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First Trip to Wisconsin Dells?

Here are some tips and guidelines for planning your first trip to Wisconsin Dells

first trip to wisconsin dells

If this is your first trip to Wisconsin Dells, there are two routes that you can go:

  1. You can just book your room at one of the many fantastic Dells hotels or resorts and wing the rest of your trip — popping around town, seeing what there is to do and just taking in the true experience that is Wisconsin Dells.
  2. Or you can be a bit more meticulous about the whole trip and get serious about your plan and budget.

While both options will undoubtedly produce the memorable trip you are looking for, the second choice will ensure that you hit all the spots you want to hit, while keeping your budget in check.

If you are budget-conscious, like many travelers are, it will pay dividends to do some research and planning before you make your hotel reservation and, certainly, before you head out on the road for your first trip to Wisconsin Dells. Be sure to also keep in mind the fact that Wisconsin Dells is not just a summer destination like it once used to be. The Dells is a fantastic year-round destination and has really carved out a niche in being a great option for family getaways over the holidays. Often the rates are lower in the winter season, too. Below, we will present some scenarios that represent the travel preferences of many of our tourists and some ways to handle them:

Tip: make sure you bring a pair of flip-flops and multiple swimsuits (one just never seems to be enough)

Scenario #1: Your budget is a little tight and you aren’t sure if, both, a stay at a high-end resort and a day trip to Noah’s Ark Water Park will fit in that budget.

In this case, you may want to consider other options when it comes to the resort you stay at. Plenty of the Wisconsin Dells hotels have amazing rooms and suites at very affordable rates. The high price point of the larger resorts can mostly be attributed to the fact that everything that you will need on your trip is within walking distance. But if you plan on driving around, doing some sightseeing, and going to Noah’s Ark for your water park fun, then having the massive water park at your resort isn’t as necessary. Also, if you are driving or walking around Wisconsin Dells, you will most likely find more interesting dining options at a more affordable price than you would on the resort anyways.

Scenario #2: You are bringing a larger group of people together — your primary goal is spending time with them — and you don’t want to have to leave the resort.

This is where the large resorts like The Kalahari, The Wilderness Resort, Great Wolf Lodge, and Mt. Olympus make the most sense. You are definitely paying a bit more to stay there, but the convenience of having everything you need directly at your fingertips can more than make up for it. Water parks, activities for the kids, dining spots and even spas for the adults are all built into these resorts, making them a true one-stop vacation all on their own.

Scenario #3: Winter trip to Wisconsin Dells — what is the best route?

Tip: hotel rates are often lower in the winter months (except Christmas – New Years Day)

Winter trips to Wisconsin Dells are, often, the way to go. Rates can come down, crowds tend to be a bit lighter and there are still plenty of things to do. The real question is whether you plan on taking advantage of outdoor activities or if you are looking for indoor water fun. If outdoor activities are on the agenda, one of the smaller hotels or cabins might be your best bet. If you are more the type of person that would rather stay indoors during the winter, then, once again, the larger resorts are your best bets during the winter months.

Hopefully this advice helps you plan your very first trip to the Wisconsin Dells area! Be sure to sign up for our email updates and to add comments below if you have any other tips or advice for first time travelers to the Dells!


    • Hi Myrna!
      I would consider a condo or cabin at one of the larger resorts such as The Wilderness or the Kalahari Resort. They will give you some different living spaces which will allow your group to have some privacy when necessary! You will also have plenty of space to gather in one of the cabins when you are all together. Thanks!


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