Delavan Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Delavan Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Delavan Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Delavan Lake

One of the more popular of Wisconsin lakes is Delavan Lake in the Southern Savanna region. Delavan Lake has had a glorious history: the lake was a favored summer resort location from the 1800’s until the advent of the automobile made travel easy and convenient. As a measure of its affluent past, the lakeshore holds several Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Indeed, Wright designed two boathouses on the lake. Not to be outdone by Wright’s design expertise, there is a boathouse on the lake made in the shape of a Pagoda: local lore says it came from the 1893 Columbian Exposition held in Chicago.

At the other end of the scale, the village of Delavan for many years acted as winter quarters for as many as 26 circuses. The idea for forming the P.T. Barnum Circus was developed in 1871 in Delavan by W. S. Coup, who also was first to put a large circus on rails and introduced the second and third ring to the performance. About 70 members of the “circus colony” are buried in Spring Grove and St. Andrew’s cemeteries. There are rumors that an elephant that died was given a ‘burial at sea’ in Delavan Lake during that period.

With all of the past history it holds, Delavan Lake now is associated with sailing and water sports. A near neighbor to Lake Geneva, the sailing culture is alive and growing on Delavan Lake. The heavily-developed lake has seen many smaller cottages removed in favor of higher priced summer homes and condos. Residential properties can still be found at reasonable prices with a little looking, and rentals are always available.

The local yacht club is very active in the Inland Lakes sailing and racing associations. The racing and regatta season is in full swing during the spring, summer and fall months and becomes one of the main attractions for visitors to Delavan Lake. Several regattas are hosted at Delavan Lake each summer, and avid sailing teams travel to racing events throughout the United States to compete. The club also gives sailing and boating safety classes.

Sailing, of course, isn’t the only water activity occurring on Delavan Lake. Fishing is a popular activity, with Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Muskellunge, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye and Yellow Perch caught. A few years ago during the fish survey, two blue walleye hybrids were caught. Also called blue pike, these fish are never found this far south and it’s suspected the fish were introduced during one of the annual stocking events. In winter, ice fishing takes center stage, with fishing contests and tournaments held here regularly. There is a public access boat ramp available, located on the northeast shore off Hwy 50.

Delavan Lake is a sterling example of lake problems that can be corrected. Beginning in the 1940s, the lake suffered major eutrophism (weedy) with algae blooms. A key feature of the clean-up effort was the construction of three sediment retention ponds within a constructed wetland a couple of miles upstream on the inlet, Jackson Creek. This 2,072-acre lake has undergone a transformation via the efforts of sound water management and watershed practices and is now a clean and enjoyable body of water upon which to live and play.

For the visitor or year-round resident wanting something different, there are a variety of activities occurring nearby. Due to its proximity to Lake Geneva, activities and festivals are abundant. Concerts and performance arts are a regular occurrence at West Lake Geneva, and no summer visitor would want to miss the Lake Geneva Venetian Festival each summer. There is also a triathlon that draws many visitors each year.

As a change of pace, there is harness racing at the Elkhorn Fairgrounds several times each summer. About 7 miles from Delavan Lake, Elkhorn also hosts the Walworth County Farmers Market each Saturday from June through October. Trails for hiking, bicycling and snowmobiling may be accessed within a short distance of Delavan Lake.

At 63 miles from Madison and 87 miles from downtown Chicago, Delavan Lake is accessible in ways that many lakes farther north are not. It’s a perfect spot for a weekend or a summer. Come and enjoy the water and the area.

Things to Do at Delavan Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling

Fish Species Found at Delavan Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Find Places to Stay at Delavan Lake

If you’re considering a Delavan Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Delavan Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Delavan Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Delavan Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Delavan Lake Sanitary District

Surface Area: 2,072 acres

Shoreline Length: 13 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 923 feet

Average Depth: 21 feet

Maximum Depth: 56 feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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