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12 - 17 of 46 reviews
Reviewed August 19, 2014

We visited WBL for the first time this year. I had experienced resort-style vacations with my family growing up. These types of vacations were always our favorite, but I didn't think places like this existed anymore. While searching the internet to see if I could find something similar, WBL kept popping up, and always had stellar reviews. So my family of 5 decided to try it out. (We have 3 boys ages 11, 9, and 7.) Needless to say, we fell in love with the place. It is just like the old school family resorts of the past, but WBL is situated on the most beautiful spot on the most beautiful Elk Lake! The water is crystal clear, and so BLUE. My boys learned how to ski and wake board. They have tons of fun stuff to do on the beach...stand up paddle board, sail (and lessons!), kayak, or just play on the rafts. My kids all met friends their ages, and really had a great time. We all thought the food was good. Not 5 star, but better than what we expected! Always lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and the best for the kids was dessert with lunch and dinner. Yay! Our family stayed in one of the condos. It was plenty large enough for our family and had laundry in the unit. The condos are the most expensive of all the units, and was really a splurge for us. I would prefer to stay in one of the less expensive units, but not sure how we would manage without a dryer. I wish that WBL would have a small laundry room with a few coin operated machines. I think the guests would greatly appreciate that. Anyway, the best part of the whole trip was undoubtedly the service. The Conrad Family is so welcoming, and really go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable and fun. I really have to say, that without a doubt what made this trip as memorable as it was - was the group of college age staffers that are the backbone of WBL. I don't know where they find these kids, but they are the happiest, hardest working kids I have met in a long time. Each week their jobs rotate from kitchen staff, wait staff, and water sports, etc. It is obvious how much they love their summer jobs. While it would certainly be great spending the summer at such a beautiful place in Northern Michigan - the job comes with a lot of hard work. Despite that, everyone of them always had a smile on their face, and literally jumped at the chance to help you. This group of staffers were such good role models for all the kids staying at the lodge. Natalie, our server was super cheerful, and would make it a point to talk to all the kids at our table. She was always so excited to hear of all the progress our boys were making skiing and wake boarding. She would offer them tips as well, as she was an expert skier herself! (Top of the pyramid in the ski show) Speaking of the ski show, check it out on WBL facebook page. The video really does a great job capturing the magic of WBL while also showcasing the very awesome and entertaining ski show. My boys were in awe of Mike Conrad's ski skills! Can't say enough great things about White Birch. We had the best vacation! Of course the kids want to go back again and again. Thank you WBL for a great week!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Service
5  Thank cindyloo70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 17, 2014

We traveled to WBL with our two elementary school aged kids. The kids immediately made lots of friends and had a fantastic time. They tried water skiing for the first time, went tubing, kayaking and played lots of soccer and basketball. The college kids who work there were very friendly, accommodating and excellent with the kids. The beach area is great and the lake is crystal clear and beautiful. My husband and I enjoyed kayaking, paddle boarding and playing with the kids in the water. Meals are served at a designated time (a bell rings at meal time) and are served family style. Each family is assigned to sit at a designated table in the indoor dining hall along with about 18-20 other people at the table. A few meals were served outdoors and we much preferred eating outside. Many reviewers have mentioned that the food is good. My husband and I did not particularly care for the food. The chicken breasts seemed like they were frozen and processed patties. There was a lot of fried food too (fried chicken, chicken nuggets). However, there was a salad bar at dinner time and oatmeal each morning for breakfast. But for the price of the place and the fact that I like to eat well on vacation, I was disappointed with the food. Our room was adequate, but a bit small and stuffy. There was no air conditioning. Most nights this was not a problem, but a few nights were warm and the room got stuffy, so my husband and I did not sleep well those nights. I think other rooms at the lodge might not have this problem though. We booked last minute, and only had one room option. The lodge does not have a bar and does not serve alcohol. We went to the grocery store up the street and brought wine to dinner a few nights. Overall, I would say this is a great place to go if you are looking for a family summer camp type of experience. The staff is great, the grounds and lake are pretty and there are lots of planned family activities (sports night, square dancing). Like summer camp though, the food is not great and you will be on the lodge's schedule (not your own).

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank nelsonkenyon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 9, 2014

We are from the Chicagoland area and found this lodge on the internet. We decided to book after reading the positive reviews. We were very happy we did. Food was unexpectedly delicious (like grandma makes) with fresh options to compliment the meals (salad bar & fruit). The staff was fantastic with the kids (my kids are 7, 5 & 2). The staff always took the time to listen to my children and seemed to really enjoy their interactions. When packing, do note there is an adult dinner one night out of the week. Pack a nicer outfit (nothing formal, just one step up from shorts and a tank top). My 2 year old didn't make the cut-off for the day kids program, but they did take her during the parent's only dinner (they assigned one counselor to my daughter).
The main reason we booked this trip was for the kid's program and kid friendly activities all week long. The activities are endless! There is the kids program in the morning (weekdays only) 10-noon, for older kids there is water skiing, in the afternoon there is tubing, banana raft rides and water skiing. In the evening, there is a bonfire every night and three times a week a special activity for the kiddos. I HIGHLY recommend this place. We won't be going every year, but we will definitely be returning.

Room Tip: If you do not need a kitchen, forgo the kitchen option. There are very quaint cottages with screened in porches, which I envied all vacation long. Opt for these if possible!
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Susan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 7, 2014

This was our first trip to White Birch Lodge and we had a great time! We are a family of three generations ranging in age from 2-87 years old and there was something for everyone. The property is absolutely beautiful and the people could not be friendlier, both staff and other guests. It says a lot that many of the quests we met had been going to WBL for many, many years, some families several decades. Meals are served family style and the food is simple and not always the healthiest choice, but tasty just the same. We have several in our group who have food allergies and at each meal our waitress greeted us with list of what we could eat and what to avoid depending on the allergy. They even had special substitutions prepared when the entree was a problematic food. There is a wide range of accommodations, some very simple and rustic right up to beautiful new condos, so do your research if you are fussy about that sort of thing. This is a family-owned property and you can see in every way that they take great pride in providing a fun, relaxing vacation for their guests; and to ensure that, the staff is trained to provide good, old-fashioned customer service. We are already talking about our next vacation at WBL.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank peglegdebs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 25, 2014

When we made our first reservation at WBL in 1970, we asked the owner, Cliff Conrad,
what we should bring. His reply was "all you need to bring is your swimming suits". We found that answer to be right on target except we did bring our tennis raquets. Everything else needed
for the enjoyment of the purest bluest lake in the country was supplied. Cliff's grandson,Mike, now runs the place but Cliff's answer still applies.

Over the ensuing years we have had as many as 50 of our family enjoying our annual weekly
reunion at WBL. The place is truly unique in that it supplies an all-in vacation in a family oriented
enviroment. WBL is a mother's paradise because there are no meals to prepare and morning and afternoon programs are provided for small children. The equipment and activities provided allow all members of the family to do their thing, or things. The best testimony I can give is that in all the times we have vacationed at WBL my wife and I have never left the place for one day.

I am not aware of any other place that offers a better venue to enjoy and build a wonderful family experience. It is almost so unique that you have to try it to fully appreciate it.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
1  Thank THOMAS K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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