Let’s uncover another one of Wichita’s little talked about gems on the blog.

At the beginning of the year, we were discussing what to do for our daughter’s first birthday party in the summer. I’m the type of guy who likes to go unnecessarily big. Around that time we came across BrightWater Bay.

You may be like me. While driving down 235, you probably saw a huge lake resort on the west side of the highway. You’re familiar with the area but never knew what it was. Come to find out, it’s a beach house set up like a traditional VRBO/Airbnb that overlooks a 44-acre private lake which you can rent out. Almost every date in June was taken, but we happened to find a day that was open and we jumped at the opportunity.

Figuring I spent my own birthday during a quarantine, this was a great opportunity to finally connect with family and friends we haven’t seen in months. We rented the entire property and had it to ourselves for the entire day and evening.

BrightWater Bay included the aforementioned 2-bedroom beach house. There was a master bedroom, another bedroom with one bunk, a trundle bed and a queen-sized bed and a living room that had a fold out couch. The house easily slept eleven. If you own an RV or camper, there’s plenty of space to haul one out too.

To be honest we didn’t use the beach house much besides sleeping. 99% of our day and night was spent outdoors. There was so much to do on the property. For starters, they had tennis/pickleball, basketball courts, shuffleboard, horseshoes, cornhole, volleyball and an area to fish.

I’m also an avid yard games fan so I brought part of my collection of games such as washers, lawn darts, life-size jenga and connect four for more entertainment.

There’s also a separate event venue you can rent to have weddings, receptions, gatherings of up to 100 people and more, but we didn’t utilize that portion.

Most of our time was spent in the beach area and in the lake. You’re welcome to bring boats and jet skis. They also had two kayaks and two paddle boards available for anybody to use which was all included in the charge. We had some family that brought two jet skis. We rented a third jet ski from Marine World. They brought the jet ski at the time of our BrightWater Bay rental and picked it up the next day. I called all over town and they were the only place I could find that rented jet skis. They also rent boats and were highly recommended by BrightWater Bay. Having something like a boat or a jet ski seemed like a must there.

There was even a roped off shallow end where so many of the kids all played in. That was probably one of the most used parts of the property. Everyone was required to wear lifejackets especially if they weren’t in the shallow area. There was lots of swimming, jet skiing, and waddling going on all day. It was nice to see everybody take full advantage of the property.

Later in the day, we spent much of our time under the gazebo or sitting in lawn chairs in the sand. In the evening, some of the kids played pickleball or shuffleboard as those areas were still very well lit. Of course the obligatory s’mores were made and drinks were shared once the kids were rested and asleep.

A majority of the people that came had never heard of the place and 100% of everybody loved the venue. It was such a cool break from the norm of other getaways and staycations in town. Many of us talked about renting it out again for a random joint family outing.

There was so much to do and not a single person was bored. We had the lake resort rented from 3pm until 11am the next day which was their typical check-in/check-out time. Fortunately the guest the day before left early so they allowed us to come out a little earlier on our scheduled day.

What does something like this cost? You’ll be shocked. The average is around $275-500 depending on the season, day, etc. So something on a weekend during the summer will run towards the higher end but that included the beach house, the lake all to ourselves, and all the other amenities. It’s even cheaper if you split it with other families. Or if your employer is looking to do some corporate party, have them pay for it! We will definitely be doing it again once an opening comes up. The resort is essentially booked out for the next few months but I was told they are at the beginning stages of adding another rental house at the other end of the lake.

There are also options to just fish, use the lake, use the facility for a daytime picnic, rent just the venue or a mix and match. They’ll work with whatever needs but for me, renting everything was the way to go.

So was this all a little much for a one-year-old birthday party? 100% but was it an opportunity to get friends and family out of the house to enjoy the outdoors? Another 100%. It was truly the ultimate getaway inside Wichita that was quiet, peaceful, and relaxing.

To learn more about BrightWater Bay, check out their website at brightwaterbaywichita.com, their Facebook page, or call 316-777-LAKE. Ask for Genni if you do, she did an incredible job of making our stay so worthwhile.


Have a suggestion for something fun to do with the family? We are always open to recommendations. Please email us. We are always open to suggestions.

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