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“"This is the best vacation EVER! When can we go back?"”

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Timber Bay Lodge and Houseboats
McHenry, IL
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“"This is the best vacation EVER! When can we go back?"”
Reviewed August 13, 2012

We stayed with our 2 daughters (8 & 9), my husband, and my parents for 7 days. Sunday night the owners host a get together with appetizers, wine, & beer. Then Mon - Fri our daughters paced until "Kids' Camp" started for hiking, crafts, singing, games, and even a cook out on an island in the lake from 9:30am - 12:00pm. Mon night they had a marshmellow roast on the beach. Tues & Thurs afternoon the owners offer tubing or water skiing. Tues night a volleyball tournament with the whole staff. Wed. am is a women's champagne-coffee roll cruise around the lake. Friday night was a cook out with chicken & pork, potatoes, salad, and brownies...ALL MADE THERE and fresh not frozen!

We rented a pontoon for the 6 of us and cruied the lake. Fishing was super slow and the pikes we did catch were all in the protected range (24" - 36"). However, we took two canoes (free from Timber Bay) across the portage to Whisper Lake and had a blast! We caught lots of fish there - sunnies, perch, S&L bass, and a large walleye snapped the line. (Note: no pikes in Whisper Lake)

We saw a family of Bald Eagles, family of loons, lots of deer, etc. Each cabin has a humming bird feeder and they are all well used!

My parents stayed in Cabin #3 (30 years ago this was Cabin #1). It is a 1 bedroom and is super clean and very comfortable.

The swimming beach is well maintained and has a slide, water trampoline, and diving platform. Need a little adventure? Grab a kayak or a canoe (free) and investigate the lake. Or walk over to the marina for a motor boat or pontoon ($)! You can even try out a houseboat!

Water not your thing? Grab a bike from the 20+ waiting for you (free) and hit the paved bike trail all the way into Babbitt and beyond! Or head to the game room for pool, foosball, or ping pong! They even have an archery range for you to try your aim!

Anything you want to do outdoors is available!

The staff is VERY FRIENDLY and Beth & Ron (owners) and their daughters (Courtney & Bailey) immediately make you feel like one of the family.

Our girls keep saying: "This was the best vacation EVER! We're going back next year, right?" The oldest is even trying to figure out a way to get a job there when she gets older!!!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank mkrisk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
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English first
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

Our first time on a houseboat and something that we'll definitely do again. The Timber Bay staff was very helpful and operation of the boat was simple. Check in was quick and we were on the water in less than an hour. We had the 38' boat and it had plenty of room for the four of us. We chose a different campsite every night. Every mid day we'd anchor in deep water and spend the afternoon swimming, using the slide, and sunning on the upper deck. Evenings were spent fishing and sitting around the campfire. It was so incredibly peaceful and quiet. When we did see others it was usually other houseboats. At night it felt like we had the whole lake to ourselves.Timber Bay is a first class operation and we'd highly recommend them.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank trevelertom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mpls mn
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2012

First time on a houseboat. Went with another family, four adults and three kids total. We got the largest boat which can sleep up to 12 however it was really a perfect amount of space for seven of us. Two bedrooms with two full beds, two bunks and a pullout couch. Two bathrooms and one with a shower. The kitchen was completely functional, even had a small oven and three burner stove. Nice dining area however we used it little. We spent all of our time on one of the decks on either end of the boat. The slide was great for the kids and adults alike. It was very peaceful, rarely saw others and when we did they were also on a houseboat. Tied up at night on one of the many islands and made a campfire. The boat was easy to use and maneuver, there was plenty of space to move around both inside and on the lake in general. Cant wait to go back!!!

Room Tip: Get the biggest boat!!!!!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank JPHMplsmn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Grange, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2012

This has the best of all worlds! Whatever your interests are, you'd have to work really hard to not enjoy yourself. On site, they have equipment for boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, water skiing, biking, volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, campfires, and a number of other activities. Most of the activities are inclued in the rate you pay up front, and the charge for rentals or additional activities is very reasonable. Many events and outings are scheduled, and they're planned and run very well by the hosts and their family/staff. The children's activities were a nice touch, and fun for kids of many ages. The hosts are very accommodating, actively interested in their guests having a good time, very friendly and social, and the perfect types of people to be running this resort. I hope to return again soon! Highly recommened!

Room Tip: Ask for one of the newer cabins. May be a little more expensive, but worth it.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank HeyOldStyle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2009

A wonderful place for a family vacation. We look forward to it all year.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mcagac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pompano beach florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 14, 2007

We rented a 37 foot houseboat and had a great time! After we got the boat loaded it was the Sunday night and the start of NFL football. The owners of the lodge set us up with Sat TV in the lodge ...can't get better service than that!
On the water we "camped" at different locations on the 20 mile long lake. Our favorite was a sand beach on Birch Point.
Mid week the "resupply boat" came by and delivered the local paper. Pretty neat!
We thought the owners and their dog "Timber" we the greatest and would recommend this vacation if you want to "get away from it all."
Bring some books, a swim suit, and your hiking boots and you will have a great time.

Stayed September 2007
Helpful?
3 Thank heenan_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Timber Bay Lodge and Houseboats

Property: Timber Bay Lodge and Houseboats
Address: 8347 Timber Bay Rd, Babbitt, MN
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Minnesota > Babbitt
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Ski-In / Ski-Out
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Babbitt
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Timber Bay Lodge and Houseboats 2.5*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Timber Bay Lodge and Houseboats is located on Birch Lake in Babbitt, MN. With 13 housekeeping cabins and 13 houseboats it is a premier resort in the Babbitt and Ely area.All cabins are fully furnished in Northwoods décor, have fireplaces and decks with great views. Kids can enjoy the Kids Klub program while mom and dad fish, hike or relax. Cabins are from a cozy one bedroom up to a 6 bedroom lake home.Seven different size houseboats can accommodate anything from 2-12 people. Cruise 20 miles of pristine undeveloped Birch Lake and have a campfire at night. Fish off the back of your boat or enjoy the sunshine in your chaise lounge from the top of the boat.Bikes, canoes, kayaks all free for your use. Fishing boats and pontoon boats available for rent. There is truly something for every member of your group/family ... more   less 
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