Area Attractions

The Geneva Lake area has been a popular spot for many visitors over the years. As the second deepest lake in Wisconsin with miles of hiking trails and plenty of shops and restaurants, there is always something to do in the surrounding towns.

Feeling the need to nosh?

If you’re a foodie, you’ve come to the right place. The Geneva Lake area boasts more than 50 restaurants from casual cafes, in which to study, to fine dining along the lakeshore. A few of our favorites, include:

Take in the fresh air.  

The outdoors is a major contender for activities in Williams Bay and beyond. The lake provides hours of recreation including swimming, boating, fishing, parasailing and waterskiing. We even have our own pier and beach for student use. There also are miles of trails to hike and bike in the many nature conservatories and parks, which include:  

For those interested in alternative modes of transportation, try horseback riding at one of the many local stables, take a cruise with the Lake Geneva Cruise Line, or swing through the trees with Lake Geneva Canopy Tours.

History on display.

Geneva Lake is known for its many historic mansions that are located along the lake. Built in the late-19th century, many served as the summer homes of the Chicago elite. The Geneva Lake Shore Path, a 21-mile walking path around the lake, is a lovely way to take in these beautiful homes. Walking the entire path is something many check off their bucket list and takes approximately 8 to 12 hours depending on skill level. Organized walking excursions with personal tour guides are available or go on a leisurely stroll at your own pace. Maps and guides of the shore path include separate guided walks ranging from one to six miles. These publications can be found at the Campus Shop located in the Weidensall Administration Building.

A sundry of souvenirs.

With a multitude of stores carrying everything from art and antiques to fashion, jewelry, and home décor it’s hard to leave the are empty handed. You can outfit your dorm room, pick up a birthday gift for mom, and even score a sweet paddleboard to zip around the lake. 

Stargazing and summer concerts

If you’re a stargazer, you’re in luck. Williams Bay is home to “the birthplace of modern astrophysics.” Yerkes Observatory, founded in 1897 and operated by the University of Chicago, has the largest refracting telescope used for astronomy and a collection of more than 100,000 photographic plates. It is open for free public tours every Saturday throughout the year.  

Summer visitors may enjoy George Williams College’s own Music by the Lake series. Take in live performances in the Ferro Pavilion from jazz to classic rock and big band music in a breathtaking, open-air setting on Geneva Lake. The Ferro Pavilion has showcased many acts, such as The Irish Tenors, Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Beach Boys, Michael Bolton, Ramsey Lewis Trio, Peter Frampton, Thomas Hampson, Cheap Trick, Doobie Brothers, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Blood, Sweat & Tears and more.

Looking for lodging?

Students beware: With so many options for lodging, parents have a hard time leaving George Williams College. Guests may stay on campus at the Conference Center at George Williams College offering a variety of accommodations for individuals and groups. With acres of lakefront beauty and wooded landscapes, your families can find rest and relaxation right on campus. Contact the Conference Center at 262-245-8520 or to find out about special rates.

Off-campus, the Geneva Lake area offers a wide variety of accommodations including upscale resorts, boutique hotels, and warm and inviting bed and breakfasts.

Take a road trip.  

If you’re craving an urban experience you’re in luck. GWC is conveniently situated among the cities of Chicago (two hours away) and Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, (one hour each). Enjoy the big city lights, see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field, take in a show at the Milwaukee Theatre, or stroll up Madison’s famed State Street.

For more resources visit:

Geneva Lake West Chamber of Commerce

Wisconsin DNR

Travel Wisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Society