Take a break on a lake for less
Penny pinchers, start your engines.
© Beth Gauper
At Ruttger's, inexpensive lodge rooms face the resort's long sand beach on Lake Bemidji.
If you haven't taken a lake vacation yet, now is the time to go.
I love August. Thanks to all those kids who have to get home for sports and band practice, the lake resorts start lowering their prices the second week of the month, though the weather still is perfect.
Many of the small resorts throw in the Labor Day weekend if people book the previous week, and most start taking guests for partial weeks. Larger resorts offer specials on their lodge rooms — just surf through web sites looking for the "Hot Deals'' buttons.
All you have to do is look. If you don't see a good deal on a web site, plug your favorite resort destination into a search
engine and see what comes up.
For example, Orbitz shows $99 rooms at the Waters of Minocqua in Minocqua, Wis., which includes an indoor water park, and $89
lodgings at Holiday Acres Resort in nearby Rhinelander.
The bigger the resort, the more likely it is to offer deals in late summer.
In Alexandria, Minn., the full-service Arrowwood Resort is offering a $159 room on weekdays that comes with four passes to its indoor water park, ensuring a fun vacation even if it rains.
In Bemidji, lakeview cottages at Ruttger's Birchmont Lodge go for $100 weeknights,
regularly $152. Lakeview lodge rooms are $55, and both include a big breakfast and use of tennis courts, kayaks, hot tub,
indoor and outdoor pools and a big beach on Lake Bemidji.
Another perennial good deal is Caribou Highlands Lodge on
Minnesota's North Shore. It's not a lake resort, unless you count Lake Superior just down the hill. But there's a big outdoor
heated pool, and lots of daily activities, including a kids' camp.
It's offering three nights for the price of two or five nights for the price of three.
Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge between Brainerd and Mille Lacs is discounting lodgings by about 60 percent for last-minute getaways; get a studio golf condo for $95.
It's a good time to stay at a fancy place you couldn't afford otherwise. On Mackinac Island, the ultra-luxe Grand Hotel is offering a Family Added Value Days package Aug. 15-28: Stay three nights for the price of two, and children 17 and under stay free.
At Grand View Lodge in Minnesota's Brainerd-Nisswa area, get a cabin with lake view, Jacuzzi and fireplace for $189, including breakfast.
Wisconsin's entire Door County is a great place to go if you can travel midweek: Rates drop Aug. 15 at some resorts and Aug. 22 at others. It's not the north woods, but it has a lot of waterfront properties.
Farther south at Green Lake, the Heidel House Resort is
offering rooms for $149 this month, including a yacht cruise and ice cream for four.
In southeast Wisconsin, the Grand Geneva near Lake Geneva is offering two weekday nights for the price of one and 30 percent off spa services.
The Congress of Minnesota Resorts site lists resorts offering specials (use the advanced search function), and many lake areas — including Park Rapids, Bemidji and Brainerd in Minnesota and Hayward, Minocqua and Eagle River in Wisconsin — list Hot Deals right on their home pages.
Remember, if you're a member of AAA or AARP, always ask if you can get a discount.
B&Bs normally don't offer late-summer deals, but many are on lakes. For more, see Quick getaways on a lake.
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