Psst…Here’s a little North Woods Wisconsin Secret.

By Marianne Szymanski

Most Tosans who go UP NORTH already know how picturesque and beautiful the Eagle River area is. However, for those who do not have a cabin, a campground lot or a friend to stay with, there is one little secret I want to share.

This property is heaven in one weekend. Located on the Chain of 28 Lakes (Duck Lake), you can come alone, bring the family or invite the extended family for a reunion. If you are lucky enough to book a unit that overlooks the lake, you will wake up to morning sunrises and lake views that are peaceful and unite with nature. The property has units that are either on the beach or located on a short walking path where kayaks and fishing boats are free for use. (Wave runners and other water vehicles are available for rental).

These units are condominiums with Northwoods décor that really make you feel at home. I stayed in a 3 bedroom unit with 2 full baths, stone fireplace, balcony and full kitchen. It can sleep up to 8 comfortably. There is no washer and dryer but some units do have them so you’ll have to ask before booking. Each unit has access to its own grill so plan to BBQ!

If you plan to be on the water, we found life vests conveniently placed in a closet but depending on the sizes of your children (and adults), I would recommend calling ahead to see if you should plan to bring additional vests/sizes on your own.

Eagle River has plenty to offer all summer long but the middle of June through July is the most popular time. Nature is one of the main reasons to visit this area. Site unseen, expect it to have that WOW factor. There is no denying it, the Northwoods in Wisconsin is absolutely stunning. The fall colors are not to miss but summer offers the best experience for lake use.

August is also a great time because most families have settled in for the back to school routine so there is plenty to do and lots of room with fewer tourists to compete with. On one trip, I happened to be there during the Annual Paul Bunyan festival which is a street fair of wood carvings, Paul Bunyan size lunches, and where crafters and artist show their wears.

We made our visit in mid-June right after school ended. But this may have been a little early in the season as the weather was not the best for water play. Consequently we visited with friends from out of state which allowed us to spend time in the downtown area of Eagle River. And to visits other areas nearby to get a feel of what the Northwoods has to offer.

Downtown Eagle River is a gem filled with great shops, a movie theater that is old-fashioned and original and antique stores that will remind you of your grandma’s kitchen. Spending about 3 hours visiting the shops in town plus a meal is a perfect amount to time to still have a great lake day. My favorites stops were Grandma’s Toy Box and the Another Time Antique store. Here, I found a lot of my own childhood Fisher Price Little People favorites along with a collection of Little People from the 1970’s and lunch boxes with old cartoons. The Northwoods Children’s Musuem is a must-do stop for children,mom and dad and grandparents too. Open 7 days a week, admission is $8.50.

For lunch, we dined at Soda Pops, a local favorite with an interesting history dating back to 1800’s. They have over 150 glass bottled sodas and my favorite, Grape Nehi brought back fun memories of my summers at my grandparents in Indiana.
The selection of food was everything you would find at a soda fountain-type cafe from burgers and fries to soup and ham and grilled cheese sandwiches to interesting presentations like onion rings served lassoed around a bottle.

On the menu, I saw a Spam and Cheese sandwich. I did not try it but I bet someone else did.

From dusk until dawn, the lake is our playground. Rowing, fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing… whatever your fancy, this lodge had it all. The best part… it’s all included in your stay. There are not many locations that include these kinds of activities in the price of your stay so this is a real value.

On rainy days and evenings, the indoor swimming pool is quite popular. It is located within a building on the property and enclosed. Movies and board games can be borrowed free of charge from the hotel office and is another free perk.

I would definitely say that this is a family friendly experience without much additional expense. My kids played tennis in the mornings, spent hours on the lake, swam in the indoor pool every night, enjoyed s’mores at the campfire and meeting other teenagers on the property.

Wild Eagle Lodge is a lake vacation to make memories, spend quality family time and connect with nature. A highly recommended trip!

Marianne is always on the go and has been traveling and reviewing family vacation destinations with her family for the last 15 years. You can find more of her reviews on

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