The words "Lake Geneva" evoke memories of lazy summer afternoons at the beach, wandering the shore path or browsing in shops.
But thanks to the nearby Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, the vacation spot isn't just a warm-weather destination-families can create memories all year round.
Upon arrival at the Grand Geneva, guests receive a Passport to a Grand Experience, which outlines the many activities-everything from a heavenly massage in the spa to a gut-straining meal at one of the resort's restaurants. Each time you complete an activity, you receive a stamp, which add up to resort activity credit to use in the future.
Kids are kept busy while mom and dad are sweating through a Zumba class or trying their hands at kayaking with activities the Grand Geneva calls "Escapades." The activities-digital scavenger hunts, American Junior Idol competitions, cooking contests-are for kids 4-17 and range from $10-$50.
In-room babysitting is available for a fee.
Each day, the resort also offers Grand Experiences the whole family can take part in for free, including fingernail painting, cookie decorating, musical chairs and children's movies.
The Timber Ridge Lodge, with Moose Mountain Falls all-weather Water Park, is just down the hill and available for use by Grand Geneva guests. The kid heaven features an activity pool, lazy river and two tube slides. A full-sized Bruce the Moose mascot, built entirely of LEGO, guards the door and reminds guests of the resort's LEGO packages.
In the spring, you can get a jump on the summertime crowds and hot sun and enjoy nature walks, golf or a trolley ride into town-or an adventurous outdoor activity you've always wanted to try. It's a great time to dust off those jeans and boots and pretend to be a cowboy (or girl) at the Dan Patch Stables.
In the fall, Grand Geneva takes advantage of its picturesque setting to offer a corn maze and haunted hayrides, plus campfires to ward off the evening's chill. When the holidays come around, the resort rolls out its extensive Christmas in the Country Celebration.
If you tend to think of Lake Geneva as only a warm-weather destination, think again. There's fun to be had in any season of the year-or any season of life.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.