Hotel at a Glance: Atlantis Waterpark Hotel
Wisconsin Dells is famous for its water parks, but the adventure doesn’t have to stop when it’s cold out. This hotel has its own indoor, open-year-round water park, where you can splash all day close to your hotel room. If that isn’t enough water fun, your stay at this family-friendly hotel includes passes to the massive indoor Chula Vista water park 5 miles away.
- The Aqua Kingdom: The hotel’s water park boasts two 40-foot tunnel slides as well as gentle spray features that are perfect for younger kids. You can also soak in the whirlpool or perfect your backstroke in the lap pool.
- Chula Vista water park has a high-speed water coaster, a languid tropical river, and a Mayan-style temple with an enormous tipping bucket.
- Start the morning with complimentary breakfast each day. Waffles join the spread on weekends.
- Guest-room amenities: All guest rooms have refrigerators and microwaves, many feature patios or balconies, and Mermaid and Neptune suites have in-room whirlpools.
- Set kids loose in the hotel’s arcade, where they can play video and fairground games for prizes.
- Within walking distance: Noah’s Ark, Mt. Olympus, and Rick Wilcox Magic Theater
Wisconsin Dells: Picturesque Scenery and Family Entertainment
Before the Dells became synonymous with water parks and amusement rides, the Midwestern destination’s claim to fame was its scenery. Visitors in the mid-1940s came to see the craggy rock formations that frame both sides of the Wisconsin River. These bluffs—or dells—are still visible today from the downtown area, which is rife with kitschy attractions, from mini golf courses to go-kart tracks.
But it’s safe to say that most visitors nowadays come for the water parks. In fact, the Dells area likely has more water slides per capita than any other spot on the planet. The fun doesn’t stop in the cooler months, either, thanks to a slew of indoor aquatic centers, many of which are nearly as elaborate as their outdoor rivals.
For a break from all the chlorinated excitement, take a stroll along the river, where you’ll find antique stores, candy shops, and a Bavarian-themed village. At a handful of German restaurants, you can wash down plates of schnitzel with pints of lager to the sounds of glockenspiels. The H.H. Bennett Studio museum makes for an interesting side trip. Exhibits recount the early history of the Dells through the life of the 19th-century landscape photographer whose work originally attracted tourists to the area. Just down the road, in the town of Baraboo, Victorian buildings and quaint shops lie on the outskirts of Devil’s Lake State Park, where 500-foot bluffs present a challenge for intrepid rock climbers.