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20 Fun Things to do in Lake Geneva in Winter

Guide to the best winter activities Lake Geneva has to offer for romantic getaways and family fun

Lake Geneva in winter is as close to a fairy tale as it gets in Wisconsin.

Although its name is associated mostly with summer vacations, many cool things to do in Wisconsin in Winter can be found right here.

If you’re worried that you’ll get bored in Lake Geneva in winter, if you like active vacations, you couldn’t be more wrong.

In fact, there are lots of wonderful winter activities in Lake Geneva, including snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and so much more.

There is a quantity of indoor and outdoor things to do in Lake Geneva in winter.

So keep reading, you are in for quite a few surprises!

A picture of Lake Geneva with some snow on the mountains.
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Where to Stay in Lake Geneva in Winter


Geneva Wells Motel
Fontana Village Inn


The Geneva Inn
Bella Vista Suites Lake Geneva


The Abbey Resort
The Cove of Lake Geneva
Grand Geneva Resort and Spa

If none of these options work for you, check out my guide on where to stay in Lake Geneva. Not surprisingly, the city is home to some of the best lake resorts in Wisconsin.

1. Experience the magic of the Lake Geneva Ice Castles

Lake Geneva winter events, Lake Geneva Ice Castles lit up with different colors at night

One of the most spectacular Lake Geneva winter events is available for several weeks.

The ice castles in Lake Geneva open in mid-to-late January and last through February or March, depending on weather conditions.

Professional ice artisans grow icicles, starting as early as November, and use them to build an incredible attraction park at Geneva National Resort and Club.

Lake Geneva Ice Castles are a shining frozen maze of tunnels, caverns, towers, fountains, slides, and crawl spaces, glistening with colorful lights at night.

If you are in search of cool things to do in Lake Geneva in Winter, be sure not to miss this icy fairy tale!

The ice castles are one of the main winter activities Lake Geneva can offer, and they even have plans to add sleigh rides to a larger, more immersive design in the future.

If you want to experience ice castles, Lake Geneva in February is one of five locations in the US where you can find this unique type of winter event.

This is definitely perfect if you’re looking for cool weekend trips in Wisconsin during the winter.

The park was created by Brent Christensen in 2011.

Book here the best tours in Lake Geneva

2. Pamper yourself in a relaxing Spa Getaway

best things to do in lake geneva in winter, towels rolled up on spa table

When outside temperatures drop, enjoying the tropical temperatures of a comfortable spa indoor is pure luxury!

Sweating in a sauna, getting a relaxing massage, or a luxury face treatment are all things to do in Lake Geneva in winter.

The area boasts some of the best spa resorts in Wisconsin, so you know you’re in for a treat!

Check out the Avani Spa at The Abbey Resort in Fontana, for example, a lakeside 90-acre property with comfortable rooms, suites, vacation villas, restaurants, and a fantastic panoramic inside swimming pool.

Or the Grand Geneva, one of the best luxury resorts in Wisconsin, that also organizes all sorts of winter activities in Lake Geneva: skiing, sledding, skating, snowshoeing, and more.

Lake Geneva in the winter is one of the best lakes in Wisconsin.

When you are staying at a resort in Lake Geneva, you can combine indoor spa treatments with lots of outdoor winter activities. 

Many of the top winter resorts in Wisconsin offer spa packages to guests, making romantic getaways in Lake Geneva this time of year even better.

Book here the best winter cabins in Lake Geneva

3. Go skiing on Wilmot Mountain or Mountain Top

Outdoor Lake Geneva winter activities, Man Doing Ice Skiing on Snow Field

Wilmot Mountain, the oldest Lake Geneva skiing resort, is also one of the best day trips from Milwaukee: about an hour’s drive will take you to 120 skiable acres.

Discover the sport dimension of Lake Geneva in winter, with 25 trails, 7 lifts, 2 surface conveyor lifts, and 4 progression terrain parks with a double high-speed rope tow.

The trails are very diverse, so you can find the right challenge for everyone, from beginners to experienced skiers.

No wonder that Wilmot is high on the list of the best ski resorts in Wisconsin.  

The resort is also one of those great Wisconsin vacation ideas for a family with kids: try snow tubing if skiing or snowboarding is too demanding.

You have 22 lanes available to slide downhill on a tube and 2 surface conveyor lifts to take you back to the top.

For great skiing, check out also the Mountain Top, part of the Grand Geneva resort, another best-seller among the wonderful winter Getaways in Wisconsin.

Alpine Valley, with over 90 skiable acres with 20 Runs, a vertical drop of 388 feet, and the longest run of 3,000 feet!

4. Discover the best rinks for ice skating

best Wisconsin winter getaways, three kids having fun ice skating

Acrobatics on ice are among my favorites on the list of cool things to do in Wisconsin in Winter.

Never mind being goofy; it’s about having fun!

Lake Geneva ice skating offers several choices: there are both public rinks, free of charge (but you have to bring your own skates) and private resorts where you can rent the necessary equipment.

The Library Park, for example, is a community park on the north shore of Lake Geneva with a great lakefront view.

Here, you can enjoy free ice skating and admire the Historic Riviera Building.

Other free, bring-your-own-skates rinks are found at Pier 290 (Williams Bay) and Rotary Park (Walworth).

Or rent skates at one of several private resorts that offer ice skating in Lake Geneva.

Try The Abbey Resort in Fontana, one of the most romantic getaways in Wisconsin, or the Geneva Ridge Resort, the Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, or the Grand Geneva Resort.

These Lake Geneva resorts offer a wide palette of winter activities in Lake Geneva, so they are among the most interesting places to visit in Wisconsin in the winter.

Buy here the ultimate Wisconsin itinerary

5. Feel adventurous snowshoeing in the woods  

best winter activities to do in Lake Geneva, man snowshoeing in the winter

Lake Geneva Wisconsin in winter can make you feel a bit like one of Jack London’s characters without wandering too far from urban centers.

Try snowshoeing without the risk of getting lost in the big wild and freezing all alone. 

A great solution for beginners is Big Foot Beach State Park, one of the best state parks in Wisconsin.

Here, you can also rent snowshoes in the winter and go exploring.

The 271-acre park has restrooms and water, very close to the city center but with enough forest to satisfy your taste for adventure.

Another favorite snowshoeing destination is the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy.

Here, you can get a peculiar Lake Geneva winter experience, learning the story of a piece of wilderness that was saved from commercial developers by the local community.

The KNC has a moving tagline: “Dedicated to the Children of Tomorrow.”

If you are staying at a Lake Geneva skiing resort, you will probably find snowshoeing there too.

In case you desire a more rustic, “Great North” atmosphere, check out my list of winter cabins in Wisconsin.

There are so many of them, where you can get all the comfort and warmth you will need after romping in the snow but still feel closer to the old trappers’ spirit.

Buy here the best hiking guides to Wisconsin

6. Wow at the Dancing Horses Holiday Show

things to do in Lake Geneva in December, feet of a horse training

My choice of things to do in Lake Geneva in December is rich in indoor activities, too.

The famous Dancing Horses Theater, for example, organizes memorable holiday shows with its skilled riders.

In this very special equine arena, the show is run by women: from the owner, Dana Montana, with her daughters Danelle and Danette, to the main trainers and performers.

Dana had a longtime dream to showcase the beauty and talent of her Arabian horses and created Dancing Horses twenty years ago.

The indoor arena is small but comfortable and climate-controlled.

The show is sumptuous and entertaining, with some 25 horses performing several Vegas-style routines for an hour and a half.

Do not miss a visit to the attached Animal Gardens Theme Park, a 40-acre venue housing 16 species of exotics and over 60 hay-eating animals that you can pet and feed.

A Wildlife Exhibit hosts animals that are indigenous to Wisconsin and some exotics, too. In the deer park, you can even hand-feed the deer!

Book here the best Lake Geneva tours

7. Join the Electric Christmas Parade

Fun winter activities in Lake Geneva, parade with band members dressed as santa

The Electric Christmas Parade is one of the main social events in Lake Geneva in December, with a tradition of nearly half a century.

On the first Saturday of the month, the colorful and light-filled parade walks down Broad and Main Streets in Downtown Lake Geneva.

Everyone, adults, and children are welcome to join.

The show is back in 2021 with the theme “Christmas Classics: Movies, Music & Stories.”

Dozens of richly decorated floats, shining with colorful electric lights, and hundreds of marchers animate the streets, with thousands of spectators admiring the show and cheering.

Expect live music from marching bands, dancing, and all sorts of merry-making.

Diving into small-town fun is one of the best things to do in Lake Geneva in December.

Book here the best vacation rentals in Lake Geneva

8. Feel the magic of cross-country skiing

winter activities in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Cross Country Skiing

Winter activities in Lake Geneva offer so many outdoor opportunities.

The area hosts some of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin, and quite a few of them can be used for cross-country skiing when covered in snow. 

The trails are kept well-groomed.

Choose between the Duck Pond Recreation Area in Fontana, the White River County Park, the Big Foot Beach State Park, and, a little further, the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

If you need to rent the equipment, Clear Water Outdoors and Backyard Bikes can set you up, facilitating your list of things to do in Lake Geneva in February.

Several private resorts, undoubtedly some of the most wonderful winter Getaways in Wisconsin, have their own scenic trails to accommodate cross-country skiers.

Check out Grand Geneva, and Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan. 

Buy here your Like a Local itinerary to Wisconsin

9. Experience the thrill of solving an escape room

fun indoor winter activities in Lake Geneva, neon sign reading ESCAPE

Have you ever tried one of the escape rooms in Wisconsin?

Unravel a mystery to unlock the room and regain your freedom.

This team game is one of the most entertaining indoor activities you can find in Lake Geneva in winter.

Lake Geneva Clue Room has four different challenges that you can try with your friends: “Gangster’s Gamble,” “The Double Agent,” “Pilfered Playbook,” and “Dark Carnival.”

Each one has a specific storyline and a series of tasks for you.

Using the available clues, you need to solve the case in 60 minutes to unlock the room and escape.

Escape rooms are genial to stimulate team cooperation. Play with a group of up to 8 friends and learn to rely on each other’s skills to achieve a common goal.

Buy here the best Wisconsin guidebooks

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10. Snowmobiling, the forbidden fruit

where to go snowmobiling in wisconsin, person riding snowmobile

Snowmobile trails in Wisconsin are winter adrenaline adventures at their best, offering a plethora of things to do in Lake Geneva winter.

The Lake Geneva area has some great trails, but it is not easy to get on them: they are mostly on private land, especially by the lake.

Get in touch with the Walworth County Snowmobile Alliance to get all the necessary information on what you can and cannot do and how.

The Alliance has a mission of installing, maintaining & grooming snowmobile trails.

They can also give you information on the possibilities of finding a snowmobile unless you own one. You will need trail passes, too.

Ask about the White River Bike Trail, a favorite local snowmobiling trail during the winter months.

A 12.6-mile former railway corridor, the trail runs from Elkhorn to Burlington.

Contact the County Highway Department, the Walworth County Visitors Bureau’s Visitors Center (in Delavan), or the Elkhorn Chamber office for a trail pass.

Book here the best winter tours in Lake Geneva

11. Compete in the Abominable Snow Race at the Zipline Adventure Park

Unique things to do in Lake Geneva in winter, Abominable snowman hiding behind a tree

In its palette of winter activities, Lake Geneva ensures an unforgettable experience.

If you’re seeking exciting things to do Lake Geneva winter, don’t miss out on the Yeti-inspired festivities.

The Abominable gives its name to the craziest race of the season, a challenging 4-6 miles of snowy course with 20+ obstacles.

In the toughest winter climate at the end of January, you will rope-climb walls, crawl under a cargo net, race downhill on a tube, carry heavy hurdles, and much more.

You were not expecting to meet Yetis in Lake Geneva in winter, did you?

Well, join the Abominable Snow Race, and you will get to socialize with many of them.

Share gourmet food and craft beer by the fire pit, and enjoy music, dance, and live games.

The venue is the seat of Lake Geneva Canopy Tours, a zipline and high-rope climbing amusement park with 9 different zip lines, 5 sky bridges, 3 spiral stairways, and a double helix “floating” stairway.

Find yourself a cozy accommodation nearby with one of numerous Lake Geneva winter cabin rentals, and you have guaranteed fun and excitement for several days.

Book here cozy winter cabins in Lake Geneva

12. Get your portion of Jingle Bells

Horse with rich animal harness pulling sleigh in winter. Winter festival in Suzdal ( The Golden Ring of Russia). Snowy cityscape on background.

What about the most romantic winter picture of all, an open sleigh gliding down snow-covered roads in the forest?

If you want to experience Lake Geneva sleigh rides, the place for you is Dan Patch Stables at Grand Geneva.

This family-run business offers a diverse palette of equine experiences for visitors.

While these rides are limited to the Grand Geneva property, you can get a sleigh ride along the lake when visiting the Lake Geneva Ice Castles. Book one when buying your tickets.

These are short, 15-minute rides for groups of up to 12 people, free for children 3 and under.

Not enough for you? What about some additional Lake Geneva sledding?

The area hosts 12 local sledding hills where you can have fun for hours on end.

Several of them are located at local parks and trails. Plus, each and every Lake Geneva skiing resort offers sledding, too.

Buy here the best Wisconsin road trip itinerary

13. Enjoy a Vegas-style show at Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

unique winter events in Lake Geneva, theater for magic shows

When I read a review of what happens in this small 175-theatre, it sounded exaggerated, so I went to check it out.

Of all the attractions of Lake Geneva in winter times, this is the most surprising!

What about seeing a helicopter appear a few feet away from you?

Tristan Crist, the master illusionist, has been performing magic tricks since he was a child, but still… you will not believe your eyes during one of his fast-paced 60-minute shows.

Ladies cut in two, objects levitating, a 700-kg Harley Davidson appearing and disappearing in two seconds!

Tristan’s show is among the most fun and unique things to do in Lake Geneva.

The theater is open year-round, so this Vegas-in-a-small-box entertainment is not strictly classified as one of Lake Geneva winter activities.

But it’s also a great evening activity after enjoying some of the amazing outdoor activities in Wisconsin all day, if you want to enjoy a truly unique vacation.

Buy here the best guidebooks to Wisconsin

14. Sail on the lake with a Magical Christmas Boat Cruise

lake geneva things to do in winter, santa writing his list surrounded by Christmasy objects

Did you know that among all the things to do at Christmas in Wisconsin, you can discover Santa’s Hideaway?

Lake Geneva in December hosts this special place, and you can see it by getting on board the Santa Cruise!

While sailing on the lake, you will admire lighted displays on the shore and wave hello to Santa himself as he reads the names of the children on board who are on his “Nice List.”

The cruises are organized by Gage Marine Corporation and run from after Thanksgiving to the end of December.

Before boarding, you can visit the “Charities of Christmas Tree Festival,” an indoor exhibition supporting the Santa Cause fundraising event.

Additionally, several local charities benefit from the event.

If you’re looking for fun Lake Geneva things to do in winter for kids, consider making Santa Claus happy by making a small donation for the less fortunate.

Book here the best tours in Lake Geneva

15. Admire the giant ice sculptures at Winterfest

Best places to visit in Lake Geneva in winter, impressively detailed snow sculpture of man holding different objects

The Winterfest is one of the landmarks of Lake Geneva in winter, held for nearly thirty years at the end of February, and one of the best winter events in Wisconsin!

The festival features the National Snow Sculpting Championship, the only such show in the United States.

Lake Geneva Winterfest is famous for its 72-hour competition between 15 of the most talented, award-winning sculpting teams, state-champions from across the US.

Watch them at work while they create larger-than-life snow sculptures that will remain on display until they melt.

Of all the cool things to do in Wisconsin in Winter, this snow sculpting festival is one of the best choices.

Side activities like s’mores and bonfires on the beach, a cocoa crawl, fire & ice bar, and hovercraft rides can entertain adults or whole families for several days.

Couples can enjoy it too, also keeping into account that Lake Geneva boasts some of the most romantic hotels in Wisconsin.

Make sure to also check out one of the best Christmas markets in Wisconsin.

Explore the wide array of Lake Geneva activities in February during the Winterfest and make your winter experience truly memorable.

Book here the best winter cabins in Lake Geneva

16. Enjoy Ice Fishing in Lake Geneva

Close up shot of ice fishing rods left above circular holes cut in a frozen lake next to a wooden box of ice fishing supplies with a line of people visible in the background on a grey cloudy day

If you’re seeking exciting Lake Geneva activities in December, you’ve got to try ice fishing on Lake Geneva—it’s an absolute blast!

The lake is famous for its diverse fish population, so you’re in for a treat.

And don’t worry if you’re new to this. Trust me, it’s not just about the catch—it’s the whole experience.

It’s about savoring the tranquility of a frozen lake, sharing stories with buddies, and maybe, just maybe, bringing home a brag-worthy fish tale.

Book here the best tours in Lake Geneva

17. Try Winter Hiking

Leg woman in winter shoes walking on the snow in a winter park. Closeup outsole of warm boot.

If you’re itching to embrace winter and get those legs moving, let me suggest something epic—winter hiking around Lake Geneva!

Trust me, it’s like stepping into a winter wonderland.

The lake takes on this peaceful vibe, and you’ll find yourself in awe of winter’s beauty.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a casual stroll, these trails cater to everyone.

Bundle up in your coziest layers, lace up those boots, and hit the trails.

You might spot some wildlife tracks or catch a glimpse of the lake’s icy charm—it’s a photographer’s dream, I tell you.

Explore the things to do in Lake Geneva in November and make your winter adventure unforgettable.

Buy here the best hiking guides to Wisconsin

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18. Winter Golf in Lake Geneva

Close up shot of a white golf ball sitting on some freshly cut green grass with a metal golf club poised for a shot behind

Hey, golf enthusiasts! Guess what? Winter golf at the Geneva National Resort & Club’s Winter Golf Academy is a thing, and it’s an absolute game-changer!

I know, you’re probably thinking, “Golf in winter? Seriously?” But hear me out—it’s a unique experience that’ll have you hooked.

The Winter Golf Academy is like a golfer’s haven in the winter wonderland.

They have all the cool tech to help you fine-tune your skills, from swing analysis to virtual courses that’ll transport you to golfing paradises.

And don’t worry about the cold; they’ve got that covered, too. Think heated bays, warm beverages, and a camaraderie that makes every swing feel like a hole-in-one celebration.

It can even be one of the best things to do in Lake Geneva in January!

Buy here the ultimate Wisconsin itinerary

19. Winter Wine Tasting in Lake Geneva

Close up of two people's hands toasting glasses of wine in front of a vineyard

If you’re looking to add a touch of warmth and joy to your winter days, there’s nothing like exploring things to do in Geneva on the Lake in the winter.

A cozy wine-tasting experience at local gems like Studio Winery or Staller Estate Winery is an excellent choice.

Winter wine tasting is an experience that engages all the senses. The rich, velvety reds or the crisp, elegant whites—each sip tells a story.

And the best part? You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy it. Just show up with an open palate and a curious spirit.

Discover the charm of things to do in Geneva on the Lake in the winter and make your wine-tasting experience even more memorable.

Go wine tasting in Wisconsin

20. Indoor Rock Climbing

a person climbing on a rock wall in an indoor climbing gym

Still wondering what to do in Lake Geneva in January?

If you’re up for a challenge that takes your winter escapades to new heights, you’ve got to try indoor rock climbing at Adventure Rock Climbing Gym!

Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a complete newbie (like me), there’s a route for everyone. They’ve got routes for all skill levels, so don’t worry if you’re a beginner.

Trust me, indoor rock climbing is not just an activity; it’s a dynamic, empowering experience that adds a whole new dimension to winter fun.

And let’s not forget the workout! Climbing engages muscles you didn’t even know you had and the sense of accomplishment when you reach the top. Priceless.

Explore the thrill of a Lake Geneva winter getaway and make your indoor rock climbing experience even more adventurous.

Book here cozy winter cabins in Lake Geneva

Why Spend the Winter in Lake Geneva?

Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, where to stay in lake geneva, wisconsin

Should you choose Lake Geneva in the winter as a holiday destination? My opinion is that this area is a solid choice among several wonderful winter Getaways in Wisconsin.

Here are the three most important reasons:

  1. Winter prices are often more affordable. The quality is the same, but the competition from more famous destinations stimulates local businesses to offer attractive deals.
  2. Even the most popular spots are less crowded. Strolling down the streets in downtown Lake Geneva or working out on some of the best Southern Wisconsin hiking trails is a completely different experience when you can enjoy some space.
  3. Good choice of outdoor and indoor activities. The list of things to do in Lake Geneva in winter is surprisingly rich. From a complete palette of winter sports to year-round theater shows to unique seasonal events.

I have picked 20 suggestions for you for unique things to do in Lake Geneva in winter.

They do not cover one hundred percent of Lake Geneva winter events, but they are some of the best winter activities and cover a range of interestest and budgets.

There are also lots of cozy accommodation options, too.

Lake Geneva has some of the most romantic hotels in Wisconsin, as well as some of the coziest winter cabins in Wisconsin.

Have you changed your idea of Lake Geneva as a summer destination only?

Small local environments can pleasantly surprise you when you take the time to explore them.

Winter in Lake Geneva has so much to offer. You can be lazy and relax or go for an active vacation. Even better, combine the two dimensions.

Be it indoor or outdoor, Lake Geneva is one of the most agreeable among all of the places to vacation in Wisconsin. So try it, and let me know about your experience.

Short FAQ About Lake Geneva in Winter

What do you do in Lake Geneva in winter?

There are many winter activities available in Lake Geneva, such as snowmobiling and snowshoeing. But one of the best winter activities is visiting the amazing ice castles!

When is Lake Geneva Winterfest?

Usually, the first week of February.

Does Lake Geneva freeze in the winter?

Yes. However, sometimes only parts of the lake freeze over rather than the entire lake.

What are things to do in Lake Geneva for couples in winter?

Enjoy a romantic and cozy wine tasting at local wineries, and explore the scenic winter trails around Lake Geneva hand-in-hand. It surely is one of the best things to do in Lake Geneva for couples in winter.

What to do in Lake Geneva in the winter?

Activities like ice fishing, skiing, snowboarding, and exploring charming winter festivals are some of the things to do in Lake Geneva in the winter.

What winter events in Lake Geneva are famous?

The Winterfest in downtown Lake Geneva is a famous winter event known for its lively atmosphere, ice sculptures, and a variety of winter-themed activities.

You can’t get enough of Lake Geneva in winter? Have a look at my Google Story here.

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