by Lisa Meyers McClintick
In an area known for vintage motels and modern mega-resorts jockeying for big wows with themes and thrill rides, Baker’s Sunset Bay offers a rarity: a resort on a real beach where you can dig toes into the sand and splash into Lake Delton.
On summer days, families gather around the outdoor pool with its beach and lake view or paddle onto Lake Delton in kayaks and rowboats. Some cook out on resort grills and picnic tables or have an easy meal on the balconies and patios before gravitating to the campfire pit at night. Campfire Kevin, who has led singing on select evenings for 20 years, gets kids and parents to chime in as he strums the guitar, the flames crackle and marshmallows roast.
Sunset Bay has been bordering the lake for close to half a century. Barry and Jo Baker bought it in 1980, and their daughter, Dawn, is now at the helm and continuing the family’s mission to keep the resort fresh. Improvements include condo units, added in 2011 and ideal for larger families (they sleep up to 12 when two are adjoined) and an indoor pool that’s now a saline system, requiring fewer chemicals.
The resort includes five buildings with a total of 82 units, 21 of which are available year-round and take advantage of lake views that change with each season. Summer clearly rules as the favorite time to visit, but spring guests can get a jump on scenic area hikes, fishing and paddling, while fall visitors can soak up colors and head to the indoor pool during chilly days. Morning mist lifts off the lake as weather cools and winter eventually arrives.
Guests can take advantage of weatherproof fun with Kalahari indoor amusement park passes that are included with each stay. The Kalahari park blends the thrill of a ropes course, go-karts and laser tag with the bling of an arcade (for additional fees).
Our Editor Loves
- Beachfront on Lake Delton
- Laid-back, peaceful location
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Horse Back Riding
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Guests can request a rollaway bed or a Pack 'n Play for $15 per night.
The resort offers several room configurations throughout five buildings. If you crave being close to the beach, ask about lakefront units in the main building, which also houses the office and includes a walk-out patio level and two floors with balconies.
Double Queen Deluxe
This room sleeps four guests with two queen beds, a microwave and a refrigerator.
One-Bedroom Lakeside Suite
This unit sleeps eight with a private two-queen bedroom, a main room with one queen and a pullout couch, microwave, fridge and two TVs.
Double Queen Mini Suite
This suite sleeps four with two queen beds, a kitchenette with two-burner range, microwave and full-size fridge.
Lakefront rooms also include Jacuzzi Suites and King Mini Suites, best for couples.
This eight-unit building with one- and two-bedroom suites sits nearest the bonfire pit and overlooks the outdoor pool. Rooms include fully equipped kitchens (two-burner stoves, microwave and refrigerator), two TVs and pullout couches. Two-bedroom suites have one room with a king and one with a queen. One-bedroom suites have two queen beds.
Suites Along Canyon Road
This eight-unit building near Canyon Road sits by one of the resort's two picnic areas and has its own kiddie pool and play area that's surrounded by a fence, making it a good choice for toddlers and preschoolers. They sleep six to eight when pullout couches are used. One-bedroom suites include a bedroom with two queens, while two-bedroom suites include one room with a queen and one with a king bed and twin bunk beds.
The twelve-unit, year-round condominium building along Canyon Road includes two configurations, each sleeping six people with the ability to adjoin and sleep a total of 12.
The Double Queen sleeps six with two queen beds and a privacy wall separating them from a sitting area, second flat-screen TV, a pullout sofa, microwave and mini-fridge.
Two-Bedroom Family Suites
Two-Bedroom Family Suites have a bedroom with a queen bed and another with a king bed. They also have a living room with a pullout sofa and fireplace; three flat-screen TVs; two bathrooms; a full kitchen including a stove, oven and dishwasher; and private deck or balcony.
The two units in this duplex sleep six each. One unit has two bedrooms (one king, one with two doubles) and two baths. The other has two bedrooms, each with a queen and one bathroom. Both units have a pullout couch, deck, fireplace and fully equipped kitchen.
This stand-alone unit located between the two picnic areas sleeps up to 12 people with four bedrooms and two baths, two living areas, twin bunks, a fireplace and kitchenette. It can be easily divided for families traveling together and wanting a little privacy.
Sunset bay is a great family vacation place. Reasonable prices, great service and near all the water attractions. Near both nature areas and water attractions. Also plenty of family friendly restaurants.
This is an older property. We were here off-season, so it was pretty quiet. We stayed two nights, and found it very restful. The rooms are on the small side, but the grounds are nice and the lake view very nice. There is no chair in the room which would have made things a lot better. All in all, we found things clean and comfortable.
The biggest family gem here is the outdoor pool heated to 84 degrees and sweetly located by the beach and overlooking Lake Delton. The depth ranges from 3.5 to 5 feet, and there are deck chairs for parents who prefer lounging and enjoying the view. There is a separate splash pad and play area for toddlers away from the beach and closer to Canyon Road.
Younger kids can slip down a yellow duck slide into the pool while elementary-aged kids go for a dolphin slide that also shoots a constant spray of water across the pool. Water depth ranges from about 3 to 5 feet in the deeper end. Large windows make the most of the lake view and make the indoors feel more like the outdoors on days weather doesn't cooperate. A saline (versus chlorine) system, which is gentler on the skin, was added in 2013 and has been a popular change.
Sauna and Whirlpool
There's a whirlpool and sauna inside, both by the indoor pool and accessible from the office in the main building. Pool, whirlpool and sauna hours are generally the same as office hours: 8 a.m. to midnight Memorial Day through Labor Day, and 8 a.m. to 10 pm in the off-season.
Guests are welcome to borrow life jackets and kayaks for a paddle on the lake or to take out a rowboat. There's also a dock for fishing or dangling feet in the water, plenty of room for playing in the sand, starting a game of beach volleyball or playing badminton and Ping-Pong.
Families looking for more on-the-water action can head to Newport Park with a scenic setting, beach and picnic areas along the Wisconsin River. It's less than a mile away at the intersection of Canyon Road and County Road A. River's Edge Resort next to the park also has a restaurant and will rent pontoons, motorboats and tubes for river floats.
There are a few crane games and prize machines scattered in the main building, plus additional arcade games in the resort's pavilion. The pavilion also holds the Canyon Room that's a popular gathering place for family reunions.
Guests of Baker's Sunset Bay Resort receive complimentary tickets to Kalahari's Indoor Theme Park. Guests wanting to experience Kalahari's waterpark can get discounted admission through the resort, saving about $11 on regular admission. Waterpark-goers should pack a tote bag, flip-flops and beach towels.
There is no dining onsite, but most units have kitchenettes or a fridge and microwave. Ice also is available for guests who bring additional coolers. Picnic areas include grills, but you should bring your own charcoal and lighter fluid. Also bring roasting sticks for campfire marshmallows and fixings for S'mores.
It's less than 4 miles to reach downtown Wisconsin Dells for Zinke's Village Market, or 2.5 miles to a Wal-Mart Supercenter near the intersection of Interstate 94 and Wisconsin Highway 23.
River's Edge Pub and Grub
The closest dining is less than a mile away on County Road and along the Wisconsin River. River's Edge Pub offers a kids' menu and serves American standards, including eggs and pancakes for breakfast; burgers, sandwiches and salads for lunch; and entrees such as T-bones and mahi mahi for dinner entrees.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Guests receive passes for Kalahari's Indoor Amusement Park. Admission includes multi-level go-karts, a ropes course, mini-golf, a climbing wall, Ferris wheel and laser tag. In the off-season, you can find a variety of package deals for indoor waterparks and dining, as well.
There is a $5 per day resort fee.
Wi-Fi is available and free to guests.
Purchase ice cream treats and extras such as swim goggles, swim diapers, pool floats and sunscreen at the resort's lobby store.
Select units are pet-friendly with a limit of up to two pets at $10 per night.
Guests can check in at 3 p.m. Check out is at 10 a.m.
The Art of Smart Timing
Summer is high season for enjoying this resort's beach, outdoor pool and Lake Delton. If you are planning a last-minute vacation here, your best bet for finding openings is early-June and late August. Seasonal units close by late October and reopen in mid-April.
Families seeking a peaceful fall, winter or spring getaway may be able to find rooms at almost half the summer rates. Prices begin dropping by mid-September and last through mid-May. Off-season visits are best for moms and dads with an infant, younger kids who won't mind a smaller indoor pool or tweens and teens who like hanging out and watching movies or want to check out off-site activities such as tubing, skiing and indoor amusement parks.
You'll need to rent a car if you're flying in from other parts of the country. The closest airport is the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, which is about 48 miles or an hour away. Other options include flying into Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport, which is 125 miles or a two-hour drive away, or Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, which is a 180-mile or three-hour drive. For road-trippers, it's just over three hours and roughly 200 miles to reach the Dells from either Chicago or the Twin Cities. Take the Highway 23 exit to Canyon Road.
Guests can use County Road A to dodge much of the main traffic along Wisconsin Dells Parkway (Highway 12) and reach downtown. Bunker Drive is another option for dodging traffic and reaching Kalahari's Indoor Theme Park. Both destinations are less than 10 minutes away.
For Mom and Dad
If you have friends or family along who can watch the kids, Baker's Sunset Bay has a variety of packages with extras such as lift tickets for Cascade Mountain ski area, rolls of quarters and a shuttle to Ho-Chunk Casino and romance packages that can include Champagne, chocolates, movie tickets and dinner out at Sarento's Italian Restaurant. It's less than a mile to other fine dining restaurants, such as Field's at the Wilderness, as well as golf courses and theaters with plays, musicals and magic shows for longer dates.