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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

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Blue Harbor is a great getaway for families and for adults traveling without kids, too.
Blue Harbor is a great getaway for families and for adults traveling without kids, too.
This fun place is a mere hour from Milwaukee; even closer if you live on the East Side or North Shore.
This fun place is a mere hour from Milwaukee; even closer if you live on the East Side or North Shore.

A water park weekend barely an hour away

Though we hardly live at them, we've become something of a water park family. This weekend, taking the advice of Molly Snyder, we visited Blue Harbor in Sheboygan.

At bedtime, back at home, the kids cried when we finally cut off the water park wristbands.

None of us is anything like a competitive swimmer. We don't do high dives or cannonballs. We're modest fans of water fun. But we are still wooed by the charms of the lazy river, the water slide, the splash pad and the rest.

Blue Harbor, which had been built by the Great Wolf Lodge folks, is now made over and occupies a prime spot along the Sheboygan waterfront. The rooms on the entire eastern side of the sprawling hotel offer lake views. Flanking the rooms are a conference center on the north end and, to the south, Breaker Bay water park.

Barely an hour from Milwaukee, Breaker Bay is a nice size. There's plenty of room for a splash pad, two giant slides, two medium-sized ones, a kiddie pool with three tot slides, a lazy river, a large hot tub, a deeper pool and a towering play structure (which also serves as the steps up to some of the slides), with a 1,000-gallon tank at the top that tips over its watery load every five minutes.

But it doesn't feel sprawling and endless and overbearing. And this weekend, while there was a good crowd enjoying the place, there was still some elbow room.

While Blue Harbor is perfect for a family getaway, it's also a good place for folks traveling without kids. There's a full-service spa, a couple different restaurants, great lakeside strolling and, within an easy distance: downtown Sheboygan shops, restaurants (like Il Ritrovo and Trattoria Stefano, for example) and the not-to-be-missed John Michael Kohler Arts Center. The city of Kohler is maybe a 20-minute drive.

We took a 10-minute jaunt south to take a little hike around Indian Mound Park, which has a circuit of more than a dozen Indian mounds, as well as a plank path through a fertile marsh that is an explosion of color and wildlife.

In the past year, I've visited Elkhart Lake, Kohler (twice – without kids and with), Manitowoc and Sheboygan and if I didn't already enjoy this stretch of eastern Wisconsin, I appreciate it more than ever.

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