Before booking this mini vacation, I did not know much about South Bend or the area. Here is all about my stay and what I enjoyed in the area of Mishawaka, Indiana.
Video by Interval International
Day One Travel & Arrival at Diamond Resorts Varsity Clubs of America South Bend
My trip began with a flight. The idea of the drive was not something I wanted to tackle. It would have been a 12-hour drive, instead, I enjoyed a care free (for the most part) 3-hour flight.
Once I landed, I grabbed my rental car and headed for the resort. The resort is less than 10 miles from the airport. This meant even with some light traffic, the drive was under 20 minutes.
The resort itself has a large covered parking area where you can park while you check-in. It also is an architectural feature that is hard to miss.
The resort’s exterior is unremarkable and makes the warm collegiate feeling interior a bit of a sleeper. Once inside, you’re welcomed to warm surroundings and spacious rooms. I was a bit early to check in, so I toured the site and found the indoor pool, which is in a separate building on the property. The resort offers a nice pool, fitness center, and even great outdoor stone-encased grills.
This resort is about 3 miles from Notre Dame. This is likely one of your best options if you are coming to see a game or visit the campus.
I have planned my trip around a home game and called in a favor to get a ticket. There is a long waiting list for season tickets and regular tickets sell out, so it helps to know a season pass holder or two.
We just stayed here for 3 nights with our hockey team & had a fantastic visit. The staff was very friendly & always helpful. Great first impression from the minute they greeted us. The room was a mix between updated & old but spotless & well-maintained. I really don’t care if the bedside table is brand new or from the 90s, as long as it is clean & functional. It was. Loved the giant tub but wished the shower head was a foot higher. At 5’7″ it was almost too low for me. The pullout bed was literally the most comfortable pullout I’ve ever seen. Very new. Plenty of towels for the shower & pool. They provided shampoo, soap & lotion. No conditioner. But I pack my own, anyway. The lobby was very comfortable. We spent quite a bit of time there with the other parents & players. Good pool area with plenty of seating. Nice breakfast bar, but I wish it has more variety from day to day. Fresh scrambled eggs made in a skillet, not poured out of a bag & baked in the oven, bacon, sausage or ham, pancakes, waffles, cereal & some pastries. Except for the meat, it was the same buffet for 3 days. But much better than some other places we stayed this season. The hotel decor is dated, but I think that has a lot to do with nostalgia for ND. And I don’t care as long as it’s clean. Everything that mattered was great & we will happily go back to this hotel.
Tammy and all the staff were AMAZING! They went out of their way to make us feel welcome and checked on us often-from the front desk for maintenance. Our kids couldn’t wait to see Tammy when we returned from our excursions each day. Breakfast was fabulous, too. The only thing that could be better is if the jacuzzi was in the room with the pool. We WILL be back!
The staff were very friendly and regularly checked on our needs. They provided a very good breakfast service. It was regularly checked and maintained. The atmosphere was calming and inviting. I had a great stay. This establishment has integrity, and it has a good location. I will stay again.
The stay was AMAZING! The people here are so respectful and they CARE about you! I’m giving a shout out to Mikaela. She was a very big help with the problems we had! Also their rooms, pool and hot tub are so awesome too. 5 STARS!!!! And 10 STARS TO MIKAELA
Great place to stay! There were pictures of the Notre Dame Varsity on all 3 floors. Nicely done. Not very outdated and the hospitality was good. Lots of shopping in the area and restaurants.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor Pools
- Fitness Center
Day Two Game Day
I am not a Notre Dame fan other than just appreciating their legacy and the dedication of their fans. Going to a game here is like going to a Green Bay Packers game. People have had season tickets handed down through generations because the team is so popular. I did not want to drive and have to park, so I just took an Uber to the game, then figured I would walk somewhere for food afterward, then Uber back to the resort.
Single-game tickets do go on sale on the website for football in July of every year. I do not know how many seats they sell, but odds are, it is competitive to buy tickets that way. I had a friend of a friend that was going to meet me and let me attend with them with one of their season tickets. Which is an amazing opportunity since I am in town by myself. This situation is more like a business courtesy thing, but I will also get to meet a friend of a friend and maybe have a new contact in the area, which is fun too.
They do a single-game lottery for some tickets as well, and that happens in the month of June each year. Visit the website for more information.
The game itself was great. The hometown feeling in that stadium is rare and powerful. It reminded me of seeing home games of the Redskins at RFK. When the crowd would cheer, or the students chant or sing the stands seemed to move with the sound.
If you love football, this is one amazing school to see a live game at. I have not been to too many colleges, but this was by far the most engaging and powerful experience.
Day Three Exploring the Town
I started with breakfast out then headed back to the Notre Dame campus since it, too, is an iconic location.
After seeing the campus, I wanted to visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. I do not tour churches much, but this one is stunning. There is also a museum here that is interesting and worth a visit while you are here.
Afterward, it was time to visit Potawatomi Zoo I enjoy zoos and have been to some of the best in the nation. This is smaller than some I have been to, but it appears to be well-maintained and has a great staff from all appearances. Ticket prices are only $12, so it is one of the most affordable zoo experiences you can have. Summer hours for the zoo are 10 AM-8 PM.
The zoo is broken down into regions of the world and has some amazing areas with that region’s local animals.
Another option in town is the History Museum I did not get a chance to go on this trip, but it looks like a great place to visit for history fans like myself.
You can get a combo ticket to The History Museum +
Studebaker Museum + Oliver Mansion combined for only $16, which is a great value for all you can see and enjoy. It is nice to see a community that makes these kinds of experiences affordable for many. All too often in my travels, I see much higher prices and that makes it hard for some families. Most of us have financial struggles at some point in our lives, and being able to take the kids out for good experiences is a very good thing for members of the community.
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