White Birch Lodge
White Birch Lodge was started by Cliff and Ruby Conrad in 1958.
The Conrads, hailing from Maumee, Ohio, had the vision of a place where familes could come to enjoy "up North" summer vacations. Elk Lake's crystal clear blue water provided the setting, and with help from friends and young staff, they began to offer an all-inclusive, "american plan" style of vacation where the staff took care of all the work, giving parents freedom to relax and enjoy.
The lush lakefront property where the resort lies had been operated off and on as a hotel since the early 1900s. The main lodge was constructed in the late 1800s and remains the heart and soul of WBL today. Waterskiing and sailing became popular pasttimes on the lake, while cooks prepared three meals each day in the lakefront dining hall. The active vacationer enjoyed all the available sports activities on and off the water, while the quiet serenity of the area brought relaxation.
Countless friendships developed between guests and staff alike and continue to reunite years later.
White Birch Lodge : A Nothern Michigan Tradition
The Conrads' passion for fun and service lives on today. Still family-owned and operated by Cliff and Ruby's children and grandchildren, the resort has evolved with the same all-inclusive program at its center.
Accommodations have grown to include everything from rustic cabins to luxurious condominiums, all clustered around Elk Lake's sandy, birch-lined shores.
The watersports program has grown into one of the most extensive in the nation! Four MasterCraft ski and wakeboard boats, along with an experienced waterfront crew, will provide the ultimate in waterfront fun whether on skis, a wakeboard, or bouncing around on a tube or the "Big Banana" towable. Beginners learn quickly with assistance and coaching by staff, and advanced/intermediate riders accel with the help of professional boat drivers. Learning to waterski or wakeboard builds confidence for young kids as the whole dock cheers on their efforts. A fleet of sailboats, small and large, along with instruction from our resident captain, will help you ride the warm breezes off Grand Traverse Bay.
Kayaks and canoes provide a quiet paddle, with rowboats to hook into some great fishing with our guide. Countless beach and water toys will entertain the kids for hours on end, while seniors may enjoy pontoon boat cruises or a dip in the refreshing water. You won't find another waterfront program with the variety and level of service offered by WBL!
Today's guests include many families of those present when the resort began. Third and fourth generations still return with family to relive childhood memories and create new ones with their own children.
Many extended family groups come together to utilize the lodge's perfect setting for family reunions. Families and friends enjoy catching up on the ski dock, beach, or around the campfire underneath a vast array of Northern Michigan stars.
Our unique group of college students on staff, most of whom grew up as guests, continue to provide guests with the best of service, interaction with kids, and fun in and around the water. Evening activities bring everyone together for sports night, the square dance, and the locally reknowned watersports show put on by the staff each thursday.
Shaded lakefront decks provide quiet spots for reading or getting some work done on laptops with available wireless internet. Parents love seeing their kids drop their video games and enjoy the outdoors all day with lifelong friends they've made during their time at the lodge.
Endless activities including basketball, tennis, soccer, shuffleboard, ping pong, kayaking, nearby golf and shopping in downtown Elk Rapids, and more, are sure to entertain every personality.
And for those who like to venture off the property and explore, the Grand Traverse Region offers exceptional beauty including the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas, and the Antrim Chain of Lakes. Miles of white sand beaches along lake Michigan, rolling forests, orchards, and vineyards abound. Close to eclectic downtown Traverse City and many quaint Northern Michigan towns.
We hope you will consider joining us for your family's next vacation and become part of the White Birch tradition!
We know you will love it!