Last Updated on February 1, 2023
I wrote a full guide of things to do in the Wisconsin Dells for adults, I have been several times staying both on and off the resorts and it’s packed full of everywhere that I have visited. However if you’re looking for a go to ready made Wisconsin Dells itinerary, this shares some of the best things to do for a weekend getaway.
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Wisconsin Dells Weekend Getaway
🕐Duration: 2 nights, 3 days
📅Month of travel: September
🍽Where to eat: Grateful Shed Truckyard
🏨Where to stay: Econo Lodge (budget option)
🎡Don’t miss: Wizard Quest
Where to Stay In The Wisconsin Dells
When it comes to visiting the Wisconsin Dells, there’s likely to be one of two types of trip you decide to do.
Stay in one of the large resorts, such as: The Kalahari or The Wilderness, Great Wolf Lodge or Mount Olympus. With this type of stay, entrance to the water parks are included in the price of the room rate. The rooms can sleep at least 4 people, so there will be plenty of space for familities.
These monster resorts have restaurants, cafes, theme parks, arcades, mini golf and a whole range of other activities (usually at an additional fee). Once you’re on the resort, there’s a temptation to then stay on the resort. If you’re travelling with kids, this may be the most convenient option as you don’t have to drive anywhere and you can use your hotel room as a base.
Stay outside of the resorts. Sometimes it’s easier to find a more budget hotel that may even have breakfast included in the room rate. If you hunt around and stay closer to the edge of the Wisconsin Dells, you can also avoid the ridiculously high resort tax.
You can still enjoy the water parks, some of them offer day passes. The Kalahari has a great indoor water park which is great for adults too or Noah’s Ark is outdoors, if you are travelling in summer. It then gives you the opportunity to explore more of what the Dells has to offer, in terms of unique restaurants and attractions!
If you’re looking for a budget hotel in the Wisconsin Dells, the Econo Lodge or Super 8 are great options. I have stayed at both and they are great places to crash for the night. They both have small indoor swimming pools (if you’re not fed up of getting wet at the water parks!) and free breakfast included in the room rate.
Mid to high range
A unique mid range hotel is the Natura Treescape Resorts which has cabins and treehouses and an outdoor waterpark lagoon as well as indoor swimming pools. Hilton Garden Inn is another option for a mid to high range hotel in the Wisconsin Dells.
If you are looking for a resort, I stayed at the Wilderness but still made the effort to leave the resort. The rooms are nice and there’s are multiple waterparks to choose from. I personally love The Kalahari’s water park which is why I would probably pick to stay at The Kalahari if I was to stay at a resort again. Chula Vista Resort is another resort which has adult activities as well as child friendly attractions.
Wisconsin Dells Itinerary
So with this itinerary we will consider that Day 1 is mostly a travel day. Maybe you are travelling up after work or school for a weekend break. Day 1 is all about arriving, settling into the hotel/accommodation and then grabbing dinner before resting up before 2 full on days of exploring!
Dinner – Grateful Shed 🍽
🗺1470 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
A unique place to go in the evening is the Grateful Shed. It’s an old converted Greyhound Bus station that has a bar, food trucks (parked inside) and often they have events and live music. It’s bright and colourful and there are games outside like giant Jenga and bags. Food trucks include things like: burgers, tacos, pizza and sweet treats. Some of the seating is in a converted bus and Volkswagen camper vans, it’s pretty cool!
Breakfast – Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty 🍽
🗺411 State Hwy 13, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
Some of the chain hotels have a basic breakfast included in the room rate. However if you feel like treating yourself, the all-you-can-eat breakfast at Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty is worth checking out! It’s not like a traditional buffet where you go up the a hot counter, all the food is brought to the table. If you eat it all, you can ask for more of the different items. The pancakes and donuts are really tasty! They also have a lunch and dinner menu but I really enjoyed the breakfast!
Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty is a seasonal restaurant, so if you happen to be visiting Wisconsin Dells in winter, this unfortunately will not be an option.
Tommy Bartlett Exploratory
🗺560 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
🕚10am-4pm (6pm in summer)
💰Adults $16 | Children (5-11yrs) $13
Tommy Barlett Exploratory is a fun science museum style attraction. It has over 175 hands on exhibits including a whole building dedicated to the history of space exploration. There are lots of brain teaser type puzzles which will test adults as well as children! We spent around 2 hours at the Tommy Barlett Exploratory.
🗺400 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
🕚Sunday to Wednesday: 9am until 9pm | Thursday to Saturday: 9am until 11pm
💰Adult $29.99 | Children (3-11yrs) $19.99
I absolutely love Wizard Quest! I’ve been twice and done 2 of the challenges! Whether you have kids or you are adults, it’s a really fun experience. There are 2 different quest : The Odyssey Quest (which has various difficulty levels) and The Freedom Quest (the most difficult and I didn’t manage to complete!).
You are given a tablet and you have to find clues and solve riddles in 4 different realms which are connected with tunnels and tube slides! Quests take around an hour to complete. I wrote a full review of Wizard Quest which you can find here: Wizard Quest: An Amazing Interactive Scavenger Hunt in the Wisconsin Dells!
Pirate’s cove adventure Golf
🗺193 U.S, State Hwy 13, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
🕚Open from 9am until 9pm/10pm
💰18 holes = Adults $11 | Children (5-11yrs) $8
Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is an absolute monster of a golf course, with 91 holes across 5 different courses. To play all 91 holes is only $33 which isn’t too bad! I love mini golf and even though I didn’t do all 91, it would make for an interesting challenge!
Pirate’s Cove is the biggest but there and a couple of other courses around the Dells including indoor ones too.
Dinner – MooseJaw Pizza & Dells Brewing co.🍽
🗺110 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy S, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
Moosejaw is so much more than just pizza and beer! The food and drinks are both equally amazing. Their delivery vehicles have giant moose on top of them and everyone is given moose antlers to wear (you don’t have to wear them but if you choose not to…where’s the sense of fun!?). They have pizzas, pasta, burgers, soups, salads and more.
There’s a microbrewery on site and they even create their own classic sodas, so the whole family can enjoy the products on offer! Moosejaw also serve breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s a great place to eat in the Wisconsin Dells!
Water Park – Kalahari (indoor) or Noah’s ArK (in summer)
🗺The Kalahari: 1305 Kalahari Dr, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
🗺Noah’s Ark: 1410 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States
Of course you have to visit one of the water parks if you’re visiting the Wisconsin Dells! As mentioned, some water parks, such as those at The Wilderness are only for resort guests. To make this an itinerary that can be used year round, I’ll be mainly looking at indoor water park options. If you’re travelling in summer, Noah’s Ark is a large outdoor water park, but it’s only open between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
A great indoor water park with day passes is The Kalahari. I actually think The Kalahari’s indoor water park is better than The Wilderness’, especially for adults! There have a lot of extreme thrill slides, including a water coaster which is really fun!
The resorts have plenty of other attractions on site too. For example at The Wilderness I went to Polka Dot Pots and did pottery painting. In all honesty the items to paint are VERY expensive and so this is an activity that is better suited to older visitors. If you want to do something like this, it’s also better to plan it for the beginning of your trip, as the pottery needs to be collected the following day.
The Wisconsin Dells is one of my favourite places in the Midwest USA! If you have any questions about things to do in the Wisconsin Dells, please feel free to leave a comment, I’m happy to help! You can find my other Wisconsin posts here: Wisconsin Travel Guide.
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