Sometimes, seeing a city from the water that surrounds it gives you a deeper appreciation of its beauty. That's the approach behind Foxy Lady Cruises, a company that grants its guests sweeping views of Jacksonville from their perches on a luxurious yacht. From the various open-air decks, visitors can take in skyscrapers, bridges, and squirrels playing chess in nearby parks during dinner cruises, cocktail cruises, narrated cruises, and even weddings.
Situated in a quiet, rustic setting at the heart of walleye, smallmouth, trout, and muskie fishing country, Sandy Bay Beach Resort trades city sidewalks for lakefront views and traffic honks for fishing hooks. Suites furnished with luxurious amenities look out on beachside bonfires and prime Door County fishing. A king-size bed and full-size pullout sofa soothe backs sore from hauling in an epic catch, and the bathroom’s oversize shower can fit as many fish as the outdoor grilling area and indoor fish-cleaning room can process. After a long day spent traversing the 200-foot dock and perusing the resort’s library collection, couples can retire to the waters of a whirlpool bathtub or indoor pool.
For the past 29 years, John and Loie Laimon have proudly contributed to the tight-knit fishing community that surrounds them by running their own fishing-and-bait business. Whether they are selling U.S.-made, handcrafted baits or other handpicked products, renting pontoons for small groups, or winterizing boat motors by fastening Santa hats to them, the Laimons approach each service personably and attentively. This approach has helped them grow to two locations on Pewaukee Lake.
Dells Watersports, a boating haven founded in 1979 by Steve and Kathy Zowin, creates adventures aboard its high-speed and leisurely paced watercraft. Atop the waters of Lake Delton, inflatable tubes bounce over waves as they’re pulled by rental ski boats, and rental waverunners heed the stop signs held up by mermaids. Taking more leisurely trips, kayaks and canoes carry groups on scenic floats by sandstone bluffs, white pine trees, and the Timme Mill dam. Back on shore, staff members man a full-service marina department stocked with boating equipment. Dells Watersports also maintains sister facilities for watercraft rental at Mirror Lake, Castle Rock Lake, and inside all the world's fishbowls.
Since the 1950s, Wingra Boats has outfitted groups and individuals for treks along the serene, wake-free Lake Wingra with their fleet of water vessels. Starting out with a small squad of canoes, the company has grown to include more than 100 canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, rowboats, and standup paddleboards. In addition to supplying rentals, the staff keep limbs limber with yoga?performed on dry land or atop paddleboards?and strengthens cores with standup paddleboard lessons. Youngsters get in on the action during Camp Wingra sessions, where they learn to cast, reel, and ask fishes for any seven cards, or paddle and play aboard kayaks and canoes. The staff also lead guided tours and birding expeditions, and tuck vessels away in a private boat marina and storage facility.
Stationed on the shores of Lake Mendota, SkipperBud?s staff pairs clients with their choice of vessel before launching them into the lake?s placid waters. Up to 12 passengers can lounge on the Sylvan pontoon?s wraparound couches as the vessel cruises past the university campus and circles Governor?s Island. The more compact Sea Ray, meanwhile, kicks up waves as it races to the dock.