I can't think of a better way to celebrate fall than to set off on a ziplining adventure high up in the treetops, where the fall colors are literally in your face. With eight different zip lines high up in the trees, five sky bridges, three spiral stairways and a one-of-a-kind "floating" double helix stairway, Lake Geneva Canopy Tours offer a truly one-of-a-kind leaf peeping experience.
Our family recently set off on a weekend adventure to Lake Geneva, where we not only conquered the treetops but also enjoyed many other fun family activities in this beautiful and historic destination, located about 80 miles north of Chicago.
Less than an hour and a half by car, Lake Geneva is a perfect day trip from Chicago. This southwestern Wisconsin resort community became popular just after the Civil War, when wealthy Chicago families discovered the beautiful, spring-fed lake and began building summer homes there. You can still see these many historic, lakeside estates by boat or via the 21-mile walking path that circles the entire lake.
Lake Geneva Canopy Tours adds an eco-adventure bent to this day trip destination. If you're looking to finally conquer your fear of heights, this experience will put you face to face with your phobia. I must admit that heights aren't my thing, but once I gathered up the courage to just let go, I felt safe and secure as I zoomed through the treetops.
My daredevilish 13-year-old son joined me on the ziplines, and he was thrilled to fly through the forest. Our two guides were funny and full of jokes but also reflected experience and knowledge, putting everyone in our group at ease. If you're looking for the ultimate family bonding experience, and your kids are all 7 years and older, book your adventure at Lake Geneva Canopy Tours STAT. And if ziplining isn't your thing, consider challenging yourself on the High Ropes Excursion through 16 different obstacles or explore the 8+ miles of Arbor Trails designed to accommodate beginner to advanced Hiking and/or Mountain Biking.
On a bit less spine-tingling note, but no less fun, our entire family - and most especially my 4-year-old - enjoyed hopping aboard the U.S. Mailboat for a guided tour of the lake. This special cruiser carries on a tradition that began all the way back in 1870, offering the only marine mail delivery of its type in the country. Loaded with 150 passengers, mail, a very brave and agile Mailperson, and a steady handed Captain, the crew delivers mail to about 60 homes around the lake. We loved watching as the "Mail Jumper" hopped on and off the boat, delivering mail with a smile. The tour operates every day at 10 a.m. - including Sundays when they deliver newspapers - through September 15.
We also spent an afternoon at Animal Gardens, a scenic park where you can pet, hold and feed exotic and farm animal babies. At the deer park, we were even able to hand-feed the deer. The Exotic Bird Show featured eight large parrots that talk, sing, and perform tricks. Also on site is The Dancing Horses Show, a live equestrian extravaganza which can best be compared to a LasVegas show performed on horses.
We stayed at the Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, a family resort situated on 250 wooded acres alongside two miles of Delavan Lake shoreline in Delavan, Wisconsin, a small resort town that neighbors Lake Geneva. Our large, well-appointed room featured a patio mere steps from Lake Delevan. My two kids (ages 4 and 13) couldn't get enough of the outdoor and indoor swimming pools; the 18-hole golf course is another draw. Another top pick for a family-focused resort is The Abbey Resort, on Geneva Lake, in the lovely lakeside town of Fontana. Alternatively, for a quiet couples weekend, consider one of the many area Bed and Breakfasts.
You'll find a myriad of dining options, from sandwich shops to gourmet restaurants as well as everything in between, in the Lake Geneva area. We recommend Popeye's on Lake Geneva, a family-owned restaurant known for its fab Friday night fish fry. The pretzels and fried cheese curds, which pair wonderfully with the 14 World-class Wisconsin brewed beers on tap, make a stop at Sprecher's a must-do.
For more information on Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, visit lakegenevacanopytours.com or call (262) 248-9271.