Santa reads each child’s name from his nice list as the boat passes by! I mean, a personal shout out from Santa…..what could be better!? Get there 30-45 minutes before departure and take advantage of all of the Christmas displays, raffles, bar and general Christmas spirit! Insider tip: Parking can be packed so take advantage of the free continuous shuttle from Williams Bay High School (500 W. Geneva Street, Williams Bay, WI) to Pier 290. Williams Bay High School is about 10 minutes from Pier 290. Tickets sell out quickly so purchase tickets in advance (even as early as October!). Cruise runs the day after Thanksgiving through Dec 30th.
- After the boat tour head inside to Pier 290 to enjoy a wonderful dinner and craft cocktails. There is even live music Thursday-Saturday which is wonderful to enjoy. Be sure to make a reservation because you won’t be able to walk in and get a table without one!
- Check out my list of Top Winter Activities in Lake Geneva for more ideas!
Coffee/Pirate Ship Playground/Lakefront Lunch/Ice Cream Boat Tour – Stay at the Abbey Resort, Fontana
- Coffee in Fontana at the Coffee Mill – 441 Mill St, Fontana-On-Geneva Lake, WI 53125
- Drive 5 minutes and Play at Reid Park playground (aka the pirate ship park)-Fontana Blvd, Fontana-On-Geneva Lake, WI 53125
- Walk 2 minutes from park to Gordy’s Boat House for lunch (get there close to opening or have one parent put their name on the list while the kids play since they don’t take reservations). Update: Gordy’s is closed for season end of October and reopens in May. If you are visiting after they close for the season head to Pier 290 for lunch!
- Insider tip: There is a small stretch of sand in front of the Surf Shack, across the street from Gordy’s Boat House. My little ones love throwing rocks into the lake and spend half an hour here alone while we have waited for our table.
- Head to the Riviera shops and boathouse in downtown Lake Geneva to board the Ice Cream Boat Tour (for full details of the tour click here). Make sure you have purchased tickets in advance here! Tours run May-end October at 2:30pm. Leave plenty of time for parking during peak season downtown Lake Geneva is packed and you might have to walk a few blocks. If you get there early there is a fountain and cute shops inside the boathouse to explore before your boat leaves.
- Head back to the Abbey Resort in Fontana and relax in the hotel room or swim in the indoor pool/play at the arcade/have smore’s outside at the firepit (check event calendar). I suggest booking a premium villa with 2 bedrooms and a kitchen if available or for summer a room with a pool view!
- Check out my full list of best family resorts here or best family restaurants here.
Coffee/Drive through Safari/Lakefront Lunch/Ice Cream Boat Tour- Stay at the Cove, Lake Geneva
- There is no coffee shop close to the Safari, so grab one before. If you are coming from downtown Lake Geneva I suggest going to Avant Cycle Cafe.
- Make sure you purchase tickets to the drive through Safari in advance here! They book up quickly so don’t wait until the last minute. Insider tip: They have the nice trailer style port a potties on site in case you need them. I suggest purchasing a bucket of feed on site to feed the animals as you drive (fair warning some of the animals especially the ostriches can get a bit aggressive, we passed on feeding these since they try to come in your car!) The Safari is open from May thru End of October and is a 15 minute drive from downtown Lake Geneva.
- Stop by your hotel in downtown Lake Geneva- The Cove and have lunch at the restaurant onsite Lake City Social. They don’t take reservations however even during peak times they tend to move the tables pretty quickly and I have never had more than a 15-20 minute wait. I highly recommend the tuna poke appetizer or Friday fish fry! The kids burger and fries is big enough for an adult!
- Insider tip: There is an open greenspace across the street from Lake City Social with a gazebo. I usually have a ball in my car and my family plays soccer while we wait, or at least the kids can run around.
- Head to the Riviera shops and boathouse in downtown Lake Geneva to board the Ice Cream Boat Tour (for full details of the tour click here). Make sure you have purchased tickets in advance here! Tours run May-end October leaving at 2:30pm (get there 15-20 minutes before). Leave your car parked at the hotel and walk the 2 blocks. If you get there early there is a fountain and cute shops inside the boathouse to explore before your boat leaves.
- Enjoy the indoor pool and arcade at the Cove hotel! Order pizza next door from Gino’s East for dinner and relax in hotel.
- Check out my full list of best family resorts here or best family restaurants here for more tips on the best family things to do Lake Geneva.
Williams Bay Beach Day/Picnic Lunch at Playground by the Lake (or eat at Pier 290 or Bay Cooks)/Ice Cream at Frosty Moose- Stay at the Abbey Resort, Fontana
- Williams Bay Beach is a great place to make beach memories with the family! It is quieter than the beach in downtown Lake Geneva but that is the main appeal. There are small restrooms onsite with a (very rustic) changing area and outdoor shower to rinse off after the beach. There is also a paved path behind the beach where you can walk two blocks to a playground on the lake (Edgewater park) and downtown Williams Bay. There are shaded areas along the back, as well as a pier to jump off, plenty of sand to play in, and life gaurds on duty weekdays 10am-5pm, weekends 9am-6pm. Under 5 is free, ages 6-12 is $5 and adults are $10 for non residents. Insider tip: There is a parking lot across the street if you can’t find non-resident parking along the street. I would suggest dropping off the kids and one adult at the entrance with all the gear, then parking in the lot.
- There are three options for lunch: pack a picnic and eat at the beach or Edgewater park (a 10 minutes walk away to a playground on the lake with a shelter that has picnic tables and restrooms), the very casual Bay Cooks (casual american and mexican fusion with nice margaritas) which is around a 15 minute walk/2 minute drive or make reservations at Pier 290 (5 minutes away, upmarket yet approachable American) and have lunch and cocktails overlooking the lake.
- Save room for dessert and head to the Frosty Moose for an instagramable sundae, flavored soft serve, and many more ice cream treats (they have dairy free ice cream and gluten free desserts too!)
- Head back to the Abbey Resort and take advantage of the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, arcade, mini movie theater, spa and the rest of the amenities the resort has to offer! With a family I suggest trying to book a villa if possible, but have stayed in the standard room plenty of times.
- Eat dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant at the Abbey. It is a family friendly restaurant, which has live music on the weekends! Kids and parents usually are out on the small dance floor having a blast!
- Check out my full list of best family resorts here or best family restaurants here for more family things to do Lake Geneva!
These are a few sample day plans that have been a blast with my family. I hope you and your family can use these to spend less time planning and more time making memories around the lake!
This post is all about family things to do Lake Geneva.