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25 Favorite Day Trips From Wisconsin

Last Updated By VacationIdea Staff on February 15, 2024

Best Wisconsin Day Trips

Beautiful North Beach spans 50 acres and offers beach volleyball courts, lifeguard staff, and a nautical-themed children's playground.


If you prefer to be outdoors, there is great hiking, biking and wildlife watching at several nature centers or preserves including Cleophas Reserve, Androne Woods and Spring Creek Preserve.

  • 3. Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

The city is also renowned for its craft beer scene, home to hip breweries like K-Point Brewing, the Brewing Projekt, and Lazy Monk. More things to do in Eau Claire

  • 4. Chippewa Falls

Chippewa Falls

Family-friendly attractions include the 318-acre Irvine Park Zoo. Each year, the city hosts major special events such as the Northern Wisconsin State Fair and the annual Country Fest music festival. More things to do in Chippewa Falls


Visitors can also catch performances by the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, explore the collections of the Dubuque Museum of Art, or ride the world's steepest and shortest scenic railway at the Fenelon Place Elevator.

  • 6. Aztalan State Park

Aztalan State Park

N6200 County Rd Q, Jefferson, WI 53549, Phone: 920-648-8774

  • 7. Fond du Lac

Fond du Lac

The park also boasts a miniature train, antique carousel, petting zoo, and annual holiday dancing lights display. Each year, the city hosts the annual Foot of the Lake Synchronized Skating Classic event.


Nearby, Horseshoe Mound preserves an historic indigenous ceremonial mound site.


Visitors can also explore more than 200 manufacturer and retail outlet stores at Gurnee Mills, or hit the links at the 18-hole Bittersweet Golf Course.

  • 10. La Crosse

La Crosse

More than 30 arts organizations present performances throughout the year, including the Pump House Regional Arts Center, the La Crosse Symphony, and the award-winning La Crosse Community Theater.

  • 11. Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

In the winter months, visitors can ski or snowtube at the Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort.

  • 12. Madison


The Wisconsin Historical Museum details the region's pioneer and industrial history through a variety of exhibits. Many biking paths traverse the city, including the Capital City State Trail, which passes Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace.

  • 13. Manitowoc


13 beautiful beaches line the city's shores, including the 50-acre Neshotah Beach and the ADA-accessible Red Arrow Beach.

  • 14. Marshfield


Grotto Gardens and Wonder Cave offer beautiful landscaped areas for relaxation and reflection. Americana lovers can also view the unique World's Largest Round Barn, the central focal point of the Marshfield Fairgrounds campus. More weekend getaways in Wisconsin

  • 15. Mineral Point

Mineral Point

Annual special events include a Fall Art Tour, a candlelight holiday shopping event, and the Driftless Film Festival. More things to do in Mineral Point

  • 16. New Glarus

New Glarus

New Glarus is a lovely village in Green County that was originally established in the mid-19th century as a Swiss colony. The village retains its Alpine character today, known for its unique Old World architecture, including Swiss-style chalets and historic businesses. Visitors can sample a wide variety of traditional Swiss dishes rarely served outside of Switzerland, including röschti, kalberwurst, spätzle, and landjäger. Old World meat markets and Swiss bakeries sell traditional delicacies, while folk art galleries and museums highlight the culture of Switzerland and tell the tale of early Swiss immigrants. Visitors can also enjoy delicious craft beers at the New Glarus Brewing Company, the United States' 17th-largest craft brewery.

  • 17. Oshkosh


Family-friendly attractions abound, including the Oskhosh Public Museum, the Paine Art Center and Gardens, and the EAA AirVenture Museum. More Midwest weekend getaways

  • 18. Platteville


The "Big M," a monogrammed letter that was originally constructed in 1936 for the former Wisconsin Mining School, holds the record as the world's largest letter M. More day trips from Milwaukee

  • 19. Port Washington

Port Washington

The city's award-winning downtown district is home to a plethora of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

  • 20. Door County

Door County

City centers such as Sturgeon Bay are home to delicious restaurants serving area classics like Belgian-style booyah stew.

  • 21. Spring Green

Spring Green

Visitors can also canoe and kayak on the Wisconsin River, view some of the state's rarest flora and fauna at the Spring Green Prairie Nature Conservancy, or enjoy year-round hiking opportunities at Tower Hill State Park. More ideas: tThings to do in Janesville

  • 22. West Bend

West Bend

The city also hosts the Washington County Fair each summer and is home to one of the state's largest seasonal farmer's markets, boasting over 65 vendors. More things to do in Oconomowoc

  • 23. Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells

Adult visitors can hit the gaming floor at Ho-Chunk Gaming or enjoy leisurely excursion train rides aboard the scenic railway of the Mid-Continent Railway Museum.

  • 24. Chicago


More ideas: Things to do in Marshfield

The 25 Favorite Day Trips From Wisconsin & Fun things to do near me today:

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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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18 Best Road Trips in Wisconsin: A Complete Guide to Fun Day Trips in Wisconsin

Written by joseph hoell, business owner, updated on: june 21, 2023.

Can you feel it? The irresistible lure of the open road, beckoning you to shrug off the chains of your daily routines and discover the magic that lies beyond. Your heart craves fresh vistas, thrilling adventures, and unforgettable memories. It’s a call to wanderlust that you can’t dismiss—and shouldn’t! So, load up your vehicle, round up your friends and family, and get ready to embrace the call of our guide to the best road trips in Wisconsin — a state blessed with scenic splendor, cultural richness, and an abundance of… cheese, cheese, and more cheese!

Wisconsin is often an uncharted treasure in the Midwest for the avid traveler, a splendid secret waiting to be discovered. It’s where beautiful lush forests meet pristine lakes, where charming small towns rich in history coexist with vibrant cities teeming with art and life. However, we’re not just offering you your typical Wisconsin travel guide. Instead, we’re handing you a key to Wisconsin’s hidden treasures—an exclusive list of 18 Essential Road Trips that will lead you on an adventure into the heart of the state’s unmistakable allure.

Together, let’s journey across Wisconsin’s awe-inspiring landscapes, each trip custom-designed to cater to a variety of interests and preferences. Are you a nature lover? A sucker for architectural grandeur? A sports enthusiast? A family with kids? Or a couple in search of a romantic retreat? No matter what you’re looking for Wisconsin has the ideal road trip itinerary crafted just for you. Buckle up, and let’s set off on this thrilling escapade!

Exploring Hidden Treasures: Top Wisconsin Road Trip Destinations Unveiled

As we kick off this journey, let’s dive right into what makes Wisconsin so special. You’ll see its diverse landscapes, charming small towns, and lively cities. No matter if you’re an outdoor lover, a history geek, an adventure seeker, or an art enthusiast, there’s something for you. We’re going to unpack each destination, bringing you the highlights and unique features. So, buckle up, it’s time to embark on this unforgettable journey through Wisconsin’s top road trip destinations. Ready to discover the hidden gems of the Badger State? Let’s hit the road!

Exploring the Enchantment of Door County: The Midwest’s Premier Coastal Road Trip

Let yourself indulge in the soothing sensation of sun-warmed sand beneath your feet, walking alongside a serene shoreline peppered with charming lighthouses and idyllic villages, all while basking in the breathtaking vista of over 300 miles of Lake Michigan’s coastline. Welcome to the allure of Door County , a jewel among Wisconsin’s top road trip destinations.

Unraveling Door County’s Landscape and Allure

Frequently likened to the romantic escape of Cape Cod, Door County paints a scenic picture in eastern Wisconsin. The peninsula is sandwiched serenely between the calm of Green Bay to the west and the majestic Lake Michigan to the east. This Midwest gem attracts road trippers with its relaxing appeal and the striking natural beauty that Wisconsin is renowned for.

Door County’s Inviting Attractions

Packed to the brim with attractive sights and notable Wisconsin landmarks, Door County is an explorer’s dream come true.

  • Walk through the historic Cana Island Lighthouse , a beacon dating back to 1869.
  • Take a leisurely stroll through the charming village of Fish Creek , an embodiment of small-town Wisconsin charm.
  • The Francis Hardy Gallery is a paradise for art enthusiasts.
  • The Door County Maritime Museum serves as a gateway into the region’s rich maritime history.

Activities Around Door County

From adrenaline-inducing outdoor pursuits to relaxing activities, Door County presents the epitome of Wisconsin road trip activities. Here are some highlights:

  • Hiking and Biking: Door County, with its five state parks and numerous local trails, is a dream destination for hiking and mountain biking.
  • Boating and Fishing: Enjoy exceptional opportunities for boating and fishing , thanks to the peninsula’s convenient access to Lake Michigan, Green Bay, and several inland lakes and streams.
  • Arts and Culture: Experience Door County’s thriving art scene, which includes galleries , theaters, and music festivals.
  • Winery Tours: Indulge in local wineries’ offerings and taste award-winning wines, including Door County’s famous Montmorency cherry wine .
  • Door County Coastal Byway: Travel a 66-mile scenic route that showcases diverse landscapes, iconic lighthouses, and historic maritime towns.

Cuisine and Local Delicacies

The culinary scene in Door County presents a venture into Wisconsin’s gastronomic delights. Relish in fresh-caught fish, farm-to-table produce, and the celebrated Door County fish boil —a traditional Scandinavian feast embodying the flavors of Wisconsin. Don’t forget to taste the famous cherry pie , made from locally harvested cherries!

Best Time to Visit Door County

While Door County offers year-round charm, the summer months of June through August provide the most accommodating weather for outdoor activities. Fall, with its vibrant foliage, is another fantastic season to experience the best scenery Wisconsin has to offer.

Insider Tips for Your Door County Road Trip

  • Consider visiting during weekdays to avoid the weekend crowd, particularly during the summer high season.
  • Don’t miss out on Door County’s famous cherry products, from cherry pie to cherry wine.

Who is Door County Good For

Door County caters to families seeking a blend of education and fun, couples looking for a romantic Midwest getaway, nature enthusiasts attracted to Wisconsin’s landscapes, and art lovers eager to explore local talent. It’s a microcosm of Wisconsin’s diverse appeal, making it an essential stop on your Wisconsin road trip itinerary.

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Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Trip Wisconsin

Venturing into Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: Wisconsin’s Northern Gem on Lake Superior

Envision a road trip leading you to a spellbinding destination where time gracefully slows down. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore , featuring 21 islands dispersed across the crystalline waters of Lake Superior , embodies such a destination. It’s an unspoiled Wisconsin utopia, affording you the opportunity to immerse in and relish nature in its purest form.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Unveiled

Nestled in the northernmost region of Wisconsin, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore comprises a group of 21 islands and a shoreline that spans over 69,000 acres on Lake Superior. The islands are home to awe-inspiring landscapes, from historical lighthouses and sea caves to captivating beaches and old-growth remnant forests. This Wisconsin destination invites adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Must-See Attractions in Apostle Islands

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is more than just an attractive natural reserve—it’s a living embodiment of Wisconsin’s rich history and culture:

  • Historic Lighthouses: The Apostle Islands host six distinct lighthouses , each carrying its unique allure, history, and architecture. Lighthouse enthusiasts and history aficionados will appreciate the rare opportunity to witness so many in one location.
  • Sea Caves: The spectacular sea caves of Apostle Islands , accessible by boat in the summer and by foot in the winter, are geological wonders that demand a visit.
  • Hiking Trails: With over 50 miles of well-maintained hiking trails on the islands, hiking is a favorite activity among visitors.

Activities at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The range of activities at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore mirrors the islands’ diversity. Here are a few highlights:

  • Kayaking : Paddle around the islands and through the sea caves in a kayak to witness the awe-inspiring sandstone formations up close.
  • Hiking : Explore the islands on foot and immerse yourself in their rich biodiversity. There’s no better place for hiking in Wisconsin!
  • Camping : With campsites on 19 of the islands, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is an excellent spot for wilderness camping in Wisconsin.
  • Birdwatching : Over 240 species make the islands a birdwatcher’s haven.

Local Cuisine

Savor the flavors of Wisconsin by indulging in fresh-caught fish from Lake Superior, a longtime staple of local cuisine. The regional restaurants also serve a plethora of dishes featuring Wisconsin cheese, a gastronomic delight not to be missed.

When to Visit Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

While the Apostle Islands are an all-year-round beauty, your best time to visit depends on your preferred activities. Summer and early fall are ideal for kayaking, hiking, and camping, whereas winter provides a chance to marvel at the extraordinary ice caves.

Insider Tips for Your Apostle Islands Road Trip

  • Always verify the weather and sea conditions before setting out on any boating or kayaking adventure.
  • Winter visits necessitate careful planning due to unpredictable weather conditions and limited accessibility.

Who is Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Good For

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, with its varied offerings, is an indispensable stop for outdoor enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, nature aficionados, and history buffs. Whether planning a family vacation, a solo adventure, or a romantic retreat, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a Wisconsin road trip destination that caters to all.

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The House on the Rock: A Journey into a Whimsical World of Oddities and Artistry

The House on the Rock is no ordinary tourist destination. It’s an enchanting, slightly eccentric wonderland boasting a medley of curiosities that are bound to mesmerize. If you’re drawn to the peculiar, the fanciful, and the supremely unique, this unmissable Wisconsin attraction should top your list.

Delving into The House on the Rock

Nestled atop a rock column amidst the scenic Wyoming Valley, The House on the Rock stands as a testament to unconventional architecture and a sensory adventure. Brainchild of Alex Jordan Jr., this attraction offers a fascinating peek into the inventive and artistic psyche of its creator.

Experiencing The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock is a labyrinth of surreal rooms, streets, shops, and gardens that unfurls over three distinct tours. Here are some standouts:

The Infinity Room : This marvel defies gravity, jutting 218 feet out over the picturesque valley without any visible support.

World’s Largest Carousel : A sparkling merry-go-round boasting over 20,000 lights and 269 creatures.

The Music of Yesterday : A cache of automated music machines, each playing charming tunes from days gone by.

Streets of Yesterday : A quiet, immersive re-creation of an early 20th-century American town.

Feasting at The House on the Rock

After delving into this fascinating spectacle, replenish your energy at one of the on-site dining establishments. The culinary offerings are as diverse as the exhibits themselves, featuring a café, a coffee shop, and even a fudge counter for those with a sweet craving.

Best Season to Visit

While The House on the Rock welcomes visitors year-round, the full tour is accessible only from May through November.

Smart Tips for Your Visit

Be ready for plenty of walking! Comfortable shoes are a must, and don’t forget to take periodic breaks.

Some sections of the tour can be quite dim, so consider bringing a flashlight.

Who Should Venture into The House on the Rock?

The House on the Rock is a haven for those drawn to unique and offbeat experiences. It’s a gold mine for collectors, history enthusiasts, and anyone blessed with a rich imagination. Its enticing blend of mystery and allure makes it an irresistible destination for explorers of all ages.

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Taliesin in Spring Green: Delving into the World of Architectural Brilliance

Envisage a Wisconsin road trip that presents not only picturesque landscapes but also reveals the innovative mind of the globally acclaimed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright . That’s the exceptional experience you will encounter when you visit Taliesin in Spring Green, Wright’s personal residence and architectural gem.

Discovering Taliesin in Spring Green

Taliesin, tucked within the verdant, undulating hills of Spring Green , served as Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer abode. Constructed in 1911, this 800-acre estate showcases the prominent Prairie School design, blending architecture and landscape in a harmonious and transformative way.

Highlights of the Taliesin Estate

The Taliesin estate is beyond just Wright’s home—it’s a broad property featuring multiple structures, each reflecting the distinctive style of this architectural virtuoso:

  • Hillside Home School : The location of Wright’s architectural school.
  • Midway Farm : An embodiment of Wright’s agricultural concepts.
  • Romeo and Juliet Windmill : The oldest surviving Wright-designed edifice on the property.

Engaging Activities at Taliesin

Visitors at Taliesin can indulge in a variety of fascinating activities:

  • Guided Tours : Gain insights into Frank Lloyd Wright’s life, work, and architectural philosophy.
  • Nature Walks : Discover the extensive grounds and the captivating Wisconsin landscape that inspired Wright.
  • Cultural Events : Participate in concerts, theatrical performances, and other cultural gatherings on the premises.

While touring Taliesin, relish the local culinary scene. Spring Green boasts a dynamic food culture, offering everything from farm-to-table restaurants to charming cafés, serving a true taste of Wisconsin.

Best Time to Visit Taliesin

Taliesin is open for public visits from May through October, with a variety of tour options available. As it involves both indoor and outdoor exploration, checking the weather prior to your visit is advisable.

Insider Tips for Your Taliesin Road Trip

  • Pre-book your tour, as they tend to fill up during peak season.
  • Dress comfortably and be prepared for substantial walking.

Who Should Visit Taliesin

Taliesin in Spring Green is a must-see for admirers of architecture, history, or Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. It’s an excellent destination for couples, families, or solo travelers seeking a unique and enriching experience on their Wisconsin road trip. This iconic site seamlessly fuses architecture and nature in a remarkable way that will undoubtedly inspire and captivate.

Wisconsin Road Trip Bayfield

Bayfield: Embrace Nature’s Majesty and Thrilling Adventures

As you map out your Wisconsin road trip, if you’re seeking a destination that seamlessly blends natural splendor, a rich heritage, and thrilling outdoor pursuits, look no further than Bayfield . Known as the stepping stone to the Apostle Islands, this charming harbor town offers an abundance of treasures.

An Overview of Bayfield

Situated on the banks of Lake Superior, Bayfield may be Wisconsin’s smallest city, but it punches above its weight in terms of charm and allure. Full of character and natural splendor, this town features charming shops, historic inns, and plentiful fruit orchards. However, the centerpiece of Bayfield is undoubtedly the access it provides to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Adventuring in the Apostle Islands

Bayfield stands as the principal point of departure for exploration of the Apostle Islands, a collection of 21 islands renowned for their steep cliffs, mesmerizing sea caves, timeless lighthouses, and sandy beaches. Discover these islands’ beauty through kayaking, ferry travel, or by embarking on a guided boat tour.

Engaging Activities in and Around Bayfield

Bayfield and the surrounding areas offer a host of activities to satisfy the outdoor adventurer:

  • Hiking and Biking : Experience breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the islands through numerous scenic trails.
  • Water Sports : Engage in aquatic activities like kayaking , paddleboarding , or sailing in the clear, blue waters.
  • Apple Picking : Participate in the local tradition of apple picking at nearby orchards during the fall season.

Local Culinary Scene

In Bayfield, dining is as delightful an experience as the views. Fresh catches from Lake Superior, locally-sourced ingredients, and the famous Bayfield apple pies are culinary highlights not to be missed.

Best Time to Visit Bayfield

While Bayfield offers year-round beauty, the warmer months from May through October are especially idyllic for outdoor activities and exploration of the Apostle Islands.

Insider Tips for Your Bayfield Road Trip

  • Plan your visit to coincide with the Bayfield Apple Festival in October for a unique cultural experience.
  • Remember to pack a good pair of hiking shoes and your swimwear.

Who is Bayfield Perfect For?

Bayfield is an ideal destination for those with a love for outdoor adventures and natural beauty. It’s an excellent choice for families aiming to create memorable experiences, couples seeking a romantic escape amidst serene landscapes, or solo explorers seeking an active, visually appealing retreat. The combination of small-town charm and abundant natural wonders make Bayfield an extraordinary stop on your Wisconsin road trip.

Devils Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park: Unleash Your Spirit of Adventure in Wisconsin’s Playground

Among the glittering jewels of Wisconsin’s state park system, Devil’s Lake State Park shines bright. This cherished natural reserve has won the hearts of locals and tourists alike. If you’re an avid nature lover and outdoor enthusiast, this destination should be a top choice on your Wisconsin road trip itinerary.

Exploring the Marvels of Devil’s Lake State Park

Cradled in the Baraboo Range in eastern Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park serves as an oasis for those who thrive in the wilderness. The park’s centerpiece is an enchanting 360-acre lake, enveloped by quartzite bluffs that tower about 500 feet high. With over 29 miles of hiking trails, picturesque picnic spots, and abundant wildlife, it’s clear why this park is an essential visit.

A Wealth of Outdoor Activities

Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a casual nature lover, Devil’s Lake State Park provides a plethora of activities:

  • Hiking: The park offers a vast range of hiking trails , from relaxed lakeside walks to challenging cliffside treks.
  • Swimming and Boating: Dive into the refreshing lake for a swim , or enjoy kayaking, boating and stand-up paddleboarding activities.
  • Climbing: The park’s quartzite cliffs lure rock climbers from across the Midwest.
  • Camping: The park features family camping and group campsites, where you can nestle under the stars, amplifying your outdoor experience.
  • Birdwatching: Don’t forget your binoculars! Over 100 species of birds have been spotted within the park.

Satisfying Your Appetite

Pack a picnic to enjoy against the backdrop of splendid views. For a more conventional dining experience, the North Shore Chateau provides a range of enticing dishes.

When to Visit Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park welcomes visitors year-round. Each season unveils a unique experience, from summer swims and autumn foliage hikes to snowshoeing in winter.

Insider Tips for Your Visit

  • The park can get crowded on weekends. For a more serene experience, aim to visit on weekdays or arrive early.
  • Don’t forget your camera! The vistas from the bluffs are awe-inspiring.

Who Will Enjoy Devil’s Lake State Park?

Devil’s Lake State Park is an Eden for those who appreciate natural splendor and outdoor adventures. It’s a prime spot for family outings, exciting adventures with friends, or tranquil solo trips. This destination offers a truly unique Wisconsin experience, making it an unmissable stop on your road trip.

Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wisconsin Dells: The Unparalleled Hub of Aquatic Adventure and Natural Beauty

Hold on tight, thrill-seekers, nature aficionados, and family fun lovers – Wisconsin Dells , proudly declared as the “Waterpark Capital of the World,” is here to take you on an unforgettable ride of exhilarating activities amidst splendid natural landscapes. It’s not all about water slides and lazy rivers; the Dells also offer some of Wisconsin’s most breathtaking natural vistas.

Getting to Know Wisconsin Dells

Situated in south-central Wisconsin, this vibrant city is a trove of indoor and outdoor waterparks , making it a desirable destination throughout the year. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. Whether it’s ziplining , horseback riding , golfing , or river cruising, Wisconsin Dells provides a myriad of activities that promise to keep everyone entertained.

The Splashy Spectacle of Waterparks

At the heart of Wisconsin Dells’ acclaim are its state-of-the-art waterparks. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect:

  • Noah’s Ark : Known as America’s largest waterpark, this aquatic paradise boasts over 50 water slides, a duo of wave pools, and numerous lazy rivers.
  • Kalahari Resort : This African-themed resort features an extensive indoor waterpark and an equally exciting outdoor waterpark.
  • Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park : This venue offers both aquatic and terrestrial entertainment with a diverse range of water attractions and roller coasters.

The Natural Grandeur of Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells also offers an array of natural splendors:

  • Dells of the Wisconsin River : Opt for a boat tour to marvel at the magnificent sandstone cliffs that flank the Wisconsin River.
  • Mirror Lake State Park : Escape the hustle and bustle and head to this serene haven, known for its tranquil, ‘mirror-like’ lake.
  • Rocky Arbor State Park : With hiking trails meandering through a picturesque pine and oak forest, this park is perfect for a family outing.

When to Visit Wisconsin Dells

Although the indoor parks make Wisconsin Dells a destination for all seasons, summer months (June through August) promise the most comprehensive experience.

Handy Tips for Your Visit

  • Plan in advance and secure your accommodations early, especially during the summer.
  • Keep an eye out for deals and packages that can help you save on admission to various attractions.

Who Would Enjoy Wisconsin Dells?

Wisconsin Dells is a paradise for families, adrenaline junkies, and nature lovers. With its enchanting blend of adventure and natural beauty, it’s a destination that promises fun and creates enduring memories for people of all ages.

Madeline Island Wisconsin Shore

Madeline Island: Where Natural Splendor Meets Historical Richness

Welcome to Madeline Island

Picture an idyllic place where time gracefully decelerates, where captivating landscapes intertwine with an abundant history palpable in every nook and corner. This is Madeline Island for you – the largest among the Apostle Islands and an idyllic retreat for history enthusiasts and nature aficionados alike.

An Expedition to Madeline Island

Tucked in Lake Superior in the northern part of Wisconsin, Madeline Island is a true gem that radiates tranquility with its serene Big Bay State Park and the insightful Madeline Island Museum . A ferry ride from the town of Bayfield escorts you to this enchanting realm where history and nature are beautifully intertwined.

Discovering the Natural Jewels

The island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Here’s a glimpse of the treasures that await you:

  • Big Bay State Park : This is home to a pristine sandy beach, a scenic boardwalk, and several hiking trails offering panoramic views of the lake.
  • Big Bay Town Park : A perfect destination for picnics, swimming, and kayaking, this park is adorned with another delightful beach.
  • Hiking and Biking: The island prides itself on numerous hiking trails that let you unravel its alluring landscapes at your own rhythm.

Delving into History and Culture

The Madeline Island Museum is a cornucopia of knowledge about the island’s vibrant history and culture. It houses exhibits about the early Ojibwe inhabitants, French fur traders, American settlers, and loggers.

Savoring the Local Charm

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the island’s delightful local shops, eateries, and art galleries in La Pointe .

When to Visit Madeline Island

Madeline Island is best visited during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is idyllic for outdoor adventures.

Useful Tips for Your Visit

  • Ensure to check the ferry schedule for timings.
  • Pack essentials such as snacks, water, sunscreen, and insect repellent.

Who is Madeline Island Good For?

Madeline Island is a perfect road trip destination for history buffs, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a serene escape from the urban frenzy. Offering a unique amalgamation of tranquil landscapes, engaging activities, and rich history, it promises to etch a lasting impression on its visitors.

Wisconsin Travel Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva: A Haven of Leisure and Adventure by the Lake

Imagine leisurely cruising on a sparkling lake, marveling at majestic estates, and indulging in exhilarating watersports in summer or ice fishing in the winter. Welcome to Lake Geneva – a true year-round paradise that encapsulates fun, tranquility, and adventure.

The Magic of Lake Geneva

This enchanting city, renowned for its 21-mile shore path encircling the entire lake, offers awe-inspiring views of historical and opulent mansions complemented by the backdrop of crystal-clear waters. Its picturesque downtown is brimming with quaint boutiques and charming eateries.

Activities and Attractions

Here are a few must-experience highlights in Lake Geneva:

  • Boat Tours: Uncover the lake’s splendor and listen to intriguing tales about the grand estates adorning the shoreline.
  • Watersports: From paddleboarding and kayaking to jet-skiing, adventure enthusiasts will adore the plethora of watersport options during summer.
  • Ice-Fishing: Come winter, the frozen lake morphs into a hub for fishing enthusiasts.
  • Hiking Trails: Traverse the area’s natural magnificence via its numerous hiking trails.

Gastronomic Delights

From exquisite lakefront dining experiences to cozy cafés, Lake Geneva’s culinary scene is a feast for every food lover.

When to Visit Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva is a versatile destination that unfolds its unique charm in every season.

Top Tips for Your Visit

  • Don’t miss out on the area’s famous sweet corn and apple cider doughnuts.
  • To relish the complete Lake Geneva experience, walk the entire Lake Shore Path.

Who Would Enjoy Lake Geneva?

Lake Geneva is a fantastic destination for families, couples, and groups of friends. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-boosting watersports, a serene lakeside retreat, or a leisurely stroll through local shops and eateries, Lake Geneva promises to cater to every visitor’s preference.

Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds: Journey into Wisconsin’s Enchanting Subterranean Universe

Set off on an extraordinary expedition into a domain where nature’s subterranean marvels unfold in ways beyond comprehension. Welcome to the Cave of the Mounds, a wonderland where striking stalactites, stalagmites, and other geological formations guarantee an enthralling experience.

The Fascination of the Cave of the Mounds

Designated as a National Natural Landmark, the Cave of the Mounds, situated in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, is a splendid limestone cave that’s captivated tourists since its discovery in 1939. Guided tours lead you through well-lit passages, exhibiting the cave’s remarkable formations, many of which have taken millennia to form.

Attractions and Activities

Here are some experiences that make the Cave of the Mounds a must-visit:

  • Guided Cave Tours: Skilled guides will accompany you on a fascinating journey through the cave, narrating its history, geology, and the distinctive formations visible throughout the excursion.
  • Gemstone Mining: Engage in some gemstone mining, fossicking for fossils and arrowheads at the Cave’s outdoor mining station.
  • Fossil Dig: Both kids and adults will relish the hands-on experience at the fossil dig zone.
  • Hiking Trails: Wander through the beautiful surroundings of the Cave on its various nature trails.

Gastronomic Experiences

While the immediate vicinity of the Cave of the Mounds lacks extensive dining options, the nearby city of Madison offers a diverse gastronomic landscape.

When to Visit the Cave of the Mounds

The Cave sustains a consistent temperature year-round, making it an ideal attraction for all seasons.

Essential Tips for Your Visit

  • As the cave floor can be damp and uneven, ensure you wear comfortable footwear.
  • Remember to bring along a camera to snap pictures of the breathtaking formations.

Who Would Enjoy Cave of the Mounds?

Cave of the Mounds is perfect for families, nature aficionados, and those in pursuit of an unusual and exhilarating adventure. The site’s educational and interactive experiences make it an idyllic destination for inquisitive explorers across all age groups.

Best Road Trips in Wisconsin - Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake: Wisconsin’s Enchanting Lakeside Retreat

Enter the World of Elkhart Lake

There’s something wholly spellbinding about the crystal-clear, spring-fed waters of Elkhart Lake . Enclosed by a delightful resort town, this haven is a dream come true for aqua aficionados and a sanctuary of serenity for those yearning for a respite from the daily grind.

The Charm of Elkhart Lake

The remarkably clear waters of Elkhart Lake earn it the distinction of being one of the most breathtaking lakes in Wisconsin. The lake’s name is thought to derive from the Native American phrase for “elk’s heart,” and much like the majestic beast, both the lake and the town that encircles it are equally enchanting.

Here are a few essential activities around Elkhart Lake:

  • Watersports: From swimming and sailing to paddleboarding and fishing, the lake presents a diverse range of watersport pursuits.
  • Road America: Auto racing enthusiasts should seize the opportunity to witness a race at this renowned four-mile, 14-turn road circuit.
  • Elkhart Lake’s Historic Race Circuits: Traverse the historic race circuits that catapulted Elkhart Lake onto the international racing stage in the early 1950s.
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest: Close by, this forest provides exceptional hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails.

Culinary Pleasures

Elkhart Lake is celebrated for its farm-to-table eateries that utilize locally sourced ingredients. Whether you opt for the Victorian Village Resort’s Back Porch Bistro or the Paddock Club, your palate is in for a delectable surprise!

When to Visit Elkhart Lake

Though Elkhart Lake is a destination for all seasons, the optimal time to revel in the lake activities is during the balmy summer months.

Helpful Tips for Your Visit

  • Don’t miss out on the chance to rent a pontoon for a relaxing lake cruise.
  • If you’re planning to visit during the summer, it’s advisable to book accommodations in advance due to high demand.

Who Would Enjoy Elkhart Lake?

Elkhart Lake is the perfect getaway for water sports enthusiasts, nature devotees, and those seeking a serene retreat. Its broad range of activities caters to thrill-seekers as well as those on a quest for relaxation.

Green Bay Roadtrip

Green Bay: A Touchdown of Rich Culture, Vibrant History, and Natural Splendors

Take a deep dive into the heart of Green Bay, a city that seamlessly marries its illustrious sports history with a wealth of cultural, historical, and natural wonders. This captivating city promises to deliver a winning experience for everyone in your party.

Venturing into Green Bay

Known globally as the home of the Green Bay Packers, this city’s charm extends far beyond its famed gridiron. Green Bay is a vibrant tapestry of experiences, offering a dynamic blend of sporting excitement, cultural richness, historical narratives, and natural beauty.

Score Big with These Attractions

Embark on a journey of discovery in Green Bay with these must-visit attractions:

Lambeau Field and Packers Hall of Fame : Dive into the storied past of the Packers at this legendary stadium and its accompanying museum.

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary : Roam this urban oasis and marvel at an array of Wisconsin’s native species in their natural habitats.

Green Bay Botanical Garden : Find peace among the diverse and breathtaking floral displays in these meticulously maintained gardens.

Heritage Hill State Historical Park : Step back in time at this living museum featuring an extensive collection of preserved historical buildings.

NEW Zoo & Adventure Park : Embark on a day of exhilarating adventure rides and up-close animal encounters in this expansive park.

When to Touchdown in Green Bay

Green Bay is a destination for all seasons. The city comes alive with unique offerings throughout the year—from the electrifying buzz of football season, the tranquility of snow-dusted landscapes in winter, to the explosion of flora and fauna in the spring and summer months.

Pro Tips for Your Visit

Make sure to check out any local events or festivals during your visit to soak in the city’s dynamic ambiance.

Don’t underestimate the size and appeal of the wildlife sanctuary or botanical garden—each deserves a day dedicated to exploration.

Who Should Tackle Green Bay?

Green Bay is a sure bet for sports aficionados, nature lovers, history enthusiasts, or those seeking family-friendly entertainment. It’s a fantastic destination for families, solo explorers, couples, and, without a doubt, every Packers fan.

Waupaca Chain O Lakes, WI

Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes: Wisconsin’s Exquisite Waterway Wonderland

Embark on a trip to Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes, an area celebrated for its pristine waters and exhilarating water sports opportunities. Tucked away in Central Wisconsin, this chain of 22 interconnected, spring-fed lakes makes for one of the most rewarding Wisconsin road trips for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Discovering the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes

The enchantment of Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes resides in its diversity and natural splendor. Each lake in the chain presents its unique appeal. From tranquil, secluded spots perfect for fishing to expansive, lively areas ideal for boating and water skiing, it’s a paradise for aquaphiles.

Here’s what you can anticipate during your visit:

  • Boating and Fishing: Whether you’re in for a laid-back cruise, a fishing venture, or adrenaline-charged water sports, these lakes cater to all interests.
  • Hiking and Biking: Numerous trails encircle the lakes, offering delightful opportunities for hiking and biking.
  • Camping: With many campsites scattered around the lakes, it’s the perfect spot for a weekend camping getaway.

Waupaca boasts an array of dining options, from relaxed lakeside eateries to gourmet restaurants. Don’t miss out on savoring some local Wisconsin cheese!

Best Time to Visit

While the lakes provide year-round attractions, the best time to visit is from spring to fall when you can engage in water sports, hiking, and camping.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Don’t forget to pack your water sports gear. If you don’t own any, there are several rental shops in the vicinity of the lakes.
  • Respect the natural environment and abide by the guidelines to help preserve this beautiful destination.

Who Should Visit Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes?

The Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes is perfect for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and families. With an array of outdoor activities, it’s a superb destination for anyone seeking a fun-filled respite in the heart of Wisconsin.

Big Manitou Falls Pattison-State Park Wisconsin

Pattison State Park: Unearth Wisconsin’s Breathtaking Wilderness

Delve into the natural grandeur of Wisconsin’s Pattison State Park, the proud home of the state’s highest waterfall, Big Manitou Falls. Tucked into Superior, Wisconsin, this mesmerizing park is a road trip gem that deserves to be on your bucket list.

Unveiling the Beauty of Pattison State Park

The charm of Pattison State Park lies in its robust, tumbling waterfalls. Big Manitou Falls, standing proud at 165 feet, is the crowning glory of the park and one of the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies. Coupled with the smaller Little Manitou Falls and several other cascades, the park delivers breathtaking vistas from numerous viewpoints.

Here are some attractions and activities to look forward to:

  • Big Manitou Falls: Witness the awe-striking spectacle of the waterfall and listen to the resonating sounds of water tumbling into the gorge below.
  • Hiking: More than 9 miles of trails guide you through the park’s diverse landscapes.
  • Swimming: During the summer, the park’s beach serves as a spot to swim or sunbathe.
  • Camping: Pattison State Park offers family and group camping options, all within walking distance of the park’s primary attractions.

Culinary Treasures

While the park itself doesn’t house any restaurants, Superior, Wisconsin presents a multitude of dining options just a short drive away.

While the park is accessible year-round, the best time to visit would be from spring to fall. During these seasons, you can partake in hiking, swimming, and witness the vibrant colors of the changing leaves.

  • Don’t forget your camera! The views are spectacular, particularly in the fall when the leaves don a riot of colors.
  • Wear sturdy footwear if you plan on hiking, as some trails can be steep and rocky.

Who Should Visit Pattison State Park?

Pattison State Park is an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and families. Its accessibility and a broad array of outdoor activities make it a well-suited location for visitors of all ages.

Great River Road National Scenic Byway Wisconsin

Great River Road: Your Gateway to Exquisite Adventures

Setting Off on the Great River Road Adventure

Embark on an extraordinary journey through the heart of Wisconsin on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway. This magnificent route not only offers stunning views of the Mississippi River but also provides a closer look at the region’s rich history and dynamic culture.

The Great River Road, a quintessential American byway, follows the contours of the majestic Mississippi River, unveiling a fascinating tapestry of Wisconsin’s quaint small towns, flourishing farmlands, verdant forests, and towering bluffs. Each twist and turn of the 250-mile-long path uncovers a new aspect of the state’s multifaceted persona, deeply entrenched in history and natural beauty.

Landmarks Steeped in History and Nature

Kick-start your voyage from the delightful town of Prescott, where the serene St. Croix River converges with the imposing Mississippi. As you navigate the Great River Road, you’ll encounter historical treasures and natural marvels that transform your drive into a voyage of exploration. The Villa Louis, nestled in Prairie du Chien, offers a sneak peek into Wisconsin’s fascinating past, while the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge introduces you to spectacular wildlife set against a magnificent backdrop. Make sure to visit Perrot State Park, where towering bluffs command a breathtaking view of the river.

Culinary Indulgences En Route

The culinary journey along the Great River Road is as enticing as its landscapes. From cozy riverside cafes to bustling town centers, local flavors thrive. Traditional Wisconsin cheese curds and locally brewed beer are a must-try, turning each meal into a celebration of the region’s abundant produce.

Comfort Amid Stunning Vistas

Whether it’s the allure of a bed-and-breakfast tucked within a historic building or the conveniences of a modern hotel offering panoramic river views, the Great River Road hosts accommodation options to suit every preference and budget.

Essential Tips for the Journey

  • Start your journey with a full tank of gas, as fuel stations might be sparse along certain parts of the road.
  • Plan an overnight stay in one of the charming towns en route to truly immerse yourself in local culture.
  • Don’t forget your binoculars – the wildlife sighting opportunities are abundant.
  • Keep your camera handy as the scenic views are picture-perfect.

Who Should Embark on the Great River Road?

The Great River Road beckons every kind of explorer. Whether you’re drawn to the freedom of open roads, captivated by historical narratives, mesmerized by unblemished nature, or tantalized by the scent of local cuisine, this journey is crafted for you. Ideal for solo adventurers, families, couples, and photographers alike, this route delivers a blend of natural grandeur, historical richness, and culinary delights. The Great River Road is more than a journey—it’s a symphony of experiences that engage all your senses, leaving you with unforgettable memories.

Amnicon Falls State Park: Your Gateway to a Waterfall Wonderland

If the sound of cascading water and the sight of picturesque waterfalls captivate your senses, then Amnicon Falls State Park is a destination to include in your Wisconsin road trip itinerary. Nestled in South Range, Wisconsin, this park serves as a sanctuary for nature aficionados and explorers.

Unveiling the Secrets of Amnicon Falls State Park

Amnicon Falls State Park is a treasure chest of natural splendor. Spanning 828 acres, the park boasts a series of enchanting waterfalls and rapids along the Amnicon River, each offering its own unique charm. A significant feature of the park is the covered bridge, a vantage point providing excellent views of the falls.

Engaging Activities and Attractions

Amnicon Falls State Park offers various attractions and activities to elevate your visit:

  • Waterfalls : With several waterfalls varying in size and vigor, the park presents a symphony of sights and sounds.
  • Hiking : The park offers several miles of hiking trails, opening the gateway to explore its diverse landscapes.
  • Picnicking : Enjoy a peaceful picnic by the falls – an ideal spot for a relaxing lunch break.
  • Camping : For those who wish to extend their stay, the park offers campgrounds close to the park’s primary attractions.

Satisfy Your Culinary Cravings

Although the park itself doesn’t house any restaurants, the nearby town of South Range presents a variety of eateries to satiate your hunger after a day of adventure.

When to Visit

Amnicon Falls State Park welcomes visitors year-round. However, the falls display their true power during the spring runoff and following heavy rainfalls.

Make the Most of Your Visit

  • Remember to wear sturdy shoes for hiking as some areas can be slippery.
  • Don’t forget your camera! The park showcases exceptional beauty in autumn when the leaves burst into vibrant colors.

Who Should Visit Amnicon Falls State Park?

Amnicon Falls State Park caters to nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and families. With its stunning natural beauty and accessible trails, it serves as a delightful destination for explorers of all ages.

Kettle Moraine State Forest

Kettle Moraine State Forest: A Playground for Outdoor Enthusiasts

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Kettle Moraine State Forest is a place you shouldn’t miss on your Wisconsin road trip. Famed for its unique glacial landscapes and extensive network of trails, it offers a paradise for hikers, bikers, and adventurers of all stripes and ages.

Unveiling the Magic of Kettle Moraine State Forest

The Kettle Moraine State Forest, stretching across 30 miles of southeastern Wisconsin, is celebrated for its distinct glacial formations that were crafted during the last Ice Age, including kettles, moraines, and eskers. The forest is split into two main sections—the Northern Unit and the Southern Unit, each boasting its unique set of attractions.

Attractions and Activities Worth Exploring

Dive into a diverse array of engaging attractions and activities that Kettle Moraine State Forest offers:

  • Hiking : The forest is crisscrossed by miles of hiking trails, suitable for different ability levels. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail, which snakes through the forest, is a particular crowd-pleaser.
  • Mountain Biking : For mountain bikers, the John Muir Bike Trails offer a thrilling terrain variety, promising a heart-racing experience.
  • Camping : Take advantage of the myriad campsites and rentable cabins scattered across the forest, turning your visit into a memorable overnight adventure.
  • Winter Sports : When winter descends, the park transforms into a snow-laden wonderland, perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

Culinary Experiences in the Vicinity

Though the forest doesn’t host dining facilities, you could either pack a delightful picnic or sample the local delicacies in the nearby towns such as Whitewater and Elkhorn.

When to Embark on Your Adventure

Kettle Moraine State Forest welcomes visitors throughout the year. However, to make the most of the trails, plan your visit from late spring to early fall.

Valuable Tips for Your Visit

  • Keep an eye on the trail conditions before setting out, especially if your plans involve biking or winter sports.
  • Don’t forget your binoculars—the forest is teeming with an array of wildlife species!

Who Would Enjoy Kettle Moraine State Forest?

Kettle Moraine State Forest is an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, nature photographers, and families eager for an active escapade. The plethora of activities on offer ensures everyone will find something to enjoy, promising a vibrant and unforgettable experience amidst Wisconsin’s natural beauty.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Ice Age National Scenic Trail: A Journey Through Wisconsin’s Glacier-Sculpted Landscapes

For those fascinated by the allure of a thousand-mile expedition through the unique glacial landscapes of Wisconsin, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is an extraordinary road trip destination that should not be overlooked. With a diverse range of trails, from wide, easy paths to challenging terrains, this trail is a welcoming call to adventurers of every experience level for an epic escapade.

Journeying Along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail meanders through the heart of Wisconsin, granting you an intimate view of the state’s rich glacial past. As you traverse this trail, you’ll marvel at the undulating hills, tranquil forests, expansive prairies, peaceful lakes, and winding rivers—all footprints left behind by the ancient glaciers that once swept across this region.

Attractions and Activities Awaiting You

Here’s a snapshot of what the Ice Age National Scenic Trail has to offer:

  • Hiking : Primarily used for hiking, the trail invites day trippers and long-distance backpackers alike, promising an array of unforgettable experiences.
  • Wildlife Viewing : As the trail winds through a diversity of wildlife habitats, it offers abundant opportunities for bird watching and wildlife photography.
  • Winter Sports : In the winter season, specific portions of the trail are accessible for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
  • Camping : If you’re venturing on multi-day hikes, you’ll find designated camping areas along several sections of the trail.

Savoring Culinary Delights

While the trail itself lacks dining facilities, it snakes close to various towns and cities where you can delve into local Wisconsin cuisine.

Ideal Time to Visit

The trail welcomes visitors throughout the year. However, if you’re planning a hiking trip, the best time to visit is from spring to fall. For winter activities, plan your trip between December and February.

  • Make sure to plan your hike in advance and let someone know about your itinerary.
  • Carry essentials like water, food, and a first-aid kit.
  • Stay updated with any trail closures or conditions before setting off on your trip.

Who Would Enjoy the Ice Age National Scenic Trail?

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a dream come true for hikers, nature lovers, wildlife photographers, and geology enthusiasts. It provides a mesmerizing canvas to appreciate Wisconsin’s natural splendor and its profound glacial history.

Bookworm Gardens: A Fairytale Experience

Let your imagination run wild in the literary paradise of Bookworm Gardens. Based on popular children’s literature, this botanical garden promises an educational, enchanting, and entertaining experience for all.

Introduction to Bookworm Gardens Located in Sheboygan, Bookworm Gardens is a whimsical blend of botany and books. Spread over 35,000 square feet, the garden houses six main areas, each inspired by a different genre or theme from children’s literature. The ‘Great Woods’, ‘Farm Garden’, ‘Animal Farm’, ‘Magic Treehouse’, and ‘American Stories’ all combine to make your visit a narrative journey through beloved children’s books.

Noteworthy Attractions From the giant leafy canopy of the Great Woods, which was inspired by classic tales like “The Jungle Book” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” to the pastoral charm of the Farm Garden, drawing inspiration from “Charlotte’s Web,” each corner of the Bookworm Gardens is a story waiting to be discovered. Don’t miss the Magic Treehouse, an elevated wooden structure reminiscent of popular adventure novels. And the ‘Hansel and Gretel Learning Cottage’ hosts educational activities and special events throughout the year.

Foodie Delights After an exciting day exploring the gardens, refuel at one of Sheboygan’s many eateries. The city offers a range of dining options from classic American fare to international cuisine. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to try the renowned Wisconsin frozen custard.

Nearby Amenities Sheboygan has a range of accommodations to suit all budgets, from luxury hotels to cozy B&Bs.

Who is it good for? Bookworm Gardens is ideal for families with children. This magical garden provides an interactive learning experience, making it a must-visit for those who love literature, nature, or simply enjoy spending time in beautiful surroundings. It’s also a fantastic spot for photographers looking to capture the garden’s enchanting details.

Conclusion: The Delights of the Dairy State Beckon

There you have it, a comprehensive guide to the best road trip spots that Wisconsin proudly presents. Ranging from the artistic masterpiece of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin to the stunning beauty of Devil’s Lake State Park, and from the lively urban pulse of Milwaukee to the serene allure of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the Badger State extends a diverse array of experiences to gratify every kind of traveler.

Regardless of which pocket of Wisconsin you opt to delve into, you cannot overlook the state’s captivating charm and the rich tapestry of its culture. Whether it’s the enticing cheese factories, the eclectic culinary landscape, the picturesque lighthouses, or the vibrant arts and crafts scene, every town, every city, and every scenic route unfurls a unique narrative.

This guide merely skims the surface. Each destination listed here promises more than mere sights – they offer experiences; the sort that blur the miles you’ve traversed and heighten your anticipation for the journey yet to come. Experiences that echo in your heart, transforming each subsequent visit into a warm reunion with a cherished companion.

So, load up your luggage, top off your tank, and take to the open road. Let Wisconsin’s verdant vistas captivate your gaze, its vibrant culture warm your heart, and the memories of an extraordinary expedition enrich your spirit. Wisconsin, resplendent in all its glory, is ready to surprise you at every twist and turn, throughout every season.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature aficionado, a gastronomy enthusiast, a family voyager, or simply a soul in search of tranquil retreat, Wisconsin has a treasure for you. And remember, the journey itself is as mesmerizing as the destination. Savor the boundless freedom of the open road, let the thrill of exploration fill you, and allow the siren call of wanderlust to lead you. The quintessential Wisconsin road trip is beckoning. Are you ready to respond?, visit between December and February.

Wisconsin’s Best Road Trips Destinations Map

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Ellie's Travel Tips

Best Wisconsin Day Trips: Secluded Parks, Historic Landmarks, and More!

Posted on Last updated: September 7, 2023

Looking for an epic journey within the beautiful state of Wisconsin? Look no further! Get ready to embark on a whirlwind day filled with adventure, charm, and hidden gems that will leave you in awe. Wisconsin may be known for its cheese and dairy farms, but it has so much more to offer with these top Wisconsin day trips!

Get ready to immerse yourself in the wonders of Wisconsin’s wilderness or delve into its rich cultural heritage. This is your chance to create memories that will last a lifetime without having to spend weeks planning an elaborate vacation.

So grab your camera, pack your sense of adventure, and let’s hit the road together as we unveil the best day trips that Wisconsin has to offer. Get ready for a day filled with surprises, laughter, and unforgettable moments. Let’s make every second count!

Wisconsin Day Trips

Family-Friendly Adventures: Fun for All Ages in Wisconsin

Looking for the perfect family day trip ideas in Wisconsin? Look no further! Whether you’re traveling with little ones or teenagers, there are plenty of exciting and memorable experiences to enjoy together. From thrilling water parks to scenic train rides and stunning natural wonders, Wisconsin has it all!

day trips wisconsin

Noah’s Ark Waterpark: Splash into Fun

Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells is a must-visit destination for families seeking fun and excitement. With its thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools, this water park offers endless entertainment for kids of all ages. Watch as your children’s faces light up with joy as they zoom down the slides or float along the lazy river.

But it’s not just about the adrenaline-pumping attractions at Noah’s Ark; there are also plenty of options for younger children that makes this park one of the best Wisconsin day trips. The Kiddie Area features smaller slides, shallow pools, and interactive water play structures designed specifically for little ones. Parents can relax knowing that their kids are having a blast in a safe environment.

Milwaukee County Zoo: A Wildlife Adventure

For animal lovers, a visit to the Milwaukee County Zoo is an absolute must. This expansive zoo is home to a wide variety of exotic animals from around the world. Take your family on a journey through different habitats as you encounter lions, elephants, giraffes, and many other fascinating creatures.

The zoo offers educational opportunities too! Don’t miss out on attending one of their daily animal shows or feeding sessions where you can learn more about these incredible beings up close. It’s an experience that will leave both children and adults with lasting memories.

Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway: All Aboard!

All aboard the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway! Embark on a scenic train ride through the Northwoods of Wisconsin and soak in breathtaking views of nature along the way. This family-friendly adventure is a unique way to explore the beauty of Wisconsin’s landscapes while enjoying quality time together.

As you chug along the tracks, keep an eye out for wildlife that may make an appearance during your journey. The rhythmic sound of the train and the gentle swaying motion create a soothing atmosphere, perfect for relaxation and bonding with your loved ones. It’s like stepping back in time to a simpler era of travel.

Cave of the Mounds: Nature’s Hidden Gem

Discover the wonders beneath the surface at Cave of the Mounds, one of Wisconsin’s most stunning natural attractions. This underground treasure showcases intricate rock formations, crystal-clear pools, and awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites. Exploring this geological wonder will leave your family in awe of nature’s beauty.

Take a guided tour through the cave system as knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories about its formation and history. Marvel at the vibrant colors created by minerals on the cave walls and ceilings. Your children will be captivated by this subterranean world, making it an unforgettable experience for everyone.

So pack up your bags, gather your loved ones, and embark on these top Wisconsin day trip ideas that offer endless fun for families with kids of all ages. From thrilling water slides at Noah’s Ark Waterpark to wildlife encounters at Milwaukee County Zoo, there is something for everyone in this beautiful state. Create lasting memories as you explore these fantastic destinations together!

Outdoor Thrills and Nature Exploration: Exciting Day Trips in Wisconsin

Wisconsin attractions

Hiking Trails and Breathtaking Waterfalls at Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts alike. This stunning park offers an array of hiking trails that wind through lush forests, meandering streams, and rocky cliffs. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an unforgettable journey along these breathtaking trails.

One of the highlights of Devil’s Lake State Park is its stunning waterfalls. As you hike along the trails, you’ll be treated to the sight of cascading water plunging into crystal-clear pools below. These picturesque waterfalls are not only a feast for the eyes but also provide a refreshing oasis where you can cool off on a hot summer day.

Kayaking and Canoeing Adventures in Door County

If you’re looking for a serene escape surrounded by picturesque landscapes, Door County is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure on Wisconsin’s lakes. Grab a kayak or canoe and set out on the calm waters of Door County’s lakes, immersing yourself in the tranquility of nature.

As you paddle along, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of tree-lined shores, charming lighthouses dotting the landscape, and perhaps even some wildlife sightings. Whether you prefer a leisurely paddle or crave more adrenaline-pumping action, Door County has something to offer every kayaking or canoeing enthusiast.

Adrenaline-Pumping Zip-lining Adventures at Bigfoot Zipline Tours

For those seeking an exhilarating outdoor experience that will get their hearts racing, look no further than Bigfoot Zipline Tours in Lake Geneva. Strap into your harness and prepare for an adrenaline rush as you soar through the treetops on this thrilling zip-lining adventure.

With multiple zip lines ranging in length and speed, Bigfoot Zipline Tours offers an unforgettable experience for adventure seekers of all ages. Feel the wind in your hair as you take in panoramic views of the surrounding forests and scenic beauty below. This is not just a zip-lining adventure; it’s an opportunity to conquer your fears and embrace the thrill of soaring through the air.

Nature’s Beauty at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will find their paradise at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Located along Lake Superior, this stunning national park is home to a collection of 21 picturesque islands, each with its own unique charm and natural wonders.

One of the main highlights of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is its breathtaking sea caves. These magnificent caves, carved by centuries of wind and waves, offer a mesmerizing sight that attracts visitors from near and far. Explore them by kayak or take a boat tour to witness their grandeur up close.

In addition to the sea caves, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offers opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, camping, fishing, and more. Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty as you traverse scenic trails, encounter diverse wildlife species, and breathe in the fresh air that surrounds these pristine islands.

Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures or tranquil nature exploration, Wisconsin has an abundance of day trip options that cater to outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking along scenic trails with stunning waterfalls at Devil’s Lake State Park to kayaking through serene lakes in Door County or experiencing adrenaline-pumping zip-lining adventures at Bigfoot Zipline Tours in Lake Geneva – there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss out on immersing yourself in nature’s beauty by visiting Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with its captivating sea caves and abundant wildlife. Embark on these top Wisconsin day trips for unforgettable experiences that will leave you craving more outdoor thrills and nature exploration.

Historical Sites: Step Back in Time on Wisconsin Day Trips

Wisconsin historic sites

If you’re a history enthusiast looking for an adventure, Wisconsin has got you covered. This beautiful state is home to a plethora of historic places that offer a fascinating glimpse into the past. From open-air museums to well-preserved mansions, there’s something for everyone who wants to explore the rich history of Wisconsin during a Wisconsin day trip vacation.

Old World Wisconsin: Travel back to pioneer times

At Old World Wisconsin, you can step back in time and experience what life was like for early settlers in the region. This unique open-air museum showcases historic buildings and artifacts from the 19th and early 20th centuries. As you wander through the grounds, you’ll encounter costumed interpreters who bring history to life with their stories and demonstrations.

The museum features over 60 historic structures spread across nearly 600 acres of picturesque countryside. You can explore farmsteads, ethnic homesteads, and even a working blacksmith shop. Each building offers a window into the past, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the daily lives of those who came before us.

Pendarvis Historic Site: Uncover lead mining history

Located in Mineral Point, Pendarvis Historic Site is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Wisconsin’s early lead mining industry. This site preserves several stone and log buildings that were once home to Cornish miners during the mid-19th century.

As you stroll through this living history site, knowledgeable guides will share stories about the challenges faced by these miners and their families. You can also visit art galleries showcasing works inspired by local history or participate in hands-on activities that allow you to experience traditional crafts firsthand.

Villa Louis: A glimpse into Victorian splendor

Step inside Villa Louis, a beautifully preserved Victorian mansion located in Prairie du Chien. Built between 1870 and 1873 for the prominent Dousman family, this architectural gem offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the 19th century upper class.

During your visit, you can explore the lavishly furnished rooms, admire the stunning gardens, and learn about the family’s fascinating history. The knowledgeable guides will take you on a journey through time, sharing stories of lavish parties, intriguing scandals, and everyday life in this grand mansion.

Indian Agency House: Discover Native American heritage

Nestled near Portage, Indian Agency House is an important historical site that sheds light on Wisconsin’s Native American heritage. Built in 1832 as a residence for John Kinzie, the Indian Agent to the Ho-Chunk Nation, this house played a significant role in early interactions between settlers and indigenous peoples.

Visitors can tour this beautifully restored house and learn about its historical significance. The site also features exhibits that delve into the region’s Native American history and showcases artifacts from various tribes. Exploring Indian Agency House provides a deeper understanding of Wisconsin’s past and highlights the importance of preserving indigenous culture.

Wisconsin’s historical sites offer visitors a chance to travel through time and immerse themselves in captivating stories from different eras. Whether you’re fascinated by pioneer life at Old World Wisconsin or intrigued by Victorian splendor at Villa Louis, these destinations provide an enriching experience for history lovers of all ages. So grab your friends or family and embark on an unforgettable journey to discover Wisconsin’s vibrant past.

Culinary Delights: Indulge in Local Flavors on Day Trips in Wisconsin

Wisconsin food day trips

Savor Delicious Cheese Curds at the Mars Cheese Castle

If you’re a cheese lover, Wisconsin is the ultimate destination for indulging in delectable dairy delights. There’s no better place to satisfy your cravings than the iconic Mars Cheese Castle, one of the best Wisconsin day trips. Located just off I-94 between Milwaukee and Chicago, this family-owned establishment has been a staple of the Wisconsin culinary scene since 1947.

As soon as you step inside the Mars Cheese Castle, you’ll be greeted by rows upon rows of mouthwatering cheese varieties. But don’t miss out on their famous cheese curds ! Made from local dairy farms, these bite-sized nuggets of cheesy goodness are a must-try. With their squeaky texture and rich flavor, they offer an authentic taste of Wisconsin.

Take your time exploring the different flavors available – from classic cheddar to unique options like garlic dill or Cajun spice. The knowledgeable staff at Mars Cheese Castle can provide insider tips on pairing the perfect cheese curd with your favorite wine or beer. So grab a bag of these irresistible treats and savor every bite as you continue your Wisconsin day trip adventure.

Sample Award-Winning Wines at Wollersheim Winery

No culinary journey through Wisconsin would be complete without experiencing its thriving wine scene. Head over to Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac for an unforgettable vineyard tour and a chance to sample some of the state’s finest wines. This historic winery has been producing award-winning vintages since 1972, making it a true gem nestled amidst picturesque surroundings.

Embark on a guided tour that takes you through lush vineyards, where you’ll learn about the winemaking process and gain insight into the region’s rich viticultural history. Afterward, indulge in a wine tasting session that showcases the diverse range of flavors and aromas produced at Wollersheim. From crisp whites to robust reds, there’s something to suit every palate.

As you sip on these exquisite wines, take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into each bottle. The combination of Wisconsin’s fertile soil, favorable climate, and skilled winemakers results in truly exceptional wines that have garnered numerous accolades. So raise your glass and toast to the culinary wonders of the Dairy State!

Delight Your Taste Buds with a Traditional Fish Fry Experience

No Wisconsin day trip is complete without indulging in a classic fish fry. This beloved tradition has deep roots in the state’s heritage and offers a delicious insight into its vibrant food scene. Whether you’re exploring small towns or major cities like Milwaukee, you’ll find charming supper clubs and local eateries serving up this iconic dish.

A fish fry typically consists of battered or breaded fish fillets served alongside hearty sides like coleslaw, fries, and rye bread. The fish is often locally sourced from nearby lakes or rivers, ensuring freshness and quality. What sets Wisconsin’s fish fry apart is not just the delectable flavors but also the warm hospitality that accompanies it.

Visit one of Wisconsin’s renowned supper clubs for an authentic experience steeped in tradition. These establishments are known for their cozy ambiance, friendly staff, and generous portions. Enjoy your meal while soaking up the unique atmosphere – think wood-paneled walls adorned with vintage fishing memorabilia – as you immerse yourself in Wisconsin’s rich culinary heritage.

Treat Yourself to Mouthwatering Bratwursts at Milwaukee Brat House

If there’s one thing Wisconsinites know how to do well besides cheese, it’s bratwursts! And when you’re in Milwaukee, make sure to stop by the iconic Milwaukee Brat House for a taste of these savory sausages. Located in the heart of the city, this lively establishment is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Sink your teeth into a juicy bratwurst served on a warm bun and topped with all your favorite fixings during one of the best Wisconsin day trips.

Quirky and Unique Destinations: Offbeat Experiences Await in Wisconsin

Wisconsin food day trips

Visit the quirky House on the Rock, featuring eclectic collections and architectural wonders.

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience in Wisconsin, a visit to the House on the Rock is an absolute must. Located in Spring Green, this offbeat attraction is like stepping into another world. The house itself is an architectural marvel, with its cantilevered rooms and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. But it’s what’s inside that really sets it apart.

Once you step through the doors, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a mind-boggling collection of oddities and curiosities. From massive sea creature sculptures to antique music machines that come alive with haunting melodies, every corner of the House on the Rock holds something unexpected. Explore room after room filled with bizarre artifacts, including a giant carousel with over 20,000 lights and hundreds of hand-carved animals.

One of the most famous attractions at the House on the Rock is the Infinity Room. This breathtaking structure extends out from the main building for over 200 feet without any visible supports. As you walk along its narrow pathway, suspended high above the treetops, you’ll feel like you’re floating in mid-air. It’s an experience unlike any other.

Explore Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron, a unique sculpture park filled with imaginative creations.

For those seeking even more offbeat adventures in Wisconsin, Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron should be at the top of your list of Wisconsin day trips. Located near Baraboo, this whimsical sculpture park showcases larger-than-life creations made from salvaged industrial parts and scrap metal.

As you wander through this outdoor museum of imagination, you’ll encounter towering sculptures that seem to defy gravity and logic. One of the most impressive pieces is “The Forevertron,” a massive structure standing over 50 feet tall and weighing over 300 tons. This extraordinary sculpture is said to be the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world.

But it’s not just the size of the sculptures that will leave you in awe. Each piece has its own unique story and purpose, as imagined by Dr. Evermor himself. From whimsical flying machines to fantastical creatures, every creation at Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron sparks curiosity and wonder.

Discover Jurustic Park, an outdoor museum showcasing whimsical metal sculptures of prehistoric creatures.

If you’re a fan of dinosaurs and all things prehistoric, then Jurustic Park in Marshfield is a must-visit destination in Wisconsin. Created by artist Clyde Wynia, this quirky outdoor museum features a collection of whimsical metal sculptures depicting various prehistoric creatures.

As you stroll through Jurustic Park, you’ll encounter life-sized sculptures of dinosaurs, mammoths, and other ancient beasts lurking among the trees and foliage. Each sculpture is meticulously crafted from salvaged materials like old farm equipment and scrap metal, giving them a rustic charm that perfectly complements their prehistoric nature.

But what sets Jurustic Park apart is the storytelling element woven into each sculpture. As you explore this unique attraction, you’ll come across signs with humorous anecdotes about each creature’s personality and behavior. It adds an extra layer of entertainment and engagement to your visit, making it a fun experience for visitors of all ages.

Step into a world of fantasy at The Enchanted Barn, a magical venue for weddings and events.

For those seeking enchantment and romance in Wisconsin, The Enchanted Barn offers a fairytale-like setting that feels straight out of a storybook. Located near Hillsdale, this charming venue is not only popular for weddings but also hosts special events throughout the year.

As soon as you set foot on the grounds of The Enchanted Barn, you’ll be transported to another realm filled with rustic elegance and whimsical details. The barn itself is a stunning backdrop, with its exposed wooden beams, twinkling lights, and cascading greenery. It’s the perfect setting for a dreamy wedding or a magical celebration.

But it’s not just the barn that exudes charm at this destination. The surrounding gardens and landscapes are meticulously designed to create an enchanting atmosphere. From blooming flowers to hidden nooks and crannies, every corner of The Enchanted Barn offers opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Whether you’re attending a special event or planning your own fairytale wedding, The Enchanted Barn promises an experience that will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into a world of fantasy.

Create Unforgettable Memories on Your Wisconsin Day Trips

day trips wisconsin

Looking to make lasting memories on your day trips in Wisconsin? Look no further! Whether you’re traveling with family, seeking outdoor thrills, exploring historical sites, indulging in culinary delights, or searching for quirky and unique destinations, Wisconsin has it all. Get ready to embark on unforgettable adventures and discover the hidden gems this state has to offer.

Wisconsin is a fantastic destination for families looking to create cherished memories together. From amusement parks and water parks to zoos and interactive museums, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy thrilling rides, engage in hands-on learning experiences, and bond over exciting activities that will leave smiles on everyone’s faces.

For those craving adventure amidst nature’s beauty, Wisconsin delivers an array of outdoor thrills. Explore breathtaking hiking trails, go kayaking or fishing in serene lakes, or try your hand at zip-lining through dense forests. Unplug from the hustle and bustle of everyday life as you immerse yourself in the tranquility of Wisconsin’s picturesque landscapes.

History buffs will be enthralled by the wealth of historical sites scattered throughout Wisconsin. Step back in time as you visit preserved villages showcasing life from different eras or explore museums that bring the past to life through engaging exhibits. Gain insights into the rich heritage of this remarkable state while creating lasting memories.

Food lovers rejoice! Embark on a culinary journey across Wisconsin and savor the delectable flavors offered by local establishments. From cheese factories offering mouthwatering samples to farm-to-table restaurants showcasing fresh ingredients, your taste buds are sure to be delighted. Don’t miss the opportunity to try Wisconsin’s famous cheese curds and indulge in other regional specialties.

Looking for something out of the ordinary? Wisconsin has plenty of quirky and unique destinations that will pique your curiosity. Discover eccentric museums, explore unusual natural formations, or stumble upon hidden gems tucked away in small towns. These offbeat experiences will add a touch of adventure and surprise to your day trips.

In conclusion, Wisconsin offers an incredible range of day trip ideas that cater to various interests. Whether you’re seeking family-friendly adventures, outdoor thrills, historical exploration, culinary delights, or offbeat experiences, this state has it all. So pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and embark on unforgettable journeys through the diverse landscapes of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin outdoor day trips

Are there any water parks suitable for young children in Wisconsin?

Yes! Wisconsin is home to several water parks that cater specifically to young children. One popular option is Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, which features a variety of kid-friendly attractions such as shallow pools with interactive play structures and gentle slides; perfect for a Wisconsin day trip!

What are some must-visit historical sites in Wisconsin?

If you’re interested in history, make sure to visit Old World Wisconsin, an open-air museum showcasing life from different eras through restored buildings and costumed interpreters. Another notable site is the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, a stunning mansion-turned-museum that provides a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Pabst brewing family.

Where can I find the best cheese curds in Wisconsin?

Cheese curds are a beloved specialty in Wisconsin! To enjoy some of the best cheese curds in the state, head to Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Ellsworth or Carr Valley Cheese Co. with multiple locations across the state. These establishments offer fresh, squeaky cheese curds that are sure to satisfy your cravings.

Are there any unique natural formations worth visiting in Wisconsin?

Absolutely! One such formation is Cave of the Mounds near Blue Mounds, which offers guided tours through stunning underground caves with intricate mineral formations. Another fascinating natural attraction is the Apostle Islands Sea Caves, where you can kayak along the cliffs and witness breathtaking ice formations during winter months.

Can you recommend any offbeat museums in Wisconsin?

If you’re looking for offbeat experiences, consider visiting The House on the Rock in Spring Green. This eccentric museum features an eclectic collection of unusual artifacts and exhibits, including a massive indoor carousel and a room filled with automated musical instruments. It’s a truly unique and memorable destination in Wisconsin.

What is the best time of year to visit Wisconsin for outdoor activities?

The best time for outdoor activities in Wisconsin depends on your preferences. Summer offers warm weather perfect for water sports, driftless fishing , hiking, while autumn showcases vibrant fall foliage. Winter brings opportunities for skiing and snowboarding, while spring offers mild temperatures ideal for exploring nature reserves and gardens.

The 7 best day trips from Milwaukee

Sojourner White

Aug 24, 2021 • 7 min read

White River view in Geneva Town, Wisconsin

Geneva Town, Wisconsin, is one of the most picturesque day trips from Milwaukee © Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Milwaukee has plenty to do for visitors looking for affordable, memorable and enjoyable travel experiences. But thanks to the city’s location in southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee also makes a great gateway to other must-visit destinations in the state as well as into Illinois.

On a short trip from Milwaukee , you can relax in resort towns and water parks, go on a hike or sip a glass of wine. Here are the best day trips from the city.

White River view in Geneva Town, Wisconsin

1. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Why go? To hike along the lake and then wind down at a resort spa.

The original inhabitants of Lake Geneva were the Potawatomi people, and later wealthy Chicagoans built houses around the lake after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Now Lake Geneva has transformed into a popular resort town with plenty to do inside and outside. Seasonal activities include snowmobiling, skiing, swimming and ziplining. Visitors can also hike through Big Foot Beach State Park or the Lake Geneva Shore Path, which offers a scenic view of the water on one side and Gilded Age mansions on the other. 

Turn on relaxation mode by heading to the Grand Geneva Resort Spa , which offers customizable spa packages. Otherwise, if you’re up for an adventure, go horseback riding at Dan Patch Stables and then hang out at Topsy Turvy Brewery's  outdoor beer garden. Wine enthusiasts should grab a seat at Studio Winery + Lake Geneva Distilling to listen to live music on the weekends. 

How to get to Lake Geneva: It’s a 50-mile drive to Lake Geneva from Milwaukee, which takes just under an hour. There’s no public transportation available.

The 10 best beaches in Wisconsin

A concert at the popular Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, Chicago

2. Chicago, Illinois

Why go? Because you can’t leave the Midwest without a trip to the region’s biggest city.

Travelers can get a taste of big-city energy in Chicago . The Windy City is the largest in the Midwest, and it provides visitors with endless options for food, shopping and museums. The Art Institute of Chicago , Shedd Aquarium , DuSable Museum of African American History and Cloud Gate , affectionately known as The Bean, in Millennium Park are just a few of top sights to see on a day trip.

Because of Chicago’s rich diversity, it also has one of the best food scenes in the country. Visitors can indulge in Chicago-style hot dogs from Portillo’s , fried chicken from Harold’s Chicken Shack and deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s . Chicago is a jam-packed day trip whether you’re traveling with family, solo or for a romantic getaway. 

How to get to Chicago: From Milwaukee, you can drive or take the Amtrak train to Chicago. Driving takes two hours, while Amtrak takes an hour and a half. Amtrak departs from downtown Milwaukee and drops you off in downtown Chicago’s Union Station.

Top things to do in Chicago

Aerial view of the downtown district in Cedarburg, Wisconsin

3. Cedarburg, Wisconsin

Why go? To taste award-winning wines at an affordable price.

North of Milwaukee is the small town of Cedarburg. Originally the land of the Potawatomi and Sauk people, Cedarburg became a mill town with the arrival of German settlers in the 1800s. Visitors today can find the Cedarburg Art Museum , Cedarburg History Museum and plenty of festivals to experience, including Oktoberfest . 

A highlight of Cedarburg is the family-owned Cedar Creek Winery , which started as a wool mill in 1864 before being transformed into a winery three decades ago. Wine lovers can take a tour and taste the seasonal wines, which range from sweet, mulled red wine to a fruity strawberry blush. The combination of small-town charm, wine and festivals make Cedarburg a cute mini-escape from Milwaukee. 

How to get to Cedarburg: Cedarburg is just a 20-mile, 30-minute drive from downtown Milwaukee. Some Ozaukee County Express bus services from the Milwaukee County Transit System run to Cedarburg, but you’ll need a taxi to get you downtown or to the winery.

The south shore of Devil's Lake at sunset

4. Baraboo, Wisconsin

Why go? To hike one of only 11 national scenic trails from the Ice Age.

Nicknamed the “Circus City” because of the Ringling Brothers’ presence here in the 1800s and 1900s, Baraboo is the home of the  Circus World Museum and Devil’s Lake State Park . Bringing in 3 million visitors every year, Devil’s Lake is Wisconsin’s most visited park and part of the 12,000-year-old Ice Age Trail . Glacial ice cascaded Wisconsin during the Ice Age, and the rocky remnants now span more than 9000 acres of Devil’s Lake with a beach view in the middle. 

Devil’s Lake is ideal for travelers who like moderate hikes, so bring water and sturdy shoes with you on this day trip. You can also rock climb on the glacier formations, such as the photoworthy Devil’s Doorway Trail. Other trails include the West Bluff Trail, East Bluff Trail and Balanced Rock Trail.

For something more low key, stop by the town's free year-round  Ochsner Park Zoo . Canada Lynx, capuchin monkeys, wolves and bears are just some of the 30 different animal species on display, along with a picture-worthy (and refreshing) stop in front of a playful lion water fountain.  

How to get to Devil’s Lake: Devil’s Lake is 120 miles from Milwaukee, and the drive takes two hours. There is no public transportation available.

Visitors at Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park, in Wisconsin Dells

5. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Why go? Because families will love waterpark hopping.

Home to more than 20 indoor and outdoor waterparks and three ski resorts, the Wisconsin Dells is a kitschy, family-friendly place to visit year-round. Mt. Olympus , Noah’s Ark and Kalahari Resort are three popular options for those wanting to dive into some water activities. If you’d rather stay on dry land, you can visit Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and mini-golf at Pirate’s Cove . When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to MACS (Macaroni and Cheese Shop), High Rock Cafe for classic American cuisine or The Del-Bar for cocktails and drinks.

How to get to Wisconsin Dells: The Wisconsin Dells is less than two hours from Milwaukee by car. Amtrak trains from downtown Milwaukee’s Intermodal Station to Wisconsin Dells Station take two hours. 

A boardwalk in Sheboygan leading to Lake Michigan

6. Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Why go? Because a trip to Wisconsin isn’t complete without locally made cheese curds and a brat.

Sheboygan lies on the western coast of Lake Michigan, and plenty of activities promise to keep visitors occupied, from Segway and group pedaling tours to sailing on the lake, surfing and cycling. Other activities include a day at Blue Harbor Resort , walking through Kohler-Andrae State Park or visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center . Families can relax in Bookworm Gardens , a botanical garden inspired by children’s books.

Sheboygan is known for its bratwurst and cheese, so grab a brat from Charcoal Inn South and cheese curds from 8th Street Ale Haus . For more local cheese, including the famous Gibbsville Cheese, check out the shops in Sheboygan. Visitors can try and buy cheese curds of all flavors including classic, cajun, jalapeño and dill, BBQ, cheddar, hot garlic and more.

How to get to Sheboygan: You need a car to get to Sheboygan. It’s a one-hour, 55-mile drive from Milwaukee.

A music act outside the Wisconsin State Capitol building during a regular Saturday Farmer's Market

7. Madison, Wisconsin

Why go? To experience the budding food and art scene of Wisconsin’s capital city. 

The capital of Wisconsin, Madison is located on Lake Michigan and has buildings designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Visitors can stop by the State Capitol , with an interior of colorful murals and a white, 285ft-high dome. To explore more of Madison, check out the Olbrich Botanical Gardens or their farmer’s market and summer concert series for entertainment. Visitors who love museums should add the Madison Children’s Museum , Madison Museum of Contemporary Art or the Chazen Museum of Art to their itinerary. When you’re hungry, head over to get a juicy burger from Oakcrest Tavern , enjoy farm-to-table dining at Heritage Tavern or make it a date night at the bistro A Pig in a Fur Coat . 

How to get to Madison: The drive from Milwaukee takes about an hour and 15 minutes. The Badger Bus runs several services a day between the two cities.

You might also like:  Experience the Great Lakes on one epic road trip Make a great escape to Wisconsin’s Geneva Lake Meet the Cape Cod of the Great Lakes: Door County, Wisconsin

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Wisconsin Unusual Attractions & Day Trips

Wisconsin Unusual Attractions & Day Trips

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Wisconsin Unusual Attractions & Day Trips

Wisconsin’s natural beauty and unspoiled lakes and forests are enhanced by interesting towns and attractions.

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Door County – Ellison Bay scenic lookout

South of Ellison Bay, about two miles off of Hwy 42 through the forest, you’ll come to a small county park that has a scenic lookout over the shore of Lake Michigan. Stone bluffs and forested lake shore make for some fine views and there is a limited picnic area if you want to avoid eating out.

On the way to or from Door County, there’s a charming town named Algoma . First, stop in at a place called Bearcats that smokes fish and sells it from a deli counter. They do it up right and the fish remains moist with a light coat outside, full of flavor without any trace of chemicals or artificial smoke.

Second, there’s a very good winery in town named Von Stiehl’s. Founded by a doctor over forty years ago, they’ve gotten quite good and have never entirely done away with wrapping their bottles in cast material. They hire pretty girls for the counter, have nice wines, a shady seating and rest area on the riverfront, sometimes with music or food pairings and just generally run a nice establishment.

The historic town of Cedarburg is located about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee. Visitors are attracted to specialty shops, fine dining, and quaint inns located in buildings dating from the 1800s which are located along the town’s well-preserved Main Street and Cedar Creek Settlement.

New Glarus Cows

For some unknown reason, New Glarus has decorated the town with painted cow sculptures.

More from SmarterTravel:

  • Four Days of Fun in Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Things To Do in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Things to Do In Appleton, Wisconsin

Editor’s note:  The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about unusual attractions and day trips in Wisconsin.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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10 Charming Day Trips from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted by Brittany Varano November 29, 2021 Updated February 01, 2024

Milwaukee is a vibrant city filled with excellent attractions, but there are plenty more incredible Wisconsin travel experiences to be had nearby.

If you’ve had your fill of the hustle and bustle of the city’s concrete streets, a day trip from Milwaukee may be just the ticket. Thankfully, the city is conveniently located in southeastern Wisconsin along the shores of Lake Michigan. That means Milwaukeeans and visitors alike enjoy day-trip distance to exciting places like Chicago, Madison, and all the beautiful state parks and resort towns in between.

Whether you’re a local looking to escape for a day, or a traveler seeking the best attractions outside of Milwaukee, this list should satisfy your itch for new adventures. Check out these amazing day trips from Milwaukee for classic Wisconsin fun.

Related Read : 11 Peacefully Secluded Cabin Rentals in Wisconsin

1. Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, Wisconsin

Devil’s Lake State Park offers a fantastic day trip destination from Milwaukee, attracting over three million nature lovers each year. The park is best known for 500-foot tall bluffs that surround the pretty waters of Devil’s Lake.

Wisconsin is pretty flat, so that means the park’s hiking trails are amongst the most challenging in the state. If you’re up for a steep climb, take the Balanced Rock Trail up and over rocky terrain to the East Bluff Trail . From there, you can hike the length of the bluff to Elephant Rock.

Visitors also come to swim, kayak, hike, and picnic using the public grills and tables. Pets on leashes are welcome into the park, as are chill picnic brews. If you have more time to spare, consider visiting nearby attractions in Baraboo such as the Circus World Museum , Balanced Rock Winery , and Ski-Hi Apple Orchard .

Distance from Milwaukee: 119 miles (approx. 1 hour and 55 minutes)

Related Read : 10 Best Lake Camping Destinations in Wisconsin

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is a city that needs no introduction and has been voted the “Best Big City in the U.S.” by Condé Nast the past few years. Its prime location along the scenic shores of Lake Michigan, historic landmarks, and striking modern skyscrapers leave visitors in awe. While a day is only enough to scratch the surface of the Windy City, making time for the classic attractions is a must.

Be sure to take a stroll along the Chicago Riverway, where river cruises, bars, restaurants, and cafes make for a pleasant first stop. The reflective Bean sculpture in Millennium Park and famous Navy Pier are other iconic Chicago landmarks perfect for first-time visitors. Don’t forget to save room for a classic Chicago hot dog from Superdawg Drive-In or a deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s.

For something off the beaten path, consider exploring the Lincoln Park and Wicker Park neighborhoods. Places like Garfield Park Conservatory and The Violet Hour speakeasy offer less busy Chicago experiences as well.

Distance from Milwaukee: 92 miles (approx. 1 hour and 35 minutes)

Related Read : 10 Best Places to Visit in the Fall Across the U.S.

3. Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Lake Geneva is a charming resort town that’s long provided the city folk of both Chicago and Milwaukee a reprieve in nature. Named after the nearby Geneva Lake, many of the best attractions are centered around the area’s beaches and numerous bodies of water.

Big Foot Beach State Park is a popular place to swim, camp, fish, and hike. If you’re up for a longer hike, challenge yourself to a walk around the Lake Shore Path that circles the entire lake and totals 26 miles. Other things to do in Lake Geneva include golfing, zip-lining, visiting local orchards, and more.

When hunger hits, consider local favorites like Next Door Pub & Pizzeria for a pie or Freddie’s West End for a classic fish fry.

Distance from Milwaukee: 55 miles (approx. 55 minutes)

Related Read : 10 Amazing Small Towns in Wisconsin for a Charming Escape

Madison, Wisconsin

As the state’s capital and second-largest city, Madison has a lot of worthwhile attractions to easily fill a day’s visit. It’s famous for its unique location surrounded by two large lakes where people often boat, kayak, paddle boat, and more. It also boasts a unique art-focused culture and a fantastic food and bar scene.

While any day of the week is suitable for a visit, try to come on a Saturday to stroll around the Capitol Square Farmers Market. Be sure to stop at Stella Bakery’s stand for their famous Hot and Spicy Cheese Bread and Farmer John’s for squeaky fresh cheese curds.

After you’ve fueled up at the market, take a walk down State Street for shopping and cafes and end your trip at the colorful Memorial Union Terrace for a beer and pretty Lake Mendota views. Other things to do in Madison include touring the historic capitol building and smelling the flowers at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Before you head back to Milwaukee, grab a juicy grass-fed burger from popular joints like The Old Fashioned and Dotty’s Dumpling’s Dowry.

Distance from Milwaukee: 80 miles (approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes)

Related Read : 10 Cozy & Comfortable Wisconsin Tiny Home Vacation Rentals

5. High Cliff State Park

High Cliff State Park, Sherwood, Wisconsin

Nestled along the shores of Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, High Cliff State Park is a great place for nature lovers seeking fresh air. It’s famous for towering limestone bluffs that make up part of the Niagara Escarpment, and sweeping views of Lake Winnebago. The park also features a 40-foot tall observation tower that looks out onto nearby cities like Oshkosh and Neenah.

As if that wasn’t enough, visitors can also enjoy seeing ancient Native American effigy mounds and a 100-year old abandoned lime kiln. When the weather is warm, pack a swimsuit and a picnic to enjoy at the park’s beach. Additionally, four boat launches and accessible shore make the lake popular for boating, windsurfing, and other water sports.

Some of the best hiking and walking trails are the Lime Kiln Trail , a 2-mile loop that passes the abandoned kiln, and the Red Bird Trail , which takes you to the top of the cliff with lake views. Many people also come to High Cliff to enjoy colorful fall foliage.

Distance from Milwaukee: 100 miles (approx. 1 hour and 45 minutes)

Related Read : 9 Absolute Best State Parks in Wisconsin

6. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay is a football town through and through, thanks to the historical legacy of the state’s beloved Green Bay Packers. Visiting the Titletown District and seeing a Packer’s home game at Lambeau Field is a bucket list item for many Wisconsinites. It’s also a fantastic glimpse into the die-hard football fandom that exists in Green Bay. But football isn’t all there is to do in this mid-sized city.

Housed within an old brick train station, Titletown Brewery is an excellent stop on any Green Bay itinerary for many reasons. Not only do they serve up delicious local food and beer, but the microbrewery sits along the Fox River, looking out onto the city skyline.

Other can’t miss attractions include visiting the Green Bay City Deck, exploring Bayshore County Park, and getting a history lesson at the National Railroad Museum .

Distance from Milwaukee: 118 miles (approx. 1 hour and 50 minutes)

Related Read : 10 Beautiful Scenic Drives in Wisconsin

7. Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Family-fun and beautiful nature awaits at the Wisconsin Dells, a tourist resort area where the Wisconsin River meets Lake Delton. As its nickname “The Waterpark Capital of the World” suggests, the city is best known for the sheer volume of water parks clustered in town. Summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit for outdoor water fun found at top attractions like Noah’s Ark and Lake Delton Beach.

Warm weather also presents the best conditions for taking a Wisconsin Duck tour through the striking gorges of the Wisconsin River. Be sure to take the Upper Dells Tour to witness the impressive beauty of the Witches Gulch , a mossy canyon lined with boardwalks offering jaw-dropping views.

However, once cold weather strikes, indoor water parks are a fantastic way to escape the harsh Wisconsin cold. Highly-rated resorts like The Kalahari and the Great Wolf Lodge offer day passes for visitors to experience indoor water slides, swimming pools, spas, and dining.

Distance from Milwaukee: 122 miles (approx. 1 hour and 50 minutes)

Related Read : 12 Best Cabin Rentals Near Wisconsin Dells

8. Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America, Gurney, Illinois

Roller coasters are certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re a thrill-seeker, Six Flags Great America in Gurney, Illinois is a fantastic day trip from Milwaukee.

As one of the largest amusement parks in the Midwest, the park has fifteen roller coasters spread amongst four themed areas. Rides in the park that range from scary to kid-friendly making Six Flags suitable for a family day trip too.

Six Flags also puts on live shows and seasonal events so you can have a different experience every time you visit. For those who don’t enjoy coasters, the Six Flags grounds also feature a 20-acre waterpark dubbed Hurricane Harbor. You can purchase day passes online before you arrive to skip the lines.

Distance from Milwaukee: 50 miles (approx. 50 minutes)

Related Read : 10 Best Illinois Glamping Rentals

10. Kettle Moraine State Forest

Kettle Moraine State Forest

The Kettle Moraine State Forest spans over 55,000 acres and offers numerous ways to enjoy a day trip. The state forest displays Wisconsin’s unique glacial landscape.

It’s filled with notable landmarks like kettle lakes and wooded glacial hills. The forest is so large that it’s broken up between the northern and southern units and is connected via the impressive 1,200-mile-long Ice Age National Scenic Trail .

Aside from exploring the various segments of the Ice Age Trail, some of the best things to do in the northern unit include hiking to the Parnell Observation Tower. Measuring 60 feet tall, it offers the highest vantage point in the forest. Other places to visit include Long Lake, Dundee Mountain, and Greenbush Recreation Area.

The southern unit is best known for beaches and watersports at Ottawa and Whitewater Lakes. There are also impressive hiking trails to explore that span tens of miles. The most popular include the Emma Carlin, John Muir, and Nordic Trails, which pass through native prairies, forests, and waterways.

Distance from Milwaukee: 45 miles (approx. 45 minutes)

Related Read : 10 Relaxing Wisconsin Cabin Rentals with Hot Tubs

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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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Home » Travel Guides » United States » Wisconsin (WI) » 15 Best Day Trips from Madison, WI

15 Best Day Trips from Madison, WI

Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin, in the United States. It lies between lakes Mendota and Monona.

It was founded in 1829 and became the capital city in 1848. Madison is known for its extensive network of parks and lakes with hundreds of miles of nature trails, its restaurants, and its museums and art galleries.

Thanks to its vibrant culture, the city is known as one of the most quintessential cities in the US. Madison is surrounded by great destinations for a day trip.

If you’re in Madison and need some new scenery outside the capital city, here is an exhaustive list of the best day trips that you can take from Madison:

1. Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells is a city that is situated just over 1hour away from Madison.

The city got its name from the Dells of the Wisconsin River.

From the Witch’s Gulch, you get an amazing view of the sandstone.

The Wisconsin Dells together with the village of Lake Delton form “the Dells” which is a popular tourist attraction site.

The first tourists came here in the 19th century and the site is still worth a visit years later.

In the downtown of Wisconsin Dells is the H.H. Bennett Museum and Historic Studio while to the north of downtown is the Dells of the Wisconsin River state natural area.

Almost the entire city of Wisconsin Dells is an amusement park.

The real heart of the adventure is the water park; time passes by so quickly when you’re having fun here.

2. Chippewa Falls

 Lake Wissota State Park, Chippewa Falls

Chippewa Fall was incorporated as a city in 1869 and is located in Northwest Wisconsin on the Chippewa River.

The name Chippewa comes from the Ojibwa language; the river is named after the Ojibwa Native Americans.

Visit Chippewa Falls and learn all about its charm and history as you explore the great outdoors.

This city is the birthplace Seymour Cray who is known worldwide as the father of the supercomputer.

The best time to visit Chippewa Falls is during the Christmas holidays.

The residents here take their Christmas traditions very seriously.

Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, the city is transformed into a wonderland.

Magnificent lights are displayed alongside the shining angels in the Christmas Village in Irvine Park.

3. Spring Green

Frank Lloyd Wright's, Spring Green

The Spring Green village is located about 1 hour to the west of Madison.

This small village is home to two of Wisconsin’s famous edifices which are must-sees for every architecture aficionado: Taliesin and House on the Rock.

The Taliesin complex is an 800-acre estate that was built as a tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright.

The House on the Rock is an awe-inspiring crowded attic that exhibits with quirky attractions.

Other places that you can visit on a day trip to Spring Green are the American Players Theater where Shakespeare’s plays are shown, the Spring Green General Store, the art galleries, and the emporium.


Baraboo is the largest city in Sauk County and is located on the Baraboo River.

This city is the winter home to the Ringling Brothers Circus.

If you love magic, you should visit the Circus World Museum, especially in summer when there is a daily parade with performances by magicians, clowns, and aerialists.

This museum preserves the legacy and history of the Ringling Brothers circus and is the only museum in the world that is exclusively clown-focused.

Another must­see landmark in Baraboo is the AI Ringling Theatre.

Nestled in the Baraboo Range is the Devil’s Lake State Park which is only 35 minutes away.

5. Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo area, Wisconsin

This park is one of the largest and most popular parks in Wisconsin covering an area of 3,730 hectares.

This park is situated about 35 miles northwest of Madison and is known for its 500-foot-high bluffs and its pink quartzite cliffs along the lake.

One of the primary attractions of the park is the Devil’s Lake which is a closed drainage lake located about 2 miles to the south of Baraboo.

This rectangle­shaped lake was created through by glaciers and covers an area of 150 hectares.

Within the park is the Baraboo Hills which are said to be much older than the lake.

The Southern part of the Hills was declared a National Natural Landmark in the year 1974.

This park is a popular tourist destination thanks to its scenic beauty and its proximity to the Wisconsin Dells.

If you’re looking to spend your day surrounded by nature away from the busy state capital, nothing beats this park.

6. Mineral Point

Mineral Point, Wisconsin

The magical Mineral Point is a city in the southwest of Wisconsin.

This city was settled in 1827 and it became a leading zinc and lead mining center in the 19th and the 20th century.

The architectural buildings in Mineral Point date back to the 1840s.

This city is full of charm and whimsy.

There are numerous caves and badger holes here that tell about this small town’s history.

The charming ambiance of Mineral Point’s buildings makes this town a recommended place for a day trip from Madison.

7. Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

This art museum, established in 1901, was formerly known as Madison Art Center.

This museum is the lifeblood of art and entertainment in Madison; it opened its permanent home to the public in 2006.

The collection includes more than 5,000 objects from across the globe and some pieces of work from iconic artists.

An example is the Pitahayas, an oil-on-metal painting done by Frida Kahlo.

While here, you can take a stroll around the spectacular 7,100 square foot rooftop sculpture garden, and the media gallery which showcases prints, drawings, and photographs.

8. Sun Prairie

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Sun Prairie is a suburb of Madison, located in Dane County.

This city is the second most populated city in the county after Madison.

If you prefer a quiet day trip location, then Sun Prairie is the perfect spot for you.

About half an hour away from San Prairie are some community parks that are ideal for relaxation and are recommended for picnicking.

They include the Sheehan, Angel, Woodview, and Wetmore.

9. Pendarvis State Historic Site

Pendarvis State Historic Site

This historic site is located in Iowa County and is made up of several cabins that date back to the 19th century.

These cabins were built by the immigrants who came to mine lead in Mineral Point.

These buildings have been restored to their original state.

The Pendarvis site serves as a museum to preserve the history of early lead mining; it’s owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Visit Pendarvis to see how the miners lived back in the day.

10. Mount Horeb

Mount Horeb, Wisconsin

Mount Horeb is a village located about 30 minutes to the west of Madison, in Dane County.

The early settlers were Norwegian and for this reason, this town bears a Scandinavian heritage.

The main street is decorated with life-size trolls that are carved from tree trunks.

This “Troll Capital of The World” has numerous antique shops, gift shops, and several specialty shops in the downtown area.

Other places that you must visit on your day trip to Mount Horeb are the Cave of the Mounds, the Onyx Ridge, and the Blue Mound State Park.

11. Beaver Creek Nature Reserve

Beaver Creek Nature Reserve

If you are looking to learn as you discover the mysteries of nature, visit this 400­acre reserve and you’ll surely not run out of things to see.

This picturesque natural habitat contains a butterfly house which gives tourists a beautiful experience as they become one with nature.

You can visit at night and get views from The Hobbs Observatory.

Monroe, Wisconsin

Are there any cheese lovers in the house? Monroe city, bordered by the Town of Monroe to the north and Town of Clarno to the south, is all about cheese.

This city has been thriving for more than a century thanks to the art and business of making cheese.

This cheese capital of Wisconsin is home to one of the last of the Limburger cheese factories.

Pay a visit to the Historic Cheesemaking Center to learn all about Wisconsin’s famous cheese.

13. Monona Terrace

Monona Terrace

This terrace is a convention center that is located on the shores of Lake Monona.

It’s also referred to as the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

The terrace was designed in 1938 by Frank Lloyd Wright, but the building wasn’t built until 1997, nearly 60 years after its inception.

Monona Terrace was constructed by a southern Wisconsin contractor, J.H Findorff and Son Inc.

Any Wright fan wouldn’t want to miss a chance to see this stunning building, located on Madison’s Waterfront.

The rooftop allows panoramic views of the downtown, the Capitol, and Lake Monona.

14. New Glarus

New Glarus, Wisconsin

This village in Green County is located at the intersection of Wisconsin Highways 39 and 69. This community was founded in 1845 and was incorporated in 1901. Among the first settlers here were the immigrants from Switzerland in the mid-1800s.

New Glarus is the perfect getaway from Madison and is well-known for its Swiss charm.

Everything in this village fully embraces the Swiss heritage including its culture, history and food.

This Swiss village is home to “Spotted Cow”, one of Wisconsin’s most famous crafted brews.

If you love beer then new Glarus should be at the top of your list for best day trips from Madison.

Other highlights of the trip to New Glarus include Swiss historical Village which is an open-air museum.

15. Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

The 16­acre Olbrich Botanical Gardens is named after its founder, Michael Olbrich, who established it in 1952. The gardens are located in Madison and are owned by the nonprofit Olbrich Botanical Society and the City of Madison Parks.

Visit these gardens to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and the exotic plants.

The glass-enclosed Bolz Conservatory was added to the garden in 1991. It’s filled with fragrant flowers, orchids, a waterfall, and birds.

Another addition is the “sala”, an elaborate Thai pavilion opened in 2002 that was donated to the University of Wisconsin by the government of Thailand.

The gift was made though Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King.

This pavilion is one of the 4 salas that are found outside of Thailand.

15 Best Day Trips from Madison, WI:

  • Wisconsin Dells
  • Chippewa Falls
  • Spring Green
  • Devil’s Lake State Park
  • Mineral Point
  • Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Sun Prairie
  • Pendarvis State Historic Site
  • Mount Horeb
  • Beaver Creek Nature Reserve
  • Monona Terrace
  • Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Paulina on the road

19 Cool Weekend Trips in Wisconsin

By Author Paulina

Posted on Published: February 8, 2019  - Last updated: January 26, 2024

Discover the Best Weekend Trips in Wisconsin. Including day trips from Milwaukee and Madison. Read on where to go on a weekend getaway in Wisconsin for hiking, lake cabins, outdoor fun. But also lovely city trips and lake side trips to Wisconsin Dells. Find information on where to stay and where to eat during your weekend excursion in Wisconsin. #wisconsin #midwest #weekendtripswisconsin #getawaywisconsin

A personal selection of the best weekend getaways in Wisconsin, US

Bordered by Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, the state of Wisconsin offers an array of diverse landscapes that are an absolute pleasure to explore.

From outdoor activities to quiet romantic getaways, the state of Wisconsin has whatever you need for a vacation in all seasons. 

While many consider that the majority of the activities are located in Madison or Milwaukee, there are so many other cool weekend trips in Wisconsin to explore!

Hey! Don’t forget to grab my free Wisconsin Getaway Checklist below!

Discover the Best Weekend Trips in Wisconsin. Including day trips from Milwaukee and Madison. Read on where to go on a weekend getaway in Wisconsin for hiking, lake cabins, outdoor fun. But also lovely city trips and lake side trips to Wisconsin Dells. Find information on where to stay and where to eat during your weekend excursion in Wisconsin. #wisconsin #midwest #weekendtripswisconsin #getawaywisconsin

Pssst…! You can’t get enough of visiting places in Wisconsin? Have a look at my other posts:

  • Best Breweries in Wisconsin
  • 15 Road Trips in Wisconsin You Should Take!
  • 15 Most Haunted Places in Wisconsin

This post contains affiliate links. if you buy via them, I’ll earn a small commission which helps me to keep this blog running. I received services for free for an honest review. All opinions are my own

Table of Contents

Top resources to travel Wisconsin

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1. Big Manitou Falls

For those looking for: Sightseeing and picture-taking

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  • Accommodation Options: The best way to enjoy the beauty here is by renting a cabin. You’ll love this Lakefront Superior Cottage w/Deck & Boat Dock or this beautifully decorated Home near Spirit

Among all the top attractions in Wisconsin, The Big Manitou Falls area is especially known for its waterfalls, gorgeous Wisconsin lakes , and rivers.

In this popular destination in Wisconsin, you will find some of the most unique visual sights you will ever come across. Big Manitou is home to the highest waterfall in the state, clocking in at over 160 feet .

No wonder it is often considered one of the best waterfalls in North Wisconsin .

When you first look at the waterfall, you will notice that the water is of a brownish color rather than a crystal blue color. The reason? The water is uniquely colored due to the assortment of minerals found in the water- known as tannins.

When deciding to visit Big Manitou Falls, you will come across a ton of exciting walking paths. Expect quite a bit of walking, so pack comfortable shoes and a camera with you.

It is truly a sight to see since you will be surrounded by beautiful greenery everywhere you go.

You will be taking a ton of pictures, so prepare yourself for a new screensaver and loads of selfies!

There are 2 types of falls you will need to see: small and large falls. Luckily, the falls can be viewed from any of the viewpoints located at the park.

Expect a good 30-minute walk from where you park your car, in order to reach a viewpoint to see the falls. If you have little ones with you, they will be also able to see it with relative ease.

Overall, walk around, enjoy the beautiful sights, and take some beautiful pictures. It will be well worth it!

ab237e32296f824a3dedc4e0639d723b87acbd43 - 19 Cool Weekend Trips in Wisconsin


Get ready with this  free checklist!

  • Stay organized with your weekend planning!
  • Never run out of inspiration!

Check your inbox to download your free Wisconsin checklist! Don’t forget to check your Spam too 🙂


Don’t forget to bring your Wisconsin hiking guidebook in order to explore the best trails in the area. – Check rates here

2. Wisconsin Weekend at Devil’s Lake State Park

For those looking for: A visit to one of the largest parks you will ever see for a Wisconsin family getaway

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  • Accommodation Options: The Ringling House Bed & Breakfast has the best reviews in town, and the Inn at Wawanissee comes with a hot tub! Cabin lovers, this area is heaven for you! Check out this quirky Log Cabin or stay in this gorgeous contemporary home on a quiet wooded lot.

The largest state park in Wisconsin; the Devil’s Lake State Park , is an extremely popular spot for fishing, boating, and swimming. A must-see for all ages, Devil’s Lake is easily one of the most beautiful spots for taking photos in Wisconsin.

An absolute must-see when visiting Wisconsin, and luckily you will be able to as it is open all year round! No wonder, that it is considered one of the best Wisconsin State Parks.

As soon as you arrive, you will notice extremely wide picnic areas with people relaxing and enjoying the weather. Overlooking the park is a massive lake; over 300 acres of beautiful water.

As such, you will have the opportunity to engage in Wisconsin’s finest activities: fishing, boating, and rock-climbing! It also has some of the best hiking in Wisconsin Dells .

The hills around the lake, known as Baraboo Bluffs, make it especially easy to do some rock climbing . You can enjoy the experience by climbing slowly and peering across to the lake or challenge yourself with more complex climbs.

You can also decide to entertain yourself and your family with some hiking in Wisconsin , stopping for a mini-picnic, or taking some memorable photos.

If you are willing enough, you can take one of the more difficult paths in order to reach a spectacular viewpoint overlooking the lake. Once you find the spot that is to your liking, you certainly won’t regret it.

The key is to just enjoy the experience, and just stop whenever you feel like it.

Otherwise, take the time to simply soak in the scenery and experience true Wisconsin nature at its finest. The nature changes in winter, that’s why the area is a great Wisconsin winter getaway too!

Book here your National Park pass

3. Mini Vacation at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

For those looking for: Adventure

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  • Best Thing to do:  Rent a kayak – or bring your own inflatable one
  • Accommodation Options:  The  Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast is perfect for those who want to splurge a bit and the  Old Rittenhouse Inn is a fabulous mid-range option. For Airbnb and cabin lovers, this  Madeline Island Cabin  is located right on the lakeshore on Madeline Island. And this Library Street Cottage is the cutest!

If you want an adventure when visiting Wisconsin, look no further than the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

With a collection of 21 islands alongside a lakeshore, this is one of the most adored spots by tourists and locals. You are free to enjoy the lakeshore how you like.

By enjoying the views, listening to music, or watching the assortment of birds in the sky. The area is also home to some of the most romantic cabins in Wisconsin , it’s thus perfect of a couples’ getaway.

You will be hard-pressed to find a more relaxing experience. Always among one of the top 10 things to do in Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands is one of the best places to go in Wisconsin.  Make sure to check the full guide on things to do in Apostle Islands .

But the beauty of this lakeshore lies in the variety of activities that are available for you to explore. Consider renting a kayak, so you can venture from island to island.

Do not let this opportunity go to pass: it is very enjoyable to reach each island and enjoy the variety of amenities and recreational there.

Many islands offer scuba-diving and fishing activities for a very good price! Book here your National Park pass

If you really want to make it an adventure, try camping at one of the 19 available islands. Don’t worry, each island offers great camping sites with excellent amenities.

If you want to stay on a budget, there are remote camping sites for you as well.

What makes these islands so wonderful is the freedom and options it offers. Many tourists decide to camp out on these islands, and you will surely make a couple of friends if you do decide to stay! – Check rates for a cabin getaway in Apostle Islands

4. Enjoy a Romantic weekend at Elkhart Lake

For those looking for: A resort experience

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  • Accommodation Options: The Osthoff Resort is perfect for those who want to splurge. Cabin lovers, you’ll enjoy this Esker Ridge Chalet or this gorgeous European-style home in the heart of Elkhart Lake.

For a wonderful resort experience, consider Elkhart Lake in the south of Wisconsin.

Elkhart Lake is home to the famous Road America race dating back to the ’50s. Every year, you will find many races being hosted; with the most popular ones hosted in summer.

Being an international event, you will find people coming from all across the United States to enjoy the events.

Elkhart Lake is home to some of the most beautiful resort experiences in Wisconsin. Whether you want an option to relax or be adventurous on your stay, this is the place to be.  

Elkhart Lake resorts have some excellent live theatre and music at night , along with great food.

For a purely positive experience, consider the “ The Shore Club Wisconsin ” – where you will have excellent service, food, and lovely swimming centers. It has an old-fashioned feel and an excellent choice for a relaxing resort. – Check rates here

When it comes to water experiences and some family fun in Wisconsin, enjoy one of the best getaways in Wisconsin by checking out Broughton Sheboygan Marsh Park or Fireman’s Park.

Fireman’s Park offers a typical picnic area with a sandy beach, while Broughton Sheboygan Marsh Park offers more of a variety of activities including campsites, fishing, and picnic areas.

Most resorts in the region also offer access to similar picnic areas and sites close to both of these parks.

In addition to the top-end resort choices in Elkhart Lake, there are also some great hotels in Sheboygan , which are more budget-friendly.

Plus, you don’t want to miss out on some of the great things to do in Sheboygan.

Book here your lake cabin in Wisconsin

5. Wisconsin Road trip at Door County 

For those looking for: A truly relaxing experience

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  • Accommodation Options: The Homestead Suites comes with outdoor and indoor pools and a spa bath, and the White Gull Inn is a great option for adult-only stays. If you prefer an Airbnb in Door County next to Fish Creek, you’ll love the cute Creekside Cottage or this DoCo Oasis . 

Door County is a popular spot for tourists and locals from Wisconsin and even neighboring states such as Illinois. As a result, Door County is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

Door County offers a variety of opportunities to relax and enjoy the sunset. The reason? Door County has multiple state parks that tourists flock to during their off days, such as on Memorial Day.

Typically, the acres of land offer wonderful hunting, camping, fishing, and hiking opportunities. It’s particularly quaint when in fall foliage and considered one of the best things to do in Wisconsin in fall.

In fact, Door County in October is one of the best times to visit as there are many festivals on, and it’s the perfect time to see the fall colors in Wisconsin .

Quite frankly, Door County may simply end up being one of the most memorable visits when it comes to these activities. If you’re still looking for a place to stay, have a look at my list of the best Airbnbs in Door County, WI .

There are seemingly endless acres of land for you to enjoy, so definitely give it a try if you love the great outdoors.

Almost limitless hunting, camping, and fishing capture the majority of things to do in Northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. It is no wonder why tourists visit from across these two states.

For some more northeast Wisconsin activities, Door County has an assortment of beaches and resorts that are more than a safe bet. No wonder the beaches of the peninsula are often considered some of the most scenic beaches in Wisconsin .

Some beaches have pebbles and rounded rocks which make it difficult to walk but are very relaxing with plenty of amenities nearby for a picnic. Other beaches offer softer sand, perfect for kids to swim in the nearby shallow water. 

If you are able to stay a few days, I recommend checking out some of the best wineries in Door County . Just be sure not to drive to and from your wine tastings!

Two excellent hotels and resorts to consider are the Bay Shore Inn ** and Bay Breeze Resort. The Bay Shore Inn is a fantastic option to retire in when returning from the assortment of Wisconsin road trips from Wisconsin. Book here your stay in Bay Shore Inn.

The Bay Breeze Resort offers comfortable sleeping and wonderful access to private beaches. – Book here your stay in Bay Breeze Resort

Book here your wood log cabin in Door County

Wisconsin Classic Sweatshirt

6. Marinette County: Fun Place to Stay in Wisconsin

For those looking for: A unique touristic experience in the state of Wisconsin

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  • Best Thing to do:   Rent an RV and go on a road trip
  • Accommodation Options:  The Lauerman House Inn has the best reviews in Marinette, and the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson comes with a pool and hot tub. Have a look at this Cozy Cabin on the Menominee .

When deciding on fun places to go in Wisconsin, Marinette County is a great choice.

You will find a host of communities that cater to the tourism experiences available in Marinette County. From outdoor activities to unique food and dining, Marinette County is one of the best places to vacation in Wisconsin

For all you foodies out there, there are a host of options for some good-old Wisconsin fun and Wisconsin activities. The Fire Winery and Seguin’s House of cheese will be some of the best Wisconsin stops you will have!

The House of Cheese offers lots of creamy curds. Ranging from sweet to spicy; along with fantastic wines and fresh fish.

Prepare your taste buds for a memorable dairy and wine-filled experience ! The Fire Winery is a fantastic choice for a variety of wines to help end an entertaining afternoon with your loved one.

If you get the chance, take a day to visit Dave’s Falls in the south of Amberg. It is an excellent choice for a wonderful outdoor experience and gives you another chance to view Wisconsin’s beautiful waterfalls . It is picture-worthy and certainly memorable.

Easily one of the best vacation ideas in Wisconsin ; Marinette County offers great food, and a beautiful waterfall experience.

Book here your cabin getaway in Wisconsin

7. Amnicon Falls State Park, South Range

For those looking for: A big park and even bigger Waterfalls!

Best waterfalls in state park of Wisconsin, Amnicon Falls State Park, South Range

Amnicon Falls State Park is one of the top Wisconsin vacation destinations. In the Amnicon Falls Park, you will find an absolutely stunning park, as if it was made out of a drawing.

You will find varying watercolors in the waterfalls, once again due to the minerals from the rocks.

When you decide to go see the Falls, you will find both upper and lower falls. In both falls, you are more than welcome to have a dip or go for a swim. The streams are pure and the rocks dot the park beautifully.

You will eventually reach Amnicon Falls State Park bridge, connecting two parts of the park. Get a chance to take some pictures, and learn a part of its historical significance.

If you go in winter, prepare for a different experience in one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin in winter .

Prepare to walk across soft snow-covered trails, with an opportunity to reach the famed snow-covered bridge. It is a truly exceptional experience and a chance for a Wisconsin winter weekend getaway.

While swimming is out of the question, there are still possibilities for catered hiking and exceptional opportunities to take pictures.

For a Wisconsin winter vacation, a trip to the Amnicon State Falls Park may be an underrated and exceptionally beautiful experience.

8. Lake Geneva: the Perfect, Romantic Weekend Getaway

For those looking for: A wonderful time at a major state park

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, trip to wisconsin, wisconsin road trip

  • Best Thing to do:   Do an Audio Tour of the Lake Shore Path
  • Accommodation Options:   The Grand Geneva Resort and Spa ****  is perfect for a spa getaway, while the  Lake Lawn Resort *****  has the best views! On Airbnb, this downtown home is an affordable luxury experience! Not what you’re looking for? Check out my guide on where to stay in Lake Geneva or the best Southern Wisconsin resorts .

Lake Geneva often tops the list of Wisconsin lake vacations. The reason is greatly due to the fact that it is a resort city based along Geneva Lake.

It is greatly popular with tourists from Illinois and neighboring cities in Wisconsin .

It’s the ideal weekend getaway in Wisconsin from Milwaukee and there are plenty of things to do in Lake Geneva, WI .

How about deciding on one of the romantic weekend getaways in Wisconsin? Enjoy the fresh air and cool breezes coming from Geneva Lake.

From the assortment of beaches, cruises, and water sports, Lake Geneva is an exceptionally relaxing experience for you and your loved one.

You can also spend a day at Lake Geneva State Park, where you can have a lovely picnic or take a long stroll. – Book here your lake cabin in Lake Geneva

For a bit more excitement; try zip-lining! For the first time, it can be an unbelievable experience, and a must-try if you want to make it a part of your memorable romantic getaways in Lake Geneva .

The staff are very helpful, and will gladly answer any questions you may have. But the activity is quite simple: hop on and have the ride of your life!

Another fun activity is the Lake Geneva Clue Room where you can search for classified documents or outsmart Al Capone!

Lake Geneva Clue Room is one of the best escape rooms in Wisconsin , and a great way to spend an afternoon.

If you visit Lake Geneva in winter , the escape rooms are also a fun indoor activity to escape the cold! For a shorter stay, Lake Geneva is also one of the best day trips from Milwaukee in winter .

And if you’re looking for a festive romantic getaway, one of the best things to do in Lake Geneva in December to treat yourself is a spa getaway.

For an excellent choice of Wisconsin lake vacation rentals or a chance of romantic day trips in Wisconsin cabins, check out the Ridge Hotel.

The Ridge Hotel offers a variety of packages for lovebirds. This includes spa, massage, and chocolate and flower deliveries to your room.

Within the area of the hotel, you have close access to Kettle Moraine, shopping centers, and a myriad of excellent bars and restaurants. – Book here your stay in the Ridge Hotel

Related: Where to stay in Lake Geneva

For those looking for: A visit to the capital for some exciting moments

Madison Wisconsin Breathtaking View, best road trips from wisconsin, mini vacations in wisconsin

  • Best Thing to do:   Madison Cooking Class
  • Accommodation Options:  the Best Western Premier Park Hotel  has great views of Madison’s main attraction, while the Hotel Indigo – Madison Downtown, an IHG Hotel , comes with a cool interior design downtown!

Being one of the most vibrant scenes in Wisconsin, you will find an assortment of touristic activities and some beautiful scenery in the city of Madison.

In the warmer months, the top things to do in Madison, Wisconsin are outdoor activities.

Cycling along the excellent trails is a great option to work your leg muscles and enjoy a long, relaxing ride with your loved ones.

If you prefer keeping your feet on the ground, hiking in Madison, WI , is a must.

You’ll find some of the best hiking in Southern Wisconsin , especially the hikes around the University of Wisconsin – Madison Arboretum.

Madison is one of the most quaint and safest cities in the United States, so this is truly one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have.

In colder months, things to do in central Wisconsin include joining the majority of tourists by skating or playing hockey.

People are really friendly in Madison and very welcoming, and it is a very natural and relaxed culture and a great place to vacation.

For some proper touring, head to the Wisconsin State Capitol for a view of a massive white dome, and a chance to see some beautiful murals.

If you happen to visit during winter in Madison, WI, the Capitol building puts up a HUGE Christmas tree, which is a must-see!

Also, take the time to check out the Henry Vilas Zoo for a view of some amazing animals including bears, lions, alligators and an assortment of underwater creatures. 

Otherwise, definitely head over to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art for some interesting architecture and famous landmarks that make it one of the best places in Wisconsin.

As a result, Madison is normally a top choice for Wisconsin vacation ideas .

10. A Weekend in Milwaukee

For those looking for: An exciting city trips in Wisconsin

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  • Best Thing to do:   Milwaukee Food Tour
  • Accommodation Options:   The Pfister Hotel is a true legend in town, while the  Schuster Mansion Bed & Breakfast is probably the most scenic option. For Airbnb fans, this historic house  is only a short walk from a scenic park. You can also check out my guide on where to stay in Milwaukee .

Fear the deer! A city with many exciting spots, Milwaukee is one of the cool and fun places to stay in Wisconsin. What is there to do?

Well, you can hit up a massive 200-acre zoo, or plan a day to view the Harley Davidson Museum. How about dining at one of the most popular steakhouses in the city?

The options are plentiful, so get ready for a fun time on your one-day trip to the largest city in Wisconsin!

Among the many southern Wisconsin, attractions include the Milwaukee County Zoo, one of the most famous zoos in the United States.

The Milwaukee Zoo combines an assortment of rare breeds of animals with really fun events. It is perfect for a family visit, or a trip with a significant other.

You probably won’t believe it, but there are seasonal days when admission is absolutely free! This zoo is really a must-see if you find yourself in Milwaukee.

For meat lovers out there, consider the “ Rare Steakhouse ” for delicious cuts of meat and fine wines.

Easily one of the best steakhouses you will go to, with an older-school vibe and excellent service. A must-try for the hungry carnivores looking for a tasty dinner.

Read more about the best hotels in Milwaukee

If you are looking for something unique in Wisconsin, what to do besides hitting up a Harley museum?

The museum certainly contains hundreds of motorcycles but also sports a fantastic cooler vibe with a chance to see proud owners showing off their own personalized bikes.

Even if bikes aren’t your cup of tea, this museum gives you an opportunity to see how intense the passion is. For a bike-lover, this very well could be your heaven.

While in the city, be sure to enjoy all of the top things to do in Milwaukee at night , including the cars on Brady Street and the spy-themed bar, SafeHouse.

If you are visiting with kids, winter is also a great time to visit. There are many festive things to do in Milwaukee in December that kids will love.

Find here a selection of the best tours in Milwaukee

11. Peaceful Wisconsin Getaway at Kettle Moraine

For those looking for:  Outdoor family fun

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  • Accommodation Options: The Hidden Serenity B&B is a great hideaway. But a cabin getaway is the best way to enjoy the natural beauty here. You’ll love the GGG Log Cabin close to trails and the lake. The Lillibridge Lake Home is just steps from the water on quaint Tittle Lake, nestled in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Kettle Moraine, or the Kettle Range, is one of the best Wisconsin weekend packages . You will find yourself learning more about geography, and experiencing one of the most popular spots in all of Wisconsin.

Kettle Moraine is essentially a massive moraine; glacier and boulder-formed debris, with kettles all around it.

Quite simply, you will have the experience of seeing a massive state park with a variety of different moraines. Naturally, there is a variety of outdoor activities for you to entertain while visiting Kettle Moraine including fishing and camping.

For an excellent fishing experience, definitely make your way to Ottawa Lake where there is a wide area for you to fish, swim, and hop on a boat .

There is excellent accessibility for any impaired, along with wide, vast areas for you to enjoy in your time.

For a unique weekend trip to Wisconsin, have a shot with target shooting or even hop on a snowmobile if you are there in winter.

The target shooting is located in a sports center in Kettle Moraine State Forest , and provides you with either guns or bows to fire some ammunition. An  exhilarating experience!

Otherwise, make an initiative to go snowmobiling if you visit in winter. You will twist and turn your way along beautifully shaped trails, among tall trees and boulders around you.

Most of the time, you will receive an immediate city-wide notification if there is availably snowmobiling at the time depending on the weather or other circumstances.

In Kettle Moraine, The Tiki Beach Resort on Kettle Moraine Lake is one of the cool places to stay in Wisconsin. It has a wonderful ambiance and is perfectly located.

It is the perfect place to stay if you want more of a variety of activities when you stay in Kettle Moraine. It is also one of the very best romantic places to stay in Wisconsin, thanks to its fun ambiance and relaxing layouts.

Whether you decide to fish , go hunting, or just relax under the sun, outdoor activities in Kettle Moraine is one of the best Wisconsin things you can do.

Book here your stay at the Tiki Beach Resort on Kettle Moraine Lake

12. Romantic Trip at Bayfield

For those looking for: Restaurants, Hotels, and an enjoyable Cruise.

Bayfield Wisconsin Lovely Cruise, one day trips wisconsin, day trip in wisconsin

A city in Bayfield County, Bayfield was originally a fishing community that is now home to an assortment of tourist activities. In Bayfield, you can expect to find cheap getaways in Wisconsin, along with some of the excellent romantic places in Wisconsin.

It’s also the perfect place for a getaway with your beloved one since Bayfield is home to some of the most romantic cabins in Wisconsin . – Book here your cabin getaway in Bayfield

A popular event in Bayfield known as the AppleFest is hosted in October. It is a celebration of Bayfield’s cultural heritage , where you can find stands or booths offering tons of food and refreshments. Furthermore, you can expect a variety of shows, events, and even an amusement park.

In other sunny months, consider registering for a Grand Tour Cruise Service for at least a 4-hour long cruise and tour.

The captain will show you the assortment of rocks, sea caves, and islands scattered around from Bayfield onwards.

You will also come across some unique wildlife, and get close-up views of nature at its finest. Consider this a romantic experience, or an adventure worth taking when looking for things to do in Northern Wisconsin .

In Nearby Bayview, you’ll find the Bayview Trail, which has some of the best hiking in Northern Wisconsin and is perfect for outdoorsy couples.

For those looking for a northern Wisconsin vacation rental, consider the Bayfield Inn . The Bayfield Inn is one of the best places to stay in Wisconsin considering the service, location, amenities, and excellent help for wherever you need to go. – Check rates & reviews here

Meanwhile the Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast is one of my favorite romantic hotels in Wisconsin , and perfect for a couples getaway to the Apostle Islands. – Check rates & reviews here

13. Family Getaway at Wausau

For those looking for: A green weekend getaway

Wausau Wisconsin Lake Seaside Nature, road trips in wisconsin, fun places to stay in wisconsin

  • Accommodation Options: The Stewart Inn comes with the best reviews, and you’ll love the Inn at the River for its scenic river views. Check out the best Airbnbs in Wausau as well.

If you ever really want to know what’s in Wisconsin, Wausau offers a host of affordable romantic getaways in Wisconsin  for families and vacations for couples. 

A city right next to the Wisconsin River, Wausau is best visited in summer (due to the beautiful weather and soft sunshine) or winter (a chance for walking on snowfall trails).

In summer, take the time to visit the Rib Mountain State Park for a chance to go hiking on beautifully formed trails or to view the unique habitats that surround the park.

You also have an opportunity to hop on a ski lift, in order to see the beautiful colors of the natural forest all around you. This is also an excellent option for fall, where you can see the ever-changing colors of nature.

Nonetheless, you will have the opportunity to soak up some sun, and enjoy a relaxing day in nature. One of the best choices you can make in Wausau.

Hitting the slopes at Granite Peak for some skiing fun is also one of the best Wisconsin trips in winter. This lodge is just the perfect skiing spot for anybody in the midwest. –  Find here the best hotels in Wausau

They have everything you need, from wide slopes to a beautifully formed drop for you to enjoy. Be sure to get your tickets a few weeks in advance if you want to get up there without a problem.

It is one of the most popular ski resorts in Wisconsin – so be on time!

The rides are fun and expect less traffic than in Mt. Olympus. Either way, you are going to have a wail of a time. – Check rates for the best hotels in Wausau here

RELATED: Fun Things To Do in Wisconsin Dells

14. Fun Kayak Activity at Chippewa Valley

For those looking for: A Great valley, with some fun summer activities

Chippewa Valley Wisconsin Kayak Activity, cheap vacations in wisconsin, wisconsin getaways

  • Best thing to do: Bring your own kayak and explore
  • Accommodation Options: The Inn On Lake Wissota is the cutest and has top reviews! The area boasts gorgeous cabins such as this charming Hilltop Home with city views or this pet-friendly Lakefront cabin .

If you decide to have a weekend in Wisconsin, Chippewa Valley offers the Big Falls and opportunities to fish or paddle alongside the Chippewa River. Two great options for some summer fun and entertaining activities in Chippewa Valley.

Look at any of the maps of attractions in Wisconsin, and the Big Falls of Chippewa Valley will surely come up.

Big Falls offers what you would expect: tumbling waterfalls on rock ledges surrounded by small islands everywhere you go.

Chippewa Valley and Falls were named originally by the Indian settlements, and you can clearly see the cultural and historical remnants of these lands.

Next, take the opportunity to fish or paddle alongside Chippewa River, or do both! You will find many canoers or kayakers strolling across the river, which flows on at about 180 miles. It is an extremely popular spot for fishermen looking to land their next batch of sea bass.

It’s also the perfect occasion to bring your inflatable kayak . – Check rates & reviews here

For more fun stuff to do in Wisconsin, check out Irvine Park; home to the Irvine Zoo which is a very popular attraction for locals and tourists.

15. Hike at Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

For those looking for: A massive forest for a memorable adventure

Majestic Forest at Chequamegon-Nicolet , weekend getaways wisconsin, weekend getaway wisconsin

  • Best Thing to do:  Bring your own inflatable kayak
  • Accommodation Options: Gordon Lodge  comes with hot pools and is a great place to stay.

If you find yourself wondering what to see in Wisconsin, look no further than the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Over a million acres of wide forest land for you to explore, so make sure you have a small map and your car nearby at all times!

The National Forest is one of the fun places in Wisconsin, and certainly one of the top things to do in Wisconsin. –  Book here your National Park pass

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is home to remote areas of pure natural forest including a vast array of bogs, rivers, meadows, and giant trees.

Expect to see some interesting animals, such as owls, raccoons, and chipmunks as soon as you arrive. The forest is so vast, that it is very easy to get lost.

A lways have your map handy, and keep the car close by so you can retrace your steps. Luckily, you will most likely find similar tourists around no matter where you decide to venture into this massive park. –  Book here your National Park pass

Naturally, the National Forest is home to a variety of recreational activities including camping and fishing.

If you decide to go in winter, expect hiking on snowy trails and seeing the forest in a completely different light. It is up to you to decide which experience you prefer, but know that there will be thousands of tourists similar to you! 

Be sure to carry an excellent camera with you, in order to snapshots the forest’s heritage and natural history.

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is easily an excellent option for fun day trips in Wisconsin, whether you decide to go in June or November.

16. Eagle River, Wisconsin

wisconsin river bank

  • Accommodation Options: the Best Western Derby Inn *** has the best reviews in town, while the Wild Eagle Lodge ** is a great 2-star option! Airbnb fans, you should check out this charming waterfront cabin or this spacious, entire home .

Eagle River is another one of my favorite destinations in Wisconsin. During the summer months especially, the natural beauty of this destination is unbeatable.

You can stay in a Cabin, an Airbnb or in one of the many resorts found in the area. – Check rates for lakefront cabins in Wisconsin here

Eagle River offers an amazing lake-life experience where you can go Kayaking, Canoeing, or Paddle Boarding. If fishing is your thing, this is a lovely peaceful place for fishing.

In the evening you can enjoy a quiet campfire and make some S’mores. It’s the perfect place to bring your own inflatable kayak too.

Don’t forget to step aboard a Pirate ship for a cruise around the lake.

17. Elroy-Sparta State Trail, Wisconsin

hiking in wisconsin

If you are a nature lover and like to bike, the Elroy-Sparta State Trail is the place to be. It is one of the most populate trails in the USA with three rock runners and five small towns along its 32.5-mile route.

It will take you past wetlands, prairies, farmland, and unglaciated area. Don’t forget to have flashlights with you as you will need them when passing through the tunnels.

A Wisconsin weekend trip to the Elroy-Sparta State Trail is a fabulous idea since it’s considered one of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin .

18. Spring Green, Wisconsin

  • Accommodation Options: Spring Valley Inn features an indoor pool and comes with top reviews! For Airbnb fans, you’ll love this secluded Taliesin-designed retreat and the Historic Farmhouse is truly unique!

If you are fascinated by architectural wonders, you will want to make a stop at Spring Green. It is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnificent Taliesin , and Alex Jordan’s mysterious “ House on the Rock “.

The House on the Rock is one of the strangest museums I’ve ever seen with its architectural jumble and an astonishing collection of toys and unique marvels.

19. Water fun in Wisconsin Dells

Witches Gulch is a beautiful slot canyon in the Wisconsin Dells.

  • Best Thing to do:   Visit the Ringling Brother Mansion
  • Accommodation Options:  the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Wisconsin Dells ***  is always a great choice, while I love the backyard of the Hilton Garden Inn Wisconsin Dells *** . For Airbnb fans, check out this cute  2 bedroom cabin  in Christmas Mountain. It’s one of my favorite Airbnbs in Wisconsin Dells .

Other things to do involve hitting Wisconsin Dells, right next to the Wisconsin River. Things to do near Wisconsin Dells include heading to a water park, for fun rides and family experiences.

Mt. Olympus is your safest bet here and is large enough to accommodate the floods of tourists and locals in summer.

Noah’s Ark is another great option, and anyone who loves water parks will know why.

Luckily, the parks are also open year-round and are even one of the top things to do in Wisconsin Dells in winter .

If you’re still wondering where to stay, check my guide on the best Airbnbs in Wisconsin Dells .

Short FAQ about Weekend Getaways in Wisconsin

What are affordable romantic getaways in wisconsin.

If you want an intimate getaway in Wisconsin, Elkhart Lake is one of the most beautiful resorts in Wisconsin. You will surely enjoy the sunset or the live theatre and music at night, along with great food.

What are the best Wisconsin weekend getaways for couples?

If you want to walk around, enjoy the beautiful sights, and take some beautiful pictures, Big Manitou Falls is the best for you and your loved one. For island hopping activities, Have a mini-vacation at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

What are the best Wisconsin weekend getaways for singles?

Marinette County is a great choice for a beautiful waterfall experience, If you just want a food trip in Wisconsin The Fire Winery and Seguin’s House of cheese will be some of the best Wisconsin stops you will have! You can also check Madison City, People here really friendly and very welcoming. It is a very natural and relaxed culture and a great place to vacation. Maybe after your trip here, You’ll end up with your special one already.

For a quick overview, have a look at my Web Story about Weekend Trips in Wisconsin.

Spanish Christmas Food You Must Try Story

Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip 

  • You’ll snap tons of photos and I love to take my  GoPro  in order to shoot even in extreme situations. 
  • Make sure to wear comfortable  walking shoes  and  hiking sandals   when traveling to warm countries. Consider trying some of these eco-friendly vegan hiking boots .
  • Sunscreen is key! I always take with me my  eco-friendly sunscreen   by Thinksport.
  • I always carry a  light rain jacket ,  just in case. Pack smart with these organic cotton clothing companies .
  • Be environmentally friendly and get one of these awesome backpacks made from recycled materials .
  • Get in the mindset with these amazing wilderness survival books .
  • Travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel is protected against all odds with  HeyMondo .

travel blogger, europe, portugal, spain, luxembourg, work with travel blogger, guest post, collaboration blogger, travel blogger

Hola! I’m Paulina, a seasoned travelette who crossed the Atlantic Ocean by Boat HitchHiking. On my blog, find expert insights for an extraordinary holiday through outdoor and sustainable travel like hiking, cycling, and sailing. Let’s embark on unforgettable journeys together! 🌍🚀

Jeff Krueger

Saturday 4th of February 2023

Hi Paulina, great article. But a note of correction... I grew up in the Devil's Lake area and the region was not known as the "Baraboo Hills", it is the "Baraboo Bluffs" which was created by ancient glaciers.

Monday 6th of February 2023

Hi Jeff, thank you for the heads up! This has been amended :)

Saturday 15th of August 2020

Victorian Village in Elkhart Lake closed in 2018. It reopened as The Shore Club in 2019.

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

Thank you so much dear Rea for your comment! It's updated now :) Happy travels!

Tuesday 12th of February 2019

Milwaukee seems amazing. We must visit him one day.

Monday 25th of February 2019

Hey! Yes it really is such a cool place to visit! When will you go?

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5 Madison Area Day Trips That Feel a World Away

There’s something about fall that makes you want to get in your car and go for a drive. Places filled with new-to-you routes bursting with fall colors, restaurants you haven’t tried and perhaps a farm stand along the way stacked with apples and pumpkins.

Luckily, Dane County is full of easy day trips that won’t require luggage, a packed family car or a plane ticket. Instead, you may discover a new favorite locale that’s less than an hour away from your home.

Here are five of our favorites — we think fall is the perfect time to visit these day-trip destinations.

Blue Mounds

A group of children walk through Cave of the Mounds

With a population of less than 1,000, this small town leaves ample room to enjoy the great outdoors in all its glory. Blue Mound State Park is a local treasure, boasting the highest point in southern Wisconsin at 1,719 feet. You can imagine that at this height, you’ll be able to see fall colors for miles, making for a spectacular sight. Take in the colors from the ground on the stunning hiking trails.

Another Blue Mounds must-do: visit C ave of the Mounds . This natural landmark is more than a million years old and home to a six-foot fossil and 50-degree temperatures all year long. Cave tours are self-paced to physically distance groups and masks are required

A hiking trail leads through an open prairie

Paoli is a nearby hamlet that’s brimming with charm. Dotted with sweet shops and restaurants like Paoli Schoolhouse American Bistro , you’ll also discover an unexpected biking opportunity. Called the Paoli Bike Loop , this 18.5-mile biking adventure will start on the Capital City Trail, wind through Paoli and then return on Verona’s Military Ridge State Trail. In the mood for a hike? Visit Prairie Moraine County Park , 160 acres full of Wisconsin’s glacial history.

Mount Horeb

A bicycle stands parked next to a statue in Mt. Horeb, WI

Famous for its Norwegian heritage, you can’t miss the Scandinavian influences throughout Mount Horeb, like the “Trollway” leading into the village and punctuated with troll statues. Make a stop at Stewart Lake County Park — an outdoor gem with hiking, fishing and a playground — that happens to be Dane County’s first established park. Pop by the Duluth Trading Company flagship store for some outdoor gear, and grab the tastiest pub grub around at The Grumpy Troll.

Looking to make a weekend of it? Local accommodations like the comfortable and casual Grandstay Hotel & Suites and the Sunniva Inn , a Victorian bed and breakfast, will be there when you’re ready to hit the sack.

A glass cow in front of a store in New Glarus, WI

Known as America’s “Little Switzerland,” this hospitable and historic 175-year-old town is full of fall colors and rolling hills. Wander through town and search for all 16 life-size, painted cows, part of the New Glarus Cow Parade. (Here’s a map and location list to get you started!)

Follow an abandoned railroad line by foot or bike on the Sugar River State Trail . For an energy boost, stop by Fat Cat Coffee Works right along the trail for local roasts and eats.

Cap your day on the large lawn and covered porch of Bailey’s Run Vineyard with live music, a sizeable selection of sparkling, rosé, fruit, red and white wines and pizza to boot. You can pick it up curbside if you prefer.

And we couldn’t talk about New Glarus without mentioning the well-known New Glarus Brewing Company . While it’s currently closed to the public, you’ll still find many brews, like Spotted Cow and the seasonal Staghorn Octoberfest, at local restaurants.

A woman holds a rose colored gem

Nestled along Lake Ripley, this under-the-radar town is home to world-famous pottery courtesy of local artisans. It’s also quite well-known for its tasty libations at Cambridge Winery , ideal for vino fans, and Dancing Goat Distillery for those who prefer sips with a little more “spirit” (its tours are currently closed, but it continues to produce its delicious whiskey, gin and more).

Drink in the fresh air at CamRock County Park , perfect for hiking and mountain biking in the warmer months, and cross-country skiing when the snow falls. Trade the woods for the downtown scene and explore lovely shops like Ruby Rose Gallery, saturated in color and artistic touches thanks to its crystal and gemstone finds.

If you’d like to make it an overnight trip, book a stay at Lake Ripley Lodge , where you’ll enjoy a pristine lakeside view and oh-so-classic décor.

Visit our blog for more fall activity ideas in the Madison area and beyond.

Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering

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7 Incredible Wisconsin Day Trips You Can Take By Train

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Looking for some unique day trips in Wisconsin ? There’s something so wonderfully magical about trains. Despite the advances in technology all around us, trains still hold a mystique and make us think about life in a different way. Wisconsin came to statehood around the same time trains became a truly integral part of our nation’s transportation history. Across the state, there are options for you to not only learn about railroad history but to use those trains as a means to get out and explore parts of our state you might not otherwise get to see. So if you’ve been searching for train trips near me in Wisconsin, check out these trips you can take in just one afternoon:

day trips wisconsin

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These 14 Unique Day Trips In Wisconsin Are An Absolute Must-Do

day trips wisconsin

So, if you’ve been searching high and low for Wisconsin day trips, consider a ride aboard a train. What are your favorite day trips near me in Wisconsin? Tell us in the comments!

Prefer being in your own transportation to take in the scenery? Check out these scenic drives in Wisconsin .

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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Day trips near me in wisconsin.

What are some of the best day trips in Wisconsin?

If you’re in the mood for a good day trip in Wisconsin , you’re in luck! The state of Wisconsin has plenty of options!

  • One of the best trips is to Kenosha and Racine , two towns situated along the coast of Lake Michigan. With lighthouses, a zoo, beaches, and more, there’s plenty to keep you busy for a day in these two towns.
  • Along the shores of Lake Superior, you can find the town of Bayfield where you can kayak through mesmerizing sea caves and visit the shops and restaurants around this colorful town. 

Are there any train-themed restaurants in Wisconsin?

Trains always provide a sense of nostalgia whether you take a train ride, visit a train museum, or dine at train-themed restaurants in Wisconsin :

  • If you’re looking for a place to go out to eat with the family, head to La Estacion , a Mexican restaurant housed inside the former Waukesha Train Depot. Here, you can have your meal inside a vintage train car for a wonderful dining experience. I love the idea of having a meal on a train without actually having to get on the train.
  • At PC Junction in Baileys Harbor, your meal is actually delivered by train - a model train, that is, just as long as you're sitting at the counter. But whether or not you sit at the counter at this train-themed restaurant, there’s plenty of train memorabilia for you to look at and enjoy.

What are the most beautiful places in Wisconsin?

There are so many beautiful places in Wisconsin just waiting for you to visit. Make plans to visit gorgeous locations like Apostle Islands National Lakeshore , Horicon Marsh , and Copper Falls State Park .

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  • The Most Remote Small Town In Wisconsin Is The Perfect Place To Get Away From It All
  • Just 30 Minutes From Milwaukee, Port Washington Is The Perfect Wisconsin Day Trip Destination
  • The Small Town In Wisconsin Boasting World-Famous Pie Is The Sweetest Day Trip Destination
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  • Last Updated On
  • June 24, 2023

30 Best Day Trips From Milwaukee — Places Nearby!

Lena Linh

For travelers, Milwaukee is the best place to go.

Why wouldn’t it be?

The city in the state of Wisconsin is home to must-see spots, such as the Harley-Davidson Museum and the Historic Third Ward.

The city is in the best location, too.

Situated on Lake Michigan’s western shore, theam City is the perfect jump-off point to other must-visit sites.

Have you explored every nook and cranny of Milwaukee?

Carry on with your adventures with the best day trips from Milwaukee on this list:

1. Cedarburg


This city in Ozaukee County is on the beautiful Cedar Creek.

It’s home to eight listings on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s a 27-minute drive from Milwaukee to Cedarburg.

This is one of the best places to visit near Milwaukee for many reasons.

It’s not just because the city exudes a beautiful small-town charm.

It’s also because it’s home to many structures with historical and architectural value.

Check out the Cedarburg Mill, built in 1855, with its Greek Revival cornice.

The 180-foot bridge over Cedar Creek is a must-visit, too.

Built in 1876, it’s the last remaining original covered bridge in Wisconsin.

Don’t forget to check out the Columbia Historic District.

It’s home to the 1865 Greek Revival limestone Gleitzman structure.

You’ll find the 1891 Gothic Revival Lutheran church there, too.

2. East Troy Electric Railroad

East Troy Electric Railroad

2002 Church Street East Troy, WI 53120 (262) 642-3263

Owned and operated by the East Troy Railroad Museum, the railroad stretches for 7 miles.

It connects East Troy with Mukwonago.

You can get to the East Troy Electric Railroad from Milwaukee in 34 minutes by car.

Looking for things to do outside Milwaukee ?

Hop on the East Troy Electric train.

The train line isn’t your ordinary public railroad.

It dates back to 1907 as part of the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company.

Ride the train to the Elegant Farmer store in Phantom Woods or the Indianhead Park in Mukwonago.

Don’t forget to check out the original substation building, which is now used as a ticket office and a museum.

It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

3. Holy Hill

Holy Hill

1525 Carmel Road Hubertus, WI 53033 (262) 628-1838

This Roman Catholic shrine is in the town of Erin in the north-central United States.

The shrine is on top of a kame, an irregularly shaped mound, in 400 acres of wood.

You can reach Holy Hill by car in 38 minutes.

Don’t look any further for the most scenic places near Milwaukee.

Climb up the 178 steps of the shrine’s observation tower.

You’ll find yourself approximately 1350 feet above sea level.

So you’ll get an incredible view of the Milwaukee skyline and landscape.

If you’re more of an architecture buff, don’t worry.

The shrine itself is a beauty.

Marvel at the central cast-bronze entry doors with depictions.

You’ll also love the shrine’s Romanesque Revival architectural style as it stands out on the hill.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: AmericInn by Wyndham Hartford WI

Also See: Best Day Trips From Madison

4. Port Washington

Port Washington

This city is the seat of Ozaukee County.

Situated on Lake Michigan’s western shore, it’s home to over 30 public parks, trails, and structures dating back to the 1800s.

You can get to Port Washington from Milwaukee in 30 minutes.

Enjoy your daycation in this charming city just 27 miles north of Milwaukee.

It’s one of the best day trips from Milwaukee for families.

When you get there, you’ll find many parks you and your kids can visit.

The Possibility Playground is the epitome of fun for the young ones, with a pirate ship complete with waves and monkey bars.

The Veterans Memorial Park is perfect for picnics.

It has vast green spaces and tall trees for shade.

Cap off your day with a delightful walk in the woods along a babbling brook in the Blumenfeld Family Park.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Harborview, Ascend Hotel Collection

5. Museum of Wisconsin Art

Museum of Wisconsin Art

205 Veterans Avenue West Bend, WI 53095 (262) 334-9638

This museum in downtown West Bend showcases art from the state of Wisconsin.

It features a collection of works from Wisconsin artists from 1820 up to the present.

The Museum of Wisconsin Art is 43 minutes away from Milwaukee by car.

This is one of the best places to see near Milwaukee if you’re an art enthusiast.

The museum houses over 5000 works in its permanent collection.

The collection includes work by talented artists, such as Truman Lowe, Theodore Czebotar, and Heinrich Vianden.

You can enjoy featured exhibits by glass artists, such as Harvey Littleton and Beth Lipman.

An aspiring artist yourself?

Attend an art class or a family workshop if you’re with the kids.

You’ll understand why this one day trip from Milwaukee is worth it.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn & Suites West Bend

Related: Activities in Milwaukee

6. Shalom Wildlife Zoo

Shalom Wildlife Zoo

1901 Shalom Drive West Bend, WI 53090 (262) 338-1310

Called “Wisconsin’s wildest zoo,” this fauna haven is home to over 750 animals from 75 species.

It also features four miles of gravel roads.

Use a car to get to Shalom Wildlife Zoo from Milwaukee in 47 minutes.

The kids won’t get enough of the gorgeous animal residents in this park.

Rent a golf cart and ply the gravel roads to see the bison and deer up close.

You can opt to use your car or walk, too.

Whatever mode of transportation you choose, one thing’s for sure: A wild adventure is in store for you.

If you’re lucky, you might even get the chance to feed or pet some animals.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: AmericInn by Wyndham West Bend

Related: Best Weekend Getaways From Milwaukee

7. Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum

Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum

533 Milwaukee Avenue Burlington, WI 53105 (262) 763-3946

This museum in the city center showcases over 2,000 antique and modern tops, yo-yos, and gyroscopes.

It also houses a gift shop.

If you travel by car from Milwaukee, you can reach this museum in 41 minutes.

Want to try something different?

Head to this museum.

Check out the world’s smallest tops in a popular exhibit.

Try any of the 40 hands-on top action games here, too.

And to end your day trip, play with some of the tops for free in the museum’s gift shop.

Don’t worry because you have many choices.

There are 400 tops, yo-yos, and gyroscopes there.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Lake Geneva Resort, an IHG Hotel

8. Paradise Springs

Paradise Springs

W374 S8640 County Road North Eagle, WI 53119 (262) 594-6200

This partially paved nature trail is just outside the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

It’s home to a beautiful trout pond and an abandoned springhouse.

It’s a 46-minute drive from Milwaukee to Paradise Springs.

This is one of the best day trips from Milwaukee for couples.

Hike the 0.7-mile loop, and you’ll get views of an area once the elite’s go-to place.

Marvel at the beautiful remains of a hotel and a horse track.

You’ll also find a shuffleboard court and a springhouse along the way.

When you get to the trail’s end, you get the ultimate reward: a gorgeous pond in turquoise hues filled with fish.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Baymont Inn & Suites by Wyndham Mukwonago

9. Fox River Park

Fox River Park

W264 S4500 River Road Waukesha, WI 53189 (262) 970-6690

Located on the Fox River, this park is home to hiking trails, a play area, and wildflowers.

It stretches for 257 acres.

You can get to this park from Milwaukee in 30 minutes.

Immerse in nature in this popular park filled with mature woodlands and wetlands.

Hike through the forest for a full view of colorful leaves and flowers.

You can see gorgeous bird species, such as Acadian flycatchers and songbirds.

If you prefer a water adventure, go canoeing on the river instead.

You get just as stunning nature views.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: avid hotels Milwaukee West – Waukesha, an IHG Hotel

Related: Weekend Trips in Wisconsin

10. Lapham Peak

Lapham Peak

W329 N846 County Trunk Highway C Delafield, WI 53018 (262) 646-3025

Formed 10,000 years ago when a glacier covered much of Wisconsin, this state park stretches for 1,000 acres.

It’s part of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

You can reach Lapham Peak in 26 minutes if you travel by car.

Get full nature immersion in this gorgeous park.

Its glaciated topography makes it ideal for hiking and backpacking.

Make sure to climb the 45-foot observation tower.

At 1,233 feet above sea level, it’s the highest point in Waukesha County.

You’ll want to see the views of green spaces above because they’re Instagram-worthy.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: La Quinta by Wyndham Milwaukee Delafield

11. Retzer Nature Center

Retzer Nature Center

S14 W28167 Madison Street Waukesha, WI 53188 (262) 896-8007

This nature oasis stretches for over 450 acres.

It features prairie lands, a forest, nature trails, and environmental learning facilities.

You can get to Retzer Nature Center from Milwaukee in 26 minutes.

Get the ultimate nature experience in this beautiful park.

Marvel at the over 26,000 trees, shrubs, and flowers thriving in this beautiful landscape.

The gorgeous butterfly and rain garden is a must-see, too.

Want a break from the green spaces?

Go to the Horwitz-DeRemer Planetarium.

You’ll go on a tour of the current skies through the facility’s high-definition laser projection system.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Comfort Inn

12. Green Meadows Farm

Green Meadows Farm

33603 High Drive East Troy, WI 53120 (262) 254-1134

Established in 1964, this petting zoo features farm animals, such as pigs and hens.

It also offers hayrides, a corn maze, and kitten adoption opportunities.

If you travel by car, it takes 36 minutes to get to Green Meadows Farm from Milwaukee.

Make friends with beautiful animals in this family-friendly facility.

Observe the goats, ponies, and tortoises as they move around in their natural habitat.

If it’s your lucky day, you might even get to pet some of them.

Have a picnic on the farm grounds if you get hungry.

Then challenge your significant other to a race in the corn maze.

The winner gets a free drink and bragging rights.

13. Old World Wisconsin

Old World Wisconsin

W372 S9727 WI-67 Eagle, WI 53119 (262) 594-6301

This open-air museum is home to 60 restored historic structures.

It encompasses over 600 acres of picturesque landscape.

It’s a 45-minute drive from Milwaukee to Old World Wisconsin.

Get transported back to 18th and 19th-century Wisconsin when you step inside this one-of-a-kind museum.

Experience the lives of early Wisconsin settlers as you explore the beautifully restored barns and other wooden structures.

You can attend a historic woodworking workshop and practice your carpentry chops.

See how early settlers prepared their food, too.

Attend the historic woodstove cooking workshop for a time travel-like experiece.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Crossroads Motel

14. Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm

Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm

6831 Big Bend Road Waterford, WI 53185 (262) 895-6430

This family-owned zoo is home to kangaroos, goats, and llamas.

It offers animal-petting opportunities and hayrides.

You can get to the farm in 31 minutes if you’re using a car.

The kids will love interacting with the animals in this place.

They can pet a kitten and even a baby lemur and kangaroo.

Go on a wagon ride through the woods.

If you get hungry, you can always have a picnic surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Milwaukee-New Berlin, an IHG Hotel

15. Imagination Station

Imagination Station

100 East Forest Street Oconomowoc, WI 53066 (262) 569-2199

This playground is in Roosevelt Park.

It features recycled plastic composite ramping, therapeutic swings, and a wall for climbing.

The travel time from Milwaukee to Imagination Station is 33 minutes.

The kids will have a blast here with the playground’s unique features.

Picture a wooden boat with waves and a treehouse that goes 20 feet up in the air.

There are musical and educational components.

For the thrill-seekers, there’s a short wall for climbing, too.

Don’t worry.

The park features rubberized surfaces that help prevent injuries.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hilton Garden Inn Oconomowoc

16. Pike Lake

Pike Lake

3544 Kettle Moraine Road Hartford, WI 53027 (262) 670-3400

Pike Lake is a unit of the Wisconsin state park system.

It stretches for 678 acres in the Kettle Moraine State Forest and features a beach and hiking trails.

It takes 36 minutes to get to Pike Lake from Milwaukee by car.

Take in beautiful views of flora and fauna as you hike the 2.3-mile Pike Lake trail.

If you prefer a more relaxing activity, head to the observation tower.

You can soak in panoramic views of the 446-acre Pike Lake.

You can go closer to the lake if you wish.

There are picnic tables you can use for the perfect meal in nature.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, West Bend, WI

17. The Grove at Village Park

The Grove at Village Park

W244 N6260 Weaver Drive Sussex, WI 53089 (262) 246-5200

This green space in Sussex Village Park features a splash pad, a 14000-square-foot inclusive playground, and a pavilion.

You’ll reach The Grove at Village Park in 27 minutes if you travel from Milwaukee by car.

Bond with the family in this popular park near Sussex in Waukesha County.

The 5,200-square-foot splash pad will wow the kids.

It features a 20-foot-tall dumping feature and water arches.

The kids will love the playground, too.

There are two 12-foot towers with climbing features and twists.

There’s a playhouse for the five-year-olds and even a zipline for the older and more adventurous ones.

As for you and your significant other, why not play a basketball game on any of the park’s multi-use courts?

The winner gets to be the passenger on the drive back to Milwaukee.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Tru By Hilton Milwaukee Brookfield

18. Ten Chimneys

Ten Chimneys

S43 W31575 Depot Road Waukesha, WI 53189 (262) 968-4161

This museum has been a National Historic Landmark since 2003.

Built in 1915, the estate was the summer home of Broadway performers Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt.

The travel time from Milwaukee to Ten Chimneys is 33 minutes.

Go on a tour of the beautiful estate, including a three-story house, a creamery, and restored gardens.

The champagne and canape tour is perfect for couples.

After that tour, you get a delicious drink and hors d’oeuvres on the estate’s cottage porch.

There’s something here for music lovers, too.

Nationally-renowned cabaret artists have been performing in the main house since 2006.

Catch their performances in the drawing room, where the Lunts entertained the likes of acclaimed artists Katharine Hepburn and Helen Hayes.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Ingleside Hotel

19. Door County

Door County

Door County, WI 54235 (920) 743-5511

This peninsula is between Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

It’s home to at least 50 public beaches and over 90 miles of streams.

You can reach Door County from Milwaukee in 2 hours and 15 minutes if you travel by car.

The journey from Milwaukee to this place may take longer than usual, but it’s worth it.

You can enjoy 300 miles of shoreline and 10 waterfront towns.

Check out Cana Island.

Here you’ll see the remains of freighter M.J. Barteleme, which ran aground in 1928.

You can tour John Purves, a restored tugboat, at the Door County Maritime Museum.

If you’re more of a theater enthusiast, catch a Broadway musical at Peninsula Players Theatre.

Looking for an adventure for the palate?

Explore the Door County Wine Trail.

The eight wineries that comprise the trail will make your taste buds happy.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Snug Harbor Inn

20. Chicago


This city on Lake Michigan is among the largest in the country.

It’s a go-to place for its museums, over 570 parks, and The Magnificent Mile.

If you travel by car, it will take 1 hour and 28 minutes to get to Chicago .

Chicago is a beauty, so don’t miss out.

Visit some of the country’s tallest towers, like The Western Hemisphere and Willis Tower.

The Merchandise Mart is here, too.

It’s one of the largest buildings in the world.

Are you an art buff?

Don’t fret.

The city has something to offer as well.

Its outdoor public art is a must-see.

Check out Chagall’s Four Seasons and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.

The Art Institute of Chicago is a popular destination, too.

It houses a wide array of global art pieces that span centuries.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile


Kohler, WI 53044 (920) 459-3873

This village in Sheboygan County spans over 3600 acres of property.

Founded in 1900, it features golf courses, a design center, and the Kohler company main office.

The travel time from Milwaukee to Kohler is 51 minutes.

The village exudes a charming vibe, with its small area that houses less than 3,000 people.

But even if the village is relatively small, it has a lot to offer tourists and locals.

Play a golf game in Whistling Straits, with its 36 holes, eight of which are near the lake.

Check out the Kohler Design Center, which showcases innovative product design and technology.

Then end your trip with a bang with the perfect meal in The Blind Horse.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Holiday Inn Express Sheboygan-Kohler / I-43, an IHG Hotel

22. Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake, WI 53020 (920) 876-2122

This village is in the middle of the beautiful Kettle Moraine.

It’s home to beautiful Victorian architecture and a world-class racing circuit.

If you use a car, you can get to Elkhart Lake from Milwaukee in 1 hour.

Enjoy an entire day away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Take a scenic drive through the gorgeous hills of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Then go boating on the gorgeous lake under the beautiful blue skies.

Don’t forget to check out the village’s quaint gift shops.

You might find the perfect souvenir.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Baymont by Wyndham Plymouth

23. Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

This resort city in southeastern Wisconsin encompasses 4396 acres of land.

It’s home to public parks, 19th-century structures, and steep hills.

If you use a vehicle, it will take 51 minutes to get to Lake Geneva.

It’s easy to see why Lake Geneva is the perfect place to visit.

The city is nature at its finest.

Go swimming in Williams Bay Beach or boating on Lake Geneva.

You can try apple-picking at the Apple Barn Orchard and Winery for a unique experience.

How about horseback riding at Dan Patch Stables?

You’ll see the beautiful Wisconsin countryside and make a new animal friend.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Mill Creek Hotel

24. Madison


Madison, WI 53703 (608) 266-4711

Situated on an isthmus surrounded by four lakes, Madison is home to an extensive network of parks and trails.

It also features commercial areas, such as Hillsdale and Capitol Square.

The travel time from Milwaukee to Madison is 1 hour and 14 minutes.

Looking for Milwaukee day trips for the family?

Madison is just the perfect destination.

The Wisconsin State Capitol is a must-see, with its gorgeous 284-foot-high dome that cuts through the beautiful Madison sky.

For nature lovers, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens is the place to go.

Built in 1952, its 16 acres are full of exotic foliage you’ll love.

And for the kids?

Head out to Lake Monona.

Enjoy a leisurely paddle in a kayak, then have a family picnic in any of the green spaces.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Graduate Madison

25. Milwaukee Mile

Milwaukee Mile

640 South 84th Street West Allis, WI 53214 (414) 266-7300

This 1.8-mile long oval race track is in the Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Hosting races since 1903, it’s the oldest operating motor speedway in the world.

You can use a car to get to Milwaukee Mile, and you’ll get there in 12 minutes.

This is one of the best Milwaukee trips to make if you love cars.

Book a supercar and race the track, complete with its 10 turns and high-speed corners.

If you prefer to be a passenger, try the High-Speed Ride Along package instead.

Watch as a professional driver goes full throttle for three laps for the ultimate adrenaline-pumping experience.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hampton Inn & Suites Milwaukee West

26. Six Flags

Six Flags

1 Great America Parkway Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 249-1776

This amusement park is in the northern Chicago Metropolitan Area.

It stretches for 304 acres and features roller coasters, carousels, and virtual reality attractions.

By car, you can reach Six Flags from Milwaukee in 48 minutes.

Bond with the entire family in this amusement park with everything for everyone.

Up for a thrilling adventure?

Then ride Batman the roller coaster or the Giant Drop, where you’ll be in free fall from the top of a 227-foot tower.

The kids will love the twists and turns of the Krazy Kars and Lady Bug.

There are rides for the entire family, too.

Try the Columbia Carousel or the DC Super Villains Swing.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Gurnee, IL


This city is at the mouth of the Root River on Lake Michigan.

It’s home to historic buildings like the Hansen House and Memorial Hall.

It’s a 37-minute drive from Milwaukee to Racine.

Racine has a lot to offer, whether you’re a history enthusiast or a nature lover.

For instance, the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is a historical gem.

Built in 1924, it has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.

The city has many other historical structures, such as the Wind Point Lighthouse built in 1880.

For the nature buff, North Beach Park is just the destination.

Go on a picnic on the sandy shores or swim in the blue waters.

Or you can head down to the River Bend Nature Center.

Soak in the gorgeous trees and blue skies above while you kayak on the river.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: DoubleTree by Hilton Racine Harbourwalk

28. Fort Atkinson

Fort Atkinson

This city spans over 3700 acres of land along the Rock River.

It features museums, trails, and historic sites like Panther Intaglio.

You can get to Fort Atkinson in 55 minutes if you travel by car.

Expect incredible experiences in this beautiful city.

Check out Panther Intaglio, a 125-foot-long effigy mound engraved by American Indians in 1000 A.D.

Want more history?

Drop by the Hoard Historical Museum.

You’ll enjoy the exhibits from the 19th century and the Lincoln era.

End your day with an incredible fine dining meal at Fireside Dinner Theatre.

After watching a spectacular rendition of the classics, such as The Sound of Music, you can have it.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Ft. Atkinson, WI

29. Kenosha


This city on Lake Michigan encompasses over 18,000 acres.

It’s home to the Southport Light Station Museum, parks, and historic structures.

The travel time to Kenosha is 43 minutes if you use a car.

This city is a tourist destination and for a good reason.

You can go biking on any of the 130 miles of trails here.

If you brought your furry friend with you, Kenosha has four off-leash parks.

Bristol Woods Park is perfect for families, too.

It has features made of natural materials, such as a mud kitchen or climbing obstacles.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Stella Hotel & Ballroom

30. Horicon Marsh

Horicon Marsh

N7725 Highway 28 Horicon, WI 53032 (920) 387-7890

Located in southeast Wisconsin, this marsh is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the country.

It’s home to a wide variety of wildlife, such as geese and shorebirds.

It takes 1 hour to get to Horicon Marsh from Milwaukee by car.

This is one of the best day trips from Milwaukee you shouldn’t miss.

The marsh is nature at its peak.

Go on a boat tour, and you might see the beautiful creatures that are residents of the area.

Ruddy ducks, purple martins, and American wigeons have been sighted here.

Check out the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, too.

The east end of Old Marsh Road allows for easy walking.

You might see cranes just exploring their natural habitat if you’re lucky.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Audubon Hotel and Event Venue

Map of Day Trips Near Milwaukee, WI

30 Best Day Trips from Milwaukee, WI for 2024

  • East Troy Electric Railroad
  • Port Washington
  • Museum of Wisconsin Art
  • Shalom Wildlife Zoo
  • Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum
  • Paradise Springs
  • Fox River Park
  • Lapham Peak
  • Retzer Nature Center
  • Green Meadows Farm
  • Old World Wisconsin
  • Bear Den Zoo & Petting Farm
  • Imagination Station
  • The Grove at Village Park
  • Ten Chimneys
  • Door County
  • Elkhart Lake
  • Lake Geneva
  • Milwaukee Mile
  • Fort Atkinson
  • Horicon Marsh

30 Best Day Trips From Milwaukee — Places Nearby!

THE BEST Day Trips from Wisconsin Dells

Day trips from wisconsin dells.

  • Boat Rentals
  • Nature & Wildlife Tours
  • Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • Good for Couples
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Kids
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Hidden Gems
  • Adventurous
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

day trips wisconsin

1. Adrenaline Rush Sports LLC


2. Paddle Pub Wisconsin Dells

day trips wisconsin

3. Dells Zipline Adventures, LLC

  • Dells Zipline Adventures, LLC
  • Paddle Pub Wisconsin Dells
  • Adrenaline Rush Sports LLC


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