Great Lakes, glacial lakes, and the mighty Mississippi River. Gorgeous woods and picturesque prairies. The Midwest features some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and the best resort communities in the region put this natural splendor right at your group’s feet. Whether you’re seeking quiet respite with beach days, spa options, and fine dining, or group challenges, sporting activities, and robust nightlife options, there’s a great resort community perfect for your group.

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

The Potawatomi named the Elkhart Lake area “Me-shay-way-o-deh-ni-bis,” or Great Heart Lake, because the lake’s shape resembles an elk’s heart. Scooped out by ancient glaciers, the distinctively blue-green, spring-fed lake is wrapped by the woods of Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine. Your group will ooh and aah when arriving at the Victorian-styled Osthoff Resort, with its two restaurants offering eclectic culinary creations, luxury spa and spa suites, on-site culinary school, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centers, a game room, beach bonfires, and evening pontoon cruises. Other equally elegant options include the landmark Siebkens Resort and The Shore Club Wisconsin with its famous waterfront Tiki Bar and century-old theater with live music.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

The crown jewel of the Great Lakes, Mackinac Island has welcomed group tours for centuries. The car-free island (horse-drawn carriages, bicycles, and your feet will take you out and about) is home to historic Fort Mackinac, world-famous Mackinac Island fudge, Instagram-worthy natural landmarks, and awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets—along with unique shopping, diverse dining, and extraordinary nightlife. Mission Point Resort begins where the island’s main street ends, with unobstructed views of Lake Huron. Two lodges and amenities including an 18-hole putting course, a heated swimming pool, health club and sauna, movie theater, four restaurants, tennis courts, bicycle rentals, and guided hikes ensure fun for all.

Mackinac Island, Michigan;
Credit: Adobe/Craig Zerbe
Galena, Illinois

A small town with big history, Galena is beloved for its 19th-century architecture—including the Italianate Ulysses S. Grant home. The history and architecture buffs in your group will also enjoy the Mississippi River’s quiet wanderings through the hills and dales. An interactive coffee experience at Brew Methods, spoon carving, tractor driving, horseback riding, hiking, and bicycling are sure to make the small-town experience exciting. The Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa is famous for its championship golf course but also offers plentiful group activities, from outdoor team building to idyllic boat cruises on the Galena River.

Brainerd, Minnesota

Nestled in the heart of central Minnesota, Brainerd offers small-town charm among some of the state’s most popular lakes and woodlands. Enjoy miles of biking, hiking, and off-road adventure trails. Take to the water on a boat cruise. Reel in a big fish. The area is a wonderland for group tours ready for outdoor adventures. The historic resort, Madden’s on Gull Lake, on a mile of scenic shoreline, merges luxury spa and relaxation opportunities with golf and other outdoor activities. Breezy Point Resort, Grandview Lodge, Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake, and Kavanaugh’s Sylvan Lake Resort are also great options for group tour lodging, fine dining, and a plethora of indoor and outdoor group pastimes everyone will remember.

By C. L. Lefevre

Main Image: Gull Lake, Brainerd, Minnesota; Credit: Adobe/Ferrer Photography