42 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Wisconsin

By: Author Jerric Chong

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

things to do in Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

1. The Harley-Davidson Museum

The Harley-Davidson Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. House on the Rock

House on the Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Bookworm Gardens

Bookworm Gardens

kenneth casper / flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. The Historic Third Ward

Historic Third Ward

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

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

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

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

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

Address: Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States

6. Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

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

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

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

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

The latter has a waterfall!

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Taliesin Preservation (Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center)

Taliesin Preservation

Taliesin Preservation

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

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

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

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

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

Tours are available!

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

9. EAA AirVenture Museum and EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh

EAA AirVenture Museum

Don Harder / flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lambeau Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13. Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron

Dr. Evermor's Forevertron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14. Interstate State Park

Interstate State Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. Schoolhouse Beach

Schoolhouse Beach

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

Instead of sand, it has limestone rocks.

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

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

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

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

So, how did the rocks come to be?

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

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

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

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

16. National Railroad Museum

National Railroad Museum

Larry Darling / flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

17. Circus World Museum

Circus World Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

18. Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

Tristan Crist Magic Theatre

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

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

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

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

19. Washington Island Stavkirke

Washington Island Stavkirke

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

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

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

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

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

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

20. Pabst Mansion

Pabst Mansion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21. American Science & Surplus

American Science & Surplus

American Science & Surplus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22. Green Bay Botanical Garden

Green Bay Botanical Garden

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

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

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

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

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

The Kaftan Lusthaus is Scandanavian-styled.

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

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

23. Door County

Door County

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

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

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

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

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

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

Address: Wisconsin, United States

24. Minocqua Lake

Minocqua Lake

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

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

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

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

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

25. FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard

FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard

sporst / flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26. The Farm Historic Living Museum

The Farm Historic Living Museum

The Farm Historic Living Museum

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

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

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

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

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

27. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

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

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

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

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

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

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

28. Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Wisconsin Maritime Museum

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

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

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

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

It is called the USS Cobia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

29. Sputnik IV Crash Site

Sputnik IV Crash Site

Sputnik IV Crash Site

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30. Old World Wisconsin

Old World Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31. The Wisconsin Great River Road

Wisconsin Great River Road

Wisconsin Great River Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

32. Lost City Forest

Lost City Forest

Dori , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

33. Paine Art Center and Gardens

Paine Art Center and Gardens

Lisa Schulz / Shutterstock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The upper floors lie unfinished until today.

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

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

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

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

34. Palace Theater in the Dells

Palace Theater in the Dells

Palace Theater in the Dells

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

35. National Mustard Museum

National Mustard Museum

BobbbyLight / flickr

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

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

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

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

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

You can sample them as you please

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

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

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

36. Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

37. Madison Eats Food Tours

Madison Eats Food Tours

Madison Eats Food Tours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Address: Madison, WI, United States

38. Swing Park

Swing Park

V’ron / flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

39. Mars Cheese Castle

Mars Cheese Castle

jpellgen (@1179_jp) / flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

40. Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory

Joe Ferrer / Shutterstock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

41. Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Treinen Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

42. Shaker’s Cigar Bar

Shakers Milwaukee

Shakers Milwaukee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start Planning Your Trip To Wisconsin

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

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

Happy travels.

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A line of white chairs overlooking the blue lake of Door County, one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

15 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin For Your Bucket List

November 13, 2023 by //  by  Midwest Explored 3 Comments

If you are looking for the best places to visit in Wisconsin, then you have come to the right place!

There are so many interesting and beautiful attractions in this Midwest state.

Whether you love exploring nature, strolling the streets of small towns, or checking out the nightlife in big cities in the Midwes t , there is something for you!

There are Wisconsin travel destinations for all types of travelers.

Make family memories while camping, enjoy a girls’ trip to a quaint town, or have a romantic weekend getaway in the famous Door County.

America’s Dairyland is more than cows and farms. There are lighthouses, beaches, museums, wineries, historic sites, and so much more! What will you see on your Wisconsin vacation?

Get ready to plan the best Wisconsin itinerary!

Four white, outdoor chairs lined up next to the lake in Door County, one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

Bayfield Wisconsin

Bayfield is one of the cutest small towns in Wisconsin . This quaint town is found at the northern tip of the state near the Apostle Islands.

This is a great home base for checking out all the surrounding nature.

The town has plenty of places to dine and shop. There are also hiking trails, beaches, and parks. Charter a boat down at the marina or cast a line from the fishing pier.

The Bayfield Maritime Museum is a great stop to learn about boating history.

Another fun thing to do in Bayfield is taking the ferry to Madeline Island. The 25-minute boat ride provides great views of the lake.

You can bring your car or bike on the ferry so you can easily explore when you get to the island. You will find Big Bay State Park, hiking trails, beaches, and kayaking opportunities.

Looking over the water towards the small town of Bayfield with boats and historic buildings.

Ice Caves Are Some Of The Best Places To Visit In Wisconsin

Winter in Wisconsin can be brutal, but if you are brave enough to venture into the snow and ice, you will be rewarded with amazing natural wonders.

Unique ice caves are some of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

There are a few places throughout the state where you can see these amazing, frozen caves. Wisconsin Dells near the middle of the state is one such place.

There are 13 waterparks in Wisconsin Dells .

The Fern Dell Gorge in Mirror Lake State Park is draped with icicles in the cold months.

Drive west of Wisconsin Dells to Wild Cat Mountain State Park where you will find the Ice Cave Trail. This trail is less than a mile long and features gorgeous frozen scenery.

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has the most famous ice caves in Wisconsin both on the mainland and on the islands. Visiting these ice caves is a Wisconsin bucket list activity.

Inside one of the famous ice caves at the Apostle Islands, showing off the epic ice formations.

Great River Road

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway is one of the best things to do in Wisconsin . If you are looking for an awesome road trip in Wisconsin , this is one of the best!

The Great River Road is Wisconsin State Highway 35, and it follows the Mississippi River for 250 miles and connects 33 charming, historic towns.

Prescott, on the Minnesota border , marks the northern point of the road and is where you will find the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center.

From there, travel south along the river and stop at as many cute, small towns as possible.

Admire the historic architecture, do some local shopping, and discover great state parks. All are fantastic places to visit in Wisconsin!

An old, railroad bridge going across the river in Prescott, Wisconsin.

Big Manitou Falls Is One Of The Scenic Places To Visit In Wisconsin

If you want to visit one of the best waterfalls in Wisconsin , then head to Pattinson State Park where you will find Big Manitou Falls plunging into the Black River.

At 165 feet, this is the highest waterfall in the state and is definitely one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

The four-mile loop hiking trail will guide you through the forest to multiple overlooks on both sides of the gorge where you can stare in awe at the beautiful waterfall.

The hike is moderate and good for all skill levels.

While in the park, you can also visit Little Manitou Falls. This 30-foot waterfall is found upstream.

Aerial view of Big Manitou Falls flowing down among green trees.

Milwaukee Museum Mile

Head to Milwaukee eateries to enjoy all the food and the iconic Milwaukee Museum Mile for all the culture.

This cultural area in the city’s East Side encompasses five different museums and guarantees a great day out.

It is one of the best things to do in Milwaukee!

The Charles Allis Art Museum is found within a beautiful, 1911 Tudor mansion and holds over 2,000 art pieces from around the world.

Stop by the Jewish Museum Milwaukee to learn about Jewish history in Wisconsin through interactive displays, special exhibits, and many artifacts.

The Museum of Wisconsin Art at Saint John’s On The Lake has an amazing collection of local art that will make you see the state in a new light. There are also great views of the lake.

The restored North Point Lighthouse dates back to 1888 and is now a museum for Wisconsin’s maritime history. The 74-ft structure provides more amazing views of the lake.

Lastly, the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is an Italian Renaissance-style villa that was built in 1923. You can step back in time as you walk through the furnished rooms and formal garden.

There are so many breweries in Milwaukee to explore as well!

Looking over the water at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the skyline of Milwaukee.

Rock Island State Park

Rock Island State Park is one of the best places for camping in Wisconsin. To arrive at this beautiful island, you must take two different ferries.

You will be completely removed from the real world so you can immerse yourself in nature!

This is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin for making memories with your family. What is a more classic family vacation than camping in the great outdoors?

Along with roasting marshmallows around the campfire, you can spend time kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and swimming.

Tour the historic Pottawatomie Lighthouse or hike the ten miles worth of scenic trails on the island. It is one of the coolest lighthouses in Wisconsin!

Beautiful purple and pink sunset over the water and rocks at Rock Island State Park.

Lambeau Field

Football fans will want to come to Green Bay and visit the famous Lambeau Field that the Green Bay Packers call home.

Built in 1957, this is one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL and it can fit 72,000 spectators.

If you time your visit right, you can catch a game here. Whether you come for a game or not, you can also do a fun tour of the stadium.

There are different levels to the tours depending on how much you want to see.

The Legendary Stadium Tour includes everything from the exclusive club levels to the Press Box to the visiting team locker room. How cool is that?

If you are hungry restaurants in Green Bay serve amazing food!

Aerial view of Lambeau Field in Green Bay on a cloudy day.

Cranberry Highway

The Cranberry Highway is another of the best road trips in Wisconsin .

The state is known for its cranberry production and driving the 50-mile Cranberry Highway is one of the best ways to see the colorful cranberry marshes.

This scenic highway is found in central Wisconsin and you can start your self-guided tour at any point.

Warrens is one of the best places to start, though, since this town is known as the Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin. It hosts the world’s largest cranberry festival each September.

You can visit the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center, too.

Plan to drive the Cranberry Highway in the fall. This is harvest time and the berries are bright red and extra pretty. This is one of the best places to experience fall in Wisconsin!

If you are looking for unique places to visit in Wisconsin, the Cranberry Highway should be high on your list.

Closeup of a basket of cranberries spilling onto a wooden surface.

Spring Green

One of the best Wisconsin weekend getaways is Spring Green, found only an hour from Madison. This small town is best known for being the hometown of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

And there are so many things to do in Madison WI .

Wright built his home, Taliesin, here in 1911, though it was rebuilt a couple of times because of fires.

Today, the house is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you can tour the estate. There are also a couple more Wright buildings in town to explore.

Along with architecture, Spring Green has a historic downtown with great shops and cafes, beautiful parks, and other unique Wisconsin tourist attractions.

Exterior shot of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin with flowers in the foreground.

Copper Falls State Park

If you visit Wisconsin in the fall , then you should head to Copper Falls State Park to experience amazing foliage. This beautiful park is comprised of gorges, waterfalls, and ancient lava flows.

There are many hiking trails for exploring the park and finding wildlife. Some animals that you may spot in the park include black bears, gray wolves, deer, raccoons, and chipmunks.

There are also over 200 species of birds seen here throughout the year.

Of course, you have to see the titular Copper Falls! This waterfall is 30-feet high and cascades down into a rugged gorge. The waterfall is found along the 1.7-mile Doughboy’s Nature Trail.

There is epic Wisconsin camping here in tents or rent a rustic cabin. If you come in the winter, you can enjoy the cross-country skiing trails.

Aerial view of a bright, blue river cutting through the fiery foliage of Copper Falls State Park, one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin in fall.

Devil’s Lake State Park

Found in Baraboo, Devil’s Lake State Park is the most popular state park in Wisconsin.

Join the three million annual visitors and explore this unique park as a Midwest weekend getaway . There are over 400 campsites.

Start your time here at the Devil’s Lake Nature Center where you can learn all about the history and wildlife of the area. From there, set out to explore the 10,000-acre park on the hiking and biking trails.

The centerpiece of the park is Devil’s Lake. Hang out at the swimming beaches where there are picnic tables, grills, and a concession stand. You can also rent kayaks, canoes, or standup paddleboards.

This park is definitely one of the most fun places to visit in Wisconsin.

The sun peeking through a cool rock formation overlooking Devil’s Lake, one of the best natural places to visit in Wisconsin.

If you are looking for a place to spend Christmas in Wisconsin, then you need to head to Cedarburg. This town is pretty all year, but it becomes extra magical during the holiday season.

The historic downtown is a great place to shop or dine. There are plenty of cool Christmas activities for the whole family from sleigh rides to special light displays.

Of course, Cedarburg is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin at any time of the year.

No matter the season, you will have an amazing time! Take pictures of the 1876 Cedarburg Covered Bridge or have a tasting at the Cedar Creek Winery.

The historic Cedarburg mill overlooking water and surrounded by yellow trees.

Apostle Islands Is One Of The Best Places To Visit In Wisconsin

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is one of the best national parks in the Midwest . This collection of twenty-one islands is found at the northern point of Wisconsin in Lake Superior.

You can take a scenic sightseeing cruise or explore on your own as you kayak among the cool rock formations and caves. There are beaches, fishing spots, and hiking trails to discover.

Scuba diving is also a popular activity here. You can find interesting underwater rock formations along with fascinating shipwrecks that date back to the late 1800s.

A rocky outcropping on the shores of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with beautiful, blue water. This is one of the most famous places to visit in Wisconsin.

Bay Beach For Wisconsin Excitement

One of the best places to visit in Wisconsin for thrills is Bay Beach. This awesome Midwest amusement park in Green Bay will keep the whole family entertained for hours.

General admission is free. Instead, you use tickets to get on the rides. The tickets are very inexpensive and the rides require anywhere from one to four tickets.

There are rides for all ages so everyone can be included. The rides include roller coasters, Ferris wheels, slides, bumper cars, and more!

Looking up at the Ferris wheel at Bay Beach, one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

Door County Is One Of The Spectacular Places To Visit In Wisconsin

Door County is one of the most popular places to visit in Wisconsin. This beautiful area of the state is found on a peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan.

There are about 300 miles of shoreline, and it is a great place to watch both the sunrise and sunset over the water.

There are so many fun and unique things to do in Door County . You could easily spend a day or week here exploring everything there is to offer.

Check out the many cute, small towns where you will find great restaurants in Door County , shops, art galleries, and cherry orchards.

You can hike in the five state parks found here or photograph some of the eleven historic lighthouses.

If you are looking for a romantic getaway, then you can rent a cozy cabin in Door County to snuggle up in. Have a memorable time sipping wine at a Wisconsin winery or taking a sunset cruise.

Traveling with kids? Take them to one of the beaches or discover some cool caves along the coast.

Winter in Door County can be especially beautiful!

Looking out at the lake and rocky shore of Door County, one of the prettiest places to visit in Wisconsin.

Packing List When Visiting Epic Places in Wisconsin

A  concealed travel pouch  may be one of the most important items you bring along when searching for the best places to visit in Wisconsin.

It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.

This  unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is  lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.

If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these  RFID  sleeves are  the perfect solution.

This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.

If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an  external charging battery . This  Anker high-speed phone charging battery  is  the exact one  I carry with me on all of my trips.

It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast!

I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.

My daughter gifted me with this  FugeTek selfie stick and tripod   setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and is so easy to use.

It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking selfies when visiting Wisconsin attractions.

Hydration is so important when traveling. You want to remain hydrated throughout your travels to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels.

You will want to bring your own  refillable water bottle  with you.

I never leave home on a trip without my  Bobble filtration bottle .  The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.

When filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the replacement carbon filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble.

Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car.

Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.

You will want a  backpack or daypack  with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. then this   foldable water-resistant backpack   would be great.

There are so many amazing tourist attractions in the Wisconsin Dells! No matter your idea of the perfect vacation, there are places to go to in Wisconsin to fit your needs.

there are even romantic getaways in Wisconsin to experience.

Male riding yellow tube down yellow waterslide Things to do in Wisconsin

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Must-visit destinations in Wisconsin for festivals, food, foliage and family fun

Cassandra Brooklyn

Apr 21, 2022 • 6 min read

A black dog lying on a dock surrounded by colorful foliage during Autumn in northern WIsconsin.; Shutterstock ID 390677380; your: Brian Healy; gl: 65050; netsuite: Lonely Planet Online Editorial; full: Best places to visit in Wisconsin

Northern Wisconsin – or just “up north” – offers remote cabins, millions of acres woods and top-notch fall foliage © Bryan Neuswanger / Shutterstock

A gem of the Great Lakes region , Wisconsin has something for every visitor.

Milwaukee provides the festivals, nightlife and big-city entertainment urban-loving travelers crave, while foodies flock to uber-diverse (and ultra-bikeable) capital city, Madison . Couples and solo travelers have their pick of charming small towns around the state, while families will find plenty of playgrounds and water parks to keep little ones satisfied. Beautiful beaches cover much of the extensive coast along two Great Lakes, while fabulous foliage viewing and countless other outdoorsy opportunities await in every corner of the state.

Here are eight unmissable places to visit in Wisconsin.

A gondola at Henry Maier Festival Park soars above crowds below and the skyline in the distance at Summerfest, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Milwaukee is your go-to town for festivals of all stripes

While Milwaukee is known around the world as Brew City, locals call their hometown the City of Festivals. Perhaps the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest is an annual pillar of the calendar – and  Henry Maier Festival Park (colloquially known as “the Summerfest grounds”) hosts massive events just about every weekend in summer and early fall. From food truck parties to cultural events celebrating the city’s Irish, African, German, Mexican and LGBTIQ+ communities, there’s always something going on at the lakefront. Throw in “inland” celebrations like Bastille Days, Anime Milwaukee and the Wisconsin State Fair (don’t leave without trying a cream puff!), and visitors are pretty much guaranteed to find something special going on during their visit.

Wisconsin’s largest and most diverse city also has the best entertainment and nightlife in the state, while its proximity to several interesting places – including Madison, Wisconsin Dells and the Door County Peninsula – make it a great base to explore the region via day trips.

Water slides and pools at Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, one Wisconsin Dells' many water parks

Wisconsin Dells offers fabulous options for families

If the kids could pick just one place to go in Wisconsin, most would choose Wisconsin Dells . This town of 3000 is known as “the water park capital of the world” and is home to one of largest in the country,  Noah’s Ark . The area bursts with not only outdoor, summer-only water parks, but also indoor ones, too (like the Kalahari Resort ), meaning you can take the plunge here even as the temperatures plunge outside. If you visit during summer or fall, be sure to take a one of the  Upper Dells river boat tours , which are led by funny, personable guides that can get even “too cool for school” teenagers to smile.

For food, head to funky indoor food truck park  Grateful Shed , where kids will fall in love with Fruity Pebble marshmallow ice cream (while adults might get excited about the snazzy grilled cheese sandwiches). Both Mirror Lake State Park and Devil’s Lake State Park have year-round hiking fit for families, plus kayaking and canoeing during summer and fall months.

Foodies should flock to Madison

You can’t miss out on Wisconsin beer and cheese. And if you really love food, you can’t miss out on Madison, a college town (and the state capital) with more than its fair share of hard-to-find cuisines. Dig into Laotian red curry noodles at  Lao Laan-Xang , snack on Taiwanese street food and sip bubble tea at Taiwan Little Eats  and munch on momos at  Little Tibet . Indulge in beer-battered cheese curds (a Wisconsin delicacy that doesn’t taste quite right in any other state) and the state’s official cocktail, a Brandy Old Fashioned, at  The Old Fashioned tavern and restaurant. Oh, and for what might be the best artisan cheese in the state, hit up  Fomagination  – then grab a beer at  Capital Brewery , one of the oldest craft breweries in the country. 

You’ll find a bit of everything on the Door County Peninsula

Known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest ,  Door County is a hugely popular weekend getaway destination for couples, families, groups of friends and solo travelers from all over the Midwest for two reasons: it’s gorgeous, and provides something new to discover on every (repeat) visit. Warm-weather weekends are the most crowded (followed by autumn weekends, popular with leaf peepers) – so try to plan your trip mid-week to avoid the crowds.

The 300 miles of shoreline on the 70-mile peninsula make it a great destination for swimmers, kayakers and even scuba divers, while its proximity to Whitefish Dunes State Park , Peninsula State Park , Newport State Park and  Rock Island State Park (which can only be reached by ferry), offer top-notch opportunities for hiking, stargazing and camping.

Aerial view of the Nicolet Bay beach area of Peninsula State Park, Door County Peninsula, Wisconsin, USA

Expect a secret spot for an ideal weekend getaway at Stevens Point

Stevens Point isn’t well known (yet) by out-of-state travelers – and that’s a good thing. One of Wisconsinites’ favorite undiscovered spots promises good food, great trails and unique entertainment, all without the crowds. Stop by Ruby Colorful Coffees for the best maple latte anywhere, walk over to the 175-year-old farmers market a few blocks away, then take a stroll (or bike ride) along the 27-mile Green Circle Trail as it glides along the waterfront and passes through forests, parks and wetlands. Twenty-five minutes from town is  Lonely Oaks Farm , which hosts a delightful brunch each Sunday from Mother’s Day through Halloween. And 45 minutes away is the  Jurustic Park sculpture park, an outdoor museum with prehistoric-inspired sculptures fashioned from scrap metal, old beer cans and bicycle parts.

Wisconsin’s Driftless Area lets you experience river life

Hugging the southwestern border of the state, Wisconsin’s Driftless Area is known for its mixture of restored prairies, wildlife-rich wetlands and dense forests. It’s popular with bicyclists, motorcyclists and road trippers, who head for the 250-mile  Wisconsin Great River Road , the state’s only National Scenic Byway . Complementing the small and mid-size cities that dot the southeastern part of Wisconsin and the tiny towns and backcountry wilderness that cover the northern part of the state, this stretch of 33 small river towns along the mighty Mississippi River offers a glimpse at a style of life not usually associated with the Midwest. Be sure to spend an afternoon at the  Potosi Brewing Company , where you’ll find great beer and brewery tours, as well as a brewery museum, transportation museum and the Great River Road Interpretive Center (admission is free).

School aged boy runs on a deserted sandy beach surrounded by evergreen forest with a boat beached in the distance under yellow evening sky, Northern Wisconsin, Great Lakes, USA

See stupendous fall foliage in Northern Wisconsin (or just “up north”)

Going “up north” is a thing in Wisconsin – a huge thing. And it’s synonymous with relaxing in a cabin, tent or RV to enjoy a bit of nature. While northern Wisconsin makes for a beautiful getaway any time of year, autumn is an especially stunning season, as the dense forests and wilderness areas light up in brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow. You can’t go wrong with any up-north destination, though we find Minocqua and Eagle River (near the Michigan border) particularly pretty. The area also has bountiful hiking, camping, kayaking and boating opportunities, with the pristine 1.5 million-acre Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest  easily accessible.

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14 Best Things to Do in Wisconsin

Written by Anietra Hamper Jun 11, 2022

Wisconsin has many exciting and unique experiences to enjoy throughout the state, from a stunning, rugged coastline along Lakes Superior and Michigan to the charming small towns along the Door County Peninsula. But this is just the beginning of the things to do in Wisconsin.

The cities of Madison, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Wisconsin Dells are some of the most popular in the state, with activities from sporting events and museums to historical excursions.

With 42 state parks and five national wildlife areas, the outdoors is a fun and active way to experience the more natural side of the state. From kayaking and swimming in some of the top lakes in Wisconsin , to hiking and fishing , it is easy to plan a mix of activities to enjoy the best experiences that the state has to offer.

Start your planning with our list of the top things to do in Wisconsin.

1. Get Revved at the Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee

2. catch a packers game at lambeau field, green bay, 3. hit the waterslides in wisconsin dells, 4. old school vacation in door county, 5. see art in a new way at the milwaukee art museum, 6. be inspired at taliesin, 7. explore ice caves on the apostle islands, 8. relax at destination kohler, 9. get lost in olbrich botanical gardens, madison, 10. retreat to the northwoods, 11. take a stroll around the state capitol, madison, 12. explore natural underground wonders at cave of the mounds, 13. cool off by the biggest waterfall in wisconsin, 14. take a dip in geneva lake, map of things to do in wisconsin.

Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee

One of the top museums to visit in Wisconsin is the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee because it is an experience beyond just walking through galleries. The history of this iconic American brand is displayed, from its humble beginnings in a small shed more than a century ago to a world-class motorcycle company.

There are many hands-on exhibits showcasing the variations of the teardrop engine through the decades to custom-made Harleys on display, and even a chance for you to get a photo sitting on an authentic Harley Davidson Hog.

Tours are offered at the museum, or you can walk around on your own. Plan a few hours to visit the 20-acre complex, and be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Harley-themed restaurant.

Address: 400 W. Canal Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions in Milwaukee, WI

Lambeau Field

Football fans travel from all over to fill Lambeau Field on game days for the NFL's Green Bay Packers . Taking in an action-packed game is a great way to experience Green Bay and the culture around the team.

You can become an official cheesehead and support the home team in the stunning stadium, with its five-story high atrium. There are restaurants and pro shops on-site along with the Packers Hall of Fame that is a must-see if you visit.

Before or after the game, take a walk (or bike) along the Packers Heritage Trail, which takes you through Green Bay and features bronze markers signifying historical moments in the team's history and its impact on the community.

Address: 1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Official site: https://www.packers.com/lambeau-field/

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Green Bay, WI

Water park in the Wisconsin Dells

The Wisconsin Dells is known as the water park capital of the world , making it a top priority for tourists, especially for families. The concept of the water park was developed here, and today the town has more indoor and outdoor water parks than anywhere else in the world.

There are so many water parks to choose from, so it is easy to base yourself at one resort the entire time and venture out to experience the other Wisconsin Dells attractions in between your trips down the waterslide.

Some of the water parks to consider include Noah's Ark, the largest in the United States , which sits on 70 acres and Mt. Olympus water park, which is both a water park and a theme park.

Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Door County, WI

Driving along the 70-mile peninsula of Door County inspires a sense of nostalgia for the kind of simplistic getaways that vacationers enjoyed in the mid 1800s. Throughout the 19 communities in Door County, you will find historic homes turned bed and breakfasts, generations-old family orchards, and original ice-cream parlors serving up oversized double scoops and homemade milkshakes.

Take a step back in time in Door County to experience a traditional fish boil, or catch the Washington Island Ferry for a day on Washington Island to visit a working lavender farm and Schoolhouse Beach, with its rock-based shoreline and one of the best beaches in Wisconsin . Find the quirky ways that Door County celebrates its heritage by putting places like Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant on your to-do list, and see the resident goats on the roof.

Bordered by Green Bay and Lake Michigan, the peninsula is a mecca for outdoor activities. There are five state parks that are great locations for swimming, kayaking , fishing, biking, and hiking.

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Door County, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee Art Museum not only houses spectacular collections, but the building itself is a masterful work of art. The Quadracci Pavilion is the grand architectural feature that most people recognize. Walk through the pavilion to see the 90-foot-high glass roof and the 217-foot "wings" of the Gothic-inspired design that open and close during the day.

Spend a day exploring the 341,000-square-foot museum. There are more than 30,000 works of art and 40 galleries with everything from European art dating back to the 15 th century to sculptures, photographs, Haitian art, and American paintings.

Grab lunch with spectacular views of the lakefront at the museum café, which specializes in made-from-scratch dishes and art-inspired coffees.

Address: 700 N Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Official site: http://mam.org


Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture is always inspiring, and his 800-acre estate at Taliesin is one of the best places to visit to step into his life and work. Taliesin is Wright's home and studio located near Spring Green and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

As you explore the home and gardens at Taliesin, you will gain insight into the natural elements that inspired Wright, including the organic architecture and using native building materials in his home designs. Taliesin is ground zero for Wright's work and where he spent 48 years designing in this studio.

You can take a tour of Taliesin. Advance reservations are recommended due to its popularity. You can also plan an entire trip around visiting Taliesin and the other Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Wisconsin, including the SC Johnson headquarters in Racine, Unitarian Meeting House in Madison, and the Monona Terrace in Madison.

Address: 5607 County Road C, Spring Green, Wisconsin

Official site: https://www.taliesinpreservation.org

Ice caves on the Apostle Islands

Wisconsin has thrilling outdoor experiences in the summer, but winter is the best time to visit one of its most fascinating natural elements: the ice caves on the Apostle Islands. The stillness and beauty of the natural ice formations on the shores of Lake Superior make this an experience you will never forget.

The combination of the winter water, temperature, and wind create stunning ice formations. Even though it is naturally freezing in northern Wisconsin in the winter, conditions must still be just right for the ice to form. Visiting the caves is for the more experienced outdoors person, as it requires a two-mile round-trip hike on Lake Superior on the ice .

It is important to follow guidance and safety recommendations from the staff at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and extra caution is required to ensure safe ice conditions en route to the caves. Official site: https://www.nps.gov/apis/mainland-caves-winter.htm

Whistling Straits Golf Course

For extravagant relaxation, Destination Kohler is a five-star resort ready and waiting with a world-class spa, golf course, and lodging. The Kohler Company, founded in 1873, got its household name from designing high quality state-of-the-art home items, from faucets to bathtubs.

Located about an hour away from Milwaukee, the Kohler brand has expanded into a fascinating complex, where you can stay, relax, and redesign your home all in one visit.

The Whistling Straits Golf Course is a links-style course and one of several golf courses available by Kohler.

The Kohler Waters Spa utilizes natural mineral water for its services, which are designed to be restorative. The resort also offers fine dining and shopping. A fun excursion at Kohler is visiting the Kohler Factory, where you can take the two- to three-hour tour and see the latest design fixtures in the Kohler Design Center.

Address: 419 Highland Drive Kohler, Wisconsin

Official site: https://www.destinationkohler.com/well-being/kohler-water-spa

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

The sprawling grounds at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison are where you can get lost in nature for a day. There are 16 acres of outdoor gardens and a conservatory of tropical plants.

The rose garden is a spectacular display of many varieties that are planted among ornamental grass, perennials, and fountains. The prairie-style layout of the garden was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright designs.

Visit the Bolz Conservatory, which is a glass pyramid housing more than 650 plant species. The sensory experience, with fragrant flowers and flying birds, will instantly transport you to a tropical island.

Other gardens to enjoy are the sunken garden, serenity garden, rock garden, and the Thai Pavilion and garden.

Address: 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin Official site: http://www.olbrich.org

Dock on a lake in the Northwoods region of Wisconsin

The Northwoods region of Wisconsin is a great place to retreat, rejuvenate, and turn off technology. The counties of Forest, Vilas, Lincoln, Langlade, and Oneida in northern Wisconsin have some of the most pristine natural landscapes in the state.

With more than 3,200 lakes and a half million acres of natural forest, the Northwoods is as fun for outdoor recreation, like boating and fishing, as it is for doing absolutely nothing. A typical day in the Northwoods starts with a quiet sunrise, revealing hues of pink, purple, and blues and eagles flying overhead.

There are several communities in the Northwoods to use as a base, including Eagle River, St. Germain, Minocqua, and Three Lakes. There are many cabins available that take advantage of the natural surroundings, making it a peaceful getaway from the city.

Madison, Wisconsin

It is easy to get your steps in while walking around the state capital in Madison. The pedestrian-friendly city is a fun and active stop if you want to get in a little bit of everything, from trying local cheese curds to museums, history, the outdoors, and seeing the local neighborhoods.

The state capitol building is a great central point as you explore Madison . Take a tour inside to learn more about the history and architecture of this city centerpiece. Then, hit the sidewalks around the capital, where you can walk to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art or the Madison Children's Museum or indulge in the Dane County Farmers Market, the largest produce-exclusive farmers market, on the Capitol Square from April to November.

Make your way to the Lake Monona Bike Loop for a bike trip, or walk along a section of the 13 miles of paved trails that give you the best skyline views of Madison and take you through local neighborhoods.

Cave of the Mounds

Wisconsin's natural wonders below the ground at Cave of the Mounds are just as fascinating as those above ground. This National Natural Landmark is located near Blue Mounds in southern Wisconsin. The cave was discovered in 1939 and opened to visitors in 1940.

Take a guided tour or a self-paced tour through the lighted corridors to discover the geological wonders inside the rock, which is estimated to be over 400 million years old. Observe delicate limestone stalactites and crystal formations inside the cave's various chambers.

Cave of the Mounds has plenty of things to do above ground, too, from nature trails and gemstone mining to learning how to open a geode.

Address: 2975 Cave of the Mounds Road, Blue Mounds, Wisconsin

Official site: https://www.caveofthemounds.com

Big Manitou Falls in Pattison State Park

There are so many incredible waterfalls in Wisconsin , but embracing the cool spray of Big Manitou Falls, especially in the summer heat, is a memorable outdoor experience. Towering at 165 feet, Big Manitou Falls is the largest waterfall in the state. It is in Pattison State Park , near Superior, and it is open year-round.

The epic waterfall is the result of a glacier that eroded the clay and sandstone created thousands of years ago, leaving a steep gorge. Big Manitou Falls is the fourth tallest waterfall located east of the Rocky Mountains and one of the most stunning natural areas to see in Wisconsin.

You can access the falls by going into Pattison State Park and following the Big Manitou Falls Trail. You can pick up a map from the park office.

Address: 6294 WI-35, Superior, Wisconsin

Official site: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=398

Geneva Lake in Wisconsin

The stunningly clear Geneva Lake has a quintessential cottage atmosphere. Historically the lake had a posh resort scene in the 19th century, and while it is still a resort area, it is more accessible.

Enjoy a morning walk along the Shore Path around Geneva Lake. The 21-mile trail follows the shoreline, taking you past homes and gardens, and offering the best views of the lake.

There are several beaches around the lake for swimming and water sports. Rentals for kayaks, boats, and stand up paddleboards are available from local outfitters. If you just want to enjoy the views, you can take a narrated boat tour and learn about the history of the area and see some of the stunning homes along the waterfront.

The town of Lake Geneva is fun to visit, with small shops and eateries. Lodging ranges from campgrounds and vacation rentals to resorts.

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10 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

By Touropia Editors · Last updated on October 3, 2023

Many people refer to Wisconsin as the Cheese State or the Dairy State, but there is more to the area than Dairy production. Wisconsin is home to many desirable travel locations from big cities to national parks, offering a range of sights and attractions for thrill seekers, nature lovers and families.

Travelers can find amusement and relaxation year-round in Wisconsin though tourists should be prepared for any type of weather if they want to have the best possible vacation. Travelers should never judge what to wear based on how the locals dress as Wisconsinites tend to have thick blood and an enviable tolerance for cold weather. An overview of the best places to visit in Wisconsin :

10. Pattison State Park [SEE MAP]

Pattison State Park

Pattison State Park is home to Big Manitou Falls, a 165-foot (50 meter) high waterfall, the tallest in the state. Native Americans were said to have believed to hears the Great Spirit’s voice from the falls. The park also has Little Manitou Falls, which is 31-feet (9 meter) high. The state park is located around 13 miles south of Superior in Douglas County. There are many campsites as well as a few nearby motels.

9. Cave of the Mounds [SEE MAP]

Cave of the Mounds

The Cave of the Mounds is a caver’s delight located 20 minutes west of Madison. It is one of the most cherished caves in the Midwest, featuring guided tours year-round. People often refer to the Cave of the Mounds as the “jewel box” of the Midwest’s caves. It is known for its many formations and sheer beauty. Visitors can also enjoy a lunch in the picnic area, go hiking, visit the Butterfly Gardens or check out the Fossil Dig.

8. Lake Minocqua [SEE MAP]

Lake Minocqua

Lake Minocqua is a large lake in Oneida County. Tourists can find many vacation rentals around the lake and access the water from parks and public boating landings. The destination is most popular in the winter for snowmobiling and in the summer for waterskiing and boating. Fish found in Lake Minocqua include Walleye, Musky, Panfish, Largemouth and smallmouth bass and Northern Pike.

7. Geneva Lake Shore Path [SEE MAP]

Geneva Lake Shore Path

The Geneva Lake Walking Path is a 21-mile (34 km) mix of concrete, limestone and dirt originally created by Native Americans a century ago. Serious walkers can complete the path in eights hours, but most people require 10 to 14. Some travelers may prefer the lake’s South Side because it allows access to Big Foot Beach State Park, but this side is not as developed as the North Side, which is home to many old mansions. Visitors desiring a shorter walk can travel a portion of the path.

A 6.5-mile (10 km) section takes people through downtown Lake Geneva and Williams Bay. People choosing this option can drive into Williams Bay and leave their car if they can arrange for a ride back, or tourists can opt for the more unique option and arrange to be picked up by a water taxi from the Lake Geneva Cruise Line.

6. Wisconsin Dells [SEE MAP]

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells is known as “The Waterpark Capital of the World” and offers a range of attractions and accommodations to meet every waterpark lover’s needs. An explosion of indoor water parks has turned the Dells from a summer hot spot to a year-round destination. There are over 21 water parks, water-skiing thrill shows and super-minigolf courses. The Dells has two visitor centers that can best assist tourists plan their vacation.

5. Madison [SEE MAP]


Madison is the state capital of Wisconsin and home to around 260,000 people. The city is one of only two in North America that is located on an isthmus (the other is Seattle). Madison is home to fine dining, theater, and a thriving night life, as well as five lakes and plenty of bike-friendly areas.

Many college students reside in Madison because the city is home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison has the feel of a college town combined with the benefits of a metropolitan area, yet a short drive out of the city gives travelers access to the countryside.

4. Door County [SEE MAP]

Door County

Situated on a narrow peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan, Door County is a great place to visit in Wisconsin for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. The county is home to picturesque lighthouses and small 19th- century villages in addition to 300 miles of shoreline. Visitors can enjoy outdoor theater, live music and stunning views everywhere they look.

For travelers who want to get away from it all, remote islands are accessible by boat. People looking for glamour and luxury can enjoy fine dining and opulent resorts. Quaint bed and breakfasts, cabins and historic inns offer a variety of other accommodations. Many travelers head to Door County in the spring for the cherry blossoms, but there is plenty to do any season.

3. Apostle Islands [SEE MAP]

Apostle Islands

Apostle Islands draws in hikers, water sport enthusiasts and campers. The islands are home to Meyers Beach, Bayfield Headquarters, the Little Sand Bay Visitor Center and fishery, and the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. Visitors should be aware that the only way to the islands is by water.

Many people choose to access the islands by kayak but there is a ferry can take cars to Madeline Island. Stockton Island is home to one of the greatest concentrations of black bears in North America, though bears may be found on just about any of the Apostle Islands.

2. Milwaukee [SEE MAP]


Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s biggest city with nearly 600,000 residents. It is located on Lake Michigan’s southwestern shore and is known for its brewing traditions. Milwaukee boasts many attractions to appeal to tourists such as Pier Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Riverwalk and Miller Park.

Visitors who would rather take a walk on the wild side can see the Harley-Davidson Museum or the Milwaukee County Zoo. Tourists can break up their time in the city by visiting the Kettle Moraine State Forest, an enormous park that is home to the thousand-mile Ice Age Trail.

1. Bayfield [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Wisconsin

For a small town experience that is rich with history, tourists should visit Bayfield. Home to only a few hundred people, Bayfield is the main gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Bed and breakfasts and speciality shops are plentiful in the town located almost at the most northern section of the state on the shores of Lake Superior.

There are two museums, Bayfield Maritime Museum and Bayfield Heritage Museum, and a few art galleries, but the town’s biggest attraction is the yearly Apple Fest in October. Many people also visit for Race Week, which is held around the 4th of July.

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March 10, 2017 at 7:14 pm

Very run of the mill list. Fine for those that follow the pack

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August 5, 2016 at 6:29 am

Racine, Wis. has the world-class architectural landmark Johnson Campus built by Frank Lloyd Wright and it surely surpasses many other “attractions” on this list.

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  • Destinations

25 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Last Updated By VI on June 3, 2024

25 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Lake Geneva

Spring green, wisconsin.

  • Complete List & Map


Milwaukee is full of interesting and educational attractions to keep you busy every hour of the day. You can start off by combining fun and education on a visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum, Discovery World and the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. Art lovers can feast their eyes on the wonderful collections at the Milwaukee Art Museum, MOWA (Museum of Wisconsin Art), and the expansive 40-acre Lynden Sculpture Garden before catching a Broadway show at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts or attending the Milwaukee Ballet or the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the Lakefront Trail, go paddling with Milwaukee Kayak Company or simply enjoy Bradford Beach. Anyone interested in motorbikes will not want to miss a tour of the Harley Davidson Museum.


The majestic State Capitol building seems like a fitting place to start your visit to Madison , the capital of Wisconsin. The imposing granite structure is boldly situated between two lakes and daily guided tours are available. There is a lengthy list of city attractions you can explore including the State Historical Museum, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chazen Museum of Art and the hands-on Madison Children’s Museum. The performing arts are thriving in Madison and you can get your fill at the Bartell Theatre or Wisconsin Union Theatre, among others. Other interesting activities to try include campus tours of the University of Wisconsin , visiting Olbrich Botanical Gardens, boating and paddling on the five lakes around the city and biking the extensive network of cycling trails. More things to do in Madison

Lake Geneva

The beautiful lake-side town of Lake Geneva ticks all the boxes when it comes to finding an idyllic year-round vacation destination in southern Wisconsin. Water sport enthusiasts can enjoy beaches, paddle-boarding, jet-skiing and parasailing, while those who like to keep their feet dry can go on a cruise to enjoy the beauty of the lake. Back on land you can explore miles of hiking and biking trails including the scenic Shore Path, try zip-lining or a hot-air balloon trip, and tour historic Black Point Estate and Gardens. The historic Downtown is the place to go for shopping and dining, and when the winter snows arrive you can go skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, ice skating and sledding before treating yourself to a pamper session at one of the many day spas.

Spring Green, Wisconsin

The town of Spring Green is located along the banks of the Wisconsin River offering visitors great potential for outdoor activities in the lovely River Valley. The town is best known as the site of Taliesin, the home of prominent architect Frank Lloyd Wright from 1911 to 1959. Today you can tour the house, the studio and theater or see all the highlights of the estate – essential viewing for all architecture fans. At the opposite end of the architecture scale you should also visit the House on a Rock which was the brainchild of recluse Alex Jordan Jr., who turned his unusual home into a bizarre museum of oddities. Spring Green is home to a thriving arts community and there are many galleries and studios to visit before rounding off your day with a performance at the famous American Players Theatre or the White Church Theatre Project. More things to do in Spring Green

Green Bay

Green Bay is the oldest town in Wisconsin, dating back to the 1600’s, and is famously home to the Green Bay Packers NFL team, who you can see in action at the Lambeau Field. A narrated trolley tour of the city is a great way for you to get your bearings and learn a little local history, or you could walk, bike or Segway the Historic Broadway District and the Packers Heritage Trail tour paths. Families can have hours of fun at the Bay Beach Amusement Park, the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and the NEW Zoo. Bikers can try the 25-mile Fox River State Recreational Trail. Round off your busy day with a show at the historic downtown Meyer Theatre.

La Crosse, Wisconsin

La Crosse, Wisconsin

La Crosse is situated along the western border of Wisconsin, hugging the east bank of the Mississippi River, and the close proximity of three rivers make it an ideal playground for water-sport enthusiasts who can go fishing, paddling, kayaking or cruising. Visitors who prefer to stay on land will find more than 10 miles of great hiking and biking trails in Hixon Forest and Green Coulee, and an amazing diversity of wildlife in the surrounding wetlands. You can try for that hole-in-one at one of six golf courses or enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing in winter. You can shop for gifts at wonderful little shops and galleries in the Historic Downtown, visit several breweries and wineries or attend one of the regular festivals such as Oktoberfest, Irishfest, Riverfest or Airfest.


Kenosha is situated on the south-western shore of Lake Michigan and offers a long list of entertaining attractions for all ages. If you love history and museums you can head to the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, the Civil War Museum, the Kenosha History Center and the Kenosha Public Museum, while lighthouse enthusiasts can visit the Pierhead Lighthouse and the Southport Light Station Museum. For a break from history you can hop aboard the Electric Streetcar Circulator for a two-mile loop along the Lake Michigan shoreline or visit the Kenosha Harbor Market. Dedicated shoppers can grab a bargain at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, while water-sport enthusiasts can go boating, sailing or fishing and there are miles of biking trails for cyclists.

Eau Claire

Uncovering the vibrant arts and culture side of Eau Claire in western Wisconsin will definitely be one of the highlights of your visit. You can celebrate the visual arts at the UWEC Foster Art Gallery, go on the Sculpture Tour or release your inner artist (and drink some wine) at Cheers Pablo’s Paint and Sip Classes. To enjoy the performing arts you can visit the State Theatre or watch stand-up comedy at The Plus. You can hike or bike several scenic trails or enjoy snow-shoeing and snowmobiling trails in winter.


Cedarburg became an attractive tourist destination in the mid 1800s for its mineral spring waters. Its historic downtown has a number of well-preserved limestone buildings and churches made by German immigrants from the native stone. The best place to learn about the town’s history is the History Museum, which is also the Visitors’ Center and General Store. Cedarburg Art Museum and the Wisconsin Museum of Quits and Fiber Arts show what the local artists are doing.


The performing arts are very well represented in Wausau and you can enjoy everything from Broadway shows to dance extravaganzas. Outdoors the fun never stops and you can go hiking and biking along many miles of trails. In winter the emphasis switches to downhill and cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and snowmobiles.


Oshkosh is widely known as Wisconsin’s Event City and has an impressive list of activities to keep visitors on the go all day long. One of the highlights of any visit is the EAA AirVenture Museum where you can see a wonderful collection of vintage aircraft, visit four movie theaters and enjoy the hands-on KidzVenture Gallery. The Oshkosh Public Museum and the Paine Art Center and Gardens are other popular attractions and in Downtown Oshkosh you can stroll or cycle along the scenic River Walk and visit some unusual shops and galleries. Outdoor enthusiasts will be pleased to find a variety of hiking and biking trails, over 200 miles of snowmobile trails and opportunities to go boating, fishing and kayaking on Lake Winnebago.


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

Devil's Lake State Park

Devil's Lake State Park

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

Cave Point County Park

Cave Point County Park

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

Grandad Bluff Park

Grandad Bluff Park

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

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

Located in the heart of cranberry country, visiting a cranberry farm such as Rubi Reds is a must. Wisconsin Dairy State Cheese showcases Wisconsin’s rich dairy heritage by offering observation windows where visitors can watch a cheese maker doing his magic or stock up on more than 200 kinds of cheese. Located in an elegant colonial home on the banks of the Wisconsin River, the Alexander House is a combination art gallery and historical museum. Grand Rapids is also known for two teams that produce spectacular waterski shows every week between Memorial and Labor Day.


The lake-side city of Racine is picturesquely situated at the mouth of the Root River along the shores of Lake Michigan, offering visitors a large variety of water-related recreational opportunities. You have several great options for fishing, while canoeing, kayaking and padding along The Root are all popular activities. Lake Michigan offers excellent boating and North Beach is one of the most popular lake shore beaches in the country. Architecture fans should not miss touring the SC Johnson headquarters where you can admire examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, while art enthusiasts will be blown away by the Racine Art Museum. Other attractions you can visit include the Wind Point Lighthouse and Racine Zoo.

Interstate State Park

Interstate State Park

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

High Cliff State Park

High Cliff State Park

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

Schoolhouse Beach

Schoolhouse Beach

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

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

You can fish and explore at your own pace by boat, paddle your canoe or kayak (rentals available) or join a ranger-led program that will introduce you to the fauna and flora of the area. There are seven river-side hiking trails (which can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter) and if you undertake a multi-day hiking or kayaking adventure you can camp alongside the river each night.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Ice Age National Scenic Trail

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

Hayward Lake

Hayward Lake

More ideas: WI wedding venues

Geneva Lake Shore Path

Geneva Lake Shore Path

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

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

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

  • 1. Milwaukee
  • 3. Lake Geneva
  • 4. Spring Green, Wisconsin
  • 5. Green Bay
  • 6. La Crosse, Wisconsin
  • 8. Eau Claire
  • 9. Cedarburg
  • 11. Oshkosh
  • 12. Muskego
  • 13. Devil's Lake State Park
  • 14. Cave Point County Park
  • 15. Grandad Bluff Park
  • 16. Grand Rapids
  • 18. Interstate State Park
  • 19. High Cliff State Park
  • 20. Schoolhouse Beach
  • 21. Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway
  • 22. Ice Age National Scenic Trail
  • 23. Hayward Lake
  • 24. Geneva Lake Shore Path
  • 25. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

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22 Top Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells

Explore an array of amusements including water parks, theaters and boat rides in a naturally scenic setting.

Aerial View of the Tourist Town of Lake Delton, Wisconsin

Getty Images

Wisconsin Dells offers thrilling water parks, unique museums and even a deer park.

Located about 55 miles north of Madison , the city of Wisconsin Dells is known as the "Waterpark Capital of the World," but visitors will find a bevy of other attractions to occupy their time, from boat tours of the scenic Wisconsin River to historical landmarks and museums. The term "dells" is derived from the name that 18th-century French explorers gave the area on the earliest maps; it refers to the unique gorges with rock formations sculpted by glacial meltwater that can only be found in a handful of places in the world – one of which is along the Wisconsin River.

A bustling downtown district – lined with independently owned shops, restaurants, motels and ice cream shops near the riverfront – is surrounded by a lush, rugged countryside that first caught the eye of tourists in the late 1800s. The city today still thrives on a burgeoning tourism industry. With a little something to pique the interest of everyone in the family, from thrill-seekers to nature lovers and everything in between, Wisconsin Dells is every bit as endearing as it is entertaining. This guide offers just a taste of the top things to do in one of the Badger State's most memorable vacation destinations.

Dells Scenic River Walk

Overlooking the river at the Dells Scenic River Walk at sunset.

Courtesy of Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau

A riverfront stroll along this quarter-mile paved walkway in the downtown district is a must-do for a glimpse of the stunning sandstone bluffs that give Wisconsin Dells its name. The Dells Scenic River Walk is free and open year-round. Visitors recommend coming here to take family photos, thanks to the lovely scenery. Although the path is short, it features several benches, game tables and interpretive signs explaining tidbits about the area's history, culture and geology to entertain you along the way. During the winter holiday season a massive tree adorned with strands of lights charms travelers; accompanying the Tree of Light are 70 additional holiday trees lining the trail.

This is also a nice place to watch the tour boats drift by on the river while you enjoy an ice cream cone. You could also grab a burger or beverage at the River Walk Pub, located at the south end of the trail, which offers an outdoor beer garden patio. Continue your river-themed experience at The Vue, a boutique hotel boasting waterfront views from the rooms, hot tub, outdoor deck and new boat dock.

Address: 100 Block Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Downtown Wisconsin Dells

Looking down a busy street in downtown Wisconsin Dells.

Beyond the river walk, downtown Wisconsin Dells is a destination for shops, restaurants, arcades and museums. The Original Wisconsin Ducks tours begin here and families may want to check out Wizard Quest, where kids and adults can battle the wizard and dragon in a series of competitions. You can grab some fudge at Wisconsin Dairyland Fudge or find a sweet treat at Goody Goody Gumdrop, offering more than 1,000 different kinds of candy. What's more, this downtown area boasts the world's only root beer museum, an old-fashioned portrait shop, breweries, bowling at the Chalet Lanes & Lounge, ax throwing and a wedding chapel.

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

Mother and daughter shopping at Creation Station at Great Wolf Lodge.

Courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

The main attraction at the flagship location of this popular wilderness-themed resort is the 76,000-square-foot indoor water park, which operates at a balmy 84 degrees year-round. The massive aquatic complex houses colorful waterslides, heated swimming pools, a wave pool, hot tubs (including one for adults only), a lazy river and much more. Here you'll find one of the top-rated waterslides in Wisconsin Dells: The Howlin' Tornado, the world's first enclosed ride of its kind, drops groups of daring souls 53 feet and swirls them around a giant funnel. When it gets warm enough, Great Wolf Lodge opens the Raccoon Lagoon outdoor water playground for kids, surrounded by sun loungers.

An overnight stay at the 436-room lodge includes complimentary access to the water park. Other on-site activities at this Great Wolf Lodge location include a live-action MagiQuest experience, Build-A-Bear Workshop and arcade games, for which additional fees apply. Travelers call this resort a great place for younger kids but say the rides can be on the small side for teenagers.

Address: 1400 Great Wolf Drive, Baraboo, WI 53913

[See: The Top Wisconsin Dells Resorts .]

H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum

An exhibit at H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum. Vintage camera on the right and chairs on the right.

Courtesy of H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum and the Wisconsin Historical Society

Step into the historic studio of Henry Hamilton Bennett, a photographer who helped put Wisconsin Dells on the map for tourists with his landscape images promoting the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Built in 1875, his storefront and studio – the oldest operating business in town – are now owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, allowing visitors to take a step back in time and learn about Bennett's life and photography. Historical exhibits also span the Indigenous people of the Ho-Chunk Nation who once lived where the H.H. Bennett Studio stands and the area's development into one of the first tourist destinations. The museum houses artifacts such as cameras and other equipment, as well as original photography from Bennett, including his iconic stop-action shot of his son jumping between two towering rock formations in 1886.

Although visitors say this attraction is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the region, making it one of the top things to do in Wisconsin Dells for adults, some caution it might not hold as much interest for young kids. Patrons who want a unique souvenir can sign up to have an old-fashioned tintype portrait "struck" using the wet plate method of Bennett's time. Note that the H.H. Bennett Studio is a seasonal attraction, typically open from late May through the end of October and closed for the offseason. For accommodations nearby, the White Rose Hotel offers Victorian charm just two blocks from the museum.

Address: 215 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Palace Theater

Exterior of the Palace Theater in the evening.

Some visitors claim there isn't a bad seat in the house at this state-of-the-art dinner theater that provides one of the top evening entertainment options in the area. Owners Anthony and Joseph Tamaska have more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry, including producing one of Chicago's most successful interactive shows, "Tony n' Tina's Wedding." They chose Wisconsin Dells as their latest theater endeavor after spending memorable summers there during childhood. The facility hosts a range of musical tributes (think Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac and Dolly Parton), comedians and musicals that promise fun for the whole family, especially if you catch a show amid the winter holiday season. Those who purchase the "Dinner & Show" admission will be served a three-course meal prior to showtime, though some recent patrons felt the food was subpar; tickets for the show only are also available. Stay at La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Wisconsin Dells, only a mile away from Palace Theater, for a 10% discount on tickets.

Address: 564 Wisconsin Dells Parkway S., Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Tommy Bartlett Exploratory

Space exhibit at Tommy Bartlett Exploratory. Space suits included.

Courtesy of Tommy Bartlett Exploratory – Wisconsin Dells, WI

What started in the mid-20th century as a water-ski show on Lake Delton is now a hands-on science center boasting more than 175 exhibits to pique the curiosity of visitors young and old. This iconic institution has several main attractions, from the Giant Lever, designed to enable patrons of any size to lift a 5,000-pound vehicle, to the High Wire SkyCycle, a circus-style bike ride across a tightrope. The museum is also home to an authentic Russian space station core module – one of just three ever made, though not the one in orbit from 1986 to 2001 – which guests can walk through to experience a day in space life. While travelers agree the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory is a fun place for all ages to spend a few hours, some admit the facility feels a little outdated. The museum is open year-round, but hours fluctuate seasonally, and the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Wisconsin Dells is conveniently located across the street.

Address: 560 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Cascade Mountain

Kids smiling while tubing down Cascade Mountain.

Open November through March for winter activities like downhill skiing and snow tubing, this family-friendly resort is located about 20 miles southeast of Wisconsin Dells. A visit to Cascade Mountain, considered one of the country's best small ski areas, is a top thing to do during the colder months. Lift tickets for children 12 and younger are free with the purchase of an adult pass, and lesson options range from personalized instruction for the whole family to a group lesson just for kids, giving adults a couple hours to ski on their own.

Guests are impressed by the quality and variety of runs at this small ski hill, where almost a dozen chair lifts offer access to 48 trails for all skill levels, as well as terrain parks to get your adrenaline pumping. Visitors say everyone will also get a kick out of zooming down the snow tubing hills or taking advantage of the opportunity for night skiing during extended hours on holidays. Cascade has six food and drink locations, but travelers warn the items can be limited and pricey. For a quick commute to first chair, the Days Inn by Wyndham Portage hotel is just 4 miles south of the resort.

Address: W10441 Cascade Mountain Road, Portage, WI 53901

[Read: The Best Midwest Vacations for Families .]

Noah's Ark Waterpark

Tubing on a ride at Noah's Ark Waterpark.

Courtesy of Noah's Ark Waterpark

More than 50 waterslides as well as pools and playgrounds make up this sprawling aquatic complex, situated on 70 acres near the shores of Lake Delton, less than 3 miles south of downtown Dells. Noah's Ark Waterpark has activities for every age, from towering slides to shallow splash pads, with themed sections such as the Safari Jungle Area. Thrill-seekers won't want to miss a plunge down the Point of No Return body slide, which plummets 10 stories in five seconds.

Guests rave about the activity options, especially the wave pools. Adults can also relax with a leisurely float down two lazy rivers or by lounging in a cabana with a cocktail from the Kahuna Bar. If you get waterlogged, check out the 4D theater. Book a stay at one of the Noah's Ark partner hotels, like the Wingate by Wyndham Wisconsin Dells Waterpark, for free admission to the park. This seasonal attraction is open roughly from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Address: 1410 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Wisconsin Deer Park

Girl smiling while feeding a deer at Deer Park.

Animal lovers of all ages adore this top attraction for its endearing encounters with wildlife and promise of serenity about a mile from downtown. Guests flock to the Wisconsin Deer Park from mid-April through October to feed, pet, mingle or take photos with more than 100 animals, including three species of deer, elk, bison, goats, lemurs, llamas, emus and more. Visitors are encouraged to fill their pockets with specialized deer feed – which can be purchased at the gift shop or at stations throughout – before setting out for a stroll on the scenic trails around the 40-acre property.

The seasons bring different delightful experiences, such as majestic antlers on bucks in late summer and fawn births in late spring. Autumn showcases a beautiful background of colorful foliage before the animals are moved to a secluded area of the park to rest during the winter closure. Continue your eco-adventure with an overnight stay at the Natura Treescape Resort, located just across the road, featuring an outdoor lagoon water park.

Address: 400 County Road A, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Original Wisconsin Ducks

Boat driving through a forest.

Courtesy of Original Wisconsin Ducks

This classic tour operator has been guiding folks around some of the top sightseeing spots in the Dells since 1946 in unique all-terrain vehicles. This type of amphibious six-wheeled truck was first invented during World War II with the code name "DUKW" – later simplified to "duck" – to transport troops and supplies by both land and sea. Today duck boats make for a great tourist outing, especially on a trip to Wisconsin Dells.

During the one-hour tour with Original Wisconsin Ducks, guests will be shuttled along an exclusive network of trails through a forest of ferns, down the Wisconsin River, up Dell Creek and over a dam into Lake Delton. Along the way the drivers – who travelers consistently commend for being funny, friendly and knowledgeable – point out numerous notable landmarks such as Pulpit Rock, an impressive sandstone formation, and Dawn Manor, a historic Civil War-era house. The season for duck tours typically runs from mid-March through mid-November. The Hilton Garden Inn Wisconsin Dells, located next to the popular restaurant The Del-Bar, is about a mile south of the tour office.

Address: 1890 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Ripley's Believe It or Not

Exterior of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Wisconsin Dells building.

Courtesy of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Wisconsin Dells

This outpost of the Ripley's franchise empire – which started in 1918 as a newspaper cartoon – is a self-described "odditorium" with three floors of exhibits and illusions to challenge the imagination. Throughout the dimly lit facility (which travelers warn may not be fully accessible for wheelchairs or strollers), patrons are posed with a variety of scenarios and objects designed to make you question whether things really are as they seem. Keep your eyes peeled for the hidden rooms and buttons in disguise that, when pressed, reveal more oddities along the route through the 11 galleries. As one of more than 100 Ripley's attractions around the world, this eclectic funhouse is one of the most unique indoor attractions in Wisconsin Dells.

Address: 115 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Kalahari Resorts

Young girl on swings at the Kalahari water park.

Courtesy of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Visitors appreciate being able to find something for everyone at this theme park behemoth. The Dells location of Kalahari Resorts boasts both indoor and outdoor water park areas, plus the Tom Foolerys Adventure Park on dry land, which includes but is not limited to: a bowling alley, a climbing wall, an indoor zip line, virtual reality experiences, escape rooms, a carousel and arcade games.

The indoor water park features 125,000 square feet of rides, slides, pools and playgrounds for every age group. If speeding down a slippery tube isn't your thing, take a shot at the Crocodile Cove activity pool or sign up for a lesson on the Flowrider surf simulator. Adults may want to lounge and mingle at the Mud Hut Swim-Up Bar or the numerous hot tubs and spas tucked throughout the complex. The outdoor water park, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, offers even more slides and recreation such as a water tree fort. Overnight guests of the accompanying resort receive complimentary access to the water parks, plus free towel rentals; adventure park admission costs extra. Day passes to each outlet are also sold individually.

Address: 1305 Kalahari Drive, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Timbavati Wildlife Park

A family meeting a feline (held by a ranger) at Timbavati Wildlife Park.

More than 400 animals from all over the globe are housed in this 25-acre zoological attraction located about a mile south of downtown and across the street from the Wisconsin Deer Park. Guests can observe and interact with more than 75 species, from African lions and penguins to Bengal tigers and red pandas. Visitors fondly recount personable animal encounters such as feeding giraffes and kangaroos or riding a camel. Timbavati Wildlife Park recommends allowing three to five hours to thoroughly explore everything it has to offer, including the Safari Train Ride, which passes through sprawling meadows with rhinos, ostriches and antelope. Another traveler favorite is visiting the on-site nursery, where guests can watch park staff care for a variety of baby animals.

To avoid ticket fees, you may opt for a stay at hotel partners such as the Natura Treescape Resort and The Vue to get free admission. Keep in mind that the train rides cost extra on top of park admission, although combination deals are also available. For a behind-the-scenes experience with the animals at Timbavati, up to five people can participate in a 1.5-hour private guided tour, as long as you schedule it in advance.

Address: 2220 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Dells Boat Tours

A tour boat passing by a cliff.

Courtesy of Dells Boat Tours

This long-running tour operator manages a fleet of 17 steel ferries that parade visitors up and down the Wisconsin River, giving them an up-close view of the unique rock formations. The tours run from mid-April to early November and consist of two main options, whether you want to see the scenic views of the Upper Dells (the area above the Kilbourn Dam) or landmarks of the Lower Dells (below the dam). The two-hour Upper Dells tour offers entry into Witches Gulch, a visitor-favorite narrow canyon hike only accessible by boat, as well as Stand Rock, where you can see a trained dog make the cliff leap from H.H. Bennett's famous photo. The Lower Dells tour, which lasts about an hour, delves into the history of the river, including stories about the area's Indigenous inhabitants, while you float alongside picturesque cliffs. If you visit between late May and mid-September, you can also choose to embark on a romantic Sunset Dinner Cruise, featuring an open bar and live music, as well as a stroll through Witches Gulch.

Witches Gulch

Pathway through hidden Witches Gulch.

Taking a boat tour is the only way to access this popular natural attraction, which is tucked into a narrow slot canyon on the Wisconsin River. According to a Native American origin myth, while the river bed was formed by a giant serpent, this gorge was carved by a smaller serpent fleeing its path. Local legend states that in the 1800s the photographer H.H. Bennett named Witches Gulch, perhaps due to the curious rock formations or the eerie fog that collects in the crevasse; he also built a walkway for tourists at this spot. Today a 2-mile loop trail zig-zags on a wooden boardwalk through the canyon, which is so narrow you can touch both walls at once in certain spots. This short, scenic walk takes you along steep sandstone walls covered in moss through a heavily wooded area, where towering trees seem to grow right out of the rock. Despite the spooky name, visitors say the trail is easy and peaceful with beautiful views of the river. The Ghost Boat offers a "haunted" tour of the canyon after dark to reveal spooky stories about the area – but note it's not recommended for young children.

Chula Vista Resort

This comprehensive family-friendly resort spans more than 200,000 square feet, showcasing both indoor and outdoor waterslides and rides near the banks of the Wisconsin River's Upper Dells region. Guests say the water parks at Chula Vista Resort can keep kids of all ages entertained, with plenty of activity options for everyone from toddlers to teenagers. Open year-round, the Lost Rios indoor water park features kiddie play areas and slides, a lazy river, and rapid races for older kids to challenge their friends over and over again, all outfitted with jungle decor for a truly tropical atmosphere. In the summertime, guests will discover even more thrilling activities at the outdoor Adventure Lagoon, including a wave pool and plummeting 80-foot drops. Visitors can purchase day passes to access the facility on weekends or get complimentary entry any day of the week by booking a stay at the accompanying hotel, though some past patrons say the Chula Vista rooms could use updating.

Address: 1000 Chula Vista Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Wilderness Resort

Interior shot of pools and water park at Wilderness Resort.

Courtesy of Wilderness Resort

This mega-resort set on 600 acres flaunts a mind-boggling multitude of aquatic attractions to explore. Wilderness Resort's wide variety of indoor and outdoor water parks are all only accessible to overnight guests of the on-site lodging properties. Visitors can enjoy the massive indoor wave pool at the Wild WaterDome, whose glass ceiling provides ample natural light for sunbathing. An enclosed skywalk offers a shortcut for dripping guests to move into the Klondike Kavern park, where they'll find a 400-foot lazy river, a family raft ride called The Hurricane and the Claim Jumper Challenge, a unique combination of waterslide and video game. Those are just some of the many water park offerings, though the outdoor attractions are only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Areas geared toward adults are also available at the parks, with amenities like a swim-up cocktail bar or indoor-outdoor hot tub. Landlubbers won't be bored, either, thanks to plenty of other activities to choose from: laser tag, a zip line, mini golf, go karts, escape rooms and much, much more. Many visitors return to Wilderness Resort year after year for the variety of activities and quality of service, suggesting at least three days here to soak it all in – or even a full week.

Address: 511 E. Adams St., Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Lake Delton

Looking out on the water of Lake Delton just before sundown.

One of the main geographical features of the Wisconsin Dells region is the 249-acre Lake Delton, which offers tons of outdoor activities like fishing, boating and paddling. The village of Lake Delton has several quaint public parks, and for access to this lake you'll want to head to the Lake Delton Public Beach, a small but scenic part of the southwest shoreline with restrooms and picnic amenities, or the public boat ramp a little more than a mile further south. Near the boat launch is Dells Watersports, where you can rent ski boats, kayaks, WaveRunners, paddleboards and more for a day of fun in the sun. The Priegel Pier for fishing sits on the north end of the lake adjacent to Kaminski Park; lucky anglers will find a variety of fish species under the water's surface, including largemouth bass, walleye and catfish.

Visitors and locals alike also adore this village's Newport Park, located just north of the lake along the Wisconsin River and Dell Creek, for its lovely views and relaxing atmosphere. Newport Park is equipped with picnic tables and shade, as well as its own boat launch and fishing pier, but the undertow in this section of the river can make it dangerous for swimming. Also note that dogs are not allowed in any public parks in the village. Just half a mile from Lake Delton's public beach, Delton Grand Resort & Spa provides an elegant respite overlooking the lake after a long day of recreating.

Dine at Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty

For a classic family-style breakfast, lunch or dinner, Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty is the destination. Known for its homemade buttermilk doughnuts, this cabin-themed restaurant has been a favorite in the area for more than 60 years. Recent guests say the food is good and plentiful, service is fast and the atmosphere is fun.

Address: 411 State Highway 13 S., Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Mirror Lake State Park

A woman paddleboarding on Mirror Lake.

Granting access to a more serene side of the Dells, this 2,200-acre oasis is known for its natural beauty and quiet surroundings. The park is an outdoors paradise with terrain for year-round activities from skiing and snowshoeing to hunting and hiking. Paddlers flock here to float the cliff-walled waters of the lake, aptly named for its famously calm surface. The park maintains more than 19 miles of hiking trails and 9 miles of mountain biking trails, most of which close to hikers and cyclists in the winter for skiing or maintenance. Visitors recommend the 2-mile Ishnala Trail on the north end of the park for an easy trek that features beautiful views of the lake as you cross the Mirror Lake Gorge via a 150-foot bridge to connect to the Echo Rock Trail.

Also on the northern side of the park is the Mirror Lake Pine Oak Forest, a designated state natural area featuring lush habitat for bird-watching, with species such as the ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker, barred owl, pine warbler and many others. Tent and RV campsites are available to reserve for an additional fee on top of daily vehicle admission, or you can spend the night at the Seth Peterson Cottage, the first Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structure in the world offered for rental occupancy.

Riverside and Great Northern Railway

Running train at Riverside and Great Northern Railway.

Courtesy of Riverside and Great Northern Railway

Stop here to take a scenic steam train ride through the Wisconsin countryside and along the river on an authentic 15-inch gauge railroad. Located about 2 miles north of downtown Dells, this living museum houses actual features of the original railyard, including a preserved 30-foot turntable and boiler shops from a bygone era. Visitors applaud the friendly volunteers and old-fashioned feel of the experience.

The Riverside and Great Northern Railway is open from May through October, with more limited availability before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. On weekends in the fall, families gather to experience the museum's popular pumpkin trains, on which children get a gourd to take home after their ride. An on-site snack shack sells refreshments, or you can pack a picnic to further enjoy the serene setting before or after your ride. The nearby Sherwood Forest Campground & RV Park offers an equally wholesome experience, with RV sites and cabins for rent, as well as a heated pool and splash pad.

Address: N115 County Road N., Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

Enjoy a tasty adventure at the Grateful Shed

This indoor food truck destination promises year-round fun. Offering a taste of the Wisconsin food scene, the Grateful Shed has multiple food trucks serving an array of eats and sweets such as burgers, tacos, milkshakes and more. There's also a bar serving adult beverages including local drafts, plus a variety of live music by Midwest artists and beyond on scheduled evenings. Recent visitors say the place has a fun atmosphere and mix of food options, but it can be a bit pricey.

Address: 1470 Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

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

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  1. 15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Wisconsin

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

  2. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Wisconsin

    2023. 1. Taliesin Preservation - Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center. 4,500. Architectural Buildings. Taliesin, the home, studio and estate of Frank Lloyd Wright, is located in the Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin near Spring Green. It is the name of Wright's house as well as the 800-acre…. 2023.

  3. 25 Things To Do In Wisconsin: The Ultimate Bucket List

    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.

  4. 42 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Wisconsin

    Address: 2000 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233, United States. 21. American Science & Surplus. American Science & Surplus. American Science & Surplus is a rather fascinating and fun spot in Wisconsin and should be on your list of places to go if you're a geek, a creative person, or coming with family.

  5. 15 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin For Your Bucket List

    The Great River Road National Scenic Byway is one of the best things to do in Wisconsin. If you are looking for an awesome road trip in Wisconsin, this is one of the best! The Great River Road is Wisconsin State Highway 35, and it follows the Mississippi River for 250 miles and connects 33 charming, historic towns.

  6. Things to Do in Wisconsin

    Spend a day at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, featuring guided hikes and birdwatching. Farther south, the Racine Zoo is a treat for everyone in the family. In Door County, explore lakeside beaches and spot historic lighthouses like the picturesque Cana Island Lighthouse. And in the Wisconsin Dells, spend an entire vacation bonding with your ...

  7. Travel Wisconsin

    Discover Summer Trip Ideas. From unique and refreshing eateries to unforgettable fun on our miles of fresh shorelines, there is no shortage of new and exciting Wisconsin adventures that your whole crew will enjoy. The state is full of one-of-a-kind state parks, restaurants, attractions, breweries and more, so grab your friends and family and ...

  8. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Wisconsin (UPDATED 2024)

    1. Taliesin Preservation - Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center. Taliesin, the home, studio and estate of Frank Lloyd Wright, is located in the Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin near Spring Green. It is the name of Wright's house as well as the 800-acre…. 2. Lambeau Field.

  9. 23 Top Things to Do in Wisconsin

    From one-of-a-kind attractions to desert landscapes to historic sites, the Land of Enchantment has much to explore. Alissa Grisler and Ashley M. Biggers June 11, 2024 Travel During Hurricane Season

  10. 10 MUST-SEE Historic Sites In Wisconsin (Guide + Photos)

    Top 10 Historic Sites In Wisconsin. 10. H.H. Bennett House & Studio. Edward H. Bennett House and Studio | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Wisconsin is known for its diary farms, ginseng production, and cold winters. It is a great place to visit if you want to get a taste of America's Midwest.

  11. The best places in Wisconsin

    The 300 miles of shoreline on the 70-mile peninsula make it a great destination for swimmers, kayakers and even scuba divers, while its proximity to Whitefish Dunes State Park, Peninsula State Park, Newport State Park and Rock Island State Park (which can only be reached by ferry), offer top-notch opportunities for hiking, stargazing and camping.

  12. Wisconsin tourism, things to do and popular attractions

    Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, show shoeing and ice fishing are abundant. As snow melts in the spring, see the stunning cherry blossoms of Door County and get on the water for rafting and fishing - there are more than 15,000 inland lakes, two Great Lakes and the mighty Mississippi River to enjoy. Summertime heralds patio dining and food trucks ...

  13. 14 Best Things to Do in Wisconsin

    15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Wisconsin. 14 Best Ski Resorts in Wisconsin, 2023/24. 16 Best Waterfalls in Wisconsin. 14 Top-Rated Fishing Lakes in Wisconsin. Wisconsin in Pictures: 21 Beautiful Places to Photograph. 14 Top-Rated Small Towns in Wisconsin.

  14. Wisconsin Destinations

    Wind your way through charming towns along the Mississippi, or wander the vibrant harbor towns along Lake Superior and throughout Door County. Escape to communities in the Northwoods for lake cabin relaxation and outdoor adventure, or find the water thrills overflowing in Wisconsin Dells. Wherever you and your crew go in Wisconsin, we know you ...

  15. 166 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Wisconsin

    Discover 166 hidden attractions, cool sights, and unusual things to do in Wisconsin from Dr. Evermor's Forevertron to Frank Lloyd Wright's Burnham Block.

  16. 10 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin (+Map)

    An overview of the best places to visit in Wisconsin: 10. Pattison State Park [SEE MAP] aarongunnar / Flickr. Pattison State Park is home to Big Manitou Falls, a 165-foot (50 meter) high waterfall, the tallest in the state. Native Americans were said to have believed to hears the Great Spirit's voice from the falls.

  17. 25 Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

    The town of Spring Green is located along the banks of the Wisconsin River offering visitors great potential for outdoor activities in the lovely River Valley. The town is best known as the site of Taliesin, the home of prominent architect Frank Lloyd Wright from 1911 to 1959. Today you can tour the house, the studio and theater or see all the highlights of the estate - essential viewing for ...

  18. 20 Best Things to Do in Milwaukee

    Kyle McCarthy|Sharael Kolberg December 4, 2023. Ranking of the top 20 things to do in Milwaukee. Travelers favorites include #1 Harley-Davidson Museum, #2 Milwaukee Public Market and more.

  19. 22 Top Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells

    Explore an array of amusements including water parks, theaters and boat rides in a naturally scenic setting. By Katie Hearsum. |. May 27, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. 22 Top Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells ...

  20. Top 25 Historical Sites

    Aztalan - Jefferson County. This archaeological site, between Lake Mills and Johnson Creek, contains the ruins and artifacts of an ancient Middle Mississippian village that seemed to thrive from 1000 and 1300 AD. Then it was abandoned, about 200 years before Columbus landed in America. It is a place full of mystery.

  21. Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells

    Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin: See Tripadvisor's 118,631 traveler reviews and photos of Wisconsin Dells tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in June. We have reviews of the best places to see in Wisconsin Dells. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.

  22. Cities & Regions in Wisconsin

    Explore Wisconsin's Cities & Regions. From the Great Lakes to the Mighty Mississippi and the land in between, Wisconsin is home to a vast landscape of beauty that includes woods, waters, prairies and cityscapes. Scroll for Adventure.

  23. Dells tourism eclipses $2 billion in economic impact in 2023

    Attractions such as Land of Natura, Wilderness Resort, Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park, and Noah's Ark helped set a record tourism economic impact in the Wisconsin Dells area in 2023.

  24. 14 Fun Roadside Attractions in Wisconsin

    1. World's Largest Fish - Hayward. The largest building in the town of Hayward is a giant fiberglass musky, a part of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. The musky is four and a half stories tall and as long as a Boeing 757. Enter through the musky's tail and make your way up to the observation platform in the fish's open jaw that ...