One of our favorite places to spend time is home in Wisconsin! Here you’ll find lots of great attractions, cities, state parks, and all the best places to visit in Wisconsin – and we’re not just saying that because we’re from there!
Located in the Midwest, Wisconsin borders both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. As there are more than 15,000 lakes scattered around the state, there are lots of beautiful waterways for you to explore.
To help you make the most of your time in our lovely state, here are some of the best places to visit in Wisconsin!
Best time to visit Wisconsin
Most people visit Wisconsin in the summer, which has the best weather. However, there are things to do and places to visit in Wisconsin all year round.
- Summer – Summer is full of life in Wisconsin. There are festivals, concerts, events, and the woods and waters are warm & welcoming.
- Fall – The colors light up the forests surrounded by quiet lakes in fall. There are apples to pick and pumpkin patches with hay rides. If we had to pick a favorite season outside of summer to visit, it would be fall.
- Winter – Some may shy away from visiting in the winter months because it gets cold here in Wisconsin, but then you’d miss out on thousands of miles of snowmobile trails, frozen ice caves, and even Wisconsin Ice Castles.
- Spring – Spring can be long in Wisconsin and often flip back and forth to winter. Spring is fun in Wisconsin because the local residents will be in an especially good mood after the long winter thaws out, don’t be surprised if you see people walking around in shorts when it’s 40 degrees out.
While we always find great new spots to visit whenever we return home, the secret to having a good time wherever you go in Wisconsin is to make sure you always bring a few layers with you, as you never know when the weather will change.
Why Visit Wisconsin
There’s a lot more to Wisconsin than just cheese. Wisconsin has many different sides to it, from vibrant cities and charming towns next to picture-perfect lakes, rivers, and waterways.
There are some great local art and culture scenes for you to explore, microbreweries, museums, and many more things to do in Wisconsin. Well, we may be a little biased, but there really is something for everyone to enjoy!
1. Wisconsin Dells
One of the most popular places to vacation in the whole of the state is Wisconsin Dells. Wisconsin Dells is located just an hour north of Madison. With an abundance of incredible scenery in the form of its amazing rock formations, beautiful rivers, and sprawling forests, it is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with lots of great activities for you to try out.
While some people prefer to hike along the trails and paths that dot the scenic landscape, others prefer to take a cruise along the river, with ziplining and kayaking also popular activities. Although it can be hard to choose what to see and do, the Witches Gulch canyon and huge Stand Rock are special spots to check out.
A very family-friendly place to vacation, the city is home to a huge number of amazing water park hotels, so you’ll definitely want to bring your swimsuit with you! With indoor and outdoor water parks on offer, and plenty of mini-golf courses, spas, and shopping options available, it is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin, and you’ll certainly never get bored. We recommend this hotel. It is great for kids of all ages.
While the city has a lot going for it, the fantastic natural beauty all around it sets it apart from the rest and makes it a must-visit destination. There are some great restaurants too. Make sure to read our other articles:
- Best restaurants in Wisconsin Dells
- Best breakfast in Wisconsin Dells
- Best supper clubs in Wisconsin Dells
- Best Mexican food in Wisconsin Dells
- Best pizza in Wisconsin Dells
- Best breweries in Wisconsin Dells
- Best state parks near Wisconsin Dells
- Things to do in Wisconsin Dells
2. Door County
Known as ‘the Cape Cod of the Midwest,’ Door County is a fabulous place to visit, with five gorgeous state parks and a plethora of charming towns and villages to explore. As it is located on a narrow peninsula that lies between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, there are lovely shorelines to hike, boat or kayak along; you can even take a ferry to the beautiful Washington Island if you feel like it. Mid-May to mid-June is a particularly popular time of year to visit, as this is when you can see the pretty cherry blossoms in bloom.
Dotted away amongst all the amazing scenery, you’ll find quaint and historic towns and villages. Make sure to pay a visit to some of the old lighthouses that line the shoreline.
While there is certainly a very laidback feel to Door County, its pockets of life are home to a thriving arts and culture scene; there are several interesting museums, art galleries, and theaters for you to spend your time at.
Offering the perfect combination of history, culture, and nature, you’ll fall in love with Door County the minute you arrive!
Make sure to read our other Door County articles:
- Best restaurants in Door County
- Best breakfast in Door County
- How to plan the perfect weekend in Door County
Almost surrounded by water, the town of Minocqua is located on the shores of a large lake that bears the same name. Lots of people visit for the almost endless array of great outdoor activities.
In summer, waterskiing, fishing, and boating on the lake are all very popular, while hiking in the forests and camping beneath the stars are also fun to do. In wintertime, you can go cross-country skiing, as Minocqua turns into a winter wonderland. Ice skating and snowmobiling are also very popular activities.
If you’re after a more relaxed vacation, you can rent a houseboat or lakeside cabin and wile away the time taking in the gorgeous scenery. Make sure to visit a supper club in Wisconsin too. There are tons of great restaurants, here are our favorite restaurants in Minocqua.
4. Eagle River
With 28 lakes clustered together in a chain, Eagle River has lots of lovely waterways for you to enjoy, and the scenery on show that is breathtaking. Hiking through the forests that line the lakeshores is a favorite pastime of many people. It really is a special place to visit, whatever time of year you stop by.
In summer, the lakes are great for swimming, while in fall, the trees are blanketed in delightful autumnal colors. Winter, too is a fantastic time to visit Eagle River, as the city hosts the World Championship Snowmobile Derby.
Hidden away among the lakes and forests are lots of little cabins you can stay in; these are great for romantic getaways and family vacations. Located in beautiful natural settings, they make for a peaceful and idyllic place to stay.
You’ll find anything from go-karting and mini golf to farmers’ markets, ice cream parlors, and microbreweries just a short drive away. Eagle River is definitely one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin, and the beautiful nature will have you coming back time and time again.
5. Lake Geneva
Located in the southeast of the state, the lovely lakeside town of Lake Geneva is very picturesque. Forests cluster along the lakeshore, and beautiful old mansions can be spotted dotted amongst the trees.
The small city is a top-rated summer vacation destination, largely due to all the fantastic watersports on offer. Going for a scenic cruise around the lake is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and you can also go jet-skiing, parasailing, and kayaking on the lake’s glistening waters. Another favorite pastime is to either cycle or hike along the 21-mile Geneva Lake Walking Path that snakes its way along the lakeshore.
While Lake Geneva’s natural attractions are what most people come for, you’ll find lots of great bars, restaurants, and shops in the center of town. If you’re after a bit of history, visiting the beautiful Black Point Estate and Gardens is a must. Built in 1888, the estate has some wonderful architecture and beautifully landscaped gardens that are great to visit any time of year.
A laidback, friendly place to visit, Lake Geneva is undoubtedly worth checking out if you have the chance. For breastfast, make sure to visit one of these breakfast restaurants, and for lunch or dinner, here are our favorite restaurants in Lake Geneva.
The largest city in the state, Milwaukee is the place to head if you want a good beer; it has lots of great breweries, and at one time, it produced the most beer in the world! Taking a Milwaukee Brewery Tour is a must, and you’ll definitely get lots of tasty samples to try out.
The city has much more to offer than just delicious brews, though. There is a lively arts and culture scene for you to discover, with numerous interesting museums dotted around town. The Milwaukee Art Museum, the Harley-Davidson Museum, and the Milwaukee Public Museum are among the best museums in Milwaukee. Each of them offers interesting, informative, and entertaining exhibitions on many different subjects.
Its lively downtown has lots of great bars and restaurants, and there are several concert venues and theaters if you feel like going to see a show. Another memorable thing to do is to go and watch either the Brewers or Bucks play and join in any celebrations with their passionate and raucous fans.
In addition to all this, Milwaukee is known for its amazing public park system. The fact that it is located on the shore of Lake Michigan means that there are a plethora of great outdoor activities for you to enjoy. Milwaukee is certainly one of our favorite places to visit in Wisconsin; the vibrant city offers the perfect package of culture, nature, and brews!
Make sure to read our other Milwaukee articles:
- Best Breakfast in Milwaukee
- Best Italian in Milwaukee
- Best Burgers in Milwaukee
- Best Pizza in Milwaukee
- Best Sushi in Milwaukee
- Best Steakhouses in Milwaukee
- Best Lunch spots in Milwaukee
Lying on a narrow isthmus that runs between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, the state capital, is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery; you can find yourself in glorious forests and countryside just minutes after leaving the center.
While taking a cruise on either of the lakes is a popular pastime, Madison has a lot to offer for a city of its size; there is a great dining scene as well as lots of fantastic nightlife. This is in part because the University of Wisconsin-Madison is located in the city, and its sizeable student body gives Madison a lively and youthful feel.
One of the highlights is the spectacular State Capitol building. It is well worth wandering by in the evening when it is impressively lit up against the night sky. You can visit the state capital for free. Click here for daily free tour information and hours.
In addition to all the great restaurants scattered around town, Madison has many attractions to offer visitors, including a number of interesting museums and theaters, with many cultural events and festivals taking place throughout the year.
While Madison has a lot to offer, what really sets it apart from the rest of the cities in Wisconsin is its fantastic food scene. While wandering around town, you’ll find there really is a restaurant or cafe that caters to every palate.
8. Green Bay
The city has its roots in 1600s. Green Bay is remarkably the oldest town in the state, although that isn’t really what it is known for nowadays. The town is now synonymous with the famous NFL team that plays here; you really have to go and watch a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau. Click here for Lambeau Field Stadium tours.
Away from football, Green Bay has some excellent historical sights for you to see in the Historic Broadway District, which lies alongside the Fox River. If you’re visiting with children or just want to have a good time yourself, you can check out the Bay Beach Amusement Park or go kayaking along the river.
There are also many scenic paths and trails you can explore that aren’t too far from the center if you want a little peace and quiet after losing yourself in the furor and excitement surrounding a Packers game!
9. Devil’s Lake
Located in the beautiful Devil’s Lake State Park, the magnificent lake is one of the best places to visit in Wisconsin if you want to immerse yourself in nature. One of the most popular state parks in Wisconsin, the vast Devil’s Lake has lots of lovely scenery and a wide range of outdoor activities for to enjoy.
The main draw, of course, is the glistening body of water that lies at the heart of the park. Paddling, kayaking, or swimming is always great to do, or relaxing on the beach and taking in the marvelous views is a lovely way to spend your vacation.
While the watersports are lots of fun to try out, there is also a huge network of peaceful trails for you to hike along, and camping in the park always makes for a memorable experience. Fishing and cycling are very popular activities, as are rock climbing and bouldering amongst the steep cliffs that surround the lake.
Ideal for nature lovers, outdoor aficionados, and people who want to get out of the city for a bit, Devil’s Lake is definitely recommended!
Known as ‘the Gateway to the North,’ Crivitz acts as a hub for the surrounding area and makes for a great base if you want to head off into the wild for a bit. Lots of people come here to go hunting in the nearby forest or fishing in any of the plentiful lakes.
There are also lots of adventure activities for you to check out. White water rafting along the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers is great fun, and in winter, snowmobiling through the snow-coated forests makes for an exhilarating experience. The town itself is quite small, and most of life is geared towards the tourism industry because most people visit Crivits for the wealth of outdoor activities it offers.
As you can see, our beautiful home state of Wisconsin has much more going for it than just cheese. We’re confident you’ll have a great time exploring all its amazing cities, lakes, and attractions!
The sheer amount of beautiful natural scenery really is staggering, and there is an almost endless array of great outdoor activities for you to enjoy. While the natural beauty is what many people come for, we hope that this list of our favorite places to visit in Wisconsin will take you to fresh pastures that you maybe hadn’t thought of visiting before!