10 Best Ski Resorts For Kids and Family Near Chicago

12/8/2016 8:02:04 AM
10 Best Skiing For Kids and Family Near Chicago - KidTrail Pick
Skiing Fun at Boyne Mountain, Michigan!
10 Best Skiing For Kids and Family Near Chicago - KidTrail Pick
Snowboarding at Boyne Mountain, Michigan!
Winter in Chicago is here which means there are plenty of options for outdoor activities for families in the Midwest.  The Midwest has many options for family skiing with kid friendly amenities.  We have compiled a list of 10 best ski resorts in the area that are family and kid friendly.  The list is broken into three categories: skiing in the Chicago suburbs, nearby ski resorts within 3 to 3.5 hour drive and lastly, ski resorts that are about a 6 hour drive but worth the drive for its full amenities and activities. You can go for the weekend and make a mini vacation out of it as the ski resorts listed all have lodging, dining and other family activities. Enjoy, be safe and have fun!


Villa Olivia
1401 W Lake Street
Bartlett, IL 60103

What: Villa Olivia, a facility of the Bartlett Park District, is a multi-faceted facility located in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago in Bartlett, IL. Downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and ski lessons are right in your backyard. Villa Olivia is just a short drive from anywhere in the Chicagoland area. With 100% Snowmaking, Ski & Snowboard lessons for all levels, and rental equipment available, there is something here for everyone. The hill includes seven runs, a chairlift, six rope tows, and a tubing hill. A new chairlift was installed in 2012 and the new Ski Lodge opened in 2012. 

Kid Friendliness: Snow Tubing offered for those not interested in skiing. Participants must be at least 6 years old and 42 inches tall to ride alone. Ages 4 and 5 may ride share with a paying adult age 18 and over. For safety reasons no one under the age of 4 may go snow tubing. Fee includes two hours of snow tubing and the use of the snow tube. Purchase tickets in the Ski Lodge.

Distance from Chicago: 33 Miles Northwest of Chicago

Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports
5750 Lakeside Dr.
Lisle, IL 60532

What: Four Lakes offers a challenging Terrain Park for skiers and snowboarders of all skills levels. Four Lakes is constantly rearranging and adding new features out to the terrain park. Four Lakes started 51 years ago and has been providing winter fun ever since! They offer the opportunity for any group to come enjoy the slopes. Birthday parties, YMCA, park district, corporate outing, family reunion, scout groups, or just a handful of your friends are all welcome to pre-register and receive the best group pricing available for a complete day of entertainment.

Kid Friendliness: Four Lakes has 5 terrain parks for the beginner skier and for kiddos of all ages! Four Lakes has extensive ski lessons for kids starting age 5 and up. In addition to ski lessons, they offer a ski racing program for kids age 7 and up.
Distance from Chicago: 26 Miles West of Chicago


Grand Geneva Ski Resort
7036 Grand Geneva Way 
Lake Geneva, WI 53147

What: Tucked within historic Lake Geneva, Grand Geneva Resort and Spa is one of only five AAA Four-Diamond resorts in Wisconsin. The Grand Geneva Resort is a full service resort offering skiing, golf, water park, outdoor activities, lodging and dining. The Grand Geneva Ski Park is situated on 30 acres with 18 runs.  Includes three chairlifts and two wonder carpets. 211 foot vertical. 

Kid Friendliness: Family Ski package for the first time skier is offered as well as lessons for age 3 and up, both private and group lessons are available. Tired of skiing, check out their ice skating and sledding.  Top it off with a dip in their indoor pool or indoor water park. Other kid activities include arcade, cinema, activity center and food court/dining.

Lodging: It is a premier hotel resort with 355 guest rooms, three dining options, 62,000 square feet of event space and high-tech amenities.

Distance from Chicago: 76 miles northwest of Chicago.

Chestnut Mountain Resort
8700 W Chestnut Mountain Rd.
Galena, IL 61036

What: High above the Mississippi, tucked nicely in the hills near historic Galena, Chestnut Mountain is a an Illinois resort that offers nineteen trails & a 7 acre terrain park The Farside featuring over 25 rails & features. Chestnut spans over 220 rolling acres with a total vertical drop of 475 feet.

Kid Friendliness: Chestnut offers a handful of children’s programs and lessons for ages 4 and up. In addition, there is drop off child care in the Powder Playcare Room when the adults want to hit the slopes. If you stay at the onsite lodge, you will have access to its indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool and electronic game room.

Lodging: Chestnut Mountain offers a year-round Galena lodging experience for family vacations. Their full-service, 100 room slopeside lodge is just steps away from the Village Ski Center, and vistas no matter which room you choose. The lodge is also home to the Alpine and Steinhaus restaurants - as well as lively entertainment and an electronic game room, pool, sauna, whirlpool and more.

Distance from Chicago: 163 miles northwest of Chicago (3 hour drive from downtown Chicago)

Christmas Mountain at Wisconsin Dells
S944 Christmas Mountain Road
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

What: Christmas Mountain Village is one of Wisconsin Dells' premier golf and ski resort. Skiers can take advantage of 16 downhill runs and a wide variety of trails. Swoosh down slopes suitable for beginners as well as black diamond slopes perfect for those seeking the ultimate winter thrill. For breathtaking views of Wisconsin’s landscape, enjoy an energetic afternoon of cross-country skiing. The twenty-seven hole golf course winds through the middle of the resort offering great views and recreation during the summer season.

Kid Friendliness: Four beginner level slopes available.  Also, group lessons for kids age 7 and up. For kids under age 6, private lessons are available.  For a full day of fun, check out their Kids Camp at the CMV Kids Zone. The CMV kids zone is a separate area away from the hustle and bustle of the regular ski hill. Highly trained instructors will help your child learn at his/her pace and experience the thrill of sliding on their skis in a pressure-free environment. Kids Camp includes lesson, ticket, rental and lunch.

Additional indoor fun includes indoor pool with slide/children's play feature and video game arcade.

Lodging: Onsite lodging with spacious accommodations, choose from one and two bedroom villas to grand three bedroom townhouses. Rustic log cabins and timbers spaced throughout this expansive resort, give vacationers their own private spot in the woods. 

Distance from Chicago: 194 miles from downtown Chicago (3 ½ hour drive)

Crystal Mountain
12500 Crystal Mountain Dr. 
Thompsonville, MI 49683

What: Located in the heart of Benzie County in Michigan, Crystal Mountain is a four-season family resort featuring many amenities – 36 holes of championship golf, 58 downhill slopes, 30km of cross-country trails, the award-winning Crystal Spa, the Michigan Legacy Art Park, and IACC-approved conference facilities. 

Whether you’re an avid skier, seasoned snowboarder, or simply a snow enthusiast, Crystal Mountain has plenty of pristine terrain on which to offer an unforgettable Michigan winter experience. Ski and ride their 58 downhill slopes. Gracefully glide across 30 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails. Snowshoe over 80 acres of wooded valleys while capturing breathtaking overlooks around every bend. Vertical drop: 375 feet.

Kid Friendliness: There are 16 beginners trails. Kids ski and snowboard lessons starting at age 3. You don’t have to be flying down the mountain to fall head-over-heels for the winter season. Crystal Mountain has plenty of activities outside of skiing and boarding such as snowshoeing, ice-skating, and hiking. Interested in something more relaxing, try the spa service or a horse-drawn surrey ride. Kids 6 and under eat breakfast for free if you at their lodge.

Lodging: The property at Crystal Mountain boasts over 250 hotel rooms, suites, condos, townhomes and resort residences, all nestled against the backdrop of beautiful northern Michigan. Interested in bringing a furry friend during your stay? Pets are allowed in select units. In addition to lodging, they have 2 kid friendly restaurants.

Distance from Chicago: 194 miles from downtown Chicago (3 ½ hour drive)

Cascade Mountain
W10441 Cascade Mountain Road
Portage, WI 53901

What: Cascade Mountain is a family ski and snowboard destination located in Portage WI, near Wisconsin Dells. Activities include skiing, snow tubing and lessons. Take advantage of its near proximity to Wisconsin Dells and make a weekend out of it by adding water park activities to your activity list.

Kid Friendliness: Snow tubing is a fun, kid activity.  Kids can link their tubes to an adult tube. Cascade Kids' Learning Program is for ages 4 – 10. Safety, fun, proper technique, and the basics of skiing or snowboarding is taught in the Cascade Kids program. Package includes day/night ticket, 3 hours of skiing/snowboarding instruction, helmet rental, and a snack. Reservations strongly recommended.

Lodging: Cascade Mountain is located near Wisconsin Dells. That means you have lots of choices when it comes to lodging and activities. Cascade Mountain offers lodging and lift packages. Choose from a selection of hotels, condos and even indoor waterpark resorts. When making your reservation be sure to request the Cascade Mountain package. Check website for their nearby hotel list.

Distance from Chicago: 194 miles from downtown Chicago (3 ½ hour drive)

Devil’s Head Resort
S6330 Bluff Rd.
Merrimac, WI 53561

What: Devil’s Head Resort is a full service resort offering skiing, golf, mountain biking, outdoor pool, lodging and dining options. Through the years, extensive improvements have been made: six additional chairlifts, numerous runs, a conference center, an additional 18-hole golf course, another 138 hotel rooms, more suites and condos.

Kid Friendliness: Kids ski lessons for ages 4 and up are offered throughout the day.  As well as a daycare facility to give adults some time for skiing.  Kids Night Out is offered every Saturday night during Peak Season. This popular kids program is for age potty trained to 12 years of age.  Parents can have a relaxing evening knowing their child is in a program full of activities including games, crafts, pizza dinner, movies and a guaranteed good time.

Lodging: Devils Head has onsite lodging. Glacier Ridge Condos are fully-furnished 3 story condominiums with 3 bedrooms, four bathrooms and sleeps 8 to 10 people comfortably. The Lodge also offers standard rooms with double beds, king beds and suites.

Distance from Chicago: 184 miles from downtown Chicago (3 ½ hour drive)


Boyne Mountain Resort
1 Boyne Mountain Road
Boyne Falls, MI 49713

What: A Boyne Mountain vacation is really a one stop shop! A trip to Boyne Mountain is filled with winter fun, excellent lodging, spa services, indoor water park, salon, fitness center as well as 15 dining options right on the resort itself! Skiers and riders of all abilities will find terrain to suit their taste, from sweet corduroy groomers and gnarly bumps, to technical terrain park elements. And if you'd like to refine your skills, SnowSports Academy is ready to provide the instruction you need.

For days where skiing and riding aren't on the agenda, the outdoor activity options are nearly endless. Tubing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, horseback riding - even outdoor swimming in one of the many heated pools and hot tubs.

Take a look at their website for their vast list of summer activities.

Kid Friendliness: Daily kids skiing and snowboard lessons are offered as well as ski clinics. Need some time away from the snow, take the kids to their indoor water park. At 88,000 square feet, it is Michigan’s largest indoor water park. 

Lodging: At Boyne Mountain, the lodging options are extensive with 9 different lodges/hotels. From rustic yet comfortable mountain cabins to a luxury Austrian themed hotel, all designed to provide the perfect experience for each and every taste. There is something here for everyone!

Distance from Chicago: 347 miles from downtown Chicago (Almost 6 hour drive)

Granite Peak Ski Resort
3605 N. Mountain Road
Wausau, WI 54402

What: With a mixture of family-friendly beginner runs and epic terrain park action, Granite Peak terrain appeals to all levels. Granite Peak terrain offers acres of wide-open beginner runs, mile-long intermediate cruising runs, three mogul runs, five terrain parks with dozens of hits, jumps, rails and other terrain features. Super-steep expert chutes and tree skiing glades.

Base Village: Granite Peak's base village has been transformed into a comprehensive ski area community with an array of services for the entire family. Feed the kids, relax in the lounge, rent a snowboard or sign up for lessons. Over a decade of improvements have transformed this area into a comprehensive ski village with ample parking, more ticketing windows, outdoor decks and patios.

Kid Friendliness: With one of the largest beginner areas in the Midwest, Granite Peak has four lifts devoted to new skiers. They offer a ski school at the Alpine Learning Center where certified instructors take care with your little ones to help foster a lifelong love of skiing or boarding. Granite Peak is made for families with spacious, gentle slopes for beginners and a variety of long cruisers for intermediates. The Wausau area is also full of great family-friendly restaurants near the base of Granite Peak. From pizza to Mexican fare and everything in between, your gang is sure to find a favorite place. 

Lodging: The Granite Peak ski town is located at the base of the mountain, a genuine city that offers a bounty of lodging, dining, shopping and entertainment options. There are hotels with pools and waterparks, day spas and a shopping center with specialty shops in Downtown Wausau's River District and Historic Washington Square.

Distance from Chicago: 281 miles from downtown Chicago (5 hour drive from downtown Chicago).

Photo Credit: Boyne Mountain Resort



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