Discover Families Like Yours Having a Magical Vacation at White Birch Lodge

“On the way up this year, my 12 year old said ‘Dad – We aren’t really going on a vacation; we’re kind of just going home.’ She is right!”

Perfect vacation for all!

Do you ever get jealous of your kids going away to camp and wish there was a place for YOU to go do fun things!? Do you ever get home from your family vacation and need a vacation from lugging your kids’ stuff around? Well, White Birch Lodge is a little like camp and a LOT like a relaxing vacation! WBL is the perfect family destination! Our kids LOVE it so much that they would choose a week at WBL over Disney or a week at the ocean or a week pretty much ANYWHERE else. We use this week as a family reunion (4 families) where everyone has their own cabin or accommodation, but we meet for meals together in the dining hall and can go off on our own or see each other as much as we like.

All inclusive means more than your 3 square meals a day (which a professional cook provides so you don’t have to shop, cook, or clean!). Also included are water sports (ski, tube, wakeboard, paddle board, kayak, sail boats), sports (tennis courts, bocce courts, a basketball court, a soccer field, beach volleyball), and a rec hall for indoor table tennis and foosball. The staff is comprised of college students who do your dishes, drive your ski boat, entertain you with a ski show, provide a nightly bonfire for s’mores, and make your week as easy on YOU as possible.

 –  Mary K. 
Yarrawonga, Australia

Take a chance, you will not regret it!

My wife and I and our two 7 year olds had to decide between Disney, Myrtle Beach, the Bahamas, and a little known all inclusive resort in Northern Michigan. Based solely on Trip Advisor reviews we chose White Birch Lodge for something completely different. Let me assure you, it was. The ladies that handle reservations were very friendly and patient during booking ( I had a ton of questions). Many current staff members are college young men and women that have been guests at the lodge since they were children. They were the friendliest, most positive, kid loving group that you can imagine. Every staff member truly “gets it”. White Birch Lodge is the exact opposite of a commercialized crowded vacation destination. Families truly come together at this resort and many long term friendships are made. My kids loved tubing, shuffle board, water skiing, camp fires, playing ghost in the grave yard, etc, etc. My wife and are we’re very satisfied with the quality of all of the meals. Accommodations were perfect for the surroundings (keep in mind this is a rustic, old school type family vacation, not the Ritz). We asked the kids before we left where they want to go on vacation next year and without hesitation they said “White Birch Lodge”. Many families, including us, have coordinated their schedules so we can get back together next year same time, same place. That says a lot considering we didn’t know one person there just 8 days ago. Take a chance, you will not regret it!!!

 –  Mark P. 
Novelty, Ohio

Take a chance, you will not regret it!

My wife and I and our two 7 year olds had to decide between Disney, Myrtle Beach, the Bahamas, and a little known all inclusive resort in Northern Michigan. Based solely on Trip Advisor reviews we chose White Birch Lodge for something completely different. Let me assure you, it was. The ladies that handle reservations were very friendly and patient during booking ( I had a ton of questions). Many current staff members are college young men and women that have been guests at the lodge since they were children. They were the friendliest, most positive, kid loving group that you can imagine. Every staff member truly “gets it”. White Birch Lodge is the exact opposite of a commercialized crowded vacation destination. Families truly come together at this resort and many long term friendships are made. My kids loved tubing, shuffle board, water skiing, camp fires, playing ghost in the grave yard, etc, etc. My wife and are we’re very satisfied with the quality of all of the meals. Accommodations were perfect for the surroundings (keep in mind this is a rustic, old school type family vacation, not the Ritz). We asked the kids before we left where they want to go on vacation next year and without hesitation they said “White Birch Lodge”. Many families, including us, have coordinated their schedules so we can get back together next year same time, same place. That says a lot considering we didn’t know one person there just 8 days ago. Take a chance, you will not regret it!!!

 –  Mark P. 
Novelty, Ohio

A True Vacation

This was our first year at White Birch Lodge. We were looking for an all inclusive vacation in the states. We have a 9 year old son and liked the idea that they have a kids camp and many activities to keep him occupied so that my husband and I could have relaxation time. Our experience was amazing. When you show up, all you do is unpack your clothes and you are on instant vacation. You don’t have to think about where you are going to eat or what your are going to do. The amenities were fantastic. They had paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, skiing, tubing, swimming, sunbathing, sailing, bike riding, sports, yoga, golf nearby and I believe other things I am forgetting. The location is absolutely beautiful. The staff are so friendly and helpful. If you want to hire a babysitter, the college kids that work there are available for hire. All of your meals (food is great) and entertainment are provided. It was all very clean and the beach and lake are so pristine. Don’t pass up a chance to go to White Birch Lodge, you will not regret it.

 –  Marie H. 

Love the Lodge

White Birch Lodge is the perfect place for our family vacation. Elk Lake is beautiful, the accommodations are very comfortable, the food is great, water sports so much fun, and both the staff & other families are very friendly. What a wonderful place to spend a week, we can’t wait to return!

 –  hjhglobal 
Detroit, Michigan

Love the Lodge

White Birch Lodge is the perfect place for our family vacation. Elk Lake is beautiful, the accommodations are very comfortable, the food is great, water sports so much fun, and both the staff & other families are very friendly. What a wonderful place to spend a week, we can’t wait to return!

 –  hjhglobal 
Detroit, Michigan

Haimish: Just What our Family Needed

When I Googled “Top 10 Family Lake Vacations”, I was debating between Minnesota and Michigan (we’ve never visited or vacationed in either state). I was reminiscing about a roadtrip to visit family in Iowa and Chicago when I was between my 10yo daughter and 7yo son’s ages and wanted to recreate the great American Heartland roadtrip for my kids. Plus, my husband is English and the closest he’s ever been to a good, old-fashioned roadtrip was watching National Lampoon’s Vacation (the original) as a kid. I saw the review for WBL on Trip Advisor that said it was like vacationing on the set of Dirty Dancing (throwback to the 1950s, family-style dining, screened in porches, daytime water sports, evening activities), and I knew I wanted to try it. This was going to be great for all of us.

After my first trip there, I am hooked and already made reservations to bring back three generations of my family next year. Plenty of other resorts have water activities on turquoise lakes, delicious food, and kids programs with fancier accommodation. We’re coming back to WBL because it is on the right side of the Haimish Line.

The Haimish Line is a fantastic piece David Brooks from the NY Times wrote in his column about his families’ recent vacation, depicting the various places they had visited that summer. His family found that they connected more with other guests and had more fun at the simpler camps than the did at the more private luxury camps: “I know only one word to describe what the simpler camps had and the more luxurious camps lacked: haimish. It’s a Yiddish word that suggests warmth, domesticity and unpretentious conviviality.” Brooks went on to describe how his family began avoiding camps that crossed the invisible “Haimish Line” into more posh, stuffy camps that they could afford so they would have more fun at the unpretentious, convivial camps. WBL is the most haimish resort where I have ever spent a week.

Maybe it because WBL is a 3-generation family-owned business since 1958. Maybe it is because the owners have always made their profession out of teaching or instructing sports and a number of their loyal returning guests also seem to have education in common. Maybe it is because the 20-something college kids that run around and staff your visit are without exception the most polite, well-trained, friendly, welcoming staff I have encountered. It’s the Midwest turned up to Eleven.

Thank you Conrad Family and WBL Staff. You gave this West Coast family everything I knew we needed, but also something I didn’t know we needed in this age of connected devices and high-tech: good old-fashioned, face-to-face connection with wonderful people.

“When we’re shopping for a vacation we’re primarily thinking about Where. The travel companies offer brochures showing private beaches and phenomenal sights. But when you come back from vacation, you primarily treasure the memories of Who — the people you met from faraway places, and the lives you came in contact with.”

 –  Delyn S.

Above and Beyond in Every Way

This is our second summer at WBL and once again, we’ve had an amazing vacation! This may seem surprising, because our first full day here included the worst storm this area has seen in recorded history. We were without electricity until Tuesday evening, but that didn’t stop the Conrad family and WBL staff from providing outstanding service. They got a generator in and never a meal was missed. By Monday evening most of the downed trees and all the debris was cleaned up. Every staff member greated guests with a smile and asked if there was anything he or she could do. Activities went on and everyone had a great time.

This is a beautiful place. The lake is amazing. It is an ideal place to relax and put aside the hustle and bustle of the world. The guests are friendly and our children enjoy meeting other children, the lake and all the activities.

I have food allergies and it is difficult to eat when I am away from home. Here, everyone on staff is very aware of the what is in the food. If they don’t know, they are quick to find out. Special food has been made so that I can eat. It is wonderful to be able to eat away from home and not do the cooking.

 –  4Reds 
Ada, Michigan

Above and Beyond in Every Way

This is our second summer at WBL and once again, we’ve had an amazing vacation! This may seem surprising, because our first full day here included the worst storm this area has seen in recorded history. We were without electricity until Tuesday evening, but that didn’t stop the Conrad family and WBL staff from providing outstanding service. They got a generator in and never a meal was missed. By Monday evening most of the downed trees and all the debris was cleaned up. Every staff member greated guests with a smile and asked if there was anything he or she could do. Activities went on and everyone had a great time.

This is a beautiful place. The lake is amazing. It is an ideal place to relax and put aside the hustle and bustle of the world. The guests are friendly and our children enjoy meeting other children, the lake and all the activities.

I have food allergies and it is difficult to eat when I am away from home. Here, everyone on staff is very aware of the what is in the food. If they don’t know, they are quick to find out. Special food has been made so that I can eat. It is wonderful to be able to eat away from home and not do the cooking.

 –  4Reds 
Ada, Michigan

The Best Family Vacation You Will Ever Take

White Birch Lodge (WBL) is an amazing family vacation experience, like no other! We take other vacations (in addition to our annual trip to WBL) and we own our own lake house…No other place compares to being at WBL.

Although the accommodations are very rustic (think of the movie “Dirty Dancing”), they actually add to the charm. You don’t go to WBL to feel fancy…YOU GO TO RELAX! There are no TVs in the rooms and the kids forget that they own electronics (so do the adults). Instead, the kids are beyond excited to go to the planned kids activities or to learn how to water ski/wakeboard. They try paddle boarding or kayaking while the adults are sitting on the beach reading, playing tennis or just taking a nap.

The staff is amazing and is made up of mostly college-aged kids who grew up vacationing at WBL. They know how magical the place was for them and work with great attention to make sure that everyone (young and old) has the same experience. The guests typically vacation the same week each year and since you can’t just try WBL once, they usually end up coming every year for generations.

The meals are all served family style and are served each day at 9:00, 1:00 and 6:00. Instead of haggling with the rest of the family about when we are going to eat, where we are going to go, how we are going to get there, what we are going to wear, etc. (like other vacations), we roll off the beach, find our flip flops and stroll up to our table. No hassle, no mess, nothing to think about!

We were talked into trying WBL (when our oldest child was just an infant) by a friend who grew up going there for their annual family vacation. We had NO INTENTION of our first trip to WBL to be anything other than a one time vacation to Northern Michigan…Fast forward 15 years and we haven’t missed a year. Our kids look forward to this vacation more than they do every other vacation and holliday combined (including Christmas and their birthday). Most kids have a countdown clock to Christmas; every year when we leave, there isn’t a dry eye in the car and our kids start the countdown clock to the next year @ WBL, with holidays coming and going in between.

I will always owe a debt of gratitude to the Conrad Family (who have become friends) for the memories that their resort has given us. They could sell their land for millions and walk away. Instead – the third generation of Conrads (Mike) is now running the resort and works incredibly hard to make a decent living so the rest of us can make the best family memories of our lives!

On the way up this year, my 12 year old said “Dad – We aren’t really going on a vacation; we’re kind of just going home.” She is right!

 –  davismp427
Westerville, Ohio

What a gem! The property is fantastic. It’s a throwback to the old summer time family resorts of the 50s. The family that runs it are some of the nicest and most gracious hosts I have ever met.

 –  Thomas Shelder

from Google

from Google

What a gem! The property is fantastic. It’s a throwback to the old summer time family resorts of the 50s. The family that runs it are some of the nicest and most gracious hosts I have ever met.

 –  Thomas Shelder

from Google

This is an amazing place with incredible staff that genuinely care about your experience here. I will definitely be back and will recommend White Birch Lodge to everyone I know looking for a great family vacation!

 –  Ryan Marion

Super cool atmosphere and a great location on Elk Lake! The young staff are incredibly kind, helpful and so courteous, it makes you feel like you’re either at a Disney Park or back in time on an episode of Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver!

The accommodations are clean, well-kept and comfortable, and the food and community feeling is very special! A great place for a family reunion or a nice weeklong retreat to refresh and get closer to nature! I highly recommend White Birch Lodge !

 –  Chrissanne Long

from Google

from Google

Super cool atmosphere and a great location on Elk Lake! The young staff are incredibly kind, helpful and so courteous, it makes you feel like you’re either at a Disney Park or back in time on an episode of Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver!

The accommodations are clean, well-kept and comfortable, and the food and community feeling is very special! A great place for a family reunion or a nice weeklong retreat to refresh and get closer to nature! I highly recommend White Birch Lodge !

 –  Chrissanne Long