42 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Wisconsin

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: June 18, 2021  - Last updated: October 16, 2023

things to do in Wisconsin

Wisconsin, popularly known as the Badger State, is a rather interesting location with a lot of unlikely yet fascinating facets that make it an ideal spot for a trip or holiday.

It is known for its production of dairy, beer, and lumber and bears the marks of a deep and meaningful history steeped in Native American culture, much of which you can continue to see in modern-day Wisconsin.

It also is a haven for nature-lovers, with natural features like sandstone, ice caves, and plenty of parks to explore.

There are a whole lot of Wisconsin attractions of different genres and varieties, so there’s pretty much something for everyone, with many vacation ideas to put into play.

There are cultural and artistic galleries, unique and one-of-a-kind museums, lively art scenes, and plenty of ways to get close to nature.

So, how should you spend your time in the Badger State?

Here is our travel guide for the 42 fun things to do and places to visit in Wisconsin, whether you’re visiting this weekend or months from now!

Table of Contents

1. The Harley-Davidson Museum

The Harley-Davidson Museum

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The Harley-Davidson Museum is one of the top sites to see in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, near its downtown area.

The sprawling complex spans 20 acres and contains an impressive three buildings in one place.

More than 450 of these classic motorcycles – and thousands of associated artifacts from the brand’s company – are arranged throughout the museum, telling the fascinating tale of the company’s century in business.

Unique exhibits inside the Harley-Davidson Museum include ones focusing on motorcycle customization, racing competitions, and company history.

Many of the displays are interactive and some motorcycles can be directly touched or even sat on, and there’s even a restaurant to eat at.

The epitome of freedom and 20th-century pop culture, the Harley-Davidson Museum is one of the chief things to do in Wisconsin for bikers and history-lovers alike.

Try to time your visit for bike nights, when Harley riders and fans come by the museum to showcase their personal motorcycles!

Address: 400 W Canal St, Milwaukee, WI 53201, United States

2. Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds

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When it comes to cool places to go, the Cave of the Mounds is one of Wisconsin’s top 10.

After all, it’s a unique spot and has earned the rather flattering title of the Jewel Box of Major American Caves as well as being on the list of National Natural Landmarks.

Situated close to Blue Mounds, it is famous not for its many stalagmites and stalactites, but for its beautiful formations of limestone rock.

The limestone formations in the Cave of the Mounds are bright, vibrant, and colorful, and they’re varied, interesting, and a delightful feast for the eyes.

The caves were first found by limestone miners and quarry workers in 1939 who accidentally opened up a way into the rocky location, revealing the chambers.

The miners immediately ceased activity when they found the lovely forms.

The Cave of the Mounds has all sorts of different formations, with the most famous being their fun “soda straws”, which are hollow tubes made of minerals that are surprisingly delicate.

There are also helictites, which are a kind of stalactite in a bent shame, flowstones of smooth limestone, and many blues, reds, and brows among the rock.

With the aid of flashy lighting that further emphasizes the drama of the natural geology, the Cave of the Mounds has become a popular hotspot for tourists.

Though dating back 488 million years, the caves hold up as a stunning modern attraction.

Address: 2975 Cave of the Mounds Rd, Blue Mounds, WI 53517, United States

3. House on the Rock

House on the Rock

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In 1940s Wyoming Valley, an interesting sandstone rock chimney spanning 60 feet into the air caught the eye of Alex Jordan.

This rock formation, known as Deer Shelter Rock, would become the site of Jordan’s weekend retreat home.

He had never intended for it to turn into an icon of Wisconsin and one of its best examples of stunning architecture, but his creation was such a masterpiece that people began to ask about it and even stop by to visit.

Eventually, Jordan began to request donations of 50 cents in exchange for giving out tours to visitors of the 14-room home.

This soon grew into the House on the Rock becoming one of the key Wisconsin attractions, and the many rooms housed all sorts of collections by the eccentric Jordan himself.

Now, the house has expanded, covering a whole complex of multiple structures, collections, and intricacies that means it may take you all of this weekend to explore!

You’ll find the world’s biggest carousel here too, which houses over 20,000 lights, a whopping 269 carousel animals, and an additional 182 lanterns, watched over by angel mannequins that hang from the ceiling.

The House on the Rock was never intended to be a museum, and in fact, even now, it’s something a little more than that.

It’s bright and strange and a reflection of Jordan’s imagination, and it’s well worth the visit.

Address: 5754 WI-23, Spring Green, WI 53588, United States

4. Bookworm Gardens

Bookworm Gardens

kenneth casper / flickr

The Bookworm Gardens are one of the unique things to do in Wisconsin, packed with a fun theme that is sure to delight and amaze young children and adults alike.

Spanning 35 acres in Sheboygan, it is a literature-inspired seasonal garden that uses bright and exciting displays to make references to more than 60 different famous kid’s books.

The goal of the Bookworm Gardens is to promote reading, music, art, and nature in a wireless, internet-free space.

It was opened in 1999 by Sandy Livermore and has turned into a truly magical location with delightful interactive activities, including digging for worms, learning to create music, and even doing some alphabet searches.

As far as places to visit in Wisconsin go, the Bookworm Gardens are the most whimsical.

Kids get to learn about local wildlife, try out different displays, and curl up in a cozy reading nook in an undeniably exciting location.

Workshops, classes, camps, and tours are also available!

Just be sure to pre-register for the peak season so you can get in!

Address: 1415 Campus Dr, Sheboygan, WI 53081, United States

5. The Historic Third Ward

Historic Third Ward

The Historic Third Ward is a National Historic District and is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It takes up an impressive 10 square block of space with over 70 historic buildings, all located south of downtown.

Its large space makes it one of the best tourist places for free-roaming exploration, and it’s simply filled to the brim with great spots to eat, studios, galleries, boutiques, theatres, and plenty of history-related points of interest.

The Historic Third Ward was first built in 1875 and is renowned for many of its features, such as the Third Ward Riverwalk and the Milwaukee Public Market.

It has romantic charm and old-school whimsy mixed with the modern convenience of an electric streetcar system, regular seasonal performances, and plenty of events to check out.

Address: Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States

6. Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

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Termed as one of the best vacation destinations , the Olbrich Botanical Gardens are yet another must-see in Wisconsin, located in Madison .

It is one of the city’s scenic places and was founded in 1952 by the same man it is named after: Michael Olbrich.

Covering 16 acres of land, the gardens are nothing short of enchanting, idyllic, and beautiful, offering a relaxing but fun escape from the bustle of the surrounding city.

Since its opening, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens has gained two conservatories – one in 1991 and the other, called the Bolz Conservatory, more recently.

The latter has a waterfall!

The King of Thailand himself actually donated a pavilion to the gardens in 2002, decorated delicately with Thai sculptures in a wider garden area.

The rest of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens are separated into open-air sections totaling 6 different areas – or 7 if you include the Thai Garden.

There is the Sunken Gardens, which is a traditional English garden that boasts a delightful reflective pool and many terraces of limestone around it.

There is also the Rose Garden, which is filled with different flowers.

Other spots include the Atrium Shade Garden, the Meadow Garden, the Rock Garden, and the Starkweather Creek.

Address: 3330 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704, United States

7. Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

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If you’re an art-lover seeking things to do in Wisconsin, you’ll love the Milwaukee Art Museum .

It is one of not just Wisconsin’s, but the entire world’s largest museums, boasting a whopping 25,000 pieces of art across four floors of space, with two structures in modernist and postmodernist styles.

The museum, opened in 1872 to bring more art to the local scene, was built upon the donation of Alexander Mitchell, and it was officially considered a museum beginning 1957.

The extensive collection at Milwaukee Art Museum spans from ancient artifacts all the way to modern, contemporary works.

Its collection’s most prized items are decorative art of America, German Expressionist works, and post-1960 American works, though it also encompasses Haitian art, the works of Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso, and the creations of local-born artist Georgia O’Keefe.

Some of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s more interesting collections and exhibits are also its most unorthodox.

There is a Chair Park in the basement where you can try sitting on famous chairs of figures like Eero Saarinen and Frank Lloyd Wright.

There is a sculpture made up of thousands of individual buttons, a collection of pottery known as Mrs. M—’s Cabinet fitted with a digital projection of the fictional Mrs. M— herself, and an exterior decorated with a bird-like shape, complete with steel beams of wings that open and close.

Address: 700 N Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States

8. Taliesin Preservation (Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center)

Taliesin Preservation

Taliesin Preservation

The Taliesin Preservation building, known also as the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, was once the home of that famous architect as well as the studio where he worked.

The building, which began to be built in 1911, is a wonderful emanation of the Prairie School tradition of design, showcasing the Midwestern plains’ natural landscape.

It has since become one of Wisconsin’s tourist attractions.

Wright worked on this home right up to his passing in 1959, spending lots of time here in the summer before heading elsewhere when the seasons changed.

The home now is filled with art and is a great way to learn more about the great architect and his many works, making it one of the best bucket list additions to those interested in design.

Tours are available!

Address: 5607 County Rd C, Spring Green, WI 53588, United States

9. EAA AirVenture Museum and EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh

EAA AirVenture Museum

Don Harder / flickr

If you’re looking for some fun in Wisconsin, the EAA AirVenture Museum of Oshkosh is a great way to do so.

Its name stands for Experimental Aircraft Association and, as that name suggests, it is dedicated to showcasing the history of aircraft and aircraft technology.

It boasts approximately 200 historically significant aircraft and provides exciting features like short airplane rides, a KidVenture Gallery, a hangar for World War II aviation exhibits, and even a flight simulator.

But if you’d like an option for what to do that’s bigger and more involved, EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh will provide that.

Sponsored by the EAA, it is an annual aviation event that occurs in the summer.

It is the largest of its kind globally and has been happening since 1953.

The event lasts for about a week and includes workshops, air shows, forums, and more.

Over half a million visitors from an impressive 80 different nations come to visit the area for the EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh, and it’s not something to miss out on!

Address: 3000 Poberezny Rd, Oshkosh, WI 54902, United States

10. Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol

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The Wisconsin State Capitol sits in Madison, and its importance makes it one of the state’s key things to see.

The building, which is a National Historic Landmark, was finished in 1917, and it’s actually the state’s third after the first was rebuilt for expansion and the second one burned down!

The Wisconsin State Capitol building is Madison’s tallest building by law and is home to the Office of the Governor, the state Supreme Court, and the legislature.

Majestic in appearance, it boasts an elegant design and a lovely dome-shaped roof, as well as a statue of Wisconsin with a badger on her helmet.

One of the things to see in the State Capitol building is its rather curious collection of fossils set in the stone of its structure, totaling about 40 different kinds.

There are also lots of beautiful works of art, handmade furniture, murals, and more.

In the summer, the observation deck at the building opens up to the public, so time your trip accordingly!

Address: 2 E Main St, Madison, WI 53703, United States

11. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

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The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is one of the best and most serene vacation spots to head to this weekend.

It refers to a 69,372-acre space on Lake Superior, Wisconsin, that is made up of 21 different islands.

Each island comes with its own places to see, allowing you to enjoy something every season.

The islands of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are made from red sandstone and are packed with natural beauty, ranging from sea caves of sandstone to white sand beaches and from old-growth forests to gorgeous lighthouse structures.

Apostille Islands Cruises offers a fantastic way to view the natural marvel of the islands at your leisure and convenience.

Address: 415 Washington Ave, Bayfield, WI 54814, United States

12. Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame

Lambeau Field

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Few can forget about watching a Green Bay Packers game when considering things to do in Wisconsin.

This football team, iconic and renowned, is a famous “symbol” of the state, and even if you aren’t much of a sports fan, learning about the team’s growth and history is as fun as watching one of their games.

It is, therefore, obvious that Lambeau Field should be a to-visit site seeing as it is where the Green Bay Packers play their home games.

For a small town like Green Bay to host such a hugely successful team is nothing short of impressive, and the fact that the team has 13 trophies from championships to back it up is even more incredible!

At Lambeau Field, you’ll also find the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame, a two-floor building covering 15,000 square feet, filled with interactive exhibits, audio, and video displays, recordings of the Packers’ plays, unique artifacts, and a replica of the office of Vince Lombardi, renowned Packers coach.

You’ll get to see over 80 years of history in one exciting place!

Address: 1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay, WI 54304, United States

13. Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron

Dr. Evermor's Forevertron

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Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron is the biggest sculpture of scrap metal in the world, situated outdoors in the center of the state.

It has become one of the best unusual Wisconsin attractions for those who hunt down hidden gems and strange locations.

The sculpture was made by Tom Every, who was an industrial wrecker, meaning he professionally demolished and destroyed buildings.

When he retired, he figured it was time for a change, and in 1983 he decided to become a creator instead and gave himself the name Dr. Evermor.

Dr. Evermor was a character and persona, imagined as an English Victorian inventory with a traumatic backstory involving a lightning storm and a minister father.

Every created the huge sculpture park of the Forevertron as Dr. Evermor’s lair.

Everything in Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron is made from scrap metal.

A testament to Every’s skill, he also worked on the House on the Rock near the area.

Address: S7703 US-12, North Freedom, WI 53951, United States

14. Interstate State Park

Interstate State Park

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The Interstate State Park is two state parks stuck together – one in Wisconsin and one in Minnesota , divided by the flowing St. Croix River.

It is one of the top places to visit in Wisconsin for outdoor enthusiasts or those seeking an adventure in nature.

The backdrop of the park is dramatic and packed with all sorts of information, especially the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, for which the Ice Age Interpretive Center provides information.

There are lots of things you can enjoy at Interstate State Park.

Lake O’ the Dalles offers a beach to lounge on and water to swim in.

The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway is beautiful to follow and trace.

Camping sites are scattered about, rocks are fit for climbing, and hiking trails totaling 8 miles provide lots of opportunities for exploration.

All in all, it’s a recipe for a good time!

Address: 1275 WI-35, St Croix Falls, WI 54024, United States

15. Schoolhouse Beach

Schoolhouse Beach

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Schoolhouse Beach is a beautiful beach on the lakeshore, and it’s one of Wisconsin’s best points of interest because of its unusual nature.

Instead of sand, it has limestone rocks.

These smooth rocks provide a foot massage as you walk along them, though some may be a little too harsh for sensitive bare feet.

But beyond just its odd sand, Schoolhouse Beach offers a relaxing experience without the worry of betting sand in your swimsuit.

It is situated on Washington Island and is one of only five of the world’s beaches without sand.

It earned its name from a schoolhouse that once existed near the shore, though that house no longer exists now.

So, how did the rocks come to be?

They were polished by glaciers over thousands upon thousands of years, and the rocks are now so coveted that it is illegal to bring one home with you!

You can, however, make structures with them on the beach or toss them into the water.

And, of course, common beach things to enjoy, like swimming and sunbathing, can be done, too!

Address: 1824 Washington Harbor Rd, Washington, WI 54246, United States

16. National Railroad Museum

National Railroad Museum

Larry Darling / flickr

The National Railroad Museum can be found in Ashwaubenon, where it was built in 1956.

The museum is one of the fun and cheap things to do in Wisconsin, and as it is also one of the country’s oldest railroad-related museums, it’s a must-do for locomotive lovers.

At the National Railroad Museum, you’ll see some of the world’s biggest steam locomotives, a surrounding standard gauge track, and over a century’s worth of history.

You’ll get to see army trains, charming fancy cabooses, and even ones for kids themed after Thomas the Tank Engine.

On Halloween, there are special spooky train rides as well!

Address: 2285 S Broadway, Green Bay, WI 54304, United States

17. Circus World Museum

Circus World Museum

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The Circus World Museum began with the ever-famous icon, the Ringling Bros. Circus – one of the best-known circuses in history and currently the largest surviving company of its kind.

When television became more popular and common in households in the 1950s, the Ringling brothers’ attorney, John Kelly, recommended that a museum could be set up to preserve the age of the circus and the legacy of the brothers before the circus industry died too far.

The Circus World Museum opened in Wisconsin’s Baraboo in 1959 and, over time, has grown to encompass 63 acres.

It showcases the history of the Ringling brothers, the story of all of circus and its history, and collections of various artifacts such as ads, posters, paintings, photos, wagons, and more.

If you’re looking for more things to do while in Wisconsin in the summer, come around to the museum to watch live circus entertainment and activities!

Address: 550 Water St, Baraboo, WI 53913, United States

18. Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is situated at Lake Geneva , Wisconsin, where it has become known as one of the state’s prime entertainment tourist attractions.

It is the theatre of magician Tristan Crist, who performs shows lasting an hour that showcase all sorts of fun illusions, tricks, and mirages in unique and up-close detail.

There are only 175 seats at the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, which allows for an intimate audience experience, and a big screen broadcasting Crist’s antics allows you to carefully watch his every move.

Address: 100 N Edwards Blvd, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, United States

19. Washington Island Stavkirke

Washington Island Stavkirke

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The Washington Island Stavkirke looks like it isn’t even a part of Wisconsin, with a traditional wooden stave style that makes it look like it came straight from medieval Norway.

For the religious, it’s one of the state’s best places to travel, and for the irreligious, it’s a valuable architectural spot regardless.

It was built in 1991 and took three years to finish.

The Washington Island Stavkirke belongs to the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wisconsin and was built specifically to honor the natural heritage of Scandinavia in the area.

Most other native Norwegian stave churches have been damaged or destroyed over the years, so this is a unique treat you won’t get to see in many other places.

Address: Town Line Rd, Washington, WI 54246, United States

20. Pabst Mansion

Pabst Mansion

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Pabst Mansion is an incredibly charming house made by Pabst Brewing Company founder Captain Frederick Pabst.

The opulent home sits in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has become one of the top things to see for history buffs and architecture lovers alike.

It is built in a lovely Flemish Renaissance Revival design on the exterior, while the interior mixes Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Rococo styles.

When first built, it boasted an impressive 66 rooms with 14 fireplaces and a special study for the Captain with 14 hidden compartments.

Pabst and family lived in this home from the late 19th century, after its 1892 completion, up to 1908.

The house would then become the residence of many Archbishops of the local Roman Catholic Archdiocese before the church sold it to Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. in 1978.

Now, it houses an impressive 4,000 pieces of fine art and decorative works, with furniture, china, and even clocks adding to the overall experience.

Tours are educational and provide insight into the life of Pabst and the wealthy classes in that era.

Address: 2000 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233, United States

21. American Science & Surplus

American Science & Surplus

American Science & Surplus

American Science & Surplus is a rather fascinating and fun spot in Wisconsin and should be on your list of places to go if you’re a geek, a creative person, or coming with family.

It is a shop filled with difficult-to-find materials, items, and other products for tinkerers, creators, DIY-lovers, educators, scientists, and more.

If you’ve needed military, industrial, or other tools for random passion projects, chances are that this shop has you covered.

While a lot of the stuff in American Science & Surplus is a little odd, it’s also worth treasuring.

The store has supplied items for all sorts of different people’s personal projects, such as dioramas, robots, instruments, decorations, and more.

The shop offers mystery items, scavenger hunts, informative displays, and funny signs to help you along your hunt for supplies, too.

Address: 6901 W Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53219, United States

22. Green Bay Botanical Garden

Green Bay Botanical Garden

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Green Bay Botanical Garden , spanning 47 acres, was created in 1996 in its titular city of Green Bay.

It began with the simple goal of encouraging visitors to feel welcomed and happy and today is one of the best things to do in Wisconsin for calm recreational activities and sightseeing.

The gardens at the Green Bay Botanical Garden are very diverse, with multiple different areas for different plants.

The Vanderperren English Cottage Garden is a highly traditional English garden.

The Four Seasons Garden provides plants that grow throughout the year, even in winter, like crabapples, lilacs, and magnolias.

The Kaftan Lusthaus is Scandanavian-styled.

There’s so much to do and enjoy, especially during the WPS Garden of Lights event, which features more than 200,000 lights illuminating the garden!

Address: 2600 Larsen Rd, Green Bay, WI 54303, United States

23. Door County

Door County

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Door County is one of the prettiest places to vacation in the state of Wisconsin.

Door County is situated approximately 46 miles away from the more busy area of Green Bay.

It is packed with natural beauty and looks out over Lake Michigan, and it has since become famous as one of the larger Wisconsin attractions, providing hotels and campsites for visitors from all walks of life.

Tons of visitors have fun heading to Door County annually thanks to all its activities.

You can go to the water to swim, fish, dive, sail, and kayak, or you can explore by biking or hiking.

As a small town, it’s got a lot of rural charm and even has a fair share of historic buildings to head into – and a whopping 8 wineries, all on its own!

Address: Wisconsin, United States

24. Minocqua Lake

Minocqua Lake

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Minocqua Lake is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Wisconsin.

It features breathtaking scenery in Oneida County and is a part of the state’s Lakeland area.

The lake covers 1339 acres of land and boasts a maximum depth of an impressive 60 feet, with fish like walleye, panfish, bass, pike, and musky swimming in its depths.

There are all sorts of activities to enjoy at Minocqua Lake.

You can take pictures, play water sports, relax and camp out, stay at a resort, get yourself a tan, or even wait till winter so you can go snowboarding or skiing!

25. FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard

FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard

sporst / flickr

The FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard , which stands for Fiberglass Animals, Shapes, and Trademarks, is one of the best places of interest to see in Wisconsin if you like creepy and bizarre locations – though the true reason for this graveyard is certainly more whimsical than scary!

It rests behind the workshop of FAST and holds large molds of fiberglass, left behind from all their many, many jobs.

FAST is a company that creates large figures and items that catch the eye, such as huge statues outside roadside restaurants and the like.

Molds are often tailored to specific commissions, so once the work is done, the molds are moved out into the backyard, where they become one of many in a graveyard of molds.

They appear in a wide array of shapes and colors, from large Santa Clauses to skulls and from mice to dogs.

Time and the Wisconsin climate have made the tenants of the FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard slowly wither away, providing an appearance akin to old stone.

This makes the area feel like the leftover from an ancient burial plot, which adds to the unreal, fantasy-like experience of walking through it.

Address: 14177 Co Hwy Q, Sparta, WI 54656, United States

26. The Farm Historic Living Museum

The Farm Historic Living Museum

The Farm Historic Living Museum

The Farm Historic Living Museum is situated in Door County, Wisconsin, and is a must-see because it’s among the state’s cheap things to do and is just a whole lot of fun!

It is a living museum designed to depict rural America from the 19th century and beyond, and its approach to education makes it ideal for families with children, though it is a great experience for any age.

The Farm Historic Living Museum provides the chance to feel lambs, kids, and piglets, as well as to view old buildings such as the woodshed, cabin, granary, and sugar shack.

In the process, you’ll learn about what life was like on the prairie of the state back in the day, and you can browse and watch exhibits on farm life, crops, livestock, and beyond.

Address: 4285 WI-57, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, United States

27. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

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The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the free things to do in Wisconsin.

It spans 700 acres of land in Green Bay and functions as a refuge territory for wildlife, and it’s the city’s largest park, too.

It is the state’s second-biggest rehabilitation program for wildlife and, every year, it cares for about 4,500 injured and orphaned animals.

With 6 miles of trails for skiing and hiking, a bunch of educational displays, a Manger Lagoon for catch-and-release fishing, and lots of animal exhibits, it’s easy to see why the activities of the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary are so popular.

It also offers programs for people of all ages, a number of community events, and seasonal camps to enjoy!

Address: 1660 E Shore Dr, Green Bay, WI 54302, United States

28. Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Wisconsin Maritime Museum

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is among the best tourist attractions for naval enthusiasts.

It is a delightful trove of treasures from all across the history of American seafaring, specifically in the region of the Great Lakes as well as the state’s vessels used in World War II.

It was founded as the Manitowoc Submarine Memorial Association in 1969.

The biggest artifact exhibited at the Maritime Museum is an entire submarine, launched into the Pacific front by the United States in World War II.

It is called the USS Cobia.

In its service, it successfully downed two different ships before being retired.

It is now impressively restored, with a tourable top inner floor and upper deck.

Here, you’ll be able to see torpedo rooms, engine rooms, quarters, and more.

Beyond the USS Cobia, the Maritime Museum showcases all sorts of materials, artifacts, and archives through presented research, interactive exhibits, and lots of educational programs.

A car ferry gallery, a model ship, an operating steam engine, special children’s rooms, and much more take up the sprawling 60,000 square foot space.

Address: 75 Maritime Dr, Manitowoc, WI 54220, United States

29. Sputnik IV Crash Site

Sputnik IV Crash Site

Sputnik IV Crash Site

One of the top free things to do in the state is to simply visit the casual and rather inconspicuous attraction that is the Sputnik IV Crash Site .

It’s a great option for when your list of what to do in Wisconsin is already getting very long and you want to squeeze in a small and quick bit of novelty!

The Sputnik IV Crash Site sits in Manitowoc on 8th Street.

It is a simple brass ring that is fixed in the center of the road – an unassuming and almost uninteresting feature.

But this ring marks the exact spot where Sputnik, the famed Soviet satellite, crashed, becoming a part of astronomical history forever – and a part of the strange events and festivals that the state holds!

The piece of Sputnik that landed here was approximately 20 pounds in weight and fell in 1962 from the much heavier 5-ton full Sputnik-IV.

The spacecraft had been launched two years prior by the Soviets, but upon trying to return it to earth the day of the crash, a computer glitch led to a malfunction.

Most of its body would burn in the heat of a high-altitude atmosphere, and all that was left unmelted crashed into Manitowoc.

At first, no one paid much attention to the hunk of metal – that is, until news broke about the crash.

The police had the piece sent to the Smithsonian, who then sent it back to Russia, and then replicas were made.

Meanwhile, the site of the crash was immortalized forever with a simple ring.

Address: Park St and N 8th St, Manitowoc, WI, United States

30. Old World Wisconsin

Old World Wisconsin

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Old World Wisconsin is a wonderful exhibit of 60 gorgeously restored structures dating back to the late 19th century.

It was at this time that immigrants arrived in the Midwest, marking this area as one of their many destinations to settle down and begin a new life on better shores.

Old World Wisconsin is essentially a living exhibit, a recreation of a farming village from the 1880s complete with a general store, a blacksmith, and fields with livestock.

Activities of all kinds provide fun and engaging ways to learn about the genuine daily lives of those who lived in the depicted times.

It teaches farmwork, handicrafts, and schoolhouse education in inviting ways.

There are many things to see and appreciate about this lovely Old World attraction.

It’s the biggest museum of its kind – that is, a living rural history museum – on the planet, covering 600 acres of land.

You will learn with empathy and connection about those who persevered and lived here through hands-on attractions, interactive experiences, and spaces rich in sensory engagement.

The most popular attractions at Old World include Crossroads Village, which brings you through Main Street for a glimpse into small-town life with immigrant settlers, and Life On The Farms, which allows you to learn about farming traditions in the vein of resources and land.

There are also Scandinavian Homesteads that showcase the difficulty of 19th-century survival, Heritage Animal Breeds to show off traditional breeds of livestock, and Catch Wheel Fever, which explains the role of shared social spaces and sports in community identity.

Address: W372 S9727 WI-67, Eagle, WI 53119, United States

31. The Wisconsin Great River Road

Wisconsin Great River Road

Wisconsin Great River Road

The Wisconsin Great River Road is the state’s only national scenic route as officially declared.

It spans 250 miles across a whopping 33 cities, each one full of vacation spots and perfect for sightseeing.

It’s one of the best ways to get a good feel of the state in a road trip sort of fashion, with lots of places to see for interests of all sorts.

Along the Wisconsin Great River Road, you’ll find rivers and lakes for boating and fishing, small towns for gallery-viewing and shopping, parks and gardens for outdoor adventures, wineries to tour, and hiking and camping spots galore.

And, of course, the road itself offers stunning views of the surrounding area that make the drive alone very much worth it!

Address: Wisconsin State Hwy 35 La Crosse, WI 54601, United States

Planning to travel to Madison? If you do plan the trip, here are some fun things to do in Madison, WI !

32. Lost City Forest

Lost City Forest

Dori , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Lost City Forest sits in an Arboretum on the southeastern side of the University of Wisconsin, a surprisingly natural wooded area that borders a march.

True to its name, it feels like a world away from the surrounding area and is the perfect getaway this weekend.

It’s also one of the most fun free things to do while in Wisconsin!

Surprisingly, the name “Lost City Forest” isn’t actually because of its secluded nature.

Instead, it is so named thanks to a 20th-century housing development project that failed in the 1920s here, when Madison was growing quickly and developers were seeking to make a tidy profit with new homes.

One of those developers was the Lake Forest Land Company, and they lined sidewalks and roads and put down concrete foundations.

But the marshy ground was unstable and sucked the foundations down – and then the Great Depression arrived, shutting down all efforts.

Address: 2449 Arboretum Dr, Madison, WI 53713, United States

33. Paine Art Center and Gardens

Paine Art Center and Gardens

Lisa Schulz / Shutterstock

The Paine Art Center and Gardens make up Wisconsin attractions that are very much suited to the expression of art and beauty with nature and historic charm.

It sits in an estate made in 1925 by Ithaca architect Bryan Fleming for Nathan and Jessie Paine, although the couple would never wind up living here.

The architectural design is distinctly Tudor Revival in order to pay tribute to the English roots of the Paine family, but the interior and exterior have significant contrast, allowing the English inspiration to be drawn out across centuries of styles.

Nathan Paine himself was instrumental in the unique appearance of the home and grounds, insisting on limestone stonework and other materials based on his keen eye for craftsmanship.

The natural beauty of the landscape of Wisconsin further compliments the homey, charming vintage appearance of the Paine Art Center and Gardens.

Inside the art center itself, once the home of the Paines, you’ll find a beautiful rotating exhibit of applied and fine arts alike.

The furniture within comes from different historical periods and many were specially commissioned.

The upper floors lie unfinished until today.

Meanwhile, the gardens outdoors at the Paine Art Center and Gardens are once again inspired by English styles.

They are a collection of twenty botanical garden locations perfect for education and enjoyment.

Perennials for local climate as well as native fauna of all kinds make up much of the lovely array.

Address: 1410 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901, United States

34. Palace Theater in the Dells

Palace Theater in the Dells

Palace Theater in the Dells

The Palace Theater in the Dells is one of the most fun places to visit in Wisconsin for high-quality entertainment.

It is famous for being an excellent recreational location, providing an impressive array of different performances and shows across all sorts of genres.

Each ticket can be bought alongside a snack or meal and all shows are suitable for children.

The Palace Theater in the Dells was opened by Anthony and Joseph Tomaska, who boast an impressive three decades of experience in the fields of food service and performance.

This allowed them to launch the Dinner Theater to applaudable success, and their interactive dinner show, called Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, has the honor of being one of the region’s longest continuously running shows with a 17-year record.

Address: 564 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy S, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, United States

Planning to visit Wisconsin Dells soon? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Wisconsin Dells ?

35. National Mustard Museum

National Mustard Museum

BobbbyLight / flickr

The National Mustard Museum is one of the state’s famous locations of interest, a highlight of the lovely Mount Horeb until it moved to Middleton in order to expand.

It is home to an impressive collection of mustards from across the planet, including “antique” bottles of old mustards.

Though small, the National Mustard Museum is nothing short of delightful.

It provides a rather large number of mustard-related artifacts and items as well as a movie stream that showcases thematic films like Mustard: The Spice of Nations.

There is also a gift shop that sells several hundred different types of mustard, ranging from spicy options to relatively tame, fruity ones.

You can sample them as you please

The National Mustard Museum is one of the state’s most charming points of interest and is also one of its free things to do.

Don’t forget to drop by in August on the month’s first Saturday for the National Mustard Day event, which is an entire festival held at the museum!

Address: 7477 Hubbard Ave, Middleton, WI 53562, United States

36. Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts

The Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts is an officially designated landmark of the City of Cedarburg, where its tale began in 1988 as part of the local state’s Quilt History Project.

The project was meant to preserve, promote, and showcase the creativity and art of local quilters, and its mission has only expanded ever since.

In 2001, the Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts moved to its current location, a 2.2-acre plot of land, where it sits in the farmstead of Hoffmann-Boeker – a spot filled with interesting structures made of stone and timber.

There are seven such structures in total, including a dairy barn and silo, a blacksmithy, a farmhouse, a smokehouse, and an ice house.

Throughout the farmstead, the Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts showcases all sorts of items related to its title, including clothing, coverlets, costumes, and textiles, some dating all the way back to the 18th century.

More than 8,000 quilts have been captured and recorded here.

It’s a must-do spot to explore the fun and colorful history of fiber arts and quilts in the state and beyond!

Address: N50 W5050, Portland Rd, Cedarburg, WI 53012, United States

37. Madison Eats Food Tours

Madison Eats Food Tours

Madison Eats Food Tours

Madison Eats Food Tours is one of the greatest things to do in Wisconsin for foodies.

It offers a tour of the city’s diverse culinary backdrop, its local businesses, and even some unique local events.

The company began operations in 2012, though the story of its founder Otehlia Cassidy, an award-winning food writer, dates back much further.

Her food blog grew into a rich food tour experience that could bring the taste of Madison to its visitors.

Tours at Madison Eats Food Tours can involve cycling or walking.

Interestingly, a lot of the most delicious fare from local restaurants serve international cuisines, such as Ethiopian, Indonesian, and Thai delicacies.

Still, you’ll get to see markets, taste artisanal wines and cheeses, and much more!

Address: Madison, WI, United States

38. Swing Park

Swing Park

V’ron / flickr

Swing Park is a bit of a hidden gem, but that’s what makes it such a good answer for where to visit if you’re looking for more unusual stuff to do.

It is situated right beneath the famous Holton Street Bridge of Milwaukee and is secluded and serene, providing a tranquil place to while away some time or even enjoy a romantic moment or two.

There are five typical swings that hang from the bridge, made with halved tires, as well as two tire swings – one for horizontal and one for vertical orientations.

There is also a plastic blue swing of a suitable adult size that is designed to be accessible by those with disabilities, using a rubberized subsurface on the ground for better ease.

The entire space of Swing Park aside from that rubberized plot uses soft sand as a blanket over the ground, and there are wooden benches to sit on and while away the time.

It’s wild to think that the bridge above is so busy when the park is so peaceful!

Address: 1737 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States

39. Mars Cheese Castle

Mars Cheese Castle

jpellgen (@1179_jp) / flickr

As far as unorthodox places to visit in Wisconsin go, the Mars Cheese Castle takes the cake.

Originally, it was nothing but a gas station, opened in 1947 for a simple and uninteresting purpose.

But after the station burned down a decade later, owner Mario Ventura Sr. set up the much more fascinating purveyor of Mars Cheese Castle, earning the spot in the junction the name of the most visible cheese interchange in the state!

Since it opened in 1957, the Mars Cheese Castle has provided visitors with a wide range of cheese and similar products to purchase and enjoy.

Trouble would seem to come in 2011 when the highway where the “castle” sat was set to be widened.

The Ventura family took it on the chin and did not lose heart, using the forced location change to create a new and better image for their business.

Today, Mars Cheese Castle has the extremely fun appearance of a genuine castle, fitted with a watchtower and a drawbridge on a stately facade.

It’s a great option for what to do, whether you’re looking to buy cheese-related items or simply marvel at the castle’s novelty!

Address: 2800 W Frontage Rd, Kenosha, WI 53144, United States

40. Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

Joe Ferrer / Shutterstock

The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory , referred to by Wisconsin locals simply as The Domes, earned its nickname for obvious reasons.

It is made up of three domes of glass that sit in a Milwaukee park, created in the 50s and 60s and eventually developed to have three separate themes.

Altogether, they make up some fairly interesting stuff to see.

The first dome is the Show Dome, which has a rotation of different garden shows on a seasonal basis.

The next is the Desert Dome, which boasts flora local to dry climates, especially from the Americas and Africa.

Finally, there’s the Tropical Dome, which is home to more than a thousand different species of plants that flourish in a tropical climate, including trees laden with fruit!

Address: 524 S Layton Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53215, United States

41. Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is one of the great places to go with family.

It is situated on a family-owned farm that covers 200 acres of ground.

The Treinan family has managed and owned the farm for close to one hundred years and has been a wonderful spot for visitors to come and enjoy the autumn seasons.

The Treinen Farm grows corn, pumpkins, hay, and soybeans, and its corn maze is probably the most loved in the state thanks to the fact that it’s also the biggest.

Apart from that, the in-season months, especially in fall, come with hayrides, a pumpkin patch, rides on a horse wagon, a corn sandbox, farm animals to visit, a bounce house, cows to be milked, a playground of tractor tires, a pumpkin slingshot, and more.

Address: W12420 State Road 60, Lodi, WI 53555, United States

Planning a trip to Milwaukee? If you do plan the trip, here are some of the best things to do in Milwaukee !

42. Shaker’s Cigar Bar

Shakers Milwaukee

Shakers Milwaukee

If “ghosts” is on your list of what to see on your vacation and you, coincidentally, are also feeling a little peckish, Shaker’s Cigar Bar has you covered on both counts.

The place serves good food and has a rather somber history, though the real reason it’s among Wisconsin attractions is that it is believed to be very haunted!

Shaker’s Cigar Bar opened in the late 1800s and offers a unique glimpse into 19th century Milwaukee, as well as two ghost tours across the apartment complex, basement, and bar at the building on Walker’s Point.

With a huge list of illegal shenanigans that have taken place here over the years, it’s no surprise that its sordid tales and anecdotes have resulted in some patrons of the bar sticking around with unfinished business.

There are lots of testimonials from workers and visitors alike when it comes to paranormal experiences, but Shaker’s Cigar Bar is also interesting because of its preserved history and grounds.

Staff can tell you tales of genuine mob dealings that took place here as well as some genuine unsolved mysteries.

All in all, this is a fascinating experience you won’t soon forget!

Address: 422 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s many vacation places promise a variety of different attractions and forms of enjoyment, ranging from the outdoorsy to the artistic and from the architectural to the historical.

This list should help you narrow down the places to visit in Wisconsin that you want to make a priority!

Happy travels.

Protect Your Trip »

23 Top Things to Do in Wisconsin

The Badger State's charming small towns, thriving farm-to-table movement and rich brewing heritage guarantee quality vacations for all types of travelers.

Scenic Small Town Nestled in Autumn Valley, Beautiful Rural Wisconsin Fall colors.

(Getty Images)

Become a Cheesehead by exploring all that Wisconsin has to offer.

America's Dairy State may not be on everyone's vacation radar, but the state boasts pristine state parks, iconic architecture and rich culinary traditions supplemented by craft beer and farm-to-table experiences. Also, of course, its residents are famous for their Midwestern hospitability. America's Dairyland is well worth the trip for weekend getaways or week-long vacations. It's no exaggeration to claim Wisconsin offers something for every type of traveler – world-class art for culture enthusiasts, metropolitan food tours for foodies, numerous waterparks for families and relaxing scenery for outdoors lovers, including rolling hills, lush farmland, forests and lakes. Read on to explore the top things to do in Wisconsin. (Note: Some tours and excursions may be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. New policies may be in place, including capacity restrictions and parking reservation requirements. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and local tourism boards before traveling.)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA downtown city skyline on Lake Michigan at twilight.

Located on Lake Michigan, the largest lake in the United States, Milwaukee is easy to explore; everything seems to be only a 5-minute drive away. Known as Brew City and home to the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, no trip to Milwaukee is complete without tasting its beer heritage. With more than 200 breweries, there are brewery tours for every palette, from micro to macro and fruit beers to pale ales. Winters in Milwaukee can be harsh and long, so the most popular time to visit is in the summer months or fall. Summer is high season, with a multitude of neighborhood festivals, outdoor concerts and ethnic celebrations, like German Fest in July, honoring the city's largest immigrant group. Summer excitement reaches its peak at the end of June with Summerfest, a massive and affordable music festival.

[See more of Milwaukee: Things to Do | Hotels | Photos ]

Get cultured at the Milwaukee Museum Campus

Looking for family-friendly activities in Milwaukee? Head toward the city's lakefront museum campus to Discovery World, Milwaukee's world-class science museum. If you have littler ones, stroll across the street to the Betty Brinn Children's Museum. Just north of Discovery World is the architecturally impressive Milwaukee Art Museum , a modern masterpiece designed by Santiago Calatrava. Time your visit to witness the spectacle of the building's wings (large movable sunscreens) opening and closing at 10 a.m., noon or closing time. If you want to feel like you're actually sleeping in an art museum, book a room at Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel, which is located in the heart of downtown. Guests delight in the art exhibits on display throughout the hotel and applaud the in-room vintage record players. If you enjoy a martini with a view, consider the Blu lounge at the historic Pfister Hotel , offering panoramic views, cocktails and more from the 23rd floor.

Harley-Davidson Museum

Top things to do in Wisconsin

(Courtesy of Harley-Davidson Museum)

Milwaukee's also home to a very different kind of museum. The motorcycle was invented in 1903 by Milwaukee residents William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. Learn all about the machine that came to symbolize the freedom of America and the open road at the Harley-Davidson Museum . Motorcycle enthusiasts will be in hog heaven when they enter this modern steel-and-glass museum. These hallowed halls house a permanent collection of hundreds of bikes, including the first motorcycles built and Elvis Presley's custom bike.

Address: 400 W. Canal St., Milwaukee, WI 53201

Visit the University of Wisconsin

Stunning aerial view of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay Campus at sunrise in Springtime. UWGB is a public school tax funded school; known for it's ecological campus, most buildings connected via underground tunnels.

Home to the main campus of the University of Wisconsin and its lovable mascot Bucky the Badger, Madison is more than just a cool college town. Activists and incoming college students appreciate that Madison, about 80 miles east of Milwaukee, has been the scene of many a protest, whether against the Vietnam War or in favor of marijuana legalization. What's more, the University of Wisconsin – Madison Memorial Union on the shores of Lake Mendota is a favorite for students and locals; grab a brat and brew and enjoy the view. The 72-room Graduate Madison is an easy walk to campus, dining, shopping and nightlife. Badger red is the hotel's unifying color palette, and guests give the hotel high marks for its nostalgic decor and artwork, including collages of political buttons, a nod to the town's legacy of social activism.

Address: 800 Langdon St., Madison, WI 53703

Aerial view of Madison city downtown at sunset, Wisconsin

No trip to Madison is complete without visiting the beautiful, white-domed Wisconsin State Capitol building. Free tours of the building are given daily. What's more, Madison's isthmus location on a narrow strip of land between two lakes means waterfront biking and hiking trails abound. It's one of a handful of U.S. towns to earn a Platinum designation from The League of American Bicyclists as a bicycle-friendly community, so purchasing a $15 24-hour bike-share pass is a great way to explore the city.

[See more of Madison: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos ]

Try the cheese

Top things to do in Wisconsin

Wisconsinites are lovingly referred to as Cheeseheads. If you're looking to experience more than just the squeaky cheese curds the state is famous for, visitors recommend stopping by the Fromagination cheese store for its ambiance, multitude of options and generous samples. Billing itself as the capital of cheese, this shop is a must-see for cheese lovers, featuring dozens of one-of-a-kind artisanal Wisconsin varieties. And if you're in Madison on a Saturday morning between April and November, mosey over to the Capitol building to shop. The Dane County Farmers' Market is the country's largest producer-only farmers market, a great way to take yourself on a food tour of the finest Wisconsin farmers have to offer.

Lake Geneva


Located near the Wisconsin-Illinois border, 7 miles north of the border and about 50 miles southeast of Milwaukee, Lake Geneva is popular for weekend getaways, with visitors describing it as the "Newport of the Midwest" for its opulent lakefront mansions. You can glimpse that luxurious lifestyle while walking the Geneva Lakeshore Path, a 25-mile walkway that circles the lake, bringing you through the backyards of opulent estates. Circling the entire lake would take all day, but you can pick a section and go for a jog or a stroll. Keep in mind that the path is not suited for strollers or bikes. Being home or second home to many of the Midwest's elite, the town is filled with great restaurants, shops and fun-filled activities throughout the year. Tourists descend on Lake Geneva during the summer season to rent boats, but fall and spring are also magnificent for weekend getaways. A warm-weather visit calls for a stay at The Abbey Resort, the only lodging directly on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Spend a winter weekend at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is one of the best choices for a winter visit to Lake Geneva, with a bevy of amenities and a modest ski hill. The resort's hill is decidedly not the Rocky Mountains, but there are three chair lifts, two carpet lifts, 20 runs and a terrain park. After a day on the slopes, skiers like to warm up with a hot toddy around the outdoor fire pit at the resort's Embers Terrace. Kids can dive into the fun at Grand Geneva's Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark while the adults chill out in the resort's world-class spa. Regardless of where you stay, winter in Lake Geneva means it's time for their annual one-of-a-kind Winterfest, one of the country's largest ice sculpture festivals.

Address: 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147

Door County

Cana Island Lighthouse on Lake Michigan, Door County Wisconsin

With more than 300 miles of shoreline to enjoy, visitors have long flocked to Wisconsin's peninsula, known as Door County, for weekend getaways. Being a peninsula in the Great Lakes, the area's 11 lighthouses play a big part in Door County's history. Visitors recommend Door County Trolley's lighthouse tour, describing it as entertaining and informative. Stop by the Door County Maritime Museum to dive deeper into lighthouse lore. Nature lovers and culture enthusiasts will also find plenty to keep them busy in Door County's charming villages. They can visit any of the area's more than one hundred art galleries and studios, sample the region's famous cherries and cheese, and explore Door County's eight wineries. Summer is the busiest season, and events like the annual Door County Plein Air Festival every July, when artists try to capture the summer light on the area's water and fields, make every stay unique.

Door County fish boil

Top things to do in Wisconsin

(Courtesy of Destination Door County)

New Englanders have their clambakes. The closest thing to that in the Midwest is the Door County fish boil, a one-of-a-kind culinary spectacle. It's one of the top things to do in this peninsula. A Scandinavian tradition, fish boils are a way of cooking fish in a large cooking pot over an open fire. Part of the experience is coming early, sitting around the fire and watching the hour-long cooking process, led by a Boil Master who serves as both chef and entertainer. When the food is almost ready, the Boil Master alerts diners that the "boil-over" is about to begin. Kerosene is then thrown onto the fire, making for a fiery finish. Fish boils traditionally include potatoes, coleslaw and classic Door County cherry pie for dessert. Though restaurants from the southernmost Sturgeon Bay to the north tip of the peninsula offer up these unique dinners, visitors give the White Gull Inn some of the best reviews.

Explore the surrounding state parks

Cave Point is part of Whitefish Dunes State Park on the Wisonconsin penuisula

Biking and hiking Whitefish Dunes State Park and Potawatomi State Park are some of the top outdoor activities in Door County. Kayaking the Lake Michigan lakefront, where you can explore the caves and coves and view the shore scenery that can only be seen from the water, is another favorite outdoor activity. Door County Kayak Tours gets high ratings for their friendly, informative guides. When the weather is warm enough, travelers can camp at the area's state park to save some time and be best prepared to catch a sunrise over Lake Michigan.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin

Top things to do in Wisconsin

(Courtesy of Taliesin Preservation)

Architecture buffs will delight in the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center and Taliesin, an 800-acre estate set amidst rolling hills overlooking the Wisconsin River. Wright is widely revered as America's greatest architect and the founder of the Prairie-style school of architecture. He built Taliesin in 1911. Taliesin is his Prairie-style, minimalist masterpiece, a must-see for architecture and design enthusiasts. Taliesin Preservation manages the grounds and offers six touring options of the estate, along with other arts and cultural programming and special events like a farm dinner series, biking tour and Winter Festival tours.

Address: 5607 County Road C, Spring Green, WI 53588

The House on the Rock

Frank Lloyd Wright is known as the master of minimalism, but Spring Green's other architectural marvel is definitely not understated. Yet plenty of visitors delight in the one-of-a-kind roadside spectacle known as The House on the Rock. Built in 1960 by Alex Jordan, this massive home now houses his eclectic collection of everything from suits of armor to ivory carvings. It's also home to the world's largest indoor carousel. The House on the Rock is not for everyone. Some visitors describe it as a Midwestern jewel and incredible journey, while others find it overstimulating and claustrophobic.

Address: 5754 State Road 23, Spring Green, WI 53588

Explore Spring Green

A Spring Green restaurant well worth visiting for architecture buffs is Last Leaf Public House. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this more than 100-year-old building features painstakingly preserved original light fixtures, doors and other features from when it was the State Bank of Spring Green. You can even reserve a table inside what used to be the bank's vault. Those who aren't architecture enthusiasts will still have reason to visit Spring Green. Spring Green's internationally respected American Players Theatre entices theater lovers with outdoor summer stagings of Shakespeare and other classics. Theatergoers bring their picnic baskets for a theatrical evening under the stars in Spring Green's massive 1,147-seat outdoor amphitheater.

Top things to do in Wisconsin

(Courtesy of Let's Minocqua Visitors Bureau + Chamber of Commerce)

Pure Americana is served up in central Wisconsin's Minocqua; the town offers everything from the fudge and ice cream shops to the popular screen-door cottages families love to rent. Guests appreciate the old-school lake vacation experience they get in the condos, cottages and cabins of The Beacons of Minocqua. Experience classic local dining by going to what Wisconsinites call a supper club. Get a taste for this classic culinary tradition at Little Bohemia Lodge in the nearby town of Manitowish Waters. Diners rave about the generous portions and highly recommend the German pork schnitzel and spaetzle noodles. Besides the authentic cuisine, guests will appreciate that meals come with a side of history. Little Bohemia Lodge was the site of a 1934 shootout between John Dillinger and the FBI. You can even see the bullet holes that remain in one of the windows.

Min-Aqua Bats

The one-of-a-kind Min-Aqua Bats have been entertaining crowds in Minocqua with their first-rate water-ski show since 1950. Visitors praise the mostly local teenagers who participate for mastering some incredible tricks and keeping a beloved tradition alive. Catch this not-to-be-missed free show on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday. Fred Scheer's Lumberjack Shows make for another fun, unique family outing in Minocqua. Young men show off their sawing skills and log-rolling agility while including plenty of comic moments for laughs.

Address: 400 W. Park Ave., Minocqua, WI 54548

Wisconsin Dells

Low angle shot of tall trees in Wisconsin's Mirror Lake State Park.

Wisconsin Dells is home to the most indoor and outdoor water parks in the world – more than 20 different parks. If traveling to the self-proclaimed "Waterpark Capital of the World" with kids, stay at one of the top resorts for easy access to amenities. In addition to its water parks, the Wisconsin Dells offer a wide variety of kid-friendly entertainment options, from mini-golf to indoor amusement parks. Visitors point to the Palace Theater as a great night out, applauding the talent and production value of the concerts, comedy shows, plays for children and Broadway-style productions. Another fun venue is the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater, which guests praise for funny bits and impressive illusions. Want to escape the indoor attractions for a natural one? Head over to Mirror Lake State Park for a scenic hike along a tranquil lake surrounded by sandstone bluffs. Pontoon boats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also available to rent.

[Read: The Top Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells .]

Top things to do in Wisconsin

(Courtesy of Visit Eau Claire)

In the heart of northwestern Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley, Eau Claire is perfect for weekend getaways, with both outdoor activities as well as a thriving downtown scene of arts and brewing. The city has a lively music scene, with summer festivals focusing on jazz, rock and country music. Visitors will also discover a robust farm-to-table movement in this fertile section of America's heartland. The Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market welcomes shoppers May through October every Saturday morning. This being Wisconsin, Eau Claire houses a handful of craft breweries, including The Brewing Projekt, where you can order up a flight of creative beer flavors in a hip, loft-like setting. The Oxbow Hotel's accommodations are inspired by the town's hip, artsy feel with a stylish design featuring exposed brick, regional artwork and a turntable in every room.

Chippewa River State Trail

Top things to do in Wisconsin

One natural feature that makes Eau Claire truly special is that it's at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The two rivers provide plenty of outdoor opportunities, from fishing and swimming to kayaking and tubing. The 30-mile Chippewa River State Trail takes full advantage of the city's riverfront location and provides an option for walkers and endurance athletes. Starting in downtown Eau Claire's Phoenix Park, the trail runs along the Chippewa River through prairies, sandstone bluffs and wetlands.

Elkhart Lake

Top things to do in Wisconsin

Generations of Midwesterners have enjoyed weekend getaways to the crystal-clear waters of this town, about 60 miles north of Milwaukee. Rent your own boat and water ski on Elkhart Lake or hit the nearby Kettle Moraine State Park trails. You could spend an entire weekend quietly hiking or biking along the country roads, but Elkhart Lake also has a racier side. It is home to Road America, a racetrack hosting NASCAR races, vintage car events and specialized driving schools. Things get particularly revved up on Wednesday nights with live music and dancing at Siebkens Resort's Stop-Inn Tavern. The Osthoff Resort is the grande dame of Elkhart Lake with fine dining, a French cooking school and an award-winning spa.

Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame & Lambeau Field

Top things to do in Wisconsin

Tens of thousands of visitors make the pilgrimage each year to central Wisconsin's Green Bay, considered a mecca for football fans. Green Bay is the smallest city housing an NFL team, and the Green Bay Packers are the only publicly owned major professional sports team in the U.S. Cheeseheads are a dedicated bunch, but you don't have to own a green and gold jersey to appreciate the memorabilia and exhibits at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. Visitors love getting to see the Super Bowl trophies.

Dedicated football fans who want to tackle even more Packers lore will score big by taking a guided tour of Lambeau Field. Adult tickets start at $21 for a 60-minute tour. Opt for the longer, more expensive options if you want to see the press box, locker rooms and more.

Address: 1265 Lombardi Ave., Green Bay, WI 54304

National Railroad Museum

Top things to do in Wisconsin

(Courtesy of National Railroad Museum)

Not everything in Green Bay is devoted to the Packers. Train enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy a stop at Green Bay's National Railroad Museum. Visitors describe the museum as amazing and compliment the friendly, informed staff for making the experience fun. Besides the permanent exhibit of train memorabilia, guests can climb aboard for a ride on a diesel locomotive. Other special events throughout the year include a pumpkin patch train ride in the fall and a Polar Express train ride in November and December.

Address: 2285 S. Broadway, Green Bay, WI 54304

Wisconsin Rapids

Top things to do in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is the nation's largest producer of cranberries. And the small town of Wisconsin Rapids, 100 miles northwest of Madison, is the cranberry capital. Home to the Cranberry Blossom Festival every June, you can explore the history of the tart berry year-round at the Cranberry Discovery Center in the neighboring town of Warrens. Hop on State Trunk Highway 54 for a self-guided food tour as the 50-mile Wisconsin Cranberry Trail winds past family farms and cranberry marshes. Visitors point to Le Chateau Bed and Breakfast as the best lodging in Wisconsin Rapids. Previous guests rave about the manicured gardens and sumptuous breakfasts, and many also appreciate how the owners have preserved the elegance of this 1889 Queen Anne-style house.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Romantic Getaways in Wisconsin
  • The Best Weekend Getaways in the Midwest
  • The Best Midwest Vacations for Families
  • The Top Ski Resorts in Michigan
  • The Top Weekend Getaways From Chicago

Tags: Travel , Wisconsin Vacations , Midwest Vacations , US Vacations

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The 30 things everyone should do at least once in Wisconsin, according to Tripadvisor

Posted: January 25, 2024 | Last updated: January 25, 2024

<p>Whether you've lived in Wisconsin your whole life or are planning a trip there for the first time, there are plenty of things to do no matter your tastes. From historic landmarks and museums to stunning parks and hiking trails, <a href="https://www.stacker.com">Stacker</a> compiled a list of the highest things to do in Wisconsin on <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/">Tripadvisor</a>.</p>  <p>The list includes must-see sites, unusual activities off the beaten path, iconic buildings and museums, and plenty of places you're likely to have heard of and still others that may be new to you. Whether you're a seasoned local or looking for something fun to do during your visit, we've got you covered. Keep reading for the highest-rated things to do in Wisconsin.</p>

Highest-rated things to do in Wisconsin, according to Tripadvisor

Whether you've lived in Wisconsin your whole life or are planning a trip there for the first time, there are plenty of things to do no matter your tastes. From historic landmarks and museums to stunning parks and hiking trails, Stacker compiled a list of the highest things to do in Wisconsin on Tripadvisor .

The list includes must-see sites, unusual activities off the beaten path, iconic buildings and museums, and plenty of places you're likely to have heard of and still others that may be new to you. Whether you're a seasoned local or looking for something fun to do during your visit, we've got you covered. Keep reading for the highest-rated things to do in Wisconsin.

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (625 reviews)<br> - Category: Ferries<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60360-d1520099-Reviews-Washington_Island_Ferry_Line-Washington_Island_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#30. Washington Island Ferry Line

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (625 reviews) - Category: Ferries - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (212 reviews)<br> - Category: Caverns & Caves<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60721-d6478204-Reviews-Apostle_Islands_National_Lakeshore_Ice_Caves-Bayfield_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#29. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Ice Caves

- Rating: 5 / 5 (212 reviews) - Category: Caverns & Caves - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (456 reviews)<br> - Category: Flea & Street Markets<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60859-d486864-Reviews-Madison_Farmer_s_Market-Madison_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#28. Madison Farmer's Market

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (456 reviews) - Category: Flea & Street Markets - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (691 reviews)<br> - Category: Speciality Museums<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60168-d150615-Reviews-EAA_Aviation_Museum-Oshkosh_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#27. EAA Aviation Museum

- Rating: 5 / 5 (691 reviews) - Category: Speciality Museums - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (930 reviews)<br> - Category: Speciality Museums<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g59929-d288772-Reviews-Green_Bay_Packer_Hall_of_Fame-Green_Bay_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#26. Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame

- Rating: 5 / 5 (930 reviews) - Category: Speciality Museums - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (74 reviews)<br> - Category: State Parks<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28972-d207066-Reviews-Rock_Island_State_Park-Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#25. Rock Island State Park

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (74 reviews) - Category: State Parks - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (437 reviews)<br> - Category: Gardens<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60270-d2213361-Reviews-Bookworm_Gardens-Sheboygan_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#24. Bookworm Gardens

- Rating: 5 / 5 (437 reviews) - Category: Gardens - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (147 reviews)<br> - Category: Speciality Museums, Historic Sites<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g30330-d292736-Reviews-Hearthstone_Historic_House_Museum-Appleton_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#23. Hearthstone Historic House Museum

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (147 reviews) - Category: Speciality Museums, Historic Sites - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (262 reviews)<br> - Category: Military Museums<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60003-d1489161-Reviews-Civil_War_Museum-Kenosha_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#22. Civil War Museum

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (262 reviews) - Category: Military Museums - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (3,033 reviews)<br> - Category: Arenas & Stadiums<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60097-d270329-Reviews-American_Family_Field-Milwaukee_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#21. American Family Field

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (3,033 reviews) - Category: Arenas & Stadiums - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (1,203 reviews)<br> - Category: Parks<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60314-d207068-Reviews-Cave_Point_County_Park-Sturgeon_Bay_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#20. Cave Point County Park

- Rating: 5 / 5 (1,203 reviews) - Category: Parks - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4 / 5 (1,086 reviews)<br> - Category: Water Parks<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60403-d265627-Reviews-Kalahari_Indoor_Waterpark-Wisconsin_Dells_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#19. Kalahari Indoor Waterpark

- Rating: 4 / 5 (1,086 reviews) - Category: Water Parks - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,058 reviews)<br> - Category: Geologic Formations<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60015-d143688-Reviews-Grandad_Bluff-La_Crosse_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#18. Grandad Bluff

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,058 reviews) - Category: Geologic Formations - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,231 reviews)<br> - Category: State Parks<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g59686-d116876-Reviews-Devil_s_Lake_State_Park-Baraboo_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#17. Devil's Lake State Park

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,231 reviews) - Category: State Parks - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (836 reviews)<br> - Category: Theaters<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60022-d8736670-Reviews-Tristan_Crist_Magic_Theatre-Lake_Geneva_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#16. Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

- Rating: 5 / 5 (836 reviews) - Category: Theaters - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (355 reviews)<br> - Category: Theaters<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g30330-d288285-Reviews-Fox_Cities_Performing_Arts_Center-Appleton_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#15. Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (355 reviews) - Category: Theaters - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (698 reviews)<br> - Category: Points of Interest & Landmarks<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60859-d4480969-Reviews-Memorial_Union_Terrace-Madison_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#14. Memorial Union Terrace

- Rating: 5 / 5 (698 reviews) - Category: Points of Interest & Landmarks - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (1,355 reviews)<br> - Category: Theaters<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60403-d255218-Reviews-Rick_Wilcox_Magic_Theater-Wisconsin_Dells_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#13. Rick Wilcox Magic Theater

- Rating: 5 / 5 (1,355 reviews) - Category: Theaters - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (169 reviews)<br> - Category: State Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28972-d147153-Reviews-Kettle_Moraine_State_Forest-Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#12. Kettle Moraine State Forest

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (169 reviews) - Category: State Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (2,730 reviews)<br> - Category: Art Museums<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60097-d258473-Reviews-Milwaukee_Art_Museum-Milwaukee_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#11. Milwaukee Art Museum

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (2,730 reviews) - Category: Art Museums - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,657 reviews)<br> - Category: Zoos<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60859-d207431-Reviews-Henry_Vilas_Zoo-Madison_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#10. Henry Vilas Zoo

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,657 reviews) - Category: Zoos - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (1,634 reviews)<br> - Category: Gardens<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60859-d109921-Reviews-Olbrich_Botanical_Gardens-Madison_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#9. Olbrich Botanical Gardens

- Rating: 5 / 5 (1,634 reviews) - Category: Gardens - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (740 reviews)<br> - Category: Hiking Trails<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60022-d283906-Reviews-Geneva_Lake_Shore_Path-Lake_Geneva_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#8. Geneva Lake Shore Path

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (740 reviews) - Category: Hiking Trails - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4 / 5 (2,815 reviews)<br> - Category: Water Parks<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60403-d107777-Reviews-Noah_s_Ark_Water_Park-Wisconsin_Dells_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#7. Noah's Ark Water Park

- Rating: 4 / 5 (2,815 reviews) - Category: Water Parks - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5 / 5 (3,421 reviews)<br> - Category: Arenas & Stadiums<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g59929-d103048-Reviews-Lambeau_Field-Green_Bay_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#6. Lambeau Field

- Rating: 5 / 5 (3,421 reviews) - Category: Arenas & Stadiums - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (155 reviews)<br> - Category: National Parks, Islands<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28972-d183454-Reviews-Apostle_Islands_National_Lakeshore-Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#5. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (155 reviews) - Category: National Parks, Islands - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (536 reviews)<br> - Category: Nature & Wildlife Areas<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60403-d3767704-Reviews-Witches_Gulch-Wisconsin_Dells_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#4. Witches Gulch

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (536 reviews) - Category: Nature & Wildlife Areas - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (2,006 reviews)<br> - Category: Government Buildings<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60859-d280436-Reviews-Wisconsin_State_Capitol-Madison_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#3. Wisconsin State Capitol

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (2,006 reviews) - Category: Government Buildings - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,391 reviews)<br> - Category: Zoos, Parks<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60403-d661345-Reviews-Wisconsin_Deer_Park-Wisconsin_Dells_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#2. Wisconsin Deer Park

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,391 reviews) - Category: Zoos, Parks - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (3,050 reviews)<br> - Category: Speciality Museums<br> - <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60097-d1095429-Reviews-Harley_Davidson_Museum-Milwaukee_Wisconsin.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#1. Harley-Davidson Museum

- Rating: 4.5 / 5 (3,050 reviews) - Category: Speciality Museums - Read more on Tripadvisor

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15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Wisconsin

Written by Anietra Hamper Updated Jul 26, 2022

Bordered by Lakes Michigan and Superior, Wisconsin offers diverse landscapes and attractions that are a delight to explore. To the north and west are large expanses of hills that are perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and areas of lowlands to the south and east have proven excellent for dairy farming. In summer, the beaches are some of the most popular places to visit.

While many of Wisconsin's top things to do are in its two largest cities, Madison and Milwaukee, smaller communities such as Spring Green , home to architect Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Taliesin, are also worth exploring. The state also offers many exceptional cultural activities and events, too, from the huge Oshkosh Airshow to Milwaukee's popular Summerfest .

Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from great fishing lakes and lakes to enjoy boating and leisure activities , as well as some of the best hiking and biking trails to be found anywhere in the country.

Learn about these and other interesting places to visit with our list of the top attractions in Wisconsin.

2. Taliesin: Frank Lloyd Wright's Perfect Country Home

3. wisconsin state capitol, madison, 4. the harley-davidson museum, milwaukee, 5. circus world museum, 6. the dells of the wisconsin river, 7. the great outdoors: door county, 8. the green bay packers: lambeau field and the walk of legends, 9. exploring the land o' lakes, 10. copper falls state park, 11. all steamed up at the national railroad museum, 12. take a hike on wisconsin's wonderful trails, 13. winter activities in northwest wisconsin, 14. cheesehead factory, 15. the house on the rock.

Oshkosh Airshow

The small town of Oshkosh on Lake Winnebago, northwest of Milwaukee, is famous for two things: the popular line of kids' clothing and its place on the world's airshow circuit. The world's largest meeting of aviators, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has been held here every summer since 1970.

During the weeklong event, the Oshkosh control tower becomes the busiest on the planet as up to 15,000 aircraft of all shapes and sizes descend upon the airport. They're joined by an estimated half a million visitors, all here to catch thrilling aerobatic displays, as well as flybys from vintage and contemporary military aircraft.

Also fun to experience are the nighttime flying displays, evening movie shows and theatrical performances, and educational workshops. For those with the budget, a variety of aircraft rides, including aboard a huge B-17 bomber, are available. Also of note is the superb EAA AirVenture Museum with its collection of 200-plus aircraft.

Address: EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Official site: www.eaa.org/en/airventure

Taliesin East: Frank Lloyd Wright's perfect country home

One of the most influential individuals to have called Wisconsin home was Frank Lloyd Wright. Numerous examples of the great architect's designs can still be seen across the state in which he was born and where he lived for much of his life.

But it's to Taliesin East in Spring Green — usually referred to simply as "Taliesen" — that most people flock. Set amid 600 acres of beautiful rolling countryside, this spectacular home was started in 1911 and was a work in progress right up to Wright's death in 1959.

Wright spent his summers here and then packed up and headed to Taliesin West, one of the top attractions in Scottsdale, Arizona , in winter. Students at The School of Architecture at Taliesin still do this each year. Guided tours are available, taking in the home, theater, studio, gallery, and school. Other highlights include an informative visitor center with a restaurant.

Other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings include the spectacular Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on Madison 's lakeshore (it was actually built long after his death but was based on his original plans) and Milwaukee 's Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church .

Address: 5481 County Road C, Spring Green Wisconsin

Official site: www.taliesinpreservation.org/visitors-guide

  • Read More: Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Madison, WI

Wisconsin State Capitol

Madison has numerous great reasons to visit, with many of its top attractions found in the downtown core . One of the most attractive is the Wisconsin State Capitol. Completed in 1917, it's decorated with a 284-foot-high dome that's just three feet shy of Washington's Capitol building.

Free hour-long tours are available daily and take in many of the building's best interior features, including its large murals, exquisite marble work, and elegant rotunda with its states and monuments.

There's also an interesting museum about the building's history located on the sixth floor, which is well worth a look. One of the best views of the capitol is from the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center - it's simply stunning.

Address: 2 E Main Street, Madison, Wisconsin

The Harley-Davidson Museum

Nothing says "freedom" quite like a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a fact that is not lost on visitors to Milwaukee, the birthplace of the famous "Hog." The best place to find out more about this iconic machine is the city's Harley-Davidson Museum, home to more than 450 classic motorcycles.

This fun family attraction also has excellent displays of the brand's famous teardrop tanks, as well as exhibits telling the story of the people and places behind the machines. There's also a fun Harley-themed restaurant. If you can, try to time your visit to coincide with one of the museum's busy "bike nights," when fans and owners arrive in their droves to show off and admire these classic machines.

There are several self-guided tours available at the museum to give you more insight and a behind-the-scenes look at this iconic American company. You can tour the full 20-acre Harley Davidson complex by downloading a map to see buildings like the original shed where the company started in 1903, and the H-D archives houses documents, clothing, and marketing materials. A self-guided audio tour is available.

Address: 400 W. Canal Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Official site: www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/museum.html

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Milwaukee, WI

Circus World Museum

Located in the small town of Baraboo , Circus World Museum is an excellent attraction for kids of all ages to learn about the day-to-day activities of a working circus. With its focus on the country's rich circus history - it was once upon a time one of the nation's leading entertainment industries - the museum features numerous fascinating displays and exhibits.

The museum is reputedly home to the world's largest collection of circus-related artifacts, from posters to parade wagons. In summer, there's a Big Top with regular shows including traditional circus acts (check their website for scheduled performances). Baraboo is well qualified to host this museum given its former role as the headquarters of the huge Ringling Brothers Circus.

Address: 550 Water Street, Baraboo, Wisconsin

Official site: www.circusworldbaraboo.org

The Dells of the Wisconsin River

Sometimes called the Wisconsin Dells - though this is often confused with the touristy town of the same name - the Dells of the Wisconsin River is a spectacular five-mile gorge on the state's largest river. This area of outstanding natural beauty, much of it located in the state park of the same name, boasts many unique sandstone rock formations, canyons, and cliffs, some as high as 100 feet.

The Dells area is also home to an abundance of unique flora and fauna, such as cliff cudweed, found in only one other location on the planet, and six species of dragonfly. Given its fragile ecological state, it's not the easiest place to access, and those wanting to experience its beauty must do so by boat.

A variety of regular boat tours and excursions are available, taking in both the upper and lower areas of this spectacularly beautiful region.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells

Lighthouse at Sturgeon Bay

One of the prettiest corners of Wisconsin is Door County. Located some 46 miles northeast of Green Bay, this area of outstanding natural beauty lies on a peninsula overlooking Lake Michigan and has become a popular vacation spot for its many charming hotels, as well as its plentiful campsites.

This pleasant rural countryside draws numerous visitors each year for its many outdoor activities. These include fun things to do such as trout fishing, sailing, diving, and swimming, as well as hiking and biking. This is also a great place for kayaking .

Some of Wisconsin's best small towns are found in Door County, including picturesque Sturgeon Bay , with its lovely old lighthouse (one of numerous such buildings sprinkled across the state), and Ephraim , with is old harbor and historic buildings. Washington Island is also worth visiting and has the country's oldest Icelandic settlement.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts in Door County

Lambeau Field

The story of the Green Bay Packers is a remarkable tale of a small town's ability to host a major league professional sports team. Take the team's stadium. Nearly large enough to house the city's entire population of 72,000, Lambeau Field opened in 1957 and is the longest continuously occupied stadium in the league.

Formed in 1919, the team is the third oldest in the NFL, and the league's only non-profit team (it's owned by the city of Green Bay). Whether you're a sports fan or not, you'll enjoy a tour of the stadium with its behind-the-scenes look at how a major league team operates.

Two superb self-guided sightseeing tours of Packers-related landmarks are also worth checking out: the Walk of Legends is an art walkway of 24 statues celebrating the history of football in Green Bay between 1895 and the present (and fun to explore at night), and the Packers Heritage Trail is a walking tour taking in city landmarks associated with the team.

Address: 1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Official site: www.packers.com

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Green Bay

Land o' Lakes region in Wisconsin

The lovely Land o' Lakes region is tucked away between Boulder Junction, Eagle River, and Rhinelander in the northern part of Wisconsin. Hugely popular with water sports enthusiasts, it boasts more than 200 unspoiled lakes of various sizes.

Campers and backpackers are particularly fond of the region, which is wonderful to explore by canoe or kayak. Highlights are its abundant flora and fauna, with good fishing and bird-watching, including an opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the few remaining white-tailed eagles in the area.

The town of Eagle River is a good place to begin exploring the region and offers a variety of things to do, from fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and swimming in summer, to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.

Address: 6484 Hwy 45, Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin

Copper Falls State Park

While the Badger State is known for many things — in particular its dairy products and cheese — it's certainly not short of natural wonders, either. It's especially popular with hikers and outdoor enthusiasts thanks to its numerous lovely waterfalls . While some of the most attractive are set in relatively remote locations, many are within easy reach of major urban centers.

One of the most popular Wisconsin destinations for waterfalls is Copper Falls State Park . Just a few minutes' drive north of the small town of Mellen , this beautiful park is, in fact, home to no less than three waterfalls. Two of the most visited, Copper Falls itself and Brownstone Falls in the park's north end, are each accessible via the Waterfall Trail, an easy trek that's suitable for even the casual hiker.

The third falls, Red Granite Falls, is located at the park's southern end and is also worth seeing. For those wanting to make a full day of it, a total 17 miles of hiking trails is ready to be explored within Copper Falls State Park.

Address: 36764 Copper Falls Road, Mellen, Wisconsin

Official site: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/parks/copperfalls

All Steamed Up at the National Railroad Museum

There's no better family outing than the excellent National Railroad Museum in Green Bay . Home to more than 20 steam and diesel engines, plus numerous items of rolling stock, the museum houses a variety of railroad artifacts and memorabilia.

A highlight is the Eisenhower collection, which includes the Dwight D. Eisenhower , a streamlined vintage British engine used to pull the leader's military train across Europe during WWII. Fun events include excursions aboard a train decked out like the famous Thomas the Tank Engine, and haunted train rides at Halloween. An 80-foot-tall observation tower offers great views of the museum's collection and the surrounding area.

Address: 2285 South Broadway, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Official site: https://nationalrrmuseum.org

Take a Hike: Wisconsin's Wonderful Trails

One of the best ways to explore wonderful Wisconsin is to hike or bike across the state's extensive trail networks, an activity that's becoming increasingly popular with backpackers looking for an exciting outdoor adventure.

Many of the trails that cross the state provide a look at how landscapes have been shaped by glaciation, including the Ice Age Trail , an epic 1,000-mile-long National Scenic Trail stretching from Potawatomi State Park to St. Croix Dalles.

Then there's the North Country National Scenic Trail encompassing states from North Dakota to New York, 117 miles of it passing right through the heart of Wisconsin. A gentler and extremely pleasant hike is the Geneva Lake Shore Path , a 21-mile walking trail that crosses many of the state's classiest country estates (allow at least a full day if you're planning to walk the entire route).

Official site: www.iceagetrail.org

Snowmobiling in Northwest Wisconsin

For the outdoor winter enthusiast there are few places that offer the variety and access of cold weather sports then the Northwest region of Wisconsin. The Northwoods (comprised of Langdale, Lincoln, Forest, Vilas, and Oneida counties) and the towns of Cable and Hayward, among others in the region, make for an interconnected outdoor winter playground.

It is easy to rent equipment from local outfitters and enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat-tire biking. There are more than 200 miles of cross-country skiing trails and 80 miles of fat-tire biking trails just in the Hayward/Cable region. There are more than 600 miles of snowmobile trails in the area and hundreds of miles more that connect the many small towns in the Northwoods.

You could make a full vacation just traveling from town to town by snowmobile and staying in a different area each night. What makes the northwest region spectacular for outdoor winter sports it that there are trails for every skill level, and it is easy to find guides, equipment, and instruction.

Trails are always maintained in the winter. The town of Hayward has the largest fleet of snow- and trail-grooming equipment in the United States.

Cheesehead Factory

Wisconsin is synonymous with cheese, and Wisconsin sports fans are synonymous with the famous Cheesehead. The term is a nickname referring to fans of the Green Bay Packers NFL team, and it has developed its own cult following. Cheeseheads are easily identified by the oversized foam cheese slice that is worn as a hat.

You do not have to be a Cheesehead to enjoy a visit to the original Cheesehead Factory in Milwaukee. The factory and store are located inside a warehouse and have everything related to the Cheesehead brand, along with history about its humble beginnings.

The Cheesehead store features products like ornaments and foam cheese earrings, as well as clothing bearing the brand's name. You can even take your own foam cheese hat or head to a Packer's game and feel like a local.

Address: 1120 S. Barclay Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The House on the Rock

The curious House on the Rock is one of Wisconsin's most unusual tourist attractions. Set high atop Deer Shelter Rock in Spring Green, it's a fascinating mix of oddities and antiques housed in a sprawling complex of structures built to mimic the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose famous Taliesin East home is nearby.

A highlight of a visit is the 218-foot-long Infinity Room, which seems to disappear into the distance when you stand in it. This fun attraction is also part of a larger complex that includes a resort and an inn.

Address: 5754 State Road 23, Spring Green, Wisconsin

Official site: www.thehouseontherock.com

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25 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Last Updated By VacationIdea Staff on January 21, 2024

25 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

  • 1. Milwaukee


Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the Lakefront Trail, go paddling with Milwaukee Kayak Company or simply enjoy Bradford Beach. Anyone interested in motorbikes will not want to miss a tour of the Harley Davidson Museum.


Other interesting activities to try include campus tours of the University of Wisconsin, visiting Olbrich Botanical Gardens, boating and paddling on the five lakes around the city and biking the extensive network of cycling trails. More things to do in Madison

  • 3. Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Lake Geneva

Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Lake Geneva

The historic Downtown is the place to go for shopping and dining, and when the winter snows arrive you can go skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, ice skating and sledding before treating yourself to a pamper session at one of the many day spas.

  • 4. Spring Green, Wisconsin

Spring Green, Wisconsin

Spring Green is home to a thriving arts community and there are many galleries and studios to visit before rounding off your day with a performance at the famous American Players Theatre or the White Church Theatre Project. More things to do in Spring Green

  • 5. Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Green Bay

Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Green Bay

Families can have hours of fun at the Bay Beach Amusement Park, the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and the NEW Zoo. Bikers can try the 25-mile Fox River State Recreational Trail. Round off your busy day with a show at the historic downtown Meyer Theatre.

  • 6. La Crosse, Wisconsin

La Crosse, Wisconsin

You can shop for gifts at wonderful little shops and galleries in the Historic Downtown, visit several breweries and wineries or attend one of the regular festivals such as Oktoberfest, Irishfest, Riverfest or Airfest.


For a break from history you can hop aboard the Electric Streetcar Circulator for a two-mile loop along the Lake Michigan shoreline or visit the Kenosha Harbor Market. Dedicated shoppers can grab a bargain at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, while water-sport enthusiasts can go boating, sailing or fishing and there are miles of biking trails for cyclists. More things to do in Kenosha

  • 8. Eau Claire

Eau Claire

To work off those extra calories you can hike or bike several scenic trails or enjoy snow-shoeing and snowmobiling trails in winter. More things to do in Eau Claire

  • 9. Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Cedarburg

Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Cedarburg

More ideas: Things to do in Chippewa Falls

  • 10. Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Wausau

Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Wausau

Outdoors the fun never stops and you can go hiking and biking along many miles of trails. In winter the emphasis switches to downhill and cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and snowmobiles.

  • 11. Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Oshkosh

Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Oshkosh

The Oshkosh Public Museum and the Paine Art Center and Gardens are other popular attractions and in Downtown Oshkosh you can stroll or cycle along the scenic River Walk and visit some unusual shops and galleries. Outdoor enthusiasts will be pleased to find a variety of hiking and biking trails, over 200 miles of snowmobile trails and opportunities to go boating, fishing and kayaking on Lake Winnebago.

  • 12. WI Places to Visit: Muskego

WI Places to Visit: Muskego

Minooka Park has a popular beach, sled hill, and archery range. Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm is a family-friendly petting farm and exotic wildlife zoo with animals that include black bears and lemurs.

  • 13. Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin

Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin

Back on land you can explore 29 miles of hiking trails or head into the backcountry. Other activities include visiting the Nature Center, biking, rock climbing, swimming, scuba diving and fishing.

  • 14. Cave Point County Park, Wisconsin

Cave Point County Park, Wisconsin

Sunsets are particularly impressive and photographers will have a marvelous time. Adventurous visitors can go on a guided kayak tour with Door County Kayak Tours to see and explore the caves from the water.

  • 15. Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Grandad Bluff Park

Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Grandad Bluff Park

You can bring a picnic and go hiking along some of the bluff-side hiking trails that are accessed from the parking area. If you are in La Crosse on New Year’s Eve you will be able to watch the annual Skyrocker’s Fireworks Show that takes place on the bluff.

  • 16. Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is also known for two teams that produce spectacular waterski shows every week between Memorial and Labor Day.

  • 17. Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Racine

Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Racine

Architecture fans should not miss touring the SC Johnson headquarters where you can admire examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, while art enthusiasts will be blown away by the Racine Art Museum. Other attractions you can visit include the Wind Point Lighthouse and Racine Zoo.

  • 18. WI Places to Visit: Interstate State Park

WI Places to Visit: Interstate State Park

In summer you can enjoy swimming, non-motorized boating, canoeing and kayaking and In winter you can have fun on over five miles of recreational trails suitable for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing.

  • 19. High Cliff State Park

High Cliff State Park

Land-based activities you can try include biking, horse-back riding (there are 8.5 miles of bridle paths), archery-only hunting (during the hunting season) and camping . In winter you can go skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or have fun on a three-mile snowmobile trail.

  • 20. Places to Visit Near Me: Schoolhouse Beach

Places to Visit Near Me: Schoolhouse Beach

The beach is great for sun-tanning (perhaps not quite as comfortable as a sand beach – just bring a mattress) and there is a wooded area where you can picnic or have a barbecue. More unique places to visit

  • 21. Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

There are seven river-side hiking trails (which can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter) and if you undertake a multi-day hiking or kayaking adventure you can camp alongside the river each night.

  • 22. Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Places to Visit in Wisconsin: Ice Age National Scenic Trail

There are campsites along all sections of the trail and there are hundreds of trailhead and access points where you can join the trail. Most of the trail is open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter and certain sections are suitable for biking and snowmobiling.

  • 23. Places to Visit Near Me: Hayward Lakes

Places to Visit Near Me: Hayward Lakes

More ideas: WI wedding venues

  • 24. Place to Visit Near Me: Geneva Lake Shore Path

Place to Visit Near Me: Geneva Lake Shore Path

There are several public access points dotted around the circumference of the lake.

  • 25. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Back on land you can enjoy hiking over 50 miles of trails, camping (18 of the islands have campsites) or going on day trips to neighboring islands.

The 25 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin & Fun things to do near me today:

Lakeside Park is situated in Fond du Lac on the southern shore of Lake Winnebago, offering both locals and visitors over 400 acres of waterside recreational space. The park is a year-round attraction and each season has its own appeal. In summer you can visit the Lakeside Park Lighthouse to get wonderful views over Lake Winnebago from the elevated observation tower and enjoy a long list of water sports. You can rent a canoe, kayak or paddle boat from Lakeside Park Rides or bring along your own boat to launch at the Lakeside Park Marina. Children can have fun on the playgrounds or take a ride on the miniature railway and carousel. There are plenty of picnic sites and in winter you can go ice skating and ice fishing on the lake.

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14 Best Things to Do in Wisconsin, from Cheese Tastings to Ice Caves

By Katy Spratte Joyce

14 Best Things to Do in Wisconsin from Cheese Tastings to Ice Caves

The Badger State may not spring to mind as a vacation hot spot or bucket-list destination, but frankly, it should. Wisconsin has plenty to offer every type of traveler, with tons of geographic diversity, excellent mid-sized cities, gorgeous natural wonders, a bevvy of notable culinary traditions, and more. If you’re headed to America’s Dairyland for a long weekend getaway or a quickie day trip , the state is sure to shine with Midwestern charm. Here are the 14 best things to do in Wisconsin, whether it’s your first or fiftieth time visiting.

Great River Road Wisconsin

Explore the Great River Road

Following the Great River Road along the Mighty Mississippi River is a quintessential American road trip. A not-so-well-kept secret is that Wisconsin boasts the prettiest views on the entire journey. Start in Prescott, home to the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center . Then, consider grabbing a bite to eat at the excellent seasonal eateries along the way, like Chef Shack in Bay City, Hop Dish & Vine in Stockholm, and Harbor View Cafe in Pepin. Stretch your legs with a quick, scenic hike at Maiden Rock State Natural Area, which overlooks the stunning waters of Lake Pepin, the widest natural part of the river. Wash it all down with a glass of Cotes Du Pepin white at Villa Bellezza , one of just many stops on the Great River Road Wine Trail , part of the Upper Mississippi River Valley American Viticultural Area.

Fun fact: The entire Great River Road route just earned the All-American Road designation from the National Scenic Byway program .

Whistling Straits Golf Course People playing golf sunset

Golf Whistling Straits

Whistling Straits is a bucket list, world-class, Pete Dye-designed public course that kisses the coast of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan County. Designed to look and feel like Ireland, the course is actually one of many stellar golf options associated with a nearby luxe resort, The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin. The state boasts a myriad of fine courses, Sand Valley and Erin Hills among them, but Whistling Straits stands out from the pack as the host of the 2021 Ryder Cup (rescheduled from 2020), three past PGA Championships, and all the charm and amenities that come with Kohler hospitality.

Door County Schoolhouse Beach aerial

Experience Door County

The popular destination Door County , long ago nicknamed “The Cape Cod of the Midwest,” offers full immersion into all things Wisconsin. Start with a fish boil at the The White Gull Inn and stay for a starry night at Newport State Park , the state’s first International Dark Sky Park . Take the ferry to Washington Island for a visit to Fragrant Isle , a massive, Provence-esque lavender farm. Back on the peninsula, pop into an old school Supper Club like Earl’s in Sister Bay, one of over 250 in the state; for the most authentic version of this culinary tradition, be sure to order fried cheese curds with ranch, a Midwest must, along with a Wisconsin (Brandy) Old Fashioned.

Ice Caves Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Wisconsin A beautiful natural arch on Lake Superior covered in ice

Hike to the ice caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The Bayfield region on Wisconsin’s northern tip has a federally designed National Lakeshore, which is administered by the National Park Service. While Apostle Islands makes for a memorable destination all year long, a wintertime trip belongs on your Badger State bucket list for one reason: ice caves . These are only open when weather allows, as access to the caves requires a minimum two-mile, round-trip hike on the frozen waters of Lake Superior. Expect massive ice formations among the craggy shores, made even more special by the specific conditions necessary to view them in all their glory.

This area is also known for its embrace of native culture and is home to Frog Bay Tribal National Park , the nation’s first, as well as the U.S.’ original indigenous-owned distillery, Copper Crow .

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Wisconsin Cheese Trail Interior of Fromagination Cheese Shop

Sample award-winning cheese in the capital city

We probably should have led with this one, since you can’t come to Wisconsin without eating all of the cheese. The state, affectionately called America’s Dairyland, produces more than 600 types of cheese, including the winningest U.S. cheese of all time, Pleasant Ridge Reserve , a divine alpine-style delicacy produced by Uplands Cheese in the Driftless Region . Travel Wisconsin actually has two distinct cheese trails , though our favorite is the Southwest Itinerary. Some highlights are Fromagination, an artisan shop on Capitol Square in Madison, and the fourth generation Carr Valley Cheese , which produces more than 100 styles. While in Madison , visit the Dane County Farmer’s Market, the largest producer’s-only market in the country.

Fans tailgate prior to a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin.

Tailgate where it was invented

Green Bay, home to the NFL’s Packers and their home base at Lambea Field, is the official seat of tailgate culture. Legend holds that Packer fans first coined the term a century ago while cheering on their pigskin team. The mixed-use development around the stadium is now known as Titletown , but be sure to stick to the Lambeau lots for sanctioned tailgating action. Sports fans will especially enjoy this offering, though the pretty scenery of Northeastern Wisconsin attracts a broad spectrum of travelers to the area. For more football-focused activities, consider walking or driving the Packers Heritage Trail and visiting the Hall of Fame .

Kayaking on Lake Michigan

Paddle the Lake Michigan Water Trail

Once complete, the entire Lake Michigan Water Trail will be a 1,600-mile route that traverses the Great Lake’s shore. Eventually, it will be the water equivalent to the Appalachian Trail and the longest continuous loop water trail on earth. Wisconsin is ahead of the pack here, as its 525 miles form the only completed section of the trail, beginning near Kenosha and ending by Door County. Paddlers can canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard to campsites every ten miles on the beach, with plenty of lighthouses, sand dunes, and shipwrecks along the way.

aerial view of Cranberry Bog Wisconsin

Drive through cranberry country

A lesser-known agricultural gem are Wisconsin cranberries. The state produces more of this tart red fruit than any other, growing more than 60 percent of the nation’s bounty. Warrens is considered the Cranberry Capital, and it hosts an annual festival that coincides with the cranberry harvest every year in late September. This central Wisconsin town is also the start of the so-called “Cranberry Highway,” a scenic 50-mile jaunt through ruby red, century-old marshes. For the most interactive experience, consider a tour of a working marsh like the Splash of Red Cranberry Tours in Pittsville.

New Glarus Brewery

Take a sip of Spotted Cow

Beer is another major staple in Wisconsin. After all, its largest city of Milwaukee has a baseball team called the Brewers, and residents consume more alcohol than almost any other state. Of all the brewing operations in this land of beer, we suggest a visit to the female-owned New Glarus Brewery down south. Their tasty beverages can only be enjoyed in the Badger State. If you’re having just one, try the best-selling, cult classic Spotted Cow. If time allows, consider a brewery tour and tasting to sample Fat Squirrel, Moon Man, Two Women, and Staghorn Octoberfest.

Frank Lloyd Wrights Taliesin

Visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin

​​Frank Lloyd Wright grew up in the Badger State, which inspired his famed Prairie Style of design. Visitors can follow in his footsteps on the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail , which traverses the southern reaches of Wisconsin and includes nine total stops. Taliesin and the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor’s Center remain the star attraction, 800 acres set among the rolling hills of Spring Green.

Boy Karting at Road America

Discover Road America in Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake is a teeny, jewel-toned wonder that is called the clearest lake in the state. And while it is a gorgeous body of tranquil water, that’s not the biggest draw to this cute village and resort area. That honor belongs to Road America , one of the most historic tracks on the planet that happens to call Eastern Wisconsin home. Guests can see a race in action, camp overnight, ride ATVs, race go karts, take driving classes, and so much more on this 600-acre-plus property.

GeesClippers Barber Shop in Bronzeville Wisconsin

Celebrate Black excellence in Bronzeville

Milwaukee’s Bronzeville neighborhood was a historic jazz, arts, and entertainment district for primarily the African American community. Today, it’s home to a diverse mix of businesses, like food halls and artist galleries. Be sure to stop into the Bronzeville Collective , a grouping of 25 artist’s shops focused on makers of color. America’s Black Holocaust Museum will also open in the area soon.

Waterpark in The Dells Wisconsin

Make a splash at America’s largest waterpark

Southern Wisconsin is the so-called “Waterpark Capital of the World,” with Noah’s Ark as the largest individual park property set on more than 70 acres of family-friendly fun. This region is colloquially known as The Dells, and its full name is The Wisconsin Dells. Beyond racing down water slides, The Dells claims excellent golfing, is near the most visited state park in Wisconsin at Devil’s Lake , and is famed for its duck boat land-to-water tours.

Eau Claire Murals  Art

View the murals in Eau Claire

This funky hamlet is considered the “Indie Capital of the Midwest,” and it shows. A booming art and music scene has helped Eau Claire become the fastest growing city in the state. Outdoor sculptures, massive murals, and art galleries galore combine into an art capital that’s a worthwhile destination on its own. A stellar lineup of festivals like the Blue Ox Music Festival, Eau Claire Jazz Festival, and Eaux Claires (championed by local resident and Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon) round out the creative offerings in this small but mighty city.

Wild Rice Retreat

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21 best places to visit in wisconsin (for your bucket list).

Wisconsin is a gorgeous state with so much to see and do! These are the best places to visit in Wisconsin – all perfect for every Wisconsin bucket list!

Whether you’re someone who prefers a city that never sleeps, a fun outdoor adventure, or a glimpse back in time for some history, you’re bound to find it in Wisconsin.

Best places to visit in Wisconsin

From the shores of the Great Lakes to the state’s dense forests, adventure awaits in Wisconsin no matter what season you plan on visiting.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best places in Wisconsin , each being something that anyone would enjoy.

Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

1. cedarburg.

Located on a 2-hour drive from Chicago, Cedarburg is a fun place for a short getaway in Wisconsin.

It’s well-known for its collection of European-style light-colored brick and limestone structures, many of which date back to the 19th century.

Cedarburg has several wooden covered bridges, including the Cedarburg Covered Bridge.

You can cross the bridge on foot (the only permitted way) and feel its historic spirit.


When in the area, you can also spend some relaxing time at the Covered Bridge Park, especially If you appreciate the region and want to go fishing, canoeing, or picnicking.

Carrying on with the historic and cultural attributes of the small Wisconsin town , visit the Cedarburg History Museum and the Cedarburg Art Museum to learn interesting stories and enjoy the stunning collection of artwork.

When in Cedarburg, you also should make it a point to visit the Cedar Creek Winery to grab a bottle of fine wine, shop at the Historic Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement, or hike the famous Ozaukee Interurban Trail.

Home to a fascinating culture and famous events, Madison is surely one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

One of this city’s most unique characteristics is the fact that most of its beautiful buildings were constructed by Frank Lloyd Wright, who was born in Wisconsin.

There are a lot of things to do and sights to see in this city, so make sure to plan properly.


Some places that should not be missed are the Wisconsin State Capitol, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Estate, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Museums are an inseparable part of this town!

Be sure to also visit the Chazen Museum of Art, featuring not only stunning exhibits but also a chamber music program.

In case you’re more into other kinds of recreation, keep in mind the amazing water sports on the five lakes of Madison, music festivals like the Rhythm and Booms, or Blue Mounds State Park, which is perfect for camping, and hiking, and more.

3. Lake Geneva

Southeast Wisconsin is home to Lake Geneva , which is a lovely lakeside city with prominent history, world-class golf courses, water activities, shopping, and more.

Out of all seasons, winter in Lake Geneva is the most special.

Visitors can experience the Alpine Valley Resort’s 90 skiable acres, cross-country skiing at Big Foot Beach State Park, and much more.

Lake Geneva

For those seeking some adrenaline adventures, Lake Geneva Ziplines and Adventures is the place to be.

Also, don’t skip overtaking a downtown stroll! Check out the city’s local restaurants and shops, and visit Scoops Ice Cream and Deli, which provides the area’s famous Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream along the shore.

Definitely plan a visit to renowned spots like Geneva Lake Museum, known to showcase local history, Tristan Crist Magic Theater, which features illusionary art, and Lake Geneva Cruise Lines, which offers the most unique sights around the city.

4. Green Bay

Being the smallest city in the US to host a professional sports team, Green Bay is known to attract many visitors with its epic local entertainment, wineries, art, culture, and history.

You may start your trip here from places like the Neville County Public Museum or Heritage Hill State Historical Park, where you’ll learn how the area was settled and go back in time to the 1800s.

The historic Meyer Theater is also a must; you can either catch up with current performance or stop by to see its beautiful interior design.

Green Bay

Once the history part is done, head over to the Titletown Complex, a 45-acre space made up of restaurants, entertainment venues, and retail shops.

The very best of Green Bay is centered there! Alternatively, visit the Automobile Gallery & Event Center for a fun, car-related experience, or the National Railroad Museum, which will teach you all about America’s railroad history and locomotives.

5. La Crosse

Located on the Mississippi River, La Crosse is an awesome waterside city and a great getaway option offering a variety of entertaining activities.

There are two main options to explore La Crosse: from the river on a riverboat trip that departs at Riverside Park or from Grandad Bluff Park via several walking and hiking trails.

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast and happen to be in La Crosse, don’t waste time and head over to the Mount La Crosse Ski Area, where both amateurs and those who want an adrenaline rush will find winter entertainment.

La Crosse

When exploring the downtown, don’t skip a stroll through Riverside Park, which is not only a famous event venue but also a perfect place for a nice picnic.

Other must-see places here are the Dahl Auto Museum, with stories of the country’s automobile manufacturing history, the multi-purpose Great River State Trail, Goose Island County Park, and Lake Onalaska.

6. Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

Looking for a nice getaway in Wisconsin where you can enjoy waterfront activities?

The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway is the place to go.

There are many water sports activities available here, with opportunities ranging from hiking and camping to river boating and ranger-led programs.

For paddling (kayak or canoe), you can either plan a day trip or make a big excursion for several days, or paddle in calm or more social settings.

St. Croix River

It’s awesome for fishing, too.

With areas of the St. Croix River being fast and rocky, this is considered to be one of the best areas in the country for small-mouth bass fishing, for example.

If you wish to go camping, you can choose a site that suits your needs the best as there are different camping zones.

You can get from one campsite to another for multi-day trips, but note that the campgrounds are usually only accessible by boat.

As one of the smallest cities in the US, Kenosha surely has its place on the list of the most popular places to visit in Wisconsin.

Kenosha is home to a number of interesting museums.

One of the first must-sees is the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of meat-eating dinosaur skeletons.

The Kenosha Public Museum, meanwhile, houses the world’s largest collection of wooly mammoth bones.

Kenosha_Samantha R Swain_Shutterstock

The Civil War Museum, located just next door to the Kenosha Public Museum, is the country’s second-largest Civil War museum.

To get one step closer to nature, try exploring the Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum, which is centered around environmental education and sanctuary preservation programs.

One of the top attractions here is the historic streetcars.

You can go on a 2-mile scenic circular tour of the town, through two historic districts, the central business district, HarborPark, and the Lake Michigan shoreline via the streetcars.

Wausau is a place of rich heritage, art, and pretty city parks.

Though it only has one-fifteenth of the population of Milwaukee, this city has many attractions that certainly won’t leave you feeling bored.

This area typically gets twice the amount of snow than the average U.S. city, so winter activities, as you can guess, are the most popular here.


The Granite Peak Ski Area, Rib Mountain, and Sylvan Hill Park are the best-of-the-best spots for cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice fishing, ice skating, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and more.

Wausau prides itself on the 37 beautiful city parks, the most visited ones being Wausau Whitewater Park (a top U.S. training site for canoeing and kayaking), Isle of Ferns, and Fall Colors.

Also, places and events like open-air farmers’ markets, Monk Botanical Garden, music festivals, Wausau Concert Band performances, the Beer & Bacon Festival, and the Festival of Arts are parts of the spirit of this city that you should get acquainted with.

If youʻre looking for cool places nearby to visit – check out Stevens Point !

9. Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake is Wisconsin’s most popular state park. With the lake as its main attraction, the area is an awesome destination for watercraft, hiking, climbing, fishing, sandy beaches, and much more.

Let’s start with hiking.

The park offers around 30 miles to enjoy unique natural habitats, among which the National Ice Age Trail, East Bluff Trail, and the Tumbled Rocks Trail are the best based on the number of visitors they get yearly.

Also, plan ahead to rent a boat, canoe, or kayak to explore the stunning Devil’s Lake.

Devilʻs Lake State Park

Go birdwatching or wildlife viewing as the place is home to around 40 species of mammals and more than 100 species of birds (and you’ll definitely spot something that’ll impress you).

Lastly, don’t forget to take your camera with you to capture beautiful shots of the lake or some panoramic shots from higher spots.

10. Cave Point County Park

With amazing views of Lake Michigan and limestone cliffs, this park feels like nature’s delight. Cave Point County Park is perfect for fishers, divers, and kayakers to experience views of many stunning underwater caverns.

To get the full experience, challenge yourself with a moderately difficult trail that connects the park to Whitefish Dunes State Park to the south.

Alternatively, reserve a kayak tour and see the caves and lake shoreline up close.

Cave Point County Park

One thing out of the ordinary here is watching how big waves crash against rock formations during a storm. It’s pretty mesmerizing to see, so try to catch that!

The views in the park are spectacular during the winter season too. The steady wave motion creates icicles that cling to the rock formations, resulting in a beautiful sight. Cross-country skiing is also possible on the trail, though it is not groomed.

11. Grandad Bluff Park

Grandad Bluff is the largest bluff in the La Crosse area, and it’s famous for its picturesque views of the city.

It opens up vistas of Minnesota to the west and Iowa to the south, as well as stunning views of the Mississippi River Valley.

It’s one of the highest points in La Crosse and offers recreation through coin-based binoculars, picnic areas, biking, and hiking trails.

In addition to taking in the spectacular scenery, you may explore several bluff-side hiking trails.

Grandad Bluff Park

There are about 5 miles of trails that are mostly family-friendly and welcome pets too.

Once you feel like you need some rest, want to get a drink, or grab a quick bite of food, stop at either Alpine Inn or Bluffside Tavern.

12. Interstate State Park

Interstate State Park offers spectacular views of the river and the steep-sided valley known as the Dalles of the St. Croix, which is located along the scenic St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

The Dalles of the St. Croix is the beautiful focal point of Wisconsin’s oldest state park, so you can’t really miss it.

When it comes to activities, there are plenty of options for snowshoeing, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

Interstate State Park

A notable place to be is the park’s Ice Age Interpretive Center, which features a 20-minute film, images, paintings, and other information about the big glaciers of Wisconsin.

Within the park’s 1,400 acres are three state natural areas that conserve distinctive glacier landforms and plant ecosystems.

Also, if you love taking epic selfies, demonstrate your skills on the Pothole Trail, where you’ll find a selfie platform with a view of the Dalles of the St. Croix River.

13. Schoolhouse Beach

Schoolhouse Beach is an original shipping port and a protected harbor area.

The top activity here is, of course, swimming, which is followed by picnics and photography.

For those looking for a relaxing getaway to sunbathe and swim in clear waters, Schoolhouse Beach is the place to be! Have a nice swim and do a cute little picnic beside a fabulous setting.

After you’ve had enough of swimming, picnicking, and building cairns, you might want to consider taking short trips to spots like Jacobsen Museum.

Schoolhouse Beach in Door County

This visit-worthy museum, which is less than 2 miles from Schoolhouse Beach, houses a diverse collection of local natural and historical relics.

For your information, May through October is the greatest time to visit Schoolhouse Beach because you have the chance to enjoy the warm days of spring, summer, and autumn.

14. Milwaukee

Milwaukee is the most populous and culturally diverse city in Wisconsin and is famous for many reasons in the US !

It doesn’t matter what you are looking for when going on a trip to Milwaukee because the city has it all!

You can start getting to know the city from the central marketplace where you’ll be surrounded not only by shops full of local goods but also by a huge variety of eateries and breweries.


Do the 3-mile Milwaukee RiverWalk to get the most beautiful views of the city and river, as well as to explore the historical and architectural attributes via dozens of museums.

The most visited museums are the Milwaukee Art Museum, Harley Davidson Museum, and the Public Museum.

The Museum of Beer and Brewing is also a must.

Also, don’t forget to check out the events taking place at the time of your visit as Milwaukee is famous for its musical and cultural festivals and celebrations like the Polish Fest, the Lakefront Festival of Art, the Dragonboat Festival, and more.

15. Hayward Lakes

Hayward Lakes is one of the most tranquil getaways in Wisconsin and a renowned fishing hub. Regarding the activities available here, the list is long and there is a lot to try!

If you enjoy biking, check out the City of Hayward Bike Trail, Sawyer County Roads, or on another 300 miles of bike trails.

Do a canoe or a kayak trip on ​​Namekagon Riverway or explore the beautiful woods and rolling hills via hiking trails.

Some of the best areas are the eight-mile Hospital Trail system, the Chequamegon National Forest, and the North Country Scenic Trail.

You can also spend the day swimming in some blue waters, fish in an area that is known to be home to world-record muskies and the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, or enjoy an excellent winter vacation via snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling.

16. Spring Green

The small Wisconsin town of Spring Green has a lot of activity options for those who seek some adventure when in Wisconsin.

Some places that should not be missed in Spring Green are the famous tourist attraction of House on the Rock; the Frank Lloyd Wright estate named Taliesin; the American Players Theater to enjoy more than a hundred performances in the outdoor amphitheater from June to November.

After checking out the main sights of the town, consider visiting Spring Green Preserve.

Spring Green

It has a pretty unique flora and fauna while also being a hub of recreational activities such as camping, hiking, riding motorcycles or ATVs, or skiing and snowmobiling during the winter.

If you want to combine nature and history, Tower Hill State Park is a great option to unwind but at the same time take in views of historical structures, like the Helena Shot Tower.

17. High Cliff State Park

Geology, history, and fun – that’s what High Cliff State Park is about. 

You can start off the day by the beach and have a good swim in the beautiful Lake Winnebago.

After that, you might want to take a good bike ride through trails that are full of thick trees and grasslands.

High Cliff State Park

You can also check out activities like boating, canoeing, and kayaking, for which the park offers four developed boat launches.

Don’t underestimate fishing and hiking here too. Both the lake and Butterfly Pond are full of largemouth bass, panfish, walleye, white bass, and perch.

For hiking, try out the Butterfly Pond Trail, the Lime-Kiln Trail, and the Red Bird Trail.

The last one leads to the observation tower and is best for panoramic views.

18. Eau Claire

Eau Claire is all about great music and stunning riverfront views.

An attribute that sets this town apart is the abundance of great music festivals that take place, the good ones being Country Jam, Eaux Claires, and Blue Ox Music Festival.

Eau Claire hosts many family-friendly attractions such as Carson Park, High Roller Skating Center, and Altoona Family Restaurant.

You better plan your whole itinerary beforehand because there are a lot of possibilities for family fun!

Eau Claire

And the same goes for almost everything here. Even the downtown area is so rich with restaurants, bars, and shopping spots that you might need a whole day here if not two.

For art lovers, Pablo Center at the Confluence and other nearby museums in the downtown area is a must!

As far as outdoor activities, you can partake in therapeutic horseback riding at Trinity Equestrian, stroll around Chippewa River State Trail, or take advantage of the two rivers running through the town and paddle your way on the water trail.

19. Bayfield

Being the gateway to the Apostle Island National Lakeshore, Bayfield is where you can enjoy a great vacation while feeling close to nature.

The popular way to tour Bayfield is by cycling.

There are 20 cycling routes in Ashland and Bayfield counties open for all visitors to check out the scenic overlooks of the cliffs and greenery.


A typical stop here is the Big Bay State Park, where you’ll find some sweet treats in bakeries or ice cream shops.

Relax and go on a kayaking tour to see the beautiful red sea caves on Lake Superior’s shimmering waters. The kayaking sites here might be among the best you’ve ever seen!

If time allows, also take a ferry ride from Bayfield to Madeline Island and search for the local art gallery, historic antiques at the Bayfield Maritime and Heritage museums, or attend some exciting events like the Bayfield Race, Chautauqua Tent Shows, or Bayfield’s Apple Fest.

Known to be a factory town and home to famous Danish pastries, Racine is another nice getaway option for Wisconsin visitors.

One of the first things worth checking out in this town is the Wind Point Lighthouse, which is open for tours and even welcomes private events.

Your next stop should be the Racine Art Museum.

It’s the number one space for art in Racine, which houses 9,500 items and is Northern America’s largest and most prominent craft collection.

To get close to the environment and nature, River Bend Nature Center is the place to be!


In addition to traditional hiking trails, there are ponds, river frontage, and equipment available for canoe and kayak renting.

Do not underestimate the history of the town, and be sure to pay a short visit to the Racine Heritage Museum.

The exhibitions here mostly are about factories that once operated in Racine, the role of the harbor, and how Frank Lloyd Wright is associated with this town.

21. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a coastal park, consisting of 22 separate units (islands) and it is one of Wisconsinʻs best weekend getaways !

The ways to explore the area range from paddling a kayak and sailing through the islands to hiking and visiting historical structures.

As the distances between the islands are long enough, the recommendation here is to have a prior plan of what spots you’re going to visit, taking into account the fact that transportation through the islands is possible through water only.

As you can guess, there are many cruises and tours offered on Apostle Islands.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

For instance, there is the 55-mile Grand Tour, which travels through the lighthouses on Raspberry and Devils islands, as well as the famous sea caverns.

Another type of recreational activity here could be the hike of the Lakeshore Trail, which begins at Meyers Beach and explores the cliffs above the caves.

Did we miss any amazing places to visit in Wisconsin?

Let us know your top Wisconsin bucket list destinations in the comments!

More Wisconsin Travel Guides

  • Waterfalls in Wisconsin
  • Weekend getaways in Wisconsin
  • Small towns in Wisconsin
  • Apple picking in Wisconsin
  • Things to do in Stevens Point

Pin this Wisconsin Bucket List

Are you looking for the best places to visit in Wisconsin for an upcoming trip? This Wisconsin bucket list covers cities, nature, and so much more! Learn more | Places in Wisconsin | Best places to visit in WI | Wisconsin destinations | Wisconsin small towns | Small towns in Wisconsin | Wisconsin day trips | Cities in Wisconsin | Wisconsin cities | Wisconsin itinerary

Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.

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a rock formation on the ice age trail one of the best things to do in wisconsin.

25 Things To Do In Wisconsin: The Ultimate Bucket List

June 11, 2021 by //  by  Midwest Explored 6 Comments

Are you looking for things to do in Wisconsin?

Then this list is perfect for you!

Wisconsin is a beautiful state to visit, but it’s most popular in the warm Summer months.

Wisconsin Winters get very cold and very snowy, but they are beautiful too.

There really is no bad time to visit this gorgeous Midwestern state.

Whether you are looking for Wisconsin weekend getaways , fun road trips, or unique Wisconsin attractions, there is something to do in every season in Wisconsin.

So, lets take a look at 25 things to do in Wisconsin for the ultimate bucket list!

The view looking over a rocky cliff down into a very blue lake in Wisconsin. The lake is surrounded by tall trees with green leaves. The sky is very blue and there are there some clouds.

Milwaukee Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Wisconsin

If you’re looking for big city adventures in the Midwest, Milwaukee is perfect.

It is the biggest city in Wisconsin and the fifth-biggest city in the Midwest.

That means there is tons to do there, no matter what you’re interested in.

You can check out any of the many museums, explore the boutique restaurants and stores, or even get a taste of the urban outdoors in one of the many parks.

Milwaukee is also starting to become known as a hot spot for up and coming breweries.

While you’re in Milwaukee, consider taking a brewery tour to discover some new beers or ones with interesting flavor profiles.

After your brewery tour, you’ll want to enjoy a meal at one of the many amazing restaurants in Wisconsin.

There is truly an endless amount of things to do in Milwaukee and it’s a great place in Wisconsin to explore.

A slight aerial view of the Milwaukee skyline at twilight. There are buildings of all shapes and sizes. Some are old and some are new. They are all lit up and the sky is pink and purple.

Wisconsin Dells For Endless Waterparks

The Wisconsin Dells is literally the Waterpark Capital of the World.

There are four outdoor waterparks that are typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

If you are visiting during the colder months, you can still take advantage of five indoor waterparks.

The area also has a ton of options for natural water fun.

The Dells of the Wisconsin River is a state park that is one of the best hidden gems of the Midwest .

You can enjoy hiking, watersports, and swimming while taking in the natural beauty of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Dells is perfect for all kinds of water activities, all year round, making it one of the best attractions in Wisconsin.

A wooden sign welcoming you to Wisconsin Dells, the Waterpark Capital of the World. There is a drawing of a rock formation and a kid on an innertube on some waves on it.

If you happen to be near Chicago and are looking to plan a day trip to Wisconsin , definitely check out Madison.

Madison is beautiful all year round, but it especially shines during the warmer months.

With five lakes, Madison is another great place in Wisconsin to enjoy water activities.

The lakes span over 15,000 acres total, and you can enjoy anything from swimming, boating, kayaking, and so much more.

There are also hiking trails around the lakes you can enjoy.

If you visit outside of the Summer months, you’ll still find some great attractions in Wisconsin while you’re exploring Madison.

Explore the fun downtown district where you can find unique boutique, waterfront restaurants, breweries, and even dinner theaters.

If you’re wondering what to do in Wisconsin, Madison is an awesome choice.

A slight aerial view of the Wisconsin Capital Building in Madison. It is a large Greek Revival building with a tall green dome in the middle. It is surrounded by a grassy park with trees. The building is lit up and the sun is setting so the sky is red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple.

Devil’s Lake State Park To Admire Fall Foliage

For those visiting Wisconsin in the Fall and looking to see some Fall foliage , head to Devil’s Lake State Park.

Devil’s Lake State Park is Wisconsin’s largest State Park and perfect for admiring the beautiful foliage of Wisconsin in the Fall.

The best time to see the leaves is usually Mid-October, but Wisconsin’s Fall foliage season can be anywhere from Late-September to Late-October.

The timing for the leaves changing colors all depends on the temperature that year.

If you do head to Devil’s Lake State Park, make sure you hike to the top of one of the 500-feet quartzite bluffs that are scattered around the park.

You can’t go wrong admiring the area in the Fall, and Fall foliage is one of the top attractions in Wisconsin.

The view from the water of the shore of the Devil Lake State Park. On the shore is a building with boats around it. There are also tons of trees with red, orange, yellow, and green leaves. One of the best things to do in Wisconsin.

Green Bay Is Full Of Things To Do In Wisconsin For Sports Lovers

Sports enthusiasts will love a weekend getaway exploring the city of Green Bay.

Green Bay is home to the Wisconsin Green Bay Packers, the state’s NFL team that has won 13 National Championships.

While in Green Bay, during football season you can try to catch a game.

Even when it is not football season, you can tour the stadium and learn more about the history of the Packers.

In the city of Green Bay there is plenty to do too.

It is a city full of delicious restaurants, unique museums, and even an amusement park .

Green Bay is full of attractions in Wisconsin for sports enthusiasts and everyone else too.

The view of the Green Bay skyline from the river at night. All the buildings are lit up and there is smoke billowing from nearby smokestacks. The skyline is reflected in the river.

See The Algoma Historic Murals

Walldog is a artistic style that captures the essence of early mural paintings, back when they were often advertisements for various things.

In June 2007, downtown Algoma was swarmed with Walldog artists dedicated to preserving this unique art style.

The city asked them to create and also recreate murals on ten buildings in the towns Downtown area.

The murals depict historic businesses, people, and activities that left an impact on Algoma’s history.

It is a dying art form, so that makes the Algoma murals even more interesting to visit.

You won’t get a chance to see historically accurate murals in many other places, so I definitely suggest heading to Algoma on your Wisconsin adventure.

Door County For Romantic Things To Do In Wisconsin

Door County Wisconsin is known as one of the most romantic counties in the Midwest, and it is full of fun things to do .

If you are wondering what to do in Wisconsin on your next romantic getaway, you’ll love Door County.

You can relax on the beach, explore unique museums, or tour a lighthouse.

Depending on when you visit, you can also try cherry-picking and sample some of the amazing cherry desserts in the area at one of the local restaurants.

If outdoor adventures are more your thing, Door County has those too.

Hike at the Cave Point County Park, head to one of the 35 named islands, or see the ‘backbone of America’ at the Peninsula State Park.

Romance is every where you look in the famous Door County Wisconsin.

A view looking down the shore of one of the islands at Cave Point State Park. The shore is large rock formations covered in trees with green, yellow, orange, and some red leaves. The water is very blue.

LaCrosse is one of the larger cities along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin.

It’s proximity to the river helped make it such a popular destination over the decades, and now it is full of fun things to do in Wisconsin.

In LaCrosse, take a Riverboat Cruise and admire the city’s skyline.

You can also wander through the International Friendship Gardens where you’ll find garden styles from countries all over the world.

The city also has a museum full of classic cars, a beautiful park with hiking trails and gorgeous city views, and so much more.

There are so many things to do in LaCrosse that you should definitely add it to your Wisconsin bucket list.

An aerial view of a large white bridge crossing the river over to LaCrosse Wisconsin. On the banks of the river you can see some house boats. On the other side of the river are lots of industrial buildings.

Appleton To See Harry Houdini History

Appleton is known for two things, Harry Houdini and the Mile of Music Festival.

Harry Houdini loved Appleton so much that he often claimed it as his birthplace, despite being born in Hungary.

However, Houdini’s family did move to Appleton when he was a toddler, so it’s safe to say it was the home he knew best.

The History Museum at the Castle has a permanent exhibit dedicated to Harry Houdini that you can tour all year long.

Appleton is also known for it’s yearly music festival, the Mile of Music Festival.

It typically takes place in August and it is completely free.

The festival spans an entire mile and you can see more than 200 up-and-coming artists performing at one of the many venues along the mile stretch.

No matter when you visit Appleton, there are sure to be plenty of attractions in this Wisconsin town.

An aerial view of the college campus at Appleton. There are some modern and older buildings together on the banks of the river. At the building in the front there is a large park with green grass and lots of trees with green, red, yellow, and orange leaves. One of the best things to do in Wisconsin.

Bayfield is known as the gateway to the Apostle Islands, but there are plenty of things to do there as well.

The small town of Bayfield is bursting with local artisans.

You can find art galleries, art workshops, and more.

If you want to learn more about the area, head to the Bayfield Maritime Museum.

The area is also full of local wineries, farms, and charming architecture.

While you’ll definitely want to explore the Apostle Islands, Bayfield is worth a stop on it’s own too!

The view of the small town of Bayfield from the lake. It has lots of charming buildings going up the side of the hill and trees with brown, yellow, orange, red, and green leaves. There is also a dock area on the water.

The Wisconsin Great River Road

The Great River Road runs through several US states, and one of those is Wisconsin.

It is a National Scenic Byway that has 33 small towns that you can explore along the way.

The byway follows the Mississippi River and all of the towns along the road are old river towns.

While you drive you’ll learn that some of the towns along the byway are even the some of the oldest towns in Wisconsin.

If you are looking for a Wisconsin or Midwest road trip with stunning views, The Great River Road is a great option.

An aerial view of an area on the Mississippi River where the Great River Road. you can see some houses and smokestacks. Most of what you see is trees with yellow, orange, red, brown, and green leaves. One of the best things to do in Wisconsin.

The town of Kohler may seem familiar to you if you’ve ever walked the aisles of your local home improvement store.

That’s because it was named after the Kohler company in 1900.

The town was originally built as a model company town, which is a town that has been specifically planned around an industry.

For Kohler that industry was all things plumbing.

Kohler is still known for it’s plumbing industrial history, and you can even tour the Kohler Design Center.

You’ll see a selection of both new and old Kohler designs and learn more about the companies history.

The town also has a winery, a large shopping district, and many golf courses.

It may not be the first place you think of when making your Wisconsin travel plans, but it is certainly unique.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Driving Tour Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Wisconsin

Frank Lloyd Wright is often considered one of, if not the greatest American architect.

He was also born and raised in Wisconsin.

So naturally, the state has quite a few of Wright’s architectural marvels within it.

The best way to see them all is to take a driving tour through Wisconsin of famous Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.

Along the route there are nine stops, and you’ll travel from Kenosha County to Richland County.

You’ll see gorgeous homes, administrative and business buildings, and even a church.

This is one very cool way to have a truly unique Wisconsin travel experience.

Spring Green, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's homes. It is a angular home with stone accents and a pale yellow stucco. There is a large green lawn and shrubs with purple and orange flowers. It is a sunny day and the sky is very blue.

Lake Geneva Is Perfect For A Beach Vacation

For those looking for a Midwestern beach vacation, Lake Geneva is just the ticket.

The town around Lake Geneva is a charming beach town full of unique boutiques, locally owned and operated restaurants, and fun art galleries.

It has become known as a popular vacation destination for Chicago’s wealthy families in the Summer.

But you don’t need to be wealthy to enjoy all of Lake Geneva’s many charms.

In the warmer months you can enjoy watersports on the lake like swimming, kayaking, and boating.

When there’s a chill in the air, Lake Geneva is still beautiful.

You’ll have a much quieter experience, but it’ll still be worth the trip.

The town holds a yearly Winter Fest where you can see the only ice sculpting championship in the United States.

It is a super fun thing to do in Wisconsin in the Winter.

Looking down the shore of Lake Geneva. It has a sandy beach with some play ground structures on it. There are also trees and some grassy areas. One of the best things to do in Wisconsin.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

The Olbrich Botanical Gardens are located in the beautiful city of Madison.

With over 16 acres of outdoor garden space and a conservatory, you can easily spend a few hours strolling the grounds of the garden.

The outdoor gardens feature some very stunning landscapes and a wide selection of plants that are able to withstand the cold Wisconsin Winters.

In the Bolz Conservatory you can find exotic plants, a waterfall, and birds enjoying the warm air.

If you are looking for a unique Wisconsin attraction, you’ll want to add the Olbrich Botanical Gardens to your bucket list.

A Thai inspired pavilion in the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The building is a creamy yellow and has two ponds next to it. There is also a bigger pond with a water feature in front of it. There are plants and a grassy area around it.

Harley Davidson Museum And Factory

The Harley Davidson Museum and Factory is perfect for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Through out the world you can visit Harley Davidson shops and find souvenirs specific to that store.

The Museum and Factory is another great place to find and collect your Harley Davidson memorabilia.

You of course will also want to take the time to tour the Museum and Factory to learn all about the famous motorcycle brand’s history.

While in the Museum you’ll also hear the stories of bikers from across the globe who ride Harleys.

There are also interactive exhibits, a restaurant, and a bar.

You can easily spend a whole afternoon learning about Harley Davidson, the people who ride them, and the motorcycle culture they have created.

The Museum and Factory is located in Milwaukee, so make sure you add it to your list if you’re planning a trip to Milwaukee.

People wearing typical 'biker gear' looking at the motorcycles in the Harley Davidson Museum. There are motorcycles, framed vintage advertisements, and more in the room.

Cheese Days Festival In Monroe Is One Of The Most Fun Things To Do In Wisconsin

Wisconsin is arguably most known for it’s cheese.

The people from Wisconsin, or Green Bay Packer’s fans, lovingly call themselves ‘Cheese Heads’.

They’ve earned the nickname with the state’s large amounts of cheese production.

The Cheese Days Festival in Monroe is a celebration of all things cheese.

You can sample locally made cheeses, learn authentic ways of making cheese, and of course, pick your own cheeses to take home.

Its a great festival for the whole family.

There are activities for kids and adults as well as fun contests and a parade.

The Cheese Days Festival is a quintessential Wisconsin experience and that’s what makes it one of the most fun things to do in Wisconsin.

Someone making a large batch of parmesan cheese in a copper tub. They are holding a large cheesecloth with parmesan cheese in it half in a milky liquid.

Atwater Park And Beach For Summer Family Fun

The Atwater Park and Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Shorewood, which is just outside of Milwaukee.

The beach itself isn’t super big, but it is very pretty.

There are steps to get down to the shore and the water, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.

The beach also has a very large park and that’s what makes it so popular.

In the park you’ll find sculptures, picnic areas, and even a playground for children.

Its a great place to take the family on a warm day to enjoy Lake Michigan.

A boardwalk at Atwater Beach. You can see the lake in the distance and some sandy areas around the boardwalk. The sky is very blue with some clouds.

Cave Of The Mounds

The Cave of the Mounds is a National Natural Landmark in Wisconsin that is super cool.

Miles beneath the ground is a massive limestone cave system that was discovered after an attempt to turn the area into a Limestone quarry in 1939.

The owners of the land quickly discovered that there was a massive cave system that should be preserved instead of turned into a quarry.

Shortly after its discovery, in 1940, the cave was opened for visitors and since then has been a popular natural landmark in Wisconsin.

The Cave of the Mounds is a rarity in the geological world and is protected by the Natural Park Service so that generations for centuries to come can marvel at it.

It is about 25 miles west of Madison, so it is an excellent day trip if you are visiting the area.

Looking down one of the cave tunnels in the Cave of the Mounds, one of the best things to do in Wisconsin. The rocks are yellow and orange. There are lights on some of the rocks and there is water in the tunnel.

Cedarburg For A Small Town Atmosphere

Wisconsin has plenty of large cities to explore, but it also has some very charming small towns.

One of those is Cedarburg, a small town outside of Milwaukee.

What makes the city so popular to travelers is not just the small town atmosphere.

While you can of course enjoy cute boutiques and one-of-a-kind restaurants, the town is also known for it’s many museums.

If you’ve ever been interested in what life would have been like for the first European settlers in the area, there is a living history museum you can enjoy.

There is also a museum dedicated to the town’s history, an art museum, and a wool and textile museum.

After a day spent learning all about the areas rich and diverse history, stroll the charming streets to shop for locally made foods, furniture, and more.

An old Grist Mill on the river in Cedarburg. It is a large building made of stone. It is on the river and the river has leaves in it. Around the river are trees with yellow and brown leaves.

Tour The Alexander Noble House Museum

Alexander Noble was one of the European founders of the town of Fish Creek in Door County Wisconsin.

He served the community in many capacities, including as the town blacksmith and postmaster.

The home is a Greek Revival style farmhouse that was built in 1875.

In the 1990s the home was restored and turned into a museum.

Inside you’ll find a depiction of Door County life from around 1875 to 1900.

It is a unique way to learn about the European history of Door County and experience life over a century ago.

The Alexander Noble home is a unique attraction in Wisconsin that is perfect for history lovers.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

One of the coolest National Parks in the Midwest , and certainly in Wisconsin, is the Apostle Island National Lakeshore.

The islands are just outside of the town of Bayfield and are composed of 22 individual islands.

Depending on what island you are on there are different things you can do and see.

From the islands you’ll be able to see a shipwreck, explore caves along the shore in a kayak, or even see ice caves in the winter.

You can also go camping or glamping on a few of the islands, which is a very cool experience.

If you’re not interested in outdoor activities but you still want to see the islands, consider taking one of the Apostle Island cruises.

On the cruise you’ll be able to admire the shore of the islands without having to go hiking or kayaking.

A view of the shore of one of the Apostle Islands. The shore is made up of rocky caves and cliffs with green trees growing on them. The water and the sky are both very blue.

Take A Lighthouses Of Wisconsin Road Trip

Because Wisconsin is along one of the Great Lakes, there are plenty of lighthouses you can admire.

On your road trip, you’ll want to make sure to hit some of the more historic or iconic lighthouses along the Lake Michigan coast.

Start at the Northern most tip of Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shores and tour the Cana Island Lighthouse.

From there, continue South along the coast and stop at any lighthouses that pique your interest.

Some of the most famous ones are the Rawley Point Lighthouse, the North Point Lighthouse, and the Kenosha Light.

A tour of Wisconsin’s lighthouses is a fun thing to do in Wisconsin that gives you plenty of opportunity to admire the shores of Lake Michigan.

The North Point Lighthouse which is a large white house attached to a white light tower. The lighthouse has a green lawn with some red flowers, shrubs, and trees around it. One of the best things to do in Wisconsin.

The Ice Age Trail

One of the most popular things to do in Wisconsin for outdoor adventurers is the Ice Age Trail.

The trail itself is 1,000 miles of footpath that crosses across the state and through stunning landscapes.

It is named the Ice Age Trail because it winds through an area of the state that was cut and created by a massive flow of glacial ice over 12,000 years ago.

For scientists, the area is an incredible example of how continental glaciation changed and formed the Earth.

You can pick up the trail in multiple spots across the state, so you don’t have to walk the whole thing to experience it’s beauty.

You’ll walk through mountains, fields of flowers, and dense woods and other landscapes that quickly change thanks to that ancient glacier.

If you’re wondering what to do in Wisconsin and you enjoy hiking, you absolutely have to hike a portion of the Ice Age Trail.

One of the views along the Ice Age trail. There is a large rock formation on the side of a cliff. The cliff looks down into a valley with a lake surrounded by trees for what looks like miles. The sun is shinning right through a hole in the rock formation.

Bradford Beach Is A Unique Urban Beach In Wisconsin

Bradford Beach is not your typical quiet sandy beach.

It is sandy, and it may be quiet at times, but as an urban beach, there is always something to do there.

Depending on when you visit, you can try a yoga or CrossFit class before taking a dip in the water.

You can also rent a cabana, enjoy a drink at the tiki bar, or get your friends together for a game of volleyball.

Bradford Beach is located in Milwaukee’s East Side Neighborhood, which is quickly becoming a popular neighborhood in the city.

If you’re looking for a very different beach trip, then Bradford Beach is probably perfect for you.

Bradford Beach at twilight. There are picnic tables in a grassy area, a tiki building, and a sandy area. There are a few people on the sandy area. The sky is cloudy but you can see some pink, purple, and orange bits of sky.

There are just so many fun things to do in Wisconsin that it’s hard to pick just one.

I hope this list has shown you how diverse and unique Wisconsin can be, if you just know what you’re looking for.

Have you done or seen any of these Wisconsin attractions?

If so, or if you’re planning to, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Gateway Arch illuminated at dusk

Reader Interactions

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June 26, 2021 at 3:39 pm

Nice, but where’s Kenosha, with its quarter-billion-dollar annual tourism industry?

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July 6, 2021 at 6:56 pm

Thanks for the suggestion!!!

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July 9, 2021 at 7:48 pm

Frank Lloyd Wrights homes go from Kenosha County to Sauk County, not Richland County. His most famous home, Taliesin, is located in Spring Green, which is in Sauk County

July 18, 2021 at 12:07 am

Thank you for this info. I will update the article.

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July 11, 2021 at 7:32 pm

The driftless area which includes the Crawford county apple orchards, Vernon county organic valley, and la crosse bluffs and Mississippi River is a major geographic area. Not. Every thing is on east side of wisconsin.

July 18, 2021 at 12:09 am

Hi Jennifer.

Thank you for suggesting these awesome recommendations!

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20 Top Things to Do in Wisconsin

Midwest Living's experienced editors create best-in-class travel, lifestyle, food, home and garden content you won't find anywhere else. We're loudly, proudly Midwestern, and we're passionate about helping our audience explore and create through award-winning storytelling.

Wisconsin is a state of adventurers, thinkers, farmers-and everything in between. In the thriving capital of Madison and the reborn metropolis of Milwaukee, everyone seems to be on the go. It's a fitting spirit in a state with a motto that's simply "Forward." Still, away from all the cities' activity, it's easy to see why the Ojibwe word "Wisconsin" has stuck; it means "place where waters gather." Great Lakes and rivers nearly encircle the state, watering the dense forests and providing endless opportunities for recreation.

Whether you're looking for cosmopolitan flair, small-town fun or outdoor adventures, you'll find it in Wisconsin. The Apostle Islands, Cave of the Mounds, the State Capitol in Madison, water parks in the Wisconsin Dells and Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are just a few of the state's highlights.

Explore the Apostle Islands and Bayfield

The ruggedly beautiful Apostle Islands sit in Lake Superior beyond of Bayfield. The archipelago is known for its rocky hiking trails, lighthouses and sea caves that draw kayakers.

Getting there means venturing onto the world's largest freshwater lake. On most summer days, the clear, cold water provides smooth passage, but when winds kick up, only experienced kayakers go out. More cautious travelers can see most of the islands' treasures on a chartered sailboat or, calmer yet, a ferry to Madeline Island. The only populated Apostle offers a tiny Main Street with restaurants, shops and a museum.

Bayfield, gateway to the Apostles, offers historic tours, bike rentals, good shopping, concerts under the Big Top Chautauqua tent and a variety of well-kept lodgings.

Tour Frank Lloyd Wright Sites

No architect packed more drama into a life than Frank Lloyd Wright, who left a thousand stories in a collection of Midwest sites open for tours. Among his Wisconsin buildings:

Taliesin, Spring Green Wright lived and worked here for 48 years while experimenting with design principles in the Hillside Studio.

Unitarian Meeting House, Madison In the hall shape, lobby tile pattern, pew placement and other elements, triangular forms subtly speak to the Unitarians' philosophy of unity and equality.

SC Johnson , Racine A forest of dendriform (treelike) support columns steals the show in the Administration Building on the SC Johnson campus.

Monona Terrace Comunity and Convention Center , Madison Sixty years passed between Wright's initial design submission and the structure's completion (in 1997, 38 years after his death).

Experience Door County's Cool Community

On a jagged peninsula that's 70 miles long and just 10 miles wide, you'll find the Cape Cod of the Midwest . Why the nickname? Well, to start, there are lighthouses (10), beaches (about 30) and forested state parks (5) along more than 300 miles of shoreline.There are pretty little towns, too, clustered around glittering Lake Michigan bays. Door County's 30,000 or so year-round residents work hard to pique visitors' interest. But even as residents welcome new art galleries and upscale clothing and home-decor boutiques, they haven't forgotten their past.

Folks still gather for evening fish boils; hand-laid stone walls still divide pastures; and cherry orchards that date to the 1800s are still carefully tended. Just the simple act of eating a fresh slice of cherry pie or taking a bike ride along the shore makes you feel part of the community.

Drive The Wisconsin Great River Road

The Wisconsin Great River Road parallels the majestic Mississippi River along 250 miles of the state's western border. It's one of the most scenic roads in the Midwest, flanked by 400-foot-high sandstone bluffs and historic little river towns.

Boating, fishing and birding are popular pastimes along the road; several state parks and wildlife refuges make access easy. River towns offer visitors diversions such as hunting through antiques shops, dining on catfish and other local specialties, and spending the night at inns and B&Bs, many of them a century or more old.

Take the Kids to the Wisconsin Dells

The nickname Water Park Capital of the World is a pretty good clue to the kid-appeal of this hilly vacation area near Lake Delton (50 miles northwest of Madison). Water-park resorts, plus old-fashioned amusement parks, top most itineraries.

But the Wisconsin Dells also has good state parks ( Devil's Lake is a favorite) and plenty of spots for grown-up relaxation . Try to find time to see the Dells, the unique, craggy bluffs rising over the Wisconsin River like stacks of sandstone pancakes. Some of the best views are from double-decker excursion boats.

Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum

More than 30,000 works of art take visitors on a chronological tour of art from the 13th century to the present at the striking Milwaukee Art Museum. The postmodern Quadracci Pavilion houses a grand reception hall, temporary exhibits and a cafe. The pavilion's 217-foot exterior wings, which open twice a day, have become the city's visual icon.

Float Along Lake Geneva

Geneva Lake, ringed by resorts, vacation homes and 19th-century mansions, is anchored by the town of Lake Geneva on its east end. Stroll the lakeshore path, seek fun on the water, or head into town for restaurants, shops and more. It's one of the most romantic getaways in Wisconsin .

Excursions on Lake Geneva Cruise Line offer close-up views of the Victorian estates ringing the lake as well as access to Black Point Estate, an 1888 Queen Anne-style mansion that is now a state historic site.

Wander Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Stroll 16 acres of outdoor gardens, including a 2-acre Rose Garden that showcases hardy shrub varieties, in a space inspired by Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style. Other outdoor gardens include a Perennial Garden, a Sunken Garden and an Herb Garden.

While you're at Madison's Olbrich Botanical Gardens, be sure to see the Thai Pavilion, crafted without nails or screws by Thai artisans. Also, the Bolz Conservatory features exotic plants, flowers, orchids, birds and a waterfall. Special events include a popular summer butterfly show.

Relax at Kohler

This tidy village of 2,000 is a quiet place to relax, 56 miles north of Milwaukee. Break out the clubs for four incredible golf courses designed by Pete Dye, or visit The John Michael Kohler Arts Center with its striking vernacular art.

Free, three-hour tours of the Kohler Factory are offered weekday mornings. You can also peruse upscale plumbing fixtures at the Kohler Design Center.

For lodging, The American Club , the Midwest's only AAA five-diamond resort hotel, has luxurious rooms and suites, plus a spa.

See the AirVenture Show and Museum

The Experimental Aircraft Association's annual end-of-July AirVenture celebration at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh has an unrivaled collection of planes: an Airbus A380 double-decker jet that seats 700, fighter jets, warbirds, home-builts, antiques, ultralights, plus thrilling air shows and a generous dose of patriotic sentiment.

Year-round, you can visit the AirVenture Museum, which features more than 250 historic airplanes plus five movie theaters. From May through October, a tram runs to the nearby Pioneer Airport, a living-history re-creation of an airfield in the early days of air travel.

Thrill to the Harley-Davidson Museum

Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson Museum is a must-see for riders and a worth-the-trip spot for the curious. It tells the story of a scrappy Milwaukee company that began in 1903 as a motorcycle innovator and has evolved into a brand that embodies the feeling of wind in your hair. Hands-on exhibits let gearheads tinker with old engines, a Rebels and Outlaws display shows how riders gained that rep, and a movie room lets you board one of 10 Harleys and "ride" along Midwest farms and rivers.

Get to Know The Southern Hills' Fresh Appeal

The lush farm country south and west of Madison aligns perfectly with travel trends toward fresh food and active, green, artsy pursuits.

Spring Green has a long-standing artsy reputation, thanks to the open-air American Players Theatre and Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio at Taliesin .

Monroe still pumps out the cheese and beer that give the state much of its identity, and New Glarus still promotes its Swiss heritage. But recently, a wave of businesses has infused the area with a new level of cool.

Mineral Point, a Cornish mining town, has reinvented itself as an arts enclave, while Madison chefs have set up shop in small towns. Active types come here for great trails and bike-friendly roads, exploring the seamless blend of old and new.

Savor Milwaukee's Brewing Legacy

To see breweries in action, check out tours of Miller Brewing Company, Sprecher and Lakefront breweries.

Or for a different side of the city's brewing history , tour the elegant Pabst Mansion, an 1890s Flemish Renaissance mansion constructed by beer baron Frederick Pabst. Custom-built furnishings, elaborate wall coverings, stained glass and ornate woodwork made this one of the city's grandest houses.

Stay at The Brewhouse Inn and Suites, where gleaming copper brewing kettles anchor the lobby in the refurbished Pabst Brewery Complex.

Dive Into Madison's Food Scene

Madison's fabulous, diverse food scene is one of the best in the Midwest. The city teems with chef-owned restaurants serving dishes focused on fresh-picked local produce, while ethnic eateries reflect the nationalities of the scholars, researchers and students who find a home at the University of Wisconsin.

Vacation at Hayward's Lake Retreats

Hayward and its North Woods neighbors offer a cluster of peaceful retreats for fishing, hiking, golf, canoeing, tubing, bicycling and other outdoor activities.

Local attractions include the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum, which showcases North America's fishing heritage with 50,000 artifacts (lures, rods, reels and accessories) and a giant 40-foot muskie.

The annual Lumberjack World Championships celebrate the logging heritage of northern Wisconsin, with three days of log-rolling, chopping, sawing and tree-climbing. Throughout the summer, visitors can cheer on activities at Scheer's Lumberjack Show.

Tour Cave of the Mounds

Near Mount Horeb, the hour-long tour of this family-owned cave—discovered by accident on the farm in 1939; now a National Natural Landmark—provides fascinating up-close looks at delicate crystal formations and spooky lights-out time. Above ground at Cave of the Mounds, the parklike setting is home to a variety of gardens as well as a Geologic Timeline walk and other trails.

Take the Family to Minocqua

John Noltner

This northern Wisconsin resort town (165 miles northwest of Green Bay) has all the ingredients of a great family vacation—including more than 3,000 lakes in Vilas and Oneida counties. Minocqua's quieter lakes are perfect for swimming lessons and sand castles. Meanwhile, you can zip across big Lake Minocqua on a wakeboard or check out the Min-Aqua Bats ski team.

Kids love cheering at Scheer's Lumberjack Show. And the lodgings here understand what a family lake vacation is all about—no one minds a little sand tracked in.

Visit the National Railroad Museum

One of the nation's largest rail museums houses everything from decorative train drumheads to a massive Big Boy steam locomotive—and yes, you can take a train ride.

Start your visit to Green Bay's National Railroad Museum with the 25-minute movie on steam locomotives. Then explore indoor and outdoor exhibits that include the command train Dwight D. Eisenhower used in Europe during World War II, a futuristic Aerotrain from the 1950s, and a mail car, with an extensive interior setup for sorting mail. For a small additional fee, you can ride a train around the grounds.

Soak Up Cedarburg's History

Located along Cedar Creek (20 miles north of Milwaukee), the one-time mill town of Cedarburg is an enclave of art galleries, shops and restaurants, many housed in limestone and Cream City brick buildings built by German and Irish immigrants. Nearly 230 of the town's buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wine tastings ($10) at Cedar Creek Winery highlight the vineyard's Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. In a house on actual stilts, Stilt House serves Gouda-topped burgers and grilled hearts of romaine. The 34 guest rooms at the updated 1846 Cream City brick Washington House Inn featured exposed-stone walls, luxe beds and fireplaces.

Cedarburg also contains part of Wisconsin's paved 30-mile Interurban Trail.

Hike at Interstate State Park

Interstate State Park, Wisconsin's oldest, faces off across the St. Croix River with Minnesota's Interstate State Park. Both offer cool hikes past rocky glacial potholes, but the larger Wisconsin park (50 miles northeast of Saint Paul) also has a large swimming lake, a heron rookery, a wildlife trail and naturalist-led hikes in the summer. If you want to visit both, the US-8 bridge links the parks.

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Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

Top 16 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Sparsely populated with acres upon acres of farmland and forests, the midwestern U.S. state doesn’t draw visitors like some more tourist-courting states. However, I think Wisconsin is blessed with a quiet and understated beauty.

The rich, rolling landscapes and endless pine forests are extraordinary and dotted with tranquil blue lakes, deep valleys, imposing hills, and the odd brewery. Although it doesn’t always shout about them, it is home to some remarkable beauty spots. Here are my favorite spots to explore…

1. Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls State Park

Located in the South Range, Amnicon Falls State Park boasts four waterfalls. The river forks around an island, and there are two waterfalls on each side.

The park includes an old covered bridge in the lower falls area, a sight to see, and the Snake Pit Falls, which many people use to go skinny-dipping. I would also recommend exploring the Now and Then Falls, which tends to change up a bit each time you visit it.

My favorite highlights

  • Taking a hike along the nature trails and enjoying the beautiful views overlooking the river.
  • Discovering the breathtaking waterfalls and being showered by the spray.
  • Walking over the gorgeous bridge surrounded by scenic nature.

2. Apostle Islands

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Located in Bayfield, this area consists of 21 different islands in the northern part of the state. The area’s beauty includes sandstone caves and historic, exciting lighthouses.

Thanks to their colorful designs, the caves are much more eye-catching than you might think. Everything around this area of the state is phenomenal and unforgettable.

If you love nature, especially the water, you’ll love the Apostle Islands because they offer everything you’ll appreciate about nature and even more. Easily one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin! 

  • Discovering the magic inside the ice and sea caves.
  • Hiring a kayak to explore out on the waters and around the islands.
  • Spending a unique night camping underneath the stars on one of the cliffside campgrounds.

3. Holy Hill

Holy Hill Wisconsin

Located in Hubertus, Holy Hill is home to the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary the Help of Christians. Still, you don’t have to be a Christian or religious person to enjoy its magnificent beauty.

Set among the hills of Wisconsin near Milwaukee, the state building is gorgeous and something you will never forget once you see it.

During the fall months, it is one of the most photographed places in the state. Not only that, but Holy Hill is a great place to visit for people of all faiths because it offers the peace and tranquillity we all desire: a stunning beauty spot and a must-see place to stay in Wisconsin. 

  • Playing a round at Erin Hills Golf Course.
  • Visiting the activities center to ensure you know all the fun things to do.
  • Climbing 178 steps to witness some of the best picturesque views.

4. Dells Mill

Dells Mill - beauty spots in Wisconsin

This is an old five-story grist mill found in Augusta and a charming place to explore in Wisconsin. It was built a mere 16 years after Wisconsin became a state in 1864, and at one point, farmers gathered to get all of their grinding done.

The building is still in good condition and is a definite eye-catcher, just like the nearby dam, which lends uniqueness to the area. There is also a museum nearby, so when you visit Dells Mill, you’ll have much more to look at and enjoy than just the mill itself.

  • Uncovering the history at the treasure that is Dells Mill and Museum.
  • Checking out the outdoor activities located in Coon Fork Lake County Park.
  • Cycling along the 21-mile round trip on Stage Coach Bicycle Route.

5. Door County

Door County Wisconsin

Located in northeast Wisconsin, Door County is breathtaking in more ways than one. It looks like the small towns of yesteryear, regardless of which season you visit, and it truly offers something for everyone.

The county covers from Cave Point County Park in Sturgeon Bay to the famous Winding Road in Gills Rock and to Washington Island.

It is a great way to spend the day if natural beauty is what you enjoy seeing when you’re touring different areas, partly because of the trees and unique buildings.

  • Hiring a boat and go out on the lake for some time in the sunshine.
  • Going on a wine tour to taste the delicious flavors of local grapes.
  • Discovering Cana Island Lighthouse, located north of Baileys Harbor.

6. Mirror Lake

Located in Baraboo, you’ll understand this lake’s name as soon as you see it because the water is so spectacular that you can see selections of trees and everything else that surrounds it. Just great for looking to look, as you can also enjoy this lake and the surrounding area to go boating, camping, and hiking, among other activities.

If you love the outdoors and the miracle of nature, I would say this is a lake you won’t want to miss while you’re visiting this great state! 

  • Going canoeing across the picturesque lake while being surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
  • Camping in nature at one of the campgrounds.
  • Checkng out the array of hiking trails available and find the best one to suit you.

7. Pattison State Park

Pattison State Park Wisconsin

Wisconsin has dozens of state parks, and this one, located in the northwestern part of the state, is one of the most beautiful spots to visit in Wisconsin.

The biggest attraction there is Big Manitou Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in the state of Wisconsin. Whether you want to picnic, go hiking, or relax and enjoy some of the area’s beauty, Pattison State Park will never disappoint. It is near the town of Superior and truly offers something for everyone.

  • Discovering the highest waterfall in Wisconsin and capturing an Insta-worthy shot.
  • Relaxing along the beach after a stroll around the gorgeous lake.
  • Grabbing some delicious food at Manitou Inn Bar and Grill.

8. Vilas County

St. Germain - beauty spots in Wisconsin

Vilas County can be found in the north-central part of the state and contains a host of iconic towns such as Phelps, Eagle River, and St. Germain, among others.

Visiting these towns will bring you back to days gone by, but it isn’t just the houses and buildings that bring back nostalgic feelings.

Part of its charm also comes from the inland chain of freshwater lakes, one of the largest on the planet. If you love stepping back in time and enjoying unusual beauty and ambiance, Vilas County is definitely for you.

  • Discovering all the exciting activities at Elmer’s Fun Park.
  • Hiring an ATV and ride through the thrilling trails.
  • Watching the sunset over the tranquil lake.

9. Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin

When people think of Wisconsin Dells, they usually think of the water park first, but there is much more to it than this.

Although the water park is spectacular, the deep, narrow gorges and unique rock formations along the Wisconsin River provide a way to calm yourself, rent a canoe, and enjoy its peaceful, quiet waters.

The area is gorgeous, of course, but its ambiance is partly due to its tranquillity and peacefulness. If you genuinely want to get away from it all for a bit, this is the area of Wisconsin you want to be in.

  • Having fun at the theme park on their adrenaline-pumping rides.
  • Cooling down at Noah’s Ark Water Park with  slides and activities.
  • Wandering around the area to discover the spectacular natural rock formations.

10. Pewits Nest State Natural Area

Pewits Nest State Natural Area

This deep gorge in Baraboo is nothing short of spectacular in its design, colors, and overall beauty. Tall, stately pine trees and majestic bluffs surround it.

There is also a gorgeous stream that runs right through it, so whether you want to go canoeing or picnic somewhere on the grounds, you can easily find something fun to do at Pewits Nest.

The area is also ancient because it was formed during the retreat of the very last glacier. They don’t call this a natural area for anything because only nature can create something extraordinary. This is a must-see on your list of things to do in Wisconsin.

My favourite highlights

  • Going for a hike along the East Bluff Trail leading to Devil’s Doorway.
  • Having a try at bouldering for a unique experience.
  • Discovering the hidden swimming hole and taking a dip on a hot day.

11. Driftless Area

Driftless Area Wisconsin

Located in the southwestern part of the state, the stunning Driftless Area will challenge anyone who thinks Wisconsin is a flat state. This area is very hilly, and you won’t be able to take your eyes off the scenery around you when you’re there.

But be careful – the roads are beautiful but a bit winding, so you must be cautious as you drive. Still, the topography in this part of the state is very diverse, and the longer you drive, the more fascinating things you’ll be able to see and experience.

  • Taking an adrenaline-pumping ride through the mountain biking trails.
  • Checking out the farmers market filled with unique and locally produced items.
  • Hiking to the 500-foot-high viewpoint of Pikes Peak.

12. Dave’s Falls

Dave’s Falls - best places to visit in Wisconsin

Located in Amberg, you’ll love Dave’s Falls if you love waterfalls. But unlike many other waterfalls, this one isn’t for canoeing or kayaking because it has far too many large, bumpy rocks. Instead, hike along the side of the Pike River and maybe stop after a while to have a picnic.

You can thoroughly enjoy the falls regardless of where you are on the hiking trail, so just because you can’t get on the water while there doesn’t mean this area of Wisconsin shouldn’t be on your bucket list.

  • Going on a whitewater rafting adventure down the river for a fun experience.
  • Grabbing some Insta-worthy shots of the beautiful falls and unusual rock formations.
  • Booking a Cave Point kayak tour to explore the area.

13. Allen Centennial Gardens

Allen Centennial Gardens

Located smack dab in the middle of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, this is a teaching garden but is worth a memorable trip to visit.

Built in the 1980s around a Queen Anne-style home, the gardens are stunning and boast some of the most beautiful plant life you’ve ever seen. It is immaculate and well-maintained, and if you enjoy old homes and lots of lush, healthy greenery, this is the place for you! 

Still an excellent teaching facility, this garden is a tourist attraction that in my opinion will leave a lasting impression.

My favourite  highlights

  • Strolling through the beautiful groomed and vibrant flowers, plants, and greenery.
  • Learning about all of the garden’s history and plans.

14. Marinette County

Marinette County

Regarding beautiful locations in Wisconsin, Marinette County will never disappoint. Located in the northeastern part of the state, this county isn’t called the waterfall capital of Wisconsin for nothing.

There are 14 exquisite waterfalls and some of the most gorgeous scenery you’ve ever seen.

You can also go camping or hiking there, but the clear rushing waters attract people the most. This is the perfect place to visit for anyone who loves hiking, camping, or enjoying nature at its finest.

  • Visiting the Forgotten Fire Winery for a lovely afternoon of wine tasting.
  • Indulging in the delicious and unique flavors at Seguin’s House of Cheese.
  • Taking a trip to the tranquil Green Island, filled with lush trees.

15. National Ice Age Scenic Trail

National Ice Age Scenic Trail

This trail is fantastic and runs throughout many areas in the state. It is 1,000 miles long and the perfect footpath, and it is never that far from you, regardless of where you live.

If viewing Wisconsin’s glacial landscapes is what you want to do, this is the trail you want to be on. Best of all, most of it is comfortable to hike on even if you’re wearing tennis shoes, but if you’re a serious hiker, you might want to bring a comfortable pair of hiking boots instead just to be safe.

  • Exploring e-trails , which are well known for being some of the most beautiful ones in Wisconsin.
  • Being amazed by the breathtaking nature surrounding the trails.

16. Big Bay State Park

Big Bay State Park - easily one of the coolest places to visit in Wisconsin

Founded in the 1960s, this majestic Wisconsin attraction is the largest of the Apostle Islands archipelago, where visitors can witness scenic sandstone bluffs.

Big Bay State Park has a 4-mile shoreline of Lake Superior and a 1-mile esplanade featuring golden sandy beaches, over 9 miles of hiking trails, and a spacious campground great for families.

Furthermore, visitors can benefit from picnic areas with tables, drinking water, toilets, and more! The park is open year-round and accessible for pedestrians and cyclists  – this has to be one of the best things to do in the state if you are a nature lover!

  • Packing a picnic and stop for lunch in a breathtaking spot.
  • Going swimming in the fresh waters of the lake.
  • Cycling and exploring through the area.

Gary Nunn

Gary Nunn – Videographer, photographer and writer

Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fueled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organizations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specializing in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, travel, starting up new businesses, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find Gary on Instagram , Twitter , Facebook , YouTube or his Website .

Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by many tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Germany Tourist Board , Expedia , Eviivo , Visit Morocco , and Wild in Sight Safaris .   Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos . Listed as a top UK travel journalist .

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1 thought on “Top 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Michigan”

In love with Wisconsin…Hoping to visit this beautiful place some day. Thank you for sharing the article

Hi Great Post, I enjoyed reading this article. These are some really amazing places to visit in Wisconsin. I am in love with all these beautiful photographs. Thanks for sharing these. Looking forward to reading more of these 🙂

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Hikes, beers and (yes) cheese: the best things to do in Wisconsin

Cassandra Brooklyn

Apr 24, 2022 • 6 min read

August 10, 2019 Wisconsin State Fair, Milwaukee County, USA. Horizontal photo of crowded patrons at the Wisconsin State Fair on a summer day in July. Milwaukee, WI, USA. Large group of people on a summer day.

Every summer, Wisconsin overflows with festivals and fairs – like the State Fair, held in Milwaukee © Matt Anderson Photography / Getty Images

Whether you’re heading to the Badger State for fun and sun during the summer festival season or looking forward to winter hiking and cross-country skiing, Wisconsin has you covered.

Warm-weather fans will find plenty of outdoor music and culture festivals to keep them busy, while colder months are a great time to explore nature, museums and the state’s famous food scene. Regardless of when you visit, Wisconsin promises to show you a good time.  

While it wasn’t easy to pare down all this state has to offer, here are our picks for the best things to do in Wisconsin.

Catch an outdoor concert 

Come summer, Wisconsin hims with the sound of live music.

The state’s most famous music event is Summerfest , a 10-day outdoor concert series in  Milwaukee that features dozens of performances each day. Lesser-known local groups and bands that were big in previous decades perform on small stages around the Summerfest grounds, while huge international acts fill up the on-site Marcus Amphitheater. From rock and hip-hop to country and bluegrass, the vast lineup has something  for every music lover. Outside of Summerfest dates, outdoor concerts take place at Marcus Amphitheater all summer and fall. Check out the upcoming lineup and plan your trip around a favorite band.

About 40 miles southwest of Milwaukee, the city of Elkhorn plays host to another outdoor music favorite,  Alpine Valley Music Theater . The outdoor venue can accommodate up to 37,000 people in its reserved seats and on its first-come-first-serve lawn area. Country-music lovers should look out for the Hodag Country Festival , where 25,000 campers head to the northern part of the state for camping and country music, while bluegrass lovers should check out  Blue Ox Music Festival in Eau Claire. In central Wisconsin,  Rock Fest is set on 360 acres of land and is the largest rock and camping festival in the country. Large and mid-size cities across the entire state also hold free weekly outdoor concerts at city parks and botanical gardens during the summer.

Hit up one of the state’s festivals

Some of the best-known festivals in Wisconsin also take place on the Summerfest grounds, in the heart of Milwaukee. On non-Summerfest weekends in summer and fall, you’ll find food truck festivals and events celebrating the city’s culture and ethnic diversity, including festivities for the city’s Mexican, African, Irish, German and LGBTIQ+ communities. The Wisconsin  State Fair , also held in Milwaukee, is a massive festival that takes place every August and features food, music, rides and entertainment for couples, groups and families. In Madison, head to  Brat Fest , which has been going strong for 40 years – and where attendees consume 200,000 brats in a single weekend every year.

Young boy eating a whipped cream puff pastry at the Wisconsin State Fair, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Great Lakes, USA

Indulge in the state’s official desserts

Depending whom you ask, Wisconsin’s official state dessert is one of two things: cream puffs or kringle. While you can technically find the former in bakeries and supermarkets year-round, the real deal can only be sampled at the Wisconsin State Fair in August. Kringle, on the other hand, can be found every single day of the year, mostly at supermarkets and bakeries. Racine, Wisconsin is the kringle capital of the country; even if you can’t squeeze in a day or two to explore the city (which we highly recommend), you’ll still find authentic, Racine-baked kringle all over southeastern Wisconsin.

Enjoy a day at the beach

Thanks to over 800 miles of Great Lakes coastline and 200 miles of Mississippi River shoreline – not to mention the state’s 15,000 lakes – Wisconsin has a huge number of wonderful beaches . From the urban beaches in Milwaukee to tiny beaches in front of cozy cabins in the Northwoods, you’re sure to find a stretch of sand to relax on no matter where you find yourself in the state.

A giant beer bottle and glass display on the exterior of the the Miller Brewery complex in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Great Lakes, USA

Take a brewery tour – and sample freely 

If there were a contest for the official Wisconsin state drink, there would be a tie between a glass of milk and a pint of beer. Milwaukee is nationally famous as the “Brew City” (its baseball team is the Milwaukee Brewers, after all), so you’ll find a huge number of breweries offering tours here, including Pabst Brewery, MobCraft, Lakefront Brewery , Miller Brewing and Milwaukee Brewing Company.

In college town and state capital  Madison , the huge number of breweries includes  Capital Brewery (one of the oldest), and the female-, LGBTIQ-owned  Giant Jones Brewing Company . There’s even a dedicated gluten-free brewery and tap room,  ALT Brew . While you’ll find the most breweries in the state’s two largest cities, rest assured that you’ll find great beer (and breweries) all over the state, from the  New Glarus Brewing Company  in southern part of the state to Sand Creek Brewing Company  in Black River Falls. Serious beer lovers can even plan a visit along the state’s Brew Trail .

Eat some cheese 

Since Wisconsin’s unofficial nickname is the Dairy State, and since its residents lovingly call themselves “cheeseheads,” you’d do well to sample some of the state’s most famous culinary product. While you’ll find especially large selections at places like the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, you’ll find great cheese anywhere and everywhere in the state. Specialty stores, cheese emporiums, small roadside stands and supermarkets all sell great cheese; you’ll even find cheese curds in bulk at some gas stations. True cheese connoisseurs should head to  Milwaukee  for the fine selection at the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe and Wisconsin Cheese Mart, and to  Madison , where Fromagination is your go-to spot.

Go for a hike

Whether you’re looking for an easy family-friendly jaunt in a city park or an epic multi-day backpacking trip, you’ll find fantastic hiking all over Wisconsin. Hiking is a year-round activity here, and each season has its own unique appeal. Spring hikers are treated to wildflowers, while summer wanderers can enjoy nature in full bloom; autumn excursions promise fabulous fall foliage everywhere in the state. Snow-covered pine plantations are especially picturesque in winter, when trails also tend to be less crowded (just be sure to bundle up).

A bike trail across one of the trestles on the Bear Skin State Trail, south of Minocqua, Wisconsin, Great Lakes, USA

Cycle on one of the state’s rail trails 

Former railroad rights-of-way that have been converted into car-free bicycle and pedestrian paths, rail trails date to the 1960s – and Wisconsin was one of the first states to embrace the idea in the 34-mile Elroy Sparta State Trail . The state now boasts nearly 2000 miles of trails, ranging  from Milwaukee’s urban Beerline Trail , which runs along an old freight route and connects city parks and popular breweries, to the 52-mile  Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail System near the Michigan border in northern Wisconsin. Ambitious riders could tackle the ride in a single day, though since you’ll also find plenty of picnic spots, swimming holes, campgrounds and motels along the route, we recommend taking your time over multiple days.

Spend some time in the Northwoods 

While Milwaukee and Madison in Wisconsin’s Southeast have plenty to offer, to get a true sense of what it’s like to live in Wisconsin one has to visit the remote Northwoods. Going “up north” to a cabin or campsite is a core part of Wisconsin’s culture; visiting the Northwoods means being surrounded by pine trees, smelling campfires at night and looking out onto small lakes and meandering rivers. It’s possible you’ll see a bear, it’s probable you’ll see someone fishing and it’s guaranteed that you’ll see loads of deer. Life is a bit slower and quieter up here. And that’s exactly the appeal.

You might also like: The best beaches in Wisconsin: Great Lakes and great beaches The 9 best things to do in Racine, Wisconsin: art, architecture, and everything needed for a great weekend away 300 miles of beer, brats and cheese: A Wisconsin culinary tour

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100 places to visit in wisconsin

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Part of a national series with more than 100 titles in print, the 100 Things to Do Before You Die series features the best of the popular and the obscure, serving as the perfect pocket companion for locals and tourists alike! Written exclusively by local travel experts, these bestselling guidebooks direct guests to ideal destinations for:

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17 Best Things to do in Wisconsin

Last updated on October 2, 2023 by Jamie Gambetta - Leave a Comment

From Milwaukee to the Apostle Islands, Wisconsin is a land of ever-changing landscapes. In the lowlands in the state’s south, cheese and dairy farming have given the state a renowned reputation.

Some of the best things to do in Wisconsin are found throughout all the major towns, but hidden gems from parks to historic homes lay quietly for you to stumble upon them. As you move throughout Wisconsin, the prairies give way to rugged coasts shaped by the Ice Age and volcanic eruptions. Here, trails take you along spectacular shorelines to where rock caverns have been carved beneath the surface and the Great Lakes shine underneath the sun.

In this post, we'll cover:

17. Hearthstone Historic House Museum

Hearthstone Historic House Museum

In 1882, Hearthstone became the first residential home on earth powered by hydroelectricity. In Appleton, the home was built by Henry Rogers, who lived with his wife and family. The building was connected to a local hydroelectric station, the first of its kind in the United States.

90 years later, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and turned into a museum. Today, the original wiring and fixtures still exist, with the same light switches still in place. It’s an incredible look into the dawn of the electric age that has spawned a whole manner of amazing inventions.

16. Washington Island

Washington Island

There was once a time when few would venture across the treacherous waters of Death’s Door. But now the safe and easy ferry makes it a breeze to travel to this one-of-a-kind destination. The island is diminutive and is home to only 600 residents. It’s grid-like layout with nigh a car in sight makes it a wonderful place to walk or cycle.

The island is home to the largest lavender farm in the Midwest, among several other historic and natural attractions. These include the Sunset Resort, which opened in the late 1800s and the Little Lake Nature Preserve. The highlight, however, is the Stavkirke, a replica stave church that celebrates the island’s Scandinavian heritage.

15. Bay Beach Amusement Park

Bay Beach Amusement Park

For over a century, Bay Beach Amusement Park has entertained Green Bay locals and travelers alike. The family-friendly attraction is a great day out, while also being within walking distance of the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.

The classic amusement park bucks the trend of the modern times and remains easy on your wallet. Bay Beach features all your favorite rides from roller coasters and tilt-a-whirls to bumper cars and the big wheel. The traditional wooden roller coaster is a replica of Elvis’ favorite ride at Libertyland.

You’ll also find community events, dancers, and plenty of concession stands and the park is free to enter.

14. Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

In 1868, the lamp atop the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse shone for the first time. With the help of the tireless keepers, sailors received solace and help to guide them through the storms and pitch-black nights out on Green Bay.

Regardless of the torrid conditions, the lamp kept burning until 1926, when the last shift at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was complete. Now fully restored, the historic 76-foot lighthouse can be explored alongside knowledgeable guides. Learn the history of the building and the stories of the keepers, some of whose furnishings and belongings remain on display.

Tours and tower climbs run every 30 minutes between June and October.

13. Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

Set out in chronological order, take a journey through artistic history as you travel from the 13th century to now at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It features a wonderful collection of 30,000 pieces, all within the eye-catching Quadracci Pavillion.

The museum began with a collection donated by Alexander Mitchell, as a way to bring fine art to what was then a remote port town. Now covering four floors, admire pieces from around the world, from Europe to Asia and the Americas.

A highlight for many locals is the extensive collection of work from Georgia O’Keefe, a celebrated Wisconsin artist. Afterwards, admire the winged roof of the postmodern building from the exterior grounds.

12. Bookworm Gardens (Sheboygan)

Bookworm Gardens

Bringing a touch of literature to your garden experience, the Bookworm Gardens references more than 60 iconic children’s books. The gardens’ fantastic layout allows it to be interactive and fun for children who can explore the extensive park, learn about the flowers, and read.

As you make your way through, you’ll enjoy distinct sections that celebrate, music, art, nature, and literature. Each section explores the flora on display while having several cozy reading nooks. In Bookworm Gardens, the kids can also learn to make music and search for the hidden alphabet.

11. Copper Falls State Park

Copper Falls State Park

Shaped by the ancient flow of lava and with waterfalls tumbling into the valley, Cooper Falls State Park is a northern Wisconsin gem. In the state park, two major rivers, Tyler Forks River and Bad River, connect before surging down a steep and narrow gorge.

Eventually, the body of water cascades over the cliff, forming a series of three dramatic waterfalls. The tallest measuring in at 30 feet. Throughout the park, you’ll discover prehistoric rock formations, including the aptly named Devil’s Gate.

The best way to explore the park’s waterfalls and expansive viewpoints is along the 1.7-mile Doughboy’s Trail. The loop brings you to each waterfall, Devil’s Gate, and several observation points with views of Lake Superior.

10. Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison)

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

If you’re seeking peace and tranquility in the state capital, then make your way to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Designed and created by Michael Olbrich, the gardens opened in 1952 after years of efforts, and have since expanded through the decades.

The botanical gardens are now divided into seven sections, each with distinct vistas and vibrant colors. Highlights of the gardens include the Perennial Garden, the Sunken Garden, and the extensive Rose Garden.

In 2002, the Thai Pavilion was donated by the King of Thailand, bringing international esteem to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. You could easily spend a pleasant afternoon wandering between each garden, taking time to enjoy a scenic picnic in one of the many open spaces.

9. Mt. Olympus Water and Fun Park

Mt. Olympus Water and Fun Park

In the “Water Park Capital of the World” the Wisconsin Dells, Mt. Olympus Water and Fun Park rises above the chasing pack to be the best in town. The park has an indoor and outdoor section, making certain that the weather won’t diminish your enthralling day.

When the sun is out in the Wisconsin Dells, there’s no better place to be than Mt. Olympus. The park’s outdoor section has six stories worth of water adventures to embark on, before venturing over to the theme parks’ heart-in-mouth roller coasters.

On any day, you can enjoy the indoor water slides and whirlpools. When you need a breather, relax down the lazy river, or compete against friend and foe in the arcade room.

8. Cave Point County Park

Cave Point County Park

In beautiful Door County , Cave Point County Park has revered limestone ledges worn down by the eternal rhythm of the waves. Cave Point is a haven for divers and photographers who can capture otherworldly vistas from below the surface, in the blue waters of Lake Michigan.

These include masterful rock caverns teeming with fish and glistening limestone. You don’t have to get into the refreshing lake to appreciate the unique dolomites along the coast. In fact, kayaking is perhaps the most popular activity in the park. Paddle along the banks with close-up views of the caverns shining through the clear water.

If you prefer to keep your legs on solid ground, enjoy the half-mile coastal trail with beautiful rock formations and lakeside forests where birds flutter through the canopy.

7. Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil's Lake State Park

In Baraboo, north of Madison, Devil’s Lake State Park is Wisconsin’s most popular. With over three million visitors per year, the state park offers miles of hiking and biking trails, rock climbing, boat rentals and beaches.

The 1000-mile Ice Age Trail makes its way through the park, highlighting the region’s fascinating natural history. On your travels through the park, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing views from atop the 500-foot quartzite bluff that overlooks the sprawling lake.

For those that want solitude, you’ll find that in spades in Wisconsin’s largest state park. While you’ll also have social picnic areas and spacious beaches in which to hang and swim with friends and family.

6. Geneva Lake Shore Path

Geneva Lake Shore Path

Wisconsin is home to an abundance of beautiful hiking trails, but beating stiff competition to first place is the breathtaking Geneva Lake Shore Path. Far from a thigh-burning hike, the trail is a delightful but long stroll.

Covering 21 miles, the trail caresses the banks of the crystal-clear Geneva Lake. Along the way, you’ll mix natural beauty with some stunning resorts and 19th century vacation homes. Its proximity to the town of Lake Geneva, restaurants, shops, and cafes means you can take multiple breaks on your walk. Or even turn around once you’ve had your fix.

If the sun is out, why not head onto the water and paddle your way along. Another option is joining the Lake Geneva Cruise Line providing an up-close experience to the brilliant estates.

5. Wisconsin State Capitol (Madison)

Wisconsin State Capitol

Almost as tall as the nation’s capitol building in Washington D.C., the Wisconsin State Capitol is striking, even from a distance. Built in 1917, the capitol features a towering dome that measures at over 280 feet.

You can tour perhaps the most beautiful piece of architecture in Madison on a free guided tour. Your expert leader will take you through the capitol’s top highlights, from monuments and rotundas to murals and marble designs.

The tours last an hour, leaving you with plenty of time to visit the sixth-floor museum. Here, you can learn about the process of building Wisconsin’s third state capitol. It’s the tallest building in Madison and, to truly appreciate its presence, capture the building from the Monana Terrace Community and Convention Center.

4. Harley-Davidson Museum (Milwaukee)

Harley-Davidson Museum

With its instantly recognizable logo, Harley-Davidson is a brand that represents much more than just motorbikes. In Milwaukee, the famed brand is celebrated at the impressive Harley-Davidson Museum.

Featuring over 450 motorbikes and provocative artifacts, you can learn about the history of Harley-Davidson, from its start here in Milwaukee in 1903, to the present day.

Always a brand of innovation, Harley-Davidson has long loved to go against the grain. The museum lets you experience that thrill in virtual reality by jumping on the back of one and making your way through the Midwest. Gearheads will have a blast tinkering with original engines, while you can also learn how to gain rep in the Rebels and Outlaws exhibit.

3. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands

Along the northern coast of Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is as historic as it is eye-catching. Featuring 21 islands, six storybook lighthouses and glistening sandstone, there’s no better place in the state to go for a kayak.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, hundreds of ships navigated the foggy Lake Superior with the guiding help of the Apostle Islands’ lighthouses. Today, you can visit the many that still stand. With the adjacent watcher’s cabin showing a lonely and romantic life.

You can explore the national lakeshore on foot, before kayaking or joining a cruise. On many of the islands, you can camp out and enjoy what is a stunning landscape shaped by thousands of years of glacial movement.

2. Witches Gulch

Witches Gulch

In Wisconsin Dells , Witches Gulch is a narrow canyon carved by surging water and the timeless efforts of the wind. Once an ancient lake, the sandstone canyons will remind some of the iconic slot canyons in Utah. Along the way, you’ll bear witness to whirlpool champers among the gloomy scenery, where thick ferns hover overhead.

Over the years, visitors have been able to make the trip to the intriguing canyon on foot. However, rules have changed to mitigate erosion and now those who wish to see Witches Gulch must sign up for the Upper Dells bout tour.

The trip reaches its zenith at the end of the canyon at Stand Rock. The towering, thin sandstone holds a larger rock on top. Here, the tour’s trained dog leaps from the peak of the pillar, leaving the crowd with bated breath.

1. Taliesin


The work of Frank Lloyd Wright can be seen all over Wisconsin. Born and raised in the Badger State, Wright is an influential architect whose designs include the Milwaukee’s beautiful Greek Orthodox Church. But his most iconic piece is Taliesin, a countryside estate that Lloyd himself perfected over the course of almost five decades.

Set in the gorgeous countryside with the rolling hills like waves across his 600-acre property, Lloyd went to work in the summer of 1911. The estate continued to improve until his death in 1959. Today, you can tour the property, including the beguiling home, which features a gallery, theater, and school.

Also known as Taliesin East, you can receive the full experience by journeying to Taliesin West in Arizona, where Frank Lloyd Wright spent the winter.

Map of Things to do in Wisconsin

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14 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Posted by Brittany Varano December 17, 2021 Updated July 05, 2022

Much of Wisconsin is covered in rolling farm fields, where cows graze, and bright red barns stand tall.

But it may surprise you to discover that America’s Dairyland isn’t only known for its rich agricultural tradition.

America’s Third Coast is also home to countless incredible attractions, both urban and out in the countryside. Boarded by Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and filled with more than 15,000 freshwater lakes, many of the best places to visit in Wisconsin revolve around the water.

But the fun doesn’t stop at Wisconsin’s thousands of miles of coastline! The state’s largest cities also highlight Wisconsin’s rich and distinct Midwestern culture as it melds with the modern art and culinary world.

Fall in love with the Badger State as you check off destinations one by one from this list of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

Related Read : 14 Best Things to Do in Wisconsin in Every Season

1. Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward

Places to visit Wisconsin

There’s nothing quite like the charm that envelopes Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward . Once the city’s industrial neighborhood, hip cafes, restaurants, and shops now fill the historic cream and red brick warehouse buildings. Not to mention, countless art galleries and theaters call the neighborhood home creating a lovely art and theater scene.

The pretty Milwaukee Riverwalk also passes through the neighborhood where pedestrians can spot passing boats and kayakers cruising the meandering Milwaukee River. When hunger strikes, consider visiting Cafe Benelux for their classic brunch or the Milwaukee Public Market .

Related Read : 10 Charming Day Trips from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

2. Kohler-Andrae State Park

Places to visit Wisconsin 2

In the precious summer months, people flock to Kohler-Andrae State Park to enjoy the calm waters and sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. When you’re not fishing, kayaking, or swimming, the park grounds feature picnic facilities and a place to rinse off.

This beloved state park is also famous for its unique boardwalk hiking trails that wind over the undulating sand dunes. For those who wish to stay longer than a day, there are over a hundred family-friendly and modern campsites available to reserve. Family pets are welcome in the park so long as they’re leashed.

Related Read : The 9 Absolute Best State Parks in Wisconsin

3. The Wisconsin Great River Road

Places to visit Wisconsin 3

For a road trip, you won’t soon forget, take a drive along the Great River Road . This Wisconsin scenic drive follows the great Mississippi River and highlights the beauty of the verdant river valley. Although this route is especially gorgeous in the fall, it’s a great place to visit any time of year.

The drive totals 250 miles and is divided into two sections, north and south, starting in Prescott and finishing at the Illinois state line. Some worthwhile stops along the way include Wyalusing State Park and Perrot State Park , as well as charming river towns like Stockholm and Prairie du Chien.

Related Read : 10 Beautiful Scenic Drives in Wisconsin

4. Green Bay’s Titletown Park

titletown park green bay

Green Bay’s Titletown Park is a mecca for die-hard Packer’s fans. This green-and-gold-themed park is a dedicated community space that sits just outside the walls of historic Lambeau Field. It celebrates Wisconsinites’ favorite NFL team and makes for a family-friendly destination thanks to its playground, winter ice rink, and 46-Below Cafe.

It’s also here in the park grounds where you can enjoy other seasonal events, local shops, and plenty of picnic space when the weather is warm. Titletown sits next to a park that features Ariens Hill, where kids come to sled and tube once it snows.

Related Read : 12 Best Cabin Rentals in Door County, Wisconsin

5. Wisconsin Dells

Places to visit Wisconsin 5

Unsurprisingly, the Wisconsin Dells is considered one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin. Famous for the high concentration of exciting indoor and outdoor water parks, there’s water fun to be had year-round. Many opt to stay at resorts, like the Kalahari or Great Wilderness, while others book a cozy Wisconsin Dells vacation rental.

The Dells are also known for striking sandstone bluffs that tower over the passing Wisconsin River, creating a unique landscape you can’t see anywhere else in the state. Visitors can take in the natural wonders of the Dells up close with a hike or a boat tour aboard a Wisconsin Duck.

Related Read : 12 Best Cabin Rentals Near Wisconsin Dells

6. Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area

Places to visit Wisconsin 6

Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area is a beautiful and severely underrated place in south-central Wisconsin. Whether because it’s not all that well-known or folks are turned away by its relatively small size, it’s a shame because this incredible natural landmark has a lot to offer.

Parfrey’s Glen is unique because of the striking sandstone gorge that cuts through the forest and the massive boulders that hikers can climb for a better view. The canyon hiking trail is short and only totals 1.7 miles, but it is worth the journey to see the canyon’s towering cliffs that reach up to 100 feet tall.

Although located a 15-minute drive from the main part of the park, Parfrey’s Glen is part of Devil’s Lake State Park .

Related Read : The 10 Best Lake Camping Destinations in Wisconsin

7. Pattison State Park

Places to visit Wisconsin 7

Pattison State Park is the perfect place to chase waterfalls in Wisconsin and is home to the largest waterfall in the state. Reaching an impressive height of 165 feet, Big Manitou Falls is worthy of any Wisconsin bucket list, beating out the second tallest by a good 65 feet.

Millions of years ago, the Black River carved a deep gorge from the region’s ancient, black lava rock, creating the cascades we see today. After hiking to see the big falls, you can also walk to see the Little Manitou Falls, swim in the passing river, and camp out surrounded by the quiet of the north woods.

Related Read : 11 Waterfalls in Wisconsin Not to be Missed

8. Cave of the Mounds

Places to visit Wisconsin 8

Dive deep beneath the earth to experience the spacious and expansive limestone caverns that make up the Cave of the Mounds . The caves were discovered back in 1939 and total 750 feet long and 57 feet its deepest point. Today visitors come from all over to try their hand at spelunking and to witness the glittering stalagmites and stalactites.

After you’ve completed your self-paced tour of the caves, you can pick up a souvenir at the gift shop, crack your own geode, or stroll the above-ground nature trails. You can find the Cave of the Mounds in central Wisconsin. But note – this attraction isn’t for the claustrophobic as some spaces require crawling through tight spaces.

Related Read : 10 Great Places to See Fall Colors in Wisconsin

9. House on the Rock

house on the rock wisconsin

If you’re attracted to the weird or unique, a visit to the House on the Rock is a must. This funky landmark is tucked away in Spring Green, about an hour from Madison and the Wisconsin Dells. Its claim to fame is its topsy turvy architecture, gardens, and eclectic collection of items.

The House on the Rock opened in 1959 thanks to Alex Jordan Jr., a friend of Wisconsin native and famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. While initially just a casual attraction, it now features a resort where guests can spend the night and enjoy rounds of golf, American cuisine, and spa services.

Related Read : 10 Cozy & Comfortable Wisconsin Tiny Home Rentals

10. Holy Hill Basilica

Places to visit Wisconsin 9

The Basilica and National Shrine of Mary , locally known as Holy Hill, is a historical landmark not far from Milwaukee. This eye-catching church is perched atop a hill, reaching 1,350 feet above sea level. One of the best things to do at Holy Hill is climb to the top of the observation tower that overlooks the surrounding farmland and forest.

Visitors can also stroll the church grounds to see old religious statues and shrines. The most popular time of year to visit Holy Hill is in the fall, when the trees that encircle the church shift to bright colors. Trails part of the Kettle Moraine Forest and a portion of the Ice Age Trail pass near the church grounds offering even more scenic hiking opportunities.

Related Read : 10 Amazing Small Towns in Wisconsin for a Charming Escape

11. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Places to visit Wisconsin 10

Nature lovers would be remiss not to include the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on their list of best places to visit in Wisconsin. It’s one of only a handful of nationally protected parks in the state. Made up of a chain of 21 islands in Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands are famous for sea kayaking, backcountry camping, excellent hiking, and frozen sea caves in the winter.

None of the islands in the national lakeshore are accessible by car, which means visitors must kayak, boat, take a water taxi, or an organized tour. If driving is your only option, the archipelago’s largest and most developed island, Madeline Island, is another way to see the islands but is not part of the NPS.

Related Read : 11 Peacefully Secluded Cabin Rentals in Wisconsin

12. Madison’s Capitol Square

Places to visit Wisconsin 11

The Capitol Square in downtown Madison isn’t only the heart and soul of the city but the state as well. It’s here the majestic Capitol building stands tall over the surrounding cityscape. Even if politics aren’t for you, a visit inside the impressive marble walls and a climb to the upper observation deck is a fantastic way to spend the day.

Not to mention, every Saturday, the Square comes alive with hundreds of vendors and shoppers bartering over fresh flowers, produce, cheese curds, and more at the famous Dane County Farmers Market. The Square is also the best place to treat yourself to the rich culinary scene and nightlife that people love about Madison.

Related Read:   11 Best Things to Do in Madison, Wisconsin

13. Door County

Places to visit Wisconsin 12

Lovingly referred to as Wisconsin’s thumb, Door County is a beautiful peninsula encircled by the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. It’s famous for its hundreds of miles of scenic coastline and the charming small towns scattered across the county. Some of the best places to visit in Door County include Egg Harbor, Sister Bay, and Ephraim.

For a taste of the natural beauty native to this neck of the woods, head over to Whitefish Dunes and Peninsula State Park to marvel at undulating dunes and scraggly bluffs. Other Door County musts include a visit to Cana Lighthouse, touring a local vineyard, and eating all the local goodies like frozen custard and fresh cherry treats.

Related Read : 10 Relaxing Wisconsin Cabin Rentals with Hot Tubs

14. New Glarus Brewery

new glarus brewing company

Producing brews that are only available within state lines, the new  Glarus Brewery has become an iconic Wisconsin landmark with a reputation for creating refreshing brews. Situated in the small town by the same name, a visit, and tour of this charming craft microbrewery makes for a popular day trip from Madison.

Visitors can take a self-guided tour to learn more about the history of this microbrewery which opened up its doors in 1993. You’ll also learn about New Glarus’ beer production process, which notably only uses Wisconsin-grown malt varieties to flavor their distinct drafts. During your visit, you can partake in a tasting of three of New Glarus’ beers. Be sure to try their Spotted Cow, a Wisconsin favorite!

Related Read:   10 Best Hikes in Wisconsin for Hitting the Trail Any Time of Year

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Posted by Brittany Varano

Brittany is a freelance travel writer and avid photographer with a love of hiking and nature. Originally from Wisconsin, she fell in love with travel blogging after living and teaching English in South Korea. She’s now location independent and enjoys slow travel to new and exciting places.

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14 Best Things to Do in Wisconsin in Every Season

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More than Just America’s Dairyland

Wisconsin is a unique midwestern state with coastlines on two Great Lakes and an interior known for farms, beer, cheese curds and cabins on the lakes. With busy cities and quiet state parks, Wisconsin is a beautiful state to visit year round. Read on for my roundup of the eight best places to visit in Wisconsin and let me know in the comments if I missed your favorite Wisconsin town.

Best Things to Do in Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is Wisconsin’s capital city so it seems only right to be first on my list. Located just over four hours from the Twin Cities, it’s a great place to visit for a long weekend. Madison is a vibrant and lively city with bike lanes, great restaurants, two beautiful lakes, and the stunning Capitol building. Once you arrive in Madison, just about everything you’ll want to see is within walking distance, making it an easy city to navigate.  Read my detailed blog post on Madison here!

Best Things to Do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

2. Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin may be one of the midwest’s best-kept secrets. This underrated, laidback city has a scenic riverwalk, easy access to Lake Michigan, tons of historic buildings, several professional sports teams, and a large variety of breweries serving up refreshing beer. It’s an affordable and down-to-earth city with small local businesses, beer gardens, public parks, cheese curds, and epic summer concerts, making it a great place to visit and unwind. Read my detailed blog post on Milwaukee here.

8 Great things to do in La, Crosse Wisconsin

3. La Crosse

La Crosse, Wisconsin is a cute river town just over one hour from Rochester, Minnesota. Known for its golden bluffs in the fall, paddle boarding on Lake Onalaska in the summer, and great restaurants, a brewery, distillery, and cute shops year-round, La Crosse is an exciting place to visit during any season. Read my blog post on La Crosse here.

Apostle Islands Wisconsin

4. Bayfield & the Apostle Islands

Bayfield is a quaint waterfront town in Wisconsin just over 90 minutes from Duluth with a population of just over 430 people. Spend the day in Bayfield, or take a ferry over to Madeline Island to camp, grab drinks at a bar, or bike. With coffee shops, bookstores, boutiques, and much more Bayfield and the Apostles Islands are an excellent place for a family trip or girls’ weekend. Read my detailed blog post on Bayfield.

Wisconsin Dells

5. Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells is a unique place with roller coasters, escape rooms, t-shirt shops, and a park for petting deer. In addition to the bright lights and bustling crowds, you’ll find incredible hiking trails, lakes, strange rock formations, and lavender fields. It feels like Six Flags, Disney World, the Nashville bar scene, Vegas energy, and some of the most beautiful state parks in the Midwest, all in one place. There’s truly something for everyone in Wisconsin Dells.  Read my detailed blog post on Wisconsin Dells here!

Best Things to do in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

6. Eau Claire

Eau Claire, Wisconsin is a hidden gem! Located about 90 minutes from the Twin Cities, this up-and-coming riverfront town has so much to offer. With artwork scattered around town, upscale boutiques, coffee shops, breweries, bike trails, and historic bridges, it’s a unique town that seems to be growing quickly. Read my detailed blog post on Eau Claire here.

vilas wisconsin

7. Vilas County

Vilas County in northern Wisconsin is a  beautiful  place that includes Minoqua, Boulder Junction, and Manitowish Waters. With cute downtowns, tons of shops, boutiques, restaurants, breweries, and beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls, this is a great place to visit any time of the year, but it really comes alive in summer.  Read my detailed blog post here.

Door County Travel

8. Door County

Maybe the most popular summer destination in Wisconsin, Door County should definitely be on your list! This small peninsula juts out into Lake Michigan and is known for its crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches, art galleries, and New England vibe. You’ll also find a plethora of wineries, orchards, and breweries, each with its own unique twist. Door County is super unique compared to the rest of Wisconsin and even the Midwest. Read my detailed blog post here.

Vilas Wisconsin

Plan Your Next Trip

Wisconsin truly has so much to offer amongst a truly varied landscape. Whether you want to eat cheese curds and drink beer in the city, or go hiking and fishing in a quiet park, there’s something for everyone in Wisconsin. Looking for more inspiration? Check out two unique places I stayed in Wisconsin including Big Rock Creek and The Havens .

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Traveling Cheesehead

The Adventures of a Wisconsinite and Her Family

Unique Places To Visit In Wisconsin: Exploring Hidden Gems and Local Favorites

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If you’re looking for a unique and exciting vacation destination, Wisconsin has plenty to offer. From quirky roadside attractions to natural wonders, there’s something for everyone in this Midwestern state. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a fun family vacation, Wisconsin has it all.

Unique Places To Visit in Wisconsin Cover Image

One of the most unique places to visit in Wisconsin is the House on the Rock. This bizarre attraction features a sprawling complex of rooms, walkways, and gardens filled with oddities and curiosities. From the world’s largest indoor carousel to a giant whale sculpture, the House on the Rock is a must-see for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Another must-visit destination in Wisconsin is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This stunning natural wonder features 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland coastline, all of which offer breathtaking views and opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you want to hike, kayak, or just relax on the beach, the Apostle Islands are a true Wisconsin treasure.

Wisconsin’s Natural Wonders

If you are a nature lover, Wisconsin has plenty of natural wonders for you to explore. From the stunning Apostle Islands to the majestic Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin’s natural beauty is sure to take your breath away.

Apostle Islands

The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands located in Lake Superior. These islands are a true natural wonder, boasting over 50 miles of hiking paths, pristine beaches, and stunning sea caves. Visitors can take a guided kayak tour to explore the sea caves or hike the trails to take in the breathtaking views. In the winter, the Apostle Islands are a popular destination for ice fishing and ice climbing.

Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Wisconsin. This natural wonder features a 360-acre spring-fed lake, towering 500-foot bluffs, and over 30 miles of hiking trails. Visitors can swim, fish, and boat in the lake or hike to the top of the bluffs for panoramic views of the surrounding area. In the winter, Devil’s Lake State Park is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and ice fishing.

Check out this article: A Complete Guide To Devil’s Lake State Park

Cave of The Mounds

Unique Places To Visit In Wisconsin CAVE OF THE MOUNDS

Cave of The Mounds is a National Natural Landmark located in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. This incredible underground cavern was accidentally discovered in 1939 by workers who were amazed by what they found. The main cave started to form more than a million years ago and is now open for guided tours. Visitors can explore the stunning rock formations, underground pools, and crystal formations that make this cave a true natural wonder.

Whether you’re looking to explore sea caves, hike towering bluffs, or marvel at underground caverns, Wisconsin’s natural wonders have something for everyone.

Historical Sites

Wisconsin is rich in history and has numerous historical sites that offer a glimpse into the past. Here are two unique historical sites that are worth a visit:

The House on The Rock

The House on The Rock is a unique attraction located in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It was built by Alex Jordan Jr., who was an architect and collector of oddities. The house is perched on a 60-foot chimney of rock and features unique architecture and design. It is filled with an eclectic collection of antiques, artwork, and oddities that Jordan collected over the years.

One of the most interesting exhibits in The House on The Rock is the Infinity Room. It is a 218-foot-long room that extends out over the valley and has a glass floor. It gives visitors the feeling of walking on air. The house also has a massive indoor carousel that is over 80 feet in diameter and features over 20,000 lights.

Old World Wisconsin

Old World Wisconsin is an outdoor living history museum located in Eagle, Wisconsin. It features over 60 historic structures that have been moved to the site from various locations around the state. The structures include homes, barns, schools, and churches that date back to the 19th century.

Visitors to Old World Wisconsin can take a step back in time and experience what life was like for early settlers in Wisconsin. The museum offers a variety of hands-on activities and demonstrations, including blacksmithing, spinning, and weaving. There are also costumed interpreters who bring the history to life and answer any questions visitors may have.

In conclusion, Wisconsin has a rich history that is worth exploring. The House on The Rock and Old World Wisconsin are just two of the many unique historical sites in the state that offer a glimpse into the past.

Cultural Experiences

If you’re looking for a cultural experience in Wisconsin, you won’t be disappointed. The state is home to a variety of museums, galleries, and cultural centers that offer a glimpse into the state’s rich history and diverse culture. Here are a few must-visit destinations for any culture lover:

Unique Places To Visit In Wisconsin Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum is a world-class museum that features over 30,000 works of art from ancient to contemporary times. The museum’s collection includes works by some of the most renowned artists in the world, including Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol. The museum is also home to the Burke Brise Soleil, a stunning architectural feature that spans the entire length of the building and opens and closes throughout the day.

Madison’s State Street

Madison’s State Street is a vibrant cultural hub that is home to numerous art galleries, theaters, and cultural centers. The street is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening. Some of the must-visit destinations on State Street include the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Overture Center for the Arts, and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Whether you’re interested in art, history, or culture, Wisconsin has something for everyone. Be sure to add these destinations to your itinerary for a truly unique and unforgettable cultural experience.

100 places to visit in wisconsin

Food and Drink Destinations

If you’re a foodie, Wisconsin has plenty of unique dining experiences to offer. Here are a few must-visit destinations for food and drink in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Cheese Tour

Wisconsin is known for its cheese, and there are plenty of opportunities to sample some of the best cheese in the country. Consider taking a Wisconsin Cheese Tour to experience the state’s cheese culture firsthand. You can visit cheese factories, creameries, and cheese shops to learn about the cheese-making process and taste a variety of cheeses. Some popular stops on the tour include:

  • Hook’s Cheese Company in Mineral Point
  • Carr Valley Cheese in La Valle
  • Widmer’s Cheese Cellars in Theresa
  • Roth Cheese in Monroe

New Glarus Brewing Company

If you’re a beer lover, you won’t want to miss the New Glarus Brewing Company. This family-owned brewery produces a variety of award-winning beers, including the popular Spotted Cow. Take a tour of the brewery to learn about the brewing process and sample some of their unique beers. The brewery also has a tasting room where you can try their beers and purchase souvenirs.

In addition to these destinations, Wisconsin has plenty of other unique food and drink experiences to offer. From the Safe House in Milwaukee to Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, there’s something for everyone.

Outdoor Adventures

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Wisconsin has plenty of opportunities for you to explore. From hiking and biking to kayaking and fishing, there’s something for everyone. Unique Places To Visit In Wisconsin

Ice Age Trail

The Ice Age Trail is a 1,200-mile trail that winds through Wisconsin, showcasing the state’s unique glacial landscape. The trail passes through forests, prairies, and wetlands, offering hikers and backpackers a chance to experience the natural beauty of the state.

There are many access points along the trail, so you can choose to hike a short section or tackle the entire length. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as appropriate clothing and footwear for the terrain.


Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest covers over 1.5 million acres in northern Wisconsin, offering visitors a wide range of outdoor activities. The forest is home to over 2,000 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as numerous lakes and rivers for kayaking and fishing.

In the winter, the forest transforms into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. The forest also has several campgrounds and cabins for those who want to spend a night or two in the great outdoors.

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor adventurer or just looking for a fun day trip , Wisconsin’s outdoor offerings are sure to impress.

Festivals and Events

Wisconsin is known for its lively and fun festivals and events that take place throughout the year. Here are two of the most popular events that you don’t want to miss:

Summerfest is one of the largest music festivals in the world and is held annually in Milwaukee. This 11-day event features over 800 acts and attracts over 800,000 visitors from around the world. The festival takes place at Henry Maier Festival Park and features 12 stages, food vendors, and family-friendly activities.

Some of the biggest names in music have performed at Summerfest, including Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and many more. The festival also features a wide range of genres, including rock, pop, country, and hip-hop.

Wisconsin State Fair

The Wisconsin State Fair is an annual event held in West Allis, just outside of Milwaukee. The fair attracts over 1 million visitors each year and features a wide range of activities, including carnival rides, live music, and food vendors.

One of the highlights of the fair is the famous cream puffs, which are made fresh daily and sold in the cream puff pavilion. Other popular foods include cheese curds, bratwurst, and corn on the cob.

In addition to the food, the Wisconsin State Fair also features a variety of agricultural exhibits, including livestock shows and judging competitions. There are also several stages featuring live music, comedy acts, and other performances.

Overall, both Summerfest and the Wisconsin State Fair are must-see events for anyone visiting or living in Wisconsin. With so much to see and do, there’s something for everyone at these popular festivals.

Apostle Island Sea Caves

Final Thoughts about Unique Places To Visit In Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a state that offers a plethora of unique and exciting places to visit. From natural wonders like the Apostle Islands and Cave of the Mounds to quirky attractions like the World’s Largest Carousel and Troll-town USA, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

If you’re a history buff, you won’t want to miss the chance to visit the Sputnik IV crash site or the historic buildings in Cedarburg and Mineral Point. For foodies, there are plenty of culinary tours and festivals to indulge in, including the famous Cheese Days in Monroe.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventures, Wisconsin has no shortage of hiking trails, waterfalls, and state parks to explore . The Ice Age Trail, Devil’s Lake State Park, and the Kettle Moraine State Forest are just a few of the many options available.

No matter what your interests or travel style may be, Wisconsin is a destination that should definitely be on your radar. With its unique blend of natural beauty, quirky attractions, and rich history, there truly is something for everyone to discover and enjoy.

Field of Flowers North Farm

Frequently Asked Questions about Unique Places To Visit In Wisconsin

What are some hidden gems to visit in wisconsin.

Wisconsin is full of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Some of the unique and off-the-beaten-path places to visit in Wisconsin include Apostle Islands, Cave of the Mounds, and the House on the Rock. Apostle Islands is a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior that offer breathtaking views, hiking trails, and kayaking opportunities.

Cave of the Mounds is a natural limestone cave that features stunning rock formations, crystal-clear pools, and guided tours. The House on the Rock is a bizarre attraction that features eclectic collections of art, antiques, and oddities.

What are some unique places to stay in Wisconsin Dells?

Wisconsin Dells is a popular tourist destination that offers a variety of unique places to stay. If you’re looking for an unusual experience, you can stay in a treehouse at the Treehouse Village Resort or a yurt at the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort. For a luxurious experience, you can stay at the Wilderness Resort which features an indoor water park , multiple dining options, and spacious suites.

What are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin is known for its natural beauty and scenic landscapes. Some of the most beautiful places to visit in Wisconsin include Door County, Devil’s Lake State Park, and the Ice Age Trail. Door County is a peninsula that offers stunning views of Lake Michigan, lighthouses, and charming small towns.

Devil’s Lake State Park features towering cliffs, clear water, and hiking trails for all skill levels. The Ice Age Trail is a 1,200-mile trail that winds through Wisconsin’s glacial landscapes and offers breathtaking views of forests, lakes, and prairies.


What are some weird roadside attractions to check out in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has its fair share of weird and quirky roadside attractions. Some of the most bizarre attractions include the World’s Largest Penny in Woodruff, the Mustard Museum in Middleton, and the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha. The World’s Largest Penny is a 17-foot-tall replica of a 1953 penny that commemorates a local lumberjack’s wager.

The Mustard Museum is a museum dedicated entirely to mustard and features over 6,000 varieties from around the world. The Mars Cheese Castle is a cheese shop that looks like a medieval castle and offers a wide selection of Wisconsin cheeses.

What are some fun things to do with kids in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin offers plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions. Some of the best things to do with kids in Wisconsin include visiting the Milwaukee County Zoo, exploring the Children’s Museum of La Crosse, and taking a scenic train ride on the East Troy Railroad. The Milwaukee County Zoo features over 2,000 animals from around the world and offers hands-on exhibits and interactive activities.

The Children’s Museum of La Crosse is a fun and educational museum that features interactive exhibits, a rooftop garden, and a giant bubble machine. The East Troy Railroad offers scenic train rides through the rolling hills of southeastern Wisconsin.

What are some romantic things to do in Wisconsin for couples?

Wisconsin offers a variety of romantic activities and destinations for couples. Some of the best romantic things to do in Wisconsin include taking a sunset cruise on Lake Geneva, visiting the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, and staying at a cozy bed and breakfast in Door County.

The sunset cruise on Lake Geneva offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mansions while enjoying a glass of wine. The Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a beautiful garden that features a Thai pavilion, a rose garden, and a conservatory. Door County features charming bed and breakfasts, wineries, and scenic views of Lake Michigan.

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What were the most and least visited state parks in Wisconsin in 2023?

Peninsula State Park's Eagle Tower in Door County includes a 850-foot access ramp to the upper deck.

State parks and trails in Wisconsin continued to see high visitor numbers in 2023.

While not as high as the immediate post-pandemic stats of 2021, people are getting outside to explore the best natural wonders and outdoor experiences the Dairy State has to offer.

While the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources tracks visitor and user numbers as best it can, it can only estimate numbers at most of its parks. Still, the numbers provide a picture of where the best places are and when to go, when you might see crowds and where you might find a bit more solitude.

Here is what you should know about the 2023 state park visitors stats.

Are park visits up in Wisconsin?

Overall, yes. Wisconsin parks and trails saw an estimated 20,296,960 visitors in 2023. That's an increase of over 320,000 compared to 2022. However, it is actually much less than 2021, which saw an estimated 21,476,124, or nearly 1.2 million more people venturing to public lands coming out of the coronavirus pandemic that year.

What were the most visited state parks in Wisconsin?

The most-visited parks in the last three years have been pretty much the same. They include popular vacation and trip destinations like Devil's Lake, Peninsula, Governor Dodge and Willow River state parks. State forests also top the list with Kettle Moraine's Southern Unit and Lapham Peak Unit, which draw big crowds year round from their surrounding metro areas: Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago.

The most-visited parks have remained steady at the top for the last three years except for one that has had a notable drop: Governor Earl Peshtigo River State Forest. It sits in the 11th spot in 2023, but with a significant dropoff since 2021 when it saw 861,670 estimated visitors, making it the sixth most popular park that year. Those visits declined to 719,065 in 2022 and and even further to 566,685 in 2023.

Parks that are also just outside the top 10 include: Kettle Moraine State Forest Pike Lake Unit, Lakeshore State Park, Mirror Lake State, Park Black River State Forest, Hartman Creek State Park, Perrot State Park and Richard Bong State Recreation Area.

Here are the estimates for the most-visited parks in Wisconsin in 2023.

More: These are Wisconsin's most popular public campgrounds, according to DNR data

What were the least visited parks in Wisconsin?

For those looking for trails or campgrounds they can have to themselves, these places might offer the best chances in the state.

Here are the estimates for the least visited parks in Wisconsin in 2023.

More: 'The raccoons are fearless': We found the worst bad reviews of Wisconsin's state parks and natural wonders

What are the busiest months to visit Wisconsin Parks?

It shouldn't be a surprise that the most popular times at Wisconsin state parks and trails are the warmer months between June and August. Unsurprisingly, the colder months are the least popular times to visit.

Here are the overall visitor numbers for all state trails and parks in Wisconsin by month.

What were the most-utilized state trails?

These are the most-utilized trails, according to the DNR.

Drew Dawson can be reached at [email protected] or 262-289-1324.

Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More

10 Most Affordable Places to Live in Wisconsin

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With the scenic beauty of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, the charming towns in Door County, and vibrant cities like Milwaukee , there are plenty of reasons to love living in Wisconsin. If you’ve been considering moving to Wisconsin or are hoping to relocate to a new city, you also probably have a budget you’d like to stay under as you look for a place to live. As of July, the median home sale price in Wisconsin is $344,900. 

Don’t worry if that price doesn’t fit in your budget – we’ve got options to help you find a home or apartment that does. Redfin has rounded up a list of 10 of the most affordable places to live in Wisconsin – and they all have a median home sale price under the state’s average. Let’s jump in and see what cities are on the list.

milwaukee wisconsin skyline at dusk

Median home price: $185,000  Average sale price per square foot: $132  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $840  Median household income: $44,346  Nearest major metro: Milwaukee (30 miles)  Racine, WI homes for sale Racine, WI apartments for rent

With a median home sale price of $185,000, Racine takes the number one spot on our list of affordable places to live in Wisconsin. About 30 miles away from Milwaukee, the nearest metro, Racine is home to roughly 77,800 people. Living in Racine, you can take in the views of Lake Michigan from the Racine Overlook or Racine Breakwater Lighthouse. You can also spend a beach day at Racine North Beach, and check out the shops, museums, and restaurants in downtown Racine.

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Median home price: $206,000  Average sale price per square foot: $145  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,480  Median household income: $43,125  Milwaukee, WI homes for sale Milwaukee, WI apartments for rent

Taking second place on our list of affordable cities to live in Wisconsin is Milwaukee. When living in this city of 577,200 people, you can spend time outside exploring Mitchell Park Domes, Lincoln Park, and Havenwoods State Forest, or enjoy the day at McKinley Beach. Make sure to check out the Milwaukee Riverwalk District, and visit museums like the Milwaukee Art Museum if you move to Milwaukee .

#3: Oshkosh

Median home price: $222,000  Average sale price per square foot: $137  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $899  Median household income: $51,282  Nearest major metro: Green Bay (50 miles) Oshkosh, WI homes for sale Oshkosh, WI apartments for rent

Third is Oshkosh where about 66,800 residents currently live. The median home sale price is $222,000 which is about $120K less than the median home sale price in Wisconsin. Make sure to visit Asylum Point Lighthouse overlooking Lake Winnebago, grab a meal at one of the many waterfront restaurants, and visit one of the museums like Paine Art Center and Gardens or Oshkosh Public Museum if you move to the third most affordable city.

bridge over the mississippi river in la crosse wisconsin

#4: La Crosse

Median home price: $232,500  Average sale price per square foot: $155  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $849  Median household income: $43,125  Nearest major metro: Madison (140 miles) La Crosse, WI homes for sale La Crosse, WI apartments for rent

Only slightly more expensive than Oshkosh is the city of La Crosse. There are several top attractions you may want to see in La Crosse. Make sure to check out Riverside Park located along the Mississippi River, visit the iconic Grandad Bluff Park offering panoramic views of La Crosse, and explore museums like the Dahl Auto Museum or the World’s Largest Six-Pack landmark.

#5: West Allis

Median home price: $245,000  Average sale price per square foot: $172  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $995  Median household income: $43,125  Nearest major metro: Milwaukee (7 miles) West Allis, WI homes for sale West Allis, WI apartments for rent

Another great affordable city to consider moving to is West Allis. With 60,300 residents, moving to this affordable place gives you the perks of city-life without living in a major metropolitan area. Living in West Allis, you can visit McCarty Park where you’ll find McCarty Pond, check out the events at Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center, and visit the Milwaukee County Zoo just over in Milwaukee.

#6: Kenosha

Median home price: $246,500  Average sale price per square foot: $161  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,044 Median household income: $56,113  Nearest major metro: Milwaukee (40 miles) Kenosha, WI homes for sale Kenosha, WI apartments for rent

Another noteworthy city on our list is Kenosha, where you’ll find the home prices are about $100K less than the state’s average. Kenosha has about 99,900 residents and is a great city to consider living in this year. There are lots of activities to do in this city such as exploring the Kenosha Sand Dunes where you’ll find trails and views of Lake Michigan or spending the day at Simmons Island Beach. You can also check out one of the museums like Kenosha Public Museum, the Civil War Museum, or the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, among many other local favorites.

view of appleton wisconsin homes in the fall_Getty

#7: Appleton

Median home price: $258,000  Average sale price per square foot: $142  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,325  Median household income: $61,475  Nearest major metro: Green Bay (32 miles) Appleton, WI homes for sale Appleton, WI apartments for rent

Coming in seventh place on our list of affordable places to live in Wisconsin is Appleton. With a population of close to 75,600, Appleton is a great area to live in that’s not nearly as big as the major metropolitan cities in Wisconsin. If you find yourself moving to this city make sure to check out museums like the Hearthstone Historic House Museum and The History Museum at the Castle, visit Sunset Park, and explore the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve.

#8: Janesville

Median home price: $259,000  Average sale price per square foot: $159  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,034  Median household income: $55,914  Nearest major metro: Madison (40 miles) Janesville, WI homes for sale Janesville, WI apartments for rent

If you’ve lived in Wisconsin for some time, you may know our eighth city – Janesville. About 65,600 people live in Janesville, located in southern Wisconsin about 40 miles south of Madison. Be sure to visit the Rotary Botanical Gardens with over 20-acres of paths and gardens, visit the downtown Janesville area, and hike the Ice Age Trail once living in Janesville.

#9: Green Bay

Median home price: $287,450  Average sale price per square foot: $147  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $899  Median household income: $52,214  Nearest major metro: Milwaukee (117 miles) Green Bay, WI homes for sale Green Bay, WI apartments for rent

With a population of about 107,400, Green Bay is a great place to consider moving to in Wisconsin. Popular things to do in Green Bay include watching a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field, visiting outdoor spots like the Green Bay Botanical Garden, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Center, and exploring the riverfront restaurants, shops, and museums.

#10: Eau Claire

Median home price: $300,000  Average sale price per square foot: $161  Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $795  Median household income: $59,705  Nearest major metro: Minneapolis (95 miles) Eau Claire, WI homes for sale Eau Claire, WI apartments for rent

The final city to make our list is Eau Claire. This city has a population of 69,400 and you can visit the lakeside Carson Park where you can find trails and local history museums, stroll through downtown Eau Claire, and check out the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire campus. There’s always something to check out while living in Eau Claire.

Methodology: All cities must have over 50,000 residents per the US Census and have a median home sale price under the average median home sale price in Wisconsin. Median home sale price and median sale price per square foot from the Redfin Data Center during July 2023. Average rental data from Rent.com July 2023. Population and median household income data sourced from the United States Census Bureau .

Alison is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about housing affordability and home interior design ideas. Her dream home is a cottage-style house with a chef’s kitchen and a cozy room to store and play vinyl records.

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People at a Jetskis rental-shop at Lake Geneva in Wisconsin

11 Most Underrated Towns In Wisconsin To Take A Trip To

Wisconsinites consume almost 21 million gallons of ice cream annually! While many tourists visit to experience its milky delights, there is more to see and do in America’s Dairyland. From scenic natural beauty and captivating history to friendly, down-to-earth communities, you can always look forward to something exciting. Naturally, most travelers gravitate towards big cities like Milwaukee and Madison, but hidden in the backcountry are cute locales showcasing the uniqueness of small-town Midwest life. 

These quaint communities offer a needed break from the tumult and turmoil of urban living. Although grossly overlooked, they present the perfect mix of attractions for an engaging holiday. Whether you are looking for an authentic experience of rural Wisconsin life, curious to discover unexplored historic sites, or buzzing to partake in rare outdoor thrills, prepare for this and more in these underrated towns in Wisconsin .

Part of Pepin's business district, Wisconsin

Popularly called the “Birthplace of Waterskiing,” Pepin presents unlimited water-based fun. This small lakeside community of less than 1,000 features a laid back atmosphere that draws visitors around the state. Guests enjoy beautiful views of Lake Pepin and the Mississippi River at the Pepin Marina, providing various opportunities to get on the water, from boating to kayaking. Away from the water, you will encounter the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park near downtown. This urban oasis charms with a relaxed setting, providing the ideal escape from the activities in the town center. The park houses the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, which celebrates the life and legacy of Laura Ingalls. You can browse a diverse collection of farm tools, furniture, household items, and other memorabilia related to the iconic author. Pepin also hosts a thriving restaurant and bar scene, with multiple joints treating travelers to delicious dishes. Homemade café is a popular eatery in town and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a charming outdoor seating area. 

People enjoying a beer outdoor in New Glarus

New Glarus is aptly nicknamed “America’s Little Switzerland” and harbors a rich Swiss heritage, evident in its chalet-style architecture and sumptuous Swiss cuisine. Culture connoisseurs can look forward to an authentic experience at the Swiss Historical Village Museum, which preserves the town’s culture and history. It features an original old Swiss settlement with different historic buildings displaying various artifacts. The cultural experience continues at the Chalet of the Golden Fleece Museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It boasts a massive collection of items that immerse you in a wealth of Swiss art, culture, and history. 

Those looking to step outside can visit the New Glarus Woods State Park to enjoy a cozy green space. It offers countless outdoor opportunities, from hiking and cycling to snowmobiling along the 22-mile Sugar River State Recreation Trail. For the complete Swiss experience, try stopping by Glarner Stube to enjoy delicious Swiss fare. 

Ellison Bay

Looking southerly in downtown Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, on Wisconsin Highway 42

This easygoing waterfront community in northern Door County is the quintessential small-town retreat, delivering a slow pace of life, green surroundings, and a mix of outdoor opportunities. Adventurers gather at the Ellison Bluff State Natural Area to enjoy scenic lake views. The park features a forested bluff, picturesque nature trails, and enough seating areas for picnickers. You can continue exploring the great outdoors at Newport State Park, which straddles at least 2,300 acres with 11 miles of picturesque Lake Michigan shoreline. It is a popular hub for swimmers, hikers, campers, backpackers, and snowmobilers.

Meanwhile, those who prefer outdoor pursuits can peek into the area’s maritime history at the Death’s Door Maritime Museum. Housed inside is a sizeable collection of artifacts, including scuba diving equipment and a shipwreck documenting Ellison Bay’s nautical exploits. Alternatively, you can enjoy refreshing locally crafted brews at Mink River Basin while admiring beautiful river views. 

Lake Geneva

Lakeside of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

This adorable resort city on Lake Geneva is famous for glistening waters, luxurious mansions, and a bustling downtown. Most visitors to the town gather at Riviera Beach to take advantage of lakeside recreation like swimming, sunbathing, hiking, and boating. The popular beach is perfect for a family day out, offering enough real estate to accommodate multiple beachgoers. Just next to the beach is the Lake Geneva Shore Path, a popular walking route with stunning lake vistas. The path passes along the town’s beautiful historic estate with gorgeous mansions and well-manicured gardens. 

Visitors also tour the Geneva Lake Museum for some informative background to the town. This fine facility exhibits interactive exhibits and relics from bygone eras, featuring archaic artifacts from the Potawatomi Indians. Lastly, one of the best local experiences involves getting on the Lake Geneva Cruise Line to get a unique perspective of the town from the water. 

Aerial view of a small midwestern town of Sparta, Wisconsin

The “Bicycling Capital of America,” as it is popularly known, has a rich cycling heritage that can be seen in different aspects of the town. This is especially true at the Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bike Museum. The venue celebrates the “Progression of Transportation” while honoring astronaut Deke Slayton. It houses a charming collection of exhibits, including over 100 unique bikes and other artifacts from NASA. Another interesting stop for history lovers is the Monroe County Local History Room and Museum, which connects people to their family history through old photographs, archives, and online databases.

For a community reputed for biking exploits, Sparta presents generous opportunities to hop on two wheels and explore the great outdoors. The La Crosse River State Trail stretches 22 miles from the town to La Crosse, inviting bikers, walkers, and runners to exercise their legs. Come the cold season, all roads lead to the Whitetail Ridge Ski Area for fun in the snow. 

Annual Applefest in Bayfield, Wisconsin.

An escape to the beautiful Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Bayfield is an exquisite destination for outdoorsy travelers. The Apostle Islands Cruises Boat Tour is the best way to explore the magic of the water. This fun trip lets you explore the unique scenery of the Apostle Islands and make the most of wild camping, hiking, and wildlife-viewing experiences. Those too coy to get on the water can hang out at the Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion, a lovely event area with outdoor seating overlooking Chequamegon Bay. 

Bayfield is also home to the Bayfield Maritime Museum, which documents the nautical history of the town and the Apostle Islands area. It exhibits a vast collection of artifacts offering a window into over 150 years of Bayfield’s history. Finally, art enthusiasts can enjoy local art pieces at Bayfield Artists Guild. 

Egg Harbor Village sign in Door County, Wisconsin.

Despite its modest population, Egg Harbor has enough attractions to entertain all travelers. This Door County gem offers picturesque outdoor scenery, which you can soak at the Egg Harbor Marina. It boasts a family-friendly atmosphere perfect for chilling and people-watching. However, the best way to explore the town is to book a tour on the Door County Trolley. Guests enjoy fun sightseeing trips that take you through all the top sites in Egg Harbor tailored to your preferences. 

Egg Harbor boasts a thriving art and culture scene, housing a charming mix of art venues showcasing works by local creatives. An example is Off the Wheel Pottery, which invites connoisseurs to peruse sculptures, paintings, and glass art by local, regional, and local artists. 

The White Gull Inn is a historic bed and breakfast inn and restaurant in Fish Creek.

Fish Creek is one of the best towns in Wisconsin if you want to experience the beauty of the state’s backcountry. It is well-known for hosting the Peninsula State Park, which is easily the biggest draw in the area. Straddling over 3,700 acres, it is the third largest park in Wisconsin and welcomes an average of one million annual visitors to camp, hike, wildlife spot, and bike in a unique wilderness area. With so much to explore, visitors prefer taking the Fish Creek Scenic Boat Tours to discover the town from the water. This relaxed trip takes you through islands around Peninsula State Park, with stops at gems like the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. 

But if you prefer something more exciting, Door County Adventure Rafting organizes thrilling boat tours on a smaller but faster vessel, exploring the area's caves, lighthouses, islands, and shipwrecks. Finally, history enthusiasts can check out the Alexander Noble Museum from 1875, featured on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Aerial Sunset View of Sheboygan, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan

Sheboygan is a lovely community on the Lake Michigan Shores and a hub for outdoor adventurers. Hikers, campers, surfers, and skiers gather in this exciting town to explore its wild open spaces. Highlights include the Kohler-Andrae State Park, home to at least 100 campsites, 2.5 miles of sandy lake shores, and numerous nature trails. The 135-acre Maywood Park presents more adventures in the wild, especially for birdwatchers, skiers, and hikers, proving to be a hotspot around the year. Those curious about local history will have fun reviewing more than 30,000 artifacts exhibited at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum. Meanwhile, art enthusiasts can enjoy visual and performance art at the Jean Michael Kohler Art Center, which stages performances, events, and exhibitions ideal for all ages. 

Hayward is a small Town in Northern Wisconsin

The charming town of Hayward lies along the scenic banks of the Namekagon River and offers something for everyone. Outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy the scenic river trails well-suited for ATVs. Alternatively, they can relax with world-class fishing in the expansive Hayward Lakes system, comprising numerous interconnected lakes, rivers, and ponds. Anglers will find endless spots to try their luck and can learn more about the rich fishing history at the renowned Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. This museum attracts around 100,000 visitors annually, and the outside features a towering 143-foot muskie sculpture proclaimed the world's largest muskie.

Meanwhile, animal lovers can interact with exotic wildlife at the Wilderness Walk Zoo, home to rare species like black bears and tigers. The sanctuary provides an opportunity to appreciate these creatures up close.

Ringling Theater exterior in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Baraboo owes much of its identity, and tourism draws to its deep history with the legendary circus industry. Dubbed the "Circus City," it was here that the iconic Ringling Brothers established their winter quarters, cementing Baraboo's connection to the traveling shows. Visitors can delve into this colorful heritage at the flagship attraction, Circus World. At the Ringling Brothers' original facility, exhibits and artifacts showcase the evolutions in circus performances and periodic live productions. But Baraboo's natural surroundings shine just as brightly. 

Devil's Lake State Park is a jewel along the renowned Ice Age National Scenic Trail, offering scenic hiking trails and pristine shoreline vistas. Not far is the expansive Mirror Lake State Park, a 2,719-acre refuge for outdoor enthusiasts. Paddlers, anglers, and boaters enjoy the opportunities on Mirror Lake within its forests and wetlands. 

Final Thoughts

While big cities like Milwaukee and Green Bay steal much of the Badger State’s spotlight, the smaller, lesser-known towns are worth visiting. They are the true lifeblood of the state, harboring rich cultural and historical heritages that collectively preserve the authentic identity of America’s Dairyland. If you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle in the metro areas for a moment, it doesn’t get better than the laid back setting in any of the above underrated small towns in Wisconsin. This is the perfect opportunity for a fresh experience rarely available in famous cities.  

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Total solar eclipse April 8, 2024: The longest and most visible for the US in 100 years

When a total solar eclipse attains a duration of over 4 minutes it certainly should be considered as an exceptional eclipse.

a total solar eclipse seen against a black sky

If we were to compare the "Great North American Solar Eclipse" of April 8 against other eclipses over the past century, where would it rank? 

Actually, it would end up quite high on the list. 

During the last 100 years, from 1925 (inclusive) to 2024, the maximum duration of totality of 75 solar eclipses that we sampled (including annular-total/hybrid and non-central total eclipses) averaged 3 minutes 13 seconds. Incidentally, the absolute maximum possible duration of a total solar eclipse is 7 minutes 32.1 seconds, according to Jean Meeus, a Belgian Earth and planetary scientist specializing in celestial mechanics. 

So, when a total solar eclipse attains a duration of over 4 minutes it certainly should be considered as an exceptional eclipse. Our upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8 , will achieve a maximum duration of 4 minutes 28.2 seconds in north central Mexico. Among the 75 solar eclipses that we sampled, 29 belong to the "Four Minute or Greater Club" and the April 8 eclipse ranks among the top 25% in terms of duration.

Related: Total solar eclipse 2024: Everything you need to know

100-year comparison

Even more striking are the comparisons among totalities that cross the boundaries of the United States during this 100-year timeframe. These are listed in the table below. 

Not including our 2024 eclipse which we kept separate, there are 14 eclipses contained in this particular survey. One of these (April 28, 1930) is a rare "hybrid" or annular-total eclipse, with that part of the eclipse path that produces (albeit an exceedingly brief) total eclipse, passing over parts of five western states.

In making comparisons of the characteristics of the April 8, 2024 eclipse to the 13 on our list, here is what is found:

Duration: Totality for these 14 United States eclipses averages 1 minute 58 seconds. By this standard seven eclipses are "above average" while only two of the 13 exceed the three-minute mark (March 7, 1970 and July 11, 1991). Excluding the April 8 eclipse, which produces a totality lasting 4 minutes 27 seconds for south Texas, only the 1991 eclipse can boast a duration greater than four minutes. 

Maximum altitude: The higher the eclipsed sun is up in the sky, the greater are the chances that it will be free from haze or clouds. The value for the upcoming April 8 event is 69° (in south Texas). The average for the other 14 United States eclipses places the sun less than half as high in the sky at 32°. Four of the 13 have the sun more than halfway up (greater than 45°) in the sky. Note, however, that the second most favorable of the 14, that of April 28, 1930, is the annular-total, with an excellent 62° altitude, coupled with a "totality" of just one second!

Maximum path width: At the time of a total eclipse, the moon's shadow cast on the Earth's surface is in the shape of an ellipse. Just how elliptical the shadow will appear is controlled by the altitude of the sun above the horizon. The average of the 14 United States eclipses gives a path width of 89 miles. The upcoming eclipse of April 8, has a value of 108 miles in this category, but places fourth behind the eclipses of Feb. 26, 1979, July 11, 1991 and July 22, 1990. 

In fact, the width of the 1979 eclipse measured 83 miles larger than the 2024 eclipse.

It should be pointed out, however, that in the case of that 1979 eclipse, the sun stood at a maximum altitude of only 24° (in northwest North Dakota, near the town of Portal), with the umbral shadow striking the Earth rather obliquely. Consequently, the projected shape of the umbra on the Earth was a highly elongated oval measuring 83 by 191 miles along and across its path, respectively. Meanwhile, on April 8, over south Texas, the altitude of the totally eclipsed sun will be 69° — almost three times higher compared to 1979. So, rather than an elongated oval, the shape of the moon's shadow in 2024 will be more circular. 

Put another way, from North Dakota in 1979, at mid-totality, a person positioned at the center of the eclipse track was no more than 41.5 miles from either the leading or trailing edge of the umbra, On the other hand, on April 8, at mid-totality at the center of the eclipse track in south Texas, an observer will be up to 54 miles from the leading and trailing edges of the umbral shadow. 

Region of visibility: Total solar eclipses seem to have a perverse habit of avoiding major population areas. While it is true that a few eclipses in our sample of 14 passed over large metropolitan areas (NYC in 1925; Minneapolis 1954; Boston 1959), for the most part the total viewing audience is composed chiefly of smaller towns and communities. Even for the 1970 eclipse which paralleled the Atlantic seaboard, the shadow completely missed the heavily populated Northeast Corridor. The largest population center that experienced totality was the Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA metropolitan area: 508,000. And the total number of people within the entire totality zone probably numbered less than two million.

In contrast, the total eclipse of August 2017, whose path stretched from coast-to-coast, encompassed a viewing audience of 11 million people. But as impressive as that was, the upcoming April 8 eclipse will pass over many metropolitan areas from Texas to northern New England, giving an estimated 32 million people a chance to witness firsthand this amazing spectacle. 

Very likely then, the upcoming eclipse of April 8 will represent the greatest concentration of people ever to be immersed in the moon's dark umbral shadow in the history of the United States!

—  What is a solar eclipse?

 — Total solar eclipse 2024: How and where to watch online for free

 — Total solar eclipse April 2024: 10 of the biggest cities within in the path of totality

The distant past ... and the near future: From everything we have noted so far, it becomes obvious that, so far as the United States is concerned, that the eclipse of April 8, 2024 is quite exceptional. In fact, there is only one other event to which we could strike a reasonable comparison. That would be the eclipse of June 16, 1806. On that day, the shadow of the moon swept across North America, crossing through the northern Midwest and continuing through New York State and New England. From the standpoint of duration of totality, this eclipse was the finest for the North American continent during the entire 19th century and would not be rivaled until the mid-21st century.

The total phase of this 1806 eclipse lasted for 4 minutes 53 seconds in the vicinity of Marblehead, Massachusetts (northeast of Boston), with mid-totality occurring with the sun near its highest point in the sky — 70° — just a half hour before local noon. 

And it will not be until the total solar eclipse of Aug. 12, 2045, that the contiguous United States will, for the first time, experience a total eclipse of over 6 minutes. The expected maximum duration of totality for this unique event, will be 6 minutes 6 seconds, near Port St. Lucie, Florida; the longest totality in U.S. history. Mark your calendars!

Until then, however, the finest total eclipse of the sun for the United States between the years 1806 and 2045 will be that of April 8, 2024.

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's  Hayden Planetarium . He writes about astronomy for  Natural History magazine , the  Farmers' Almanac  and other publications.  

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Joe Rao

Joe Rao is Space.com's skywatching columnist, as well as a veteran meteorologist and eclipse chaser who also serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmers' Almanac and other publications. Joe is an 8-time Emmy-nominated meteorologist who served the Putnam Valley region of New York for over 21 years. You can find him on Twitter and YouTube tracking lunar and solar eclipses, meteor showers and more. To find out Joe's latest project, visit him on Twitter.

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