You’re probably already familiar with picturesque Kohler, Wisconsin, and the posh American Club Resort (419 Highland Dr, 920-457-8000, americanclub.com) that anchors the town. Pre-kids, you might have spent a splurgy, romantic weekend here with your significant other. Or maybe it was a girlfriends’ spa trip, or a golf outing on one of its impressive courses. You remember—the kind of grown-up getaway you used to enjoy before family vacays downgraded your idea of a good time.
Good news: Those days don’t have to be over. The American Club wants you back with your kids. Its new Kohler Kidz program is designed with families in mind, letting all of you take advantage of the lush, serene life that seems worlds away from Chicago but takes just a short two-and-a-half-hour-hour drive to reach.
The American Club launched the program this spring to attract families to a favorite destination of Midwesterners looking for a short-and-sweet nearby indulgence. It’s an approachable package that makes all ages feel welcome, including two nights’ stay at the laid-back, adjacent Inn on Woodlake (705 Woodlake Rd). Packages start at $335 a night for two adults and one child; for an upcharge, you can stay on American Club’s main property, but rooms in both locations feature tricked-out bathrooms with fancy Kohler-brand tubs and showers.
Kids get the royal treatment starting right at check-in, receiving stuffed animals, baseball caps and goody bags, as well as bracelets that give them access to more treats later.
Those perks include free meals and snacks at on-site dining establishments—my kids swooned over their mini cupcakes at Craverie Chocolate Café, where they ogled jewel-inspired housemade chocolates that looked like the real deal. We all loved the laid-back vibe and complimentary popcorn and fried cheese curds at the Horse & Plow pub. In addition, we all had free access to the fitness club (the indoor pool was an especially big hit), and the kids got gratis bike rentals—the perfect excuse to take a family ride along a nature trail.
Another highlight was our visit to Movers & Shakers Kids Toys (765 Woodlake Rd, 920-453-2874), part of the posh Shops at Woodlake. Quite possibly the best toy store we’ve ever seen, it’s stocked to its charming-as-can-be rafters with an amazing selection of specialty games, puzzles, dolls, costumes, crafts and stuffed animals. Here, the kids got to design their own T-shirts and make bath bombs as part of the package. To our happy surprise, they couldn’t get enough of the idea showrooms at the Kohler Design Center (101 Upper Rd, 920-457-3699), where we all drooled over fantasy kitchens and bathrooms.
For additional fees, kids can also take tennis, swimming and golf lessons, go horseback riding, take cooking classes and spend time at a “tiny tots” mini camp for ages 2–3. Parents get perks too: Kohler Waters Spa treatments are 20 percent off as part of the package, and the club will arrange for baby-sitting ($12–$15/hour) if you want to book couples’ treatments or lounge together on chaises by the fabulous spa pool or fireplace.
If you have time to venture away from the resort, check out Above and Beyond Children’s Museum (902 N 8th St, Sheboygan; 920-458-4263), worth the short ten-minute drive to see a quirky-cool miniature circus exhibit. But you could also just kick back and enjoy the countryside before you have to head back to reality—sooner than probably any of you would like.