We visited the Wisconsin Dells, often referred to as the Dells in the summer of 2017. We had to spend a week in the town for my daughter's dance competition. If you really want to get a true feeling for any city, I suggest spending a week. By week's end you will know if you would like or never wish to return.
So did I love it?
Lodging is very expensive in this town. Most people come to visit the waterpark resorts, so it helps swallow the price a bit. We choose not to stay at one of the resorts, as we were there to compete and wouldn't be using the waterpark facilities. We did check into a resort for a few nights at week's end when our daughter was done competing. Finding other lodging that wasn't a waterpark resort seemed limited and of subpar quality. We did manage to find and stay at a Quality Inn for several nights. I can confirm that I paid almost the same price for a week in the Quality Inn as I did for two nights in the waterpark resort.
Activities were limited in the area. We did manage to walk the town main stripe one evening. Trust me when I say, once will be enough. There really isn't much there but tshirt, candy, and popcorn type shops. Nothing I felt was amazing or worth referring someone to. If you have been to any tourist trap city, then you have already been there, done that. Nothing unique!
What I would recommend is the deer park, escape room, and outdoor ariel ropes course. These activities were reasonable priced and provided us with some needed entertainment. I was in average physical shape but had a great time at the ropes course. I was sore the next day but nothing that prohibited any other activities.
We ate at several area restaurants and nothing really stood out as amazing. I know part of my issue with visiting new towns is that I have high standards from visting amazing places like Gatlinburg, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and New York. I will chaulk this section up as a flaw on myself.
The lakes and water activities are non-existent if you don't own your own boat. No lakes and no water activities for the average visitor to participate in. No rentals, and no beaches!
Shopping is a favorite activity of mine everytime we travel. There was one outlet type shopping center. The center housed less than desirable stores to choose from. I didn't purchase anything and was ready to leave in about an hour.
So overall thoughts of the Dells: glad I did it once but never again. The waterparks are great and worth a visit but if you are thinking about coming to a town for a vacation and not using the waterpark you will be disappointed. No one comes for anything other than the waterparks. The other few activities I mentioned are just small extras. The waterparks are great but we also had done one in Sandusky, Ohio, so it really wasn't that exciting in the Dells for us either. I didn't overly enjoy the Glacier Canyon Lodge. The waterpark is brokeup into many small sections. You have to board a shuttle to travel to each section. We wanted to get our money's worth and visit all the watetparks in the resort and spend just as much time traveling as we did slidding and swimming. There were some great slides and were exhilarating and provide an adrenaline rush. But now sitting here typing this blog I vaguely remember which ones. I do remember the room cost almost $300 a night and provided no extras other than use of the waterpark. I prefer a hotel that at least provides some sort of breakfast with a stay.
So did I like it, no. I thought the town was limited and overpriced. I remember thinking the business owners seemed bothered with patrons rather than appreciative of their business. Many workers are on a work Visa from other countries. This doesn't bother myself but does sometimes make communication difficult. The US is filled with amazing places to visit, this just isn't anywhere near my top recommendations but rather towards the end of the list.
Happy travels where ever you go!