If the backyard has lost its luster and you've visited every Milwaukee attraction at least once already this summer, then you're ready for a quick and easy nearby family getaway. It's Family Vacation Week here at OnMilwaukee and we'll bring you suggestions every day for great jaunts perfect for a day, weekend or week-long getaway. Bon voyage, Milwaukee!
Country Springs Hotel is nowhere near the size of the big water parks in the Dells. On the other hand, it’s nowhere near as far from Milwaukee, either.
If your idea of a quick family getaway is a big, inexpensive room, just a few minutes from Milwaukee – and a water park nice enough to easily keep young kids endlessly amused, then take a look at this Pewaukee property.
It’s no-nonsense, easy thrills. Not quite a staycation, but not a three-hour road trip, either.
Country Springs’ 187 rooms are a bit dated and could use a refresh, but the Governor's Suite we stayed in was spacious and clean. The highlight was the awesome bathroom, with a huge whirlpool tub (that I used twice). Hotels.com and Expedia lists the property at 2.5 stars, although given the amenities, I found that a little low. Unlike some hotels at this price point, Country Springs offers free wi-fi.
The campus of the hotel is nice, too. Even though it's visible from I-94, you don't hear any noise from the freeway. Our third-floor room had a view to the north, overlooking the beautiful rolling hills of Waukesha County. It's also right next to one of the best running/walking trails in the area. Sitting on the porch, it was easy to forget we were 20 minutes from home.
The highlight for our daughter, of course, was the water park.
Visiting a smaller water park is actually convenient for families with younger kids. There are fewer chances to get lost, fewer scary rides, and most desirably for me, not the thousands of people running around, screaming at the top of their lungs. I noticed that, compared to other water parks I've visited in Wisconsin, guests were generally much better behaved. That was a nice change of pace.
The park itself offers all of what you’d expect: a lazy river (my favorite), a few small and large and tube rides, indoor and outdoor hot tub, swimming area with basketball hoops, a 600-gallon dump bucket and a shallow toddler area.
Our daughter wasn’t scared of the "Triple Dog Dare" (or "family tube ride," as she called it), the 362-foot-long boat slide for up to three people.
At 45,000 square feet, it’s plenty big – it just doesn’t go on and on forever. Does it need to?
Outside the park is a small arcade and two surprisingly good restaurants by another pool. While a basic continental breakfast is included with the stay, we were pleased with our inexpensive dinner of paninis and salads at Copper’s Pub & Grill, which features a cooler full of 100 beers and a creative martini menu. Neighboring Wildflowers has the same menu, but with a slightly less casual feel.
Country Springs is just easy, and sometimes that’s nice. You can stay here for around $100 to start this summer, or $110 including water park passes, and your kids will wear themselves out and sleep well. This much I promise.
Maybe it’s not a full-blown family vacation for those visiting from Milwaukee, but in the hot summer days, it’s a great, affordable and quick getaway from the daily grind.
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.