For those looking for a weekend getaway, take a drive to Wisconsin. Throughout the Badger State, you can find places to reconnect with nature or relax with a glass of wine. This state is more than cheese and bratwurst. If you need a few ideas, here are the best seven places to spend your next weekend trip.
#7: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
The northernmost part of Wisconsin is home to the Apostle Island National Lakeshore. This nature park hugs over 12 miles of the mainland and includes 21 smaller islands. For the intrepid traveler, you can learn about the ice caves that dot the western end of the Mainland Unit.
If you are looking to head to the island, you will need to take a boat, kayak, or the ferry from Madeline Island. The National Lakeshore is a nature lover’s dream. You will get plenty of exercise as you explore the hiking trails or view the lighthouses that line the shore. Camping is available on the islands or at the mainland park.
The small town of Wausau sits in the middle of Wisconsin. Whether you plan to go in the summer or winter, there is always something for you to do. Winter enthusiasts can enjoy tubing down the Sylvan Tubing Hill or hitting the slopes at the Granite Peak skiing area.
During the month of July, the annual Wausau Balloon Rally and Rib Fest come to town. Wausau is home to many of the amateur sporting events for the Badger State Games. For adult fun, the Lake of the Torches Resort Casino is located in nearby Lac du Flambeau. Craft beer fans can enjoy the Bull Falls Brewery tours every other Saturday of the month. The downtown Wausau district features art galleries, fine dining, and other activities for you to enjoy during the weekend.
#5: Amnicon Falls State Park
For those wanting to get back to nature, you can visit this Douglas County park. It is a short distance from the town of Superior and welcomes visitors throughout the year. You can explore the landscape by foot on the numerous bridges and hiking trails. Scenic views of the river rapids and waterfalls are all visible from those same trails.
If you really want to rough it, there are 36 campsites available in the park. You will not find electric hookups though, but there are restroom facilities and fresh drinking water on-site. The 1.8 miles of trails offer visitors some of the best views in the state. During the summer months, make sure to swim or wade in the waters along the shore. When the snow settles into the area, you can still have fun on the 1.5-mile snowshoe trail.
The college town of Madison is often overlooked by those wanting a weekend getaway. You can find many activities and events scheduled all year long. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts has exhibits featuring works from art masters to emerging artists. Admission for this museum is completely free. The Olbrich Botanical Gardens and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum are also open for weekend visitors to appreciate the beauty of the local area.
Madison is home to many local breweries in the state. If you are a craft beer lover, you will want to visit the Vintage Brewing Company or One Barrel Brewing Company for a pint.
#3: Chippewa Valley
Chippewa Valley makes a perfect spot for the wine and craft beer lovers in your life.
You can take your pick of the local libations in this part of Wisconsin. The River Bend Vineyard, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, and Autumn Harvest Winery are hometown favorites in the Chippewa Valley area. While you can spend the weekend sampling the regional cuisine and beverages, there are plenty of places to get back to nature. Located in downtown Chippewa Falls, you will find the Irvine Park Zoo. Explore the old schoolhouse and caves or find the perfect picnic spot in this park area. The playground and petting zoo offers some fun for the little ones, or big kids, in your group. For a unique view of the Valley, grab a bike and head down the 26-mile Chippewa River State Trail.
#2: Lake Geneva
If you are looking for a quiet spot, make sure you stop by Lake Geneva. This tiny lakeside town has been welcoming visitors since the early 1920s. When you first enter the downtown area, you will notice the Gilded Age mansions which line the shores of Geneva Lake. If you want to get an up-close look at the historic homes, the 26-mile Shore Path makes a full circle around the lake.
For those wanting a more relaxing view, a boat is a perfect way to explore Lake Geneva. There are plenty of rentals along the shore, or you can buy a ticket for a boat tour with the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. The downtown area is the most popular spot for weekenders. There are plenty of local eateries, sweet shops, and small boutiques for you to enjoy on your trip. If you need some fun in the sun, Riviera Beach on Wrigley Drive is in the heart of downtown. Big Foot State Park is another option that offers camping and picnic facilities. To help round out your weekend, the nearby towns of Fontana and Williams Bay also have spas, resorts, and wineries to cap off your trip.
#1: Door County
Popular with visitors from Chicago and Milwaukee, Door County has always been a favorite weekend spot. There are over 19 communities that call this area home. You can enjoy over 300 miles of coastline along Lake Michigan with 11 historic lighthouses dotting its shores.
For the more adventurous traveler, there are five state parks, including Cave Point Country Park and Schoolhouse Beach Park. You can see a performance at the Northern Sky Theater in Ephraim or visit one of the many art galleries in the area. For the foodie fans, don’t forget to take in a local fish boil or check out the Door County Creamery in Sister Bay. During the autumn season, the fall colors are some of the best scenery in the Midwest.