About Ephraim Shores

Our History: The Rise of Tourism — and Hotels — in Ephraim, WI

Ephraim Shores Resort began welcoming guests to our beautiful little corner of the world — Ephraim, Wisconsin — starting in 1969. However, our story truly begins over 100 years ago, when visitors began flocking to our peninsula — and Ephraim in particular — looking for a relaxing and beautiful place to spend the summer months.

Historical photo of Ephraim Shores Resort

By 1906, there were eight big hotels in Ephraim — all family-run — that could accommodate around 700 guests. Many of these Ephraim hotels also included restaurants and dining rooms for their guests, which would serve three meals a day. Two years later in 1908, Christina Malmer opened Rest Haven, another Ephraim resort. Purchased by Christina’s son in the 1940s, Rest Haven was renamed the Malmer House, and was run until the 1960s. In 1969, Ruth and Randall “Ranny” Nelson purchased the property and built the Ephraim Shores Hotel and Restaurant.

We started out small — 18 rooms. Part of that was because Ruth and Ranny were running a restaurant as well as a hotel! In 1977 Ranny decided to expand the hotel by adding the North wing. This created an additional 18 rooms as well as a change that was a huge hit with our families — the addition of a pool area and a game room. Ruth and Ranny took great pride in their Ephraim hotel, and spent every available moment — even during the off-season — working on the building. Ruth always made sure that everything was clean and up-to-date. It was incredibly important to both of them that guests had the best possible experience — a tradition that’s still very much alive today.

Ephraim Shores: A Family Affair

Jolynn Nelson, Ruth and Ranny’s daughter-in-law, took over day-to-day operations of the hotel in 1991, and managed it for five years until long-time employee Lana Hall took over as General Manager. Chances are when you call Ephraim Shores, or check into the resort, Lana will be there to help you at the front desk! Jolynn still works at the resort and is in charge of bookkeeping, marketing, and whatever else needs to get done — and you might even find Ranny sitting in the back office! We’re all here during the off-season, too — something to remember if you want to reserve your favorite room for the summer or fall months!

The look of the resort and some of the staff might change over the years, but there’s one constant: the many great memories and friendships that have been made at this family-friendly resort in Door County. During the course of any given season, we’ll welcome friends who have stayed with us since our first summer open in 1969, and friends who have never been to Door County before. We have friends who return each year and pose for their yearly group photo outside, and friends who we see once in awhile. They’re all part of the Ephraim Shores story — and we’re so happy to have guests that feel more like family.

If you’re looking for Door County accommodations, we hope you’ll give us a look. Whether you’re heading to Ephraim for a solo trip, a couple’s vacation, or with a group of friends or family, we’re proud to be one of Door County’s premier resorts — and we’re here for your next getaway.