Fall for a Lake Geneva Boat Tour

Fall a great time for a Lake Geneva boat tour

The Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s Steam Yacht Louise is one of eight Gage Marine Boats offering public and charter tours on Geneva Lake.

Lake Geneva Cruise Line

The Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s Steam Yacht Louise is one of eight Gage Marine Boats offering public and charter tours on Geneva Lake.

Bob and Millie McCormick have season-long passport tickets for the Lake Geneva Cruise Line, but they say autumn is their favorite time of year to take a tour on what they sometimes jokingly call “their” boats.

“We’re such regulars, it’s become kind of our inside joke,” Bob said. “And come fall, when there are fewer people on board, you get to choose wherever you want to sit. So it really does feel like they are our boats, but we’re happy to share the wonderful changing colors in the trees along the shore.”

Millie agreed and said while the foliage this year hasn’t been as vibrant as in years past, it’s still nice. She said they plan to go on a cruise every week until the tours end in November and would be interested in the themed holiday cruises that are new this year.

The couple, who are retired professionals originally from the northern Chicago suburbs, moved to Lake Geneva eight years ago and have gone on at least 15 cruises this year. They first visited the lake as children.

With their passports, which cost around $85 each, they can go on any nonmeal outing they want. They pay a small surcharge for the meal trips.

“But we like to go on the ice cream social trips,” Bob said. “So we figure we’ve eaten our ticket price in ice cream.”

Millie said one of her favorite waterborne fall outings includes a boat trip from the Riviera Docks in Lake Geneva to Williams Bay, and then doing the 7-mile hike back to the dock.

“They drop us off and we walk back through the autumn leaves by lots of houses along the shore and even the beautiful estates,” Bob said. “If you go the other way and walk to Williams Bay first, then you have to be sure to get there on time to make the return trip. We prefer to walk back and take our time. It’s a nice two-hour walk. Just be sure to dress for the weather.”

He said one of his favorite estates on Geneva Lake is the property known as the Glenworth Gardens. It is owned by philanthropist Richard Driehaus, who bought the Georgian mansion in the late 1990s. Its grounds were designed by the Olmstead brothers, who also did Central Park in New York City.

“And I always still get a kick out of hearing the story about Stone Manor, which was built 117 years ago and is still the largest home on the lake. It has four stories above ground and two below ground level.

“It has a fascinating history, with all the people who’ve owned it. It was a girls’ school at one point, a Christmas tree museum and was once bought at a tax sale for $75,000.

“Now it has five huge, multimillion-dollar condominiums in it. If those walls could talk, it would be amazing.”

Millie said she doesn’t have one special home or estate.

“I just like the variety and all the different styles that you can see, and now is really a good time to see them,” she said.

With fewer boats churning up the water on the lake, Bob said it’s also possible to see the below-water attractions. On some calm days, you can see fish swimming 20 to 30 feet below.

Jack Lothian, the Lake Geneva Cruise Line manager, said all of the company’s boat tours will be offered through the end of October. Come November, the schedule will be reduced.

Special holiday cruises on several of the larger boats will be offered until the end of the year.

“It’s something new that we are going to try,” Lothian said. “We’re going to do it on weekends and some weekdays. We’re looking to do our tours from the Riviera all the way through November and then in December, move the operation down to Pier 290 in Williams Bay — which is the Gage Marine headquarters.”

Out of that location, the company will offer shorter weekend tours in boats decorated with holiday themes. Because the estates are farther to the east on the lake, they will not be part of the tours.

“Still, it will be pretty neat to see the houses on the lake surrounded with snow, as opposed to the summer when everything is green,” he said.

More information: Prices for Lake Geneva Cruise Line tours start at $24 for adults. For more, or call (262) 248-6206.

For ideas on other things to see and do in the Lake Geneva area, see the visitors bureau website or call (800) 345-1020.

Other cruise lines around the state offering tours this weekend, and in some cases into November, include theHeidel House on Green Lake, Wisconsin Dells Season of the Witch boat tour, the Milwaukee River Cruise Line, the La Crosse Queen and the Mississippi Explorer.

The non-narrated Madeline Island Ferry Line will run until the ice becomes a hindrance. The Washington Island Ferry, also not narrated, runs year-round.

Getting there: Lake Geneva is about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee via I-43 and Highway 120.

Brian E. Clark is a Madison writer and photographer.

Lake Geneva Boat Tours

November/December Tours

We are extending our season!

We will have tours in November and December on weekends.

All tours in November will depart from the Riviera Docks in downtown Lake Geneva and make a stop at Pier 290 in Williams Bay.   November tours include the opportunity to disembark at Pier 290 at 12:15 pm, enjoy lunch at the only restaurant on the Geneva Lake shoreline, and take the second boat tour back to the Riviera Docks at 2:00 pm.

Pricing for November Tours:

Expanded Bay Tour:  $20.25 – Adults/$18.35 – Seniors/$14.60 – youth/$10.85 – children

Geneva Bay Tour: $18 – Adults/$16.10- Seniors/$13.10 – youth/$9.35 – children

(rates include 25% discount and are plus 5.5% sales tax)

In December all tours will depart from Pier 290/Gage Marina (click here for a map), where you can enjoy a drink and/or meal before your tour or after you return. There is ample parking on site.

Pricing for December Tours:

Full Lake Tour:  $25 – Adults/$20 – Seniors/$12 – Under 18.  (plus 5.5% sales tax)

Sundowner and Holiday Evening Cruise: $20 – Adults/$15 – Seniors/$10 – Under 18. (plus tax)

Don’t forget to present your tour ticket at Pier 290 for $5 off!

All passengers receive a coupon for 10% Off at The Shops At Pier 290!

Check the tour schedule for dates and times.

 Farm to Fork Dining Lake Geneva AreaThe Shops At Pier 290

Why take a tour after Halloween?  This time of year will give passengers a different view of the lake:

  • Leaves have begun to fall, opening the sight lines for many of the estates.
  • There is less boat traffic, allowing the wildlife to retake the lake.
  • The removal of piers and moored boats has begun, giving you a more natural view of the shoreline.
  • No trip to Lake Geneva is complete without a ride out on beautiful Geneva Lake.

*All tours subject to weather and minimum passenger requirements.  **Passengers boarding at Pier 290 need to make a reservation by 10:00 am on the day of the tour.


Top Lake Geneva Wedding Venues

Hi there! Welcome.

So, what’s happening? You’re engaged and planning a wedding in Lake Geneva WI? If you are reading this blog, you clearly have great taste and are on the right path to planning your wedding. icon smile Top Lake Geneva Wedding Venues Kudos.

Now to make the decision of where you want your Lake Geneva Wedding to take place. Lake Geneva is a destination of it’s own, and an amazing choice to say the least. Whether you want a big wedding…

Click HERE to continue to full Blog

Lake Geneva Recognized Nationally and Internationally

Lake Geneva and the Lake Geneva Cruise Line has been recognized statewide and nationally as a great place to get out on the water.  Read the paragraphs below or click on the link for the full story!


Thrill List

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Though the Midwest does party lakes as well as anyone, it’s not nearly as noted for its opulent lake towns. But this one, which sits on Geneva Lake, the second-deepest lake in Wisconsin, is home to some of the most impressive, intimidating mansions you’ll find on a midwestern lake not considered “Great.” And although the beautiful people of Hollywood (and tech whiz kids of Silicon Valley) haven’t quite discovered the American Lake Geneva, Hugh Hefner did think enough of it to put a Playboy Club there. It’s also home to the creators of The Young and the Restless and is the birthplace of the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, so there’s that.

Huffington Post

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Just north of the Illinois/Wisconsin border, this laid-back watering hole has become quite the Midwest getaway for slowed-down weekends of lakeside moseying through shops and finding a good patio at sunset to lazily sip on a beer. Personal boat rentals can cost you a few mackerels, so get your float on with a boat tour via the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Whatever you’re into–they’ve got a specialty boat tour for it: ice cream social, champagne brunch, jazz dinner. Step back on land (and back in time) at the Baker House, an 1885 mansion turned hotel, bar, and restaurant great for sipping a cocktail while overlooking the lake.

Leader Telegram

Lake Geneva Cruise Line, Lake Geneva: The fleet of modern to vintage boats takes groups of 2 to 225 for tours that can include meals and cocktails. Unusual summer offerings include the 10 a.m. mailboat tours, to watch hop on-off delivery to lakeshore properties; twice-daily trips to tour Black Point Estate, a state historic site; and dinner cruises with jazz music on Friday nights.

Cost: $24 to $64 ($12.50 to $48 for children), depending upon tour length and whether a meal and music are involved. Information:, 262-248-6206

Lake Geneva Named to Most Beautiful List


An iconic romantic getaway for Chicago city dwellers, Lake Geneva offers the very best of a Midwestern resort town for adults and kids alike.


Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.57.52 PM

FAM Tour in October of 2014 results in articles featuring the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Two publications in Louisiana featured the article below:

Click Below for Full Articles:

2014DEC-2015JAN 256 Magazine

2014DEC -2015JAN 008 Magazine

Tampa Bay Magazine

The Lake Geneva Cruise Line was featured in the January / February 2015 issue of Tampa Bay magazine.

Click Here for a PDF of the Article:

2015-0102-00 Tampa Bay Magazine

Lake Geneva offers outdoor escape 90 minutes from Chicago

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.31.04 PM

Lake Geneva Cruise Line was recently featured in Evansville Living! Here is an excerpt:

When the Great Chicago Fire raged furiously, killing 300 people in early October 1871, more than 100,000 residents were left homeless. Chicago residents found refuge 90 minutes north in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

The first recorded sighting of Lake Geneva, which is the second deepest lake in Wisconsin at 21 miles around, 3 miles wide, and 9 miles long, was in 1831. But the Chicago fire helped create a building boom as visitors, many who were wealthy industrialists, were drawn to the crystal clear water.

Read the Full Article Here

Chicago Style Weddings – Picking your perfect location

Lorelei Cleaned up

Chicago Style Weddings Magazine & Website recently talked with the Cruise Line’s own Clare Mulcahy.
They had this to say:

Thank you so much to Clare of Lake Geneva Cruise Line for her amazing advice on picking the perfect location for your wedding! Learn more about wedding and event cruises, water limos and other Lake Geneva Cuise Line services at

Full Article With Photos

NFL Player & Amazing Race Contestant Tie the Knot


Wedding at Lake Geneva Cruise Line

You may recognize the tuxedo clad groom, Green Bay Packer’s player Brett Goode and groomsman Aaron Rogers, but all eyes were on his Amazing Race bride, Monica Cayce. Planned in less than a month (you read right!) every detail from the cocktail cruise on the Grand Belle to the lush Frontier Flowers of Fontana, make the gallery a truly perfect place to be. Photo courtesy of Kristina Lorraine Photography.

Full Article With Photos.