The Best Things to do in Wisconsin

The 25 Best Things to do in Wisconsin

It’s easy to be an outdoor lover in Wisconsin, as this scenic getaway is home to more than 15,000 inland lakes, two Great Lakes, and the mighty Mississippi River. With its rolling countryside landscapes, nature-filled parks, and picturesque beaches, the Badger State truly has something for everyone!

While colder months make Wisconsin perfect for skiing and snowboarding, the beaches in Door County and numerous sparkling lakes scattered around the state offer endless year-round activities. In the fall, a drive down the bucket list-worthy Great River Road offers a glimpse of some of the best natural scenery in the United States. 

Beer lovers are spoiled for choice in Milwaukee, while vacationing families can enjoy action-packed water adventure in the Wisconsin Dells, aka the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” The Apostle Islands, Cave of the Mounds, and Devil’s Lake are just some of the world-class natural wonders worth exploring, while underrated cities like New Glarus offer a dose of small-town charm. 

With so many things to see and do in Wisconsin, it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve got you covered with our Wisconsin travel guide, which highlights the best outdoor attractions, road trips, family-friendly spots, and hidden gems in this beautiful Midwestern state.

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25 cool and unique things to do in Wisconsin

1. Wear a Cheese Head Hat at a Green Bay Packers Game 

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Green Bay Packers Game

For the full Wisconsin local experience, snag tickets to a Green Bay Packers football game. Get your favorite green and gold apparel ready and head to Lambeau Field, the team’s home field and longest continuously occupied stadium in the NFL. Bonus points if you wear a foam “cheese head” hat! 

While it’s a top thing to do in Wisconsin, those who can’t make it to a game can still sign up for a stadium tour. There’s a range of options to choose from, including the hour-long Classic Stadium Tour, where you can go down to field level through the Player’s Tunnel. 

A quick Field Viewing experience gives you guided access to the Lambeau Field Bowl, while the Legendary Stadium Tour adds extra perks, like the chance to see the Lee Remmel Press Box and team locker room. You can even hear stories and history unique to a player on an Alumni Tour or combine your visit with a chance to browse the Hall of Fame. 

If you prefer to explore on your own, follow the Packers Heritage Trail, a walking/biking or driving route that takes you through the city of Green Bay and various locations that played a role in Green Bay Packers’ history. Alternately, the Walk of Legends is a one-mile walk where 14 statues showcase the football team’s most celebrated legends. 

2. Go Beach Hopping in Door County

Unique Things to do in Wisconsin: Door County

Relaxing in the sun and on the sand along Lake Michigan is a must-do activity in Wisconsin in the summer months. In Door County, you’ll find nearly 300 miles of shoreline and some of the best beaches in the Midwest. 

There is a beach for everyone in Door County, whether you prefer a family-friendly coast with gentle waves or want to participate in action-packed water sports. Nicolet Beach in Peninsula State Park has family-friendly amenities such as a playground and volleyball courts, while Waterfront Park in Sister Bay is a short walk from dining and shopping. 

Sun-seekers will love basking in the sunshine at Whitefish Dunes State Park, which is considered one of the best beaches in the state, but if you’re looking for an uncrowded shoreline, take the ferry to Rock Island State Park. Alternately, outdoor lovers can hike to an overlook at the Surgeon Bay Canal or fish off the pier at Frank Murphy Park in Egg Harbor. 

Kids can make a splash in the shallow waters and sandbars or kiteboard at Ridges Beach in Baileys Harbor or play in the water at Sand Bay Beach. Schoolhouse Beach is one of the most unique beaches in Wisconsin, with its picturesque bay made up of smooth stones created from centuries of water tumbling them. 

3. Get a Bird’s-Eye View at Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County

Must do things in Wisconsin: Cana Island Lighthouse

One of the most beautiful attractions in Door County, the Cana Island Lighthouse is located just north of Baileys Harbor. You’ll have to venture to the end of a narrow road, but it will be worth it for a chance to see an 85-foot-high view of Lake Michigan. 

With over 150 years of standing watch, this lighthouse is one of the most iconic in the state. One of the best ways to experience this historic attraction is by climbing the 97 steps up the tower’s spiral staircase to the gallery deck, where you can gaze out at spectacular Lake Michigan and Door County peninsula views. 

While the lighthouse is what draws in visitors, the attraction’s natural surroundings are just as appealing. You can see the rocky shoreline and towering evergreen trees along the (non-designated) trails and footpaths. 

You can go on complimentary tractor and hay-wagon rides over the causeway to explore the island and light tower. However, plan your trip accordingly, as the lighthouse is only open from May to October. 

4. See a Limestone Rock Beach at Schoolhouse Beach

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Schoolhouse Beach

One of the coolest things to do in Wisconsin if you’re a beach lover, Schoolhouse Beach features one of the most unique landscapes in the US. One of only five beaches in the world like it, this pebble beach is so beautiful that it’s against the law to remove its rocks!

There is no sand at this enchanting Wisconsin beach, but instead, you’ll discover a beautiful collection of smooth limestone rocks. Unlike other beaches, you won’t feel the sand between your toes here, as this sand-less beach is comprised of glacier-polished natural gems that were formed over thousands of years. 

You can come here to marvel at the geologic treasures or bask in the sunshine along the shore. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters or be like a local and skip the stones along the surface of the water or stack them to build unique sculptures.  

Located at the tip of Door County, the one-of-a-kind Wisconsin beach is located on Washington Island. Sandals or shoes are recommended for walking along the rocks beyond the water’s edge. 

5. Enjoy Water Sports on Minocqua Lake

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Minocqua Lake

Minocqua Lake is one of the state’s most stunning natural attractions, offering beautiful scenery in Oneida County. Set within the northern Wisconsin resort town, it offers the perfect setting for a range of outdoor adventures and family vacations. 

Covering over 1,300 acres of land, the 60-foot-deep lake lures fishing enthusiasts in with a chance to reel in walleye, panfish, bass, and pike in its waters year-round. However, water-loving visitors are spoiled for choice with activities on the water, as this destination has been nicknamed “Nature’s Original Water Park” for a reason! 

You can zip across the lake while waterskiing, tubing, or wakeboarding, or sit back and enjoy a relaxing pontoon ride at sunset. There are actually over 2,000 lakes surrounding Minocqua, which means you can also find plenty of spots for swimming and quiet shorelines. 

If you’ve got the kids in tow, some of the most popular family-friendly entertainment in Minocqua include the Min-Aqua Bats Waterski Show and Fred Scheer’s Lumberjack Show. Off the water, Bearskin State Trail is a multi-use trail perfect for walking and biking along the picturesque Bearskin Creek. 

6. Go Sea Kayaking in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Wisconsin Bucket List: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

If you’re a nature lover looking for adventure, add Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to your Wisconsin bucket list. Dubbed the “Crown Jewels,” the 21 Apostle Islands on Lake Superior are all about the outdoors, where you can explore sea caves, hiking trails, and 100-year-old lighthouses and get a peek at local marine wildlife. 

Take a water taxi or cruise to the islands on a sightseeing boat, while active travelers can paddle in a kayak on a guided or self-guided tour. Apostle Islands Sea Kayaking and Whitecap Kayak both offer guided sea kayaking adventures for those who want to get up close to the natural wonders. 

Launch a sea kayak and head out to the sea caves from Meyers Beach or hike the two-mile Lakeshore Trail for views of the sea caves from above. You can visit Raspberry Island and get a ranger-led tour of the light station or enjoy beach hopping on Stockton Island, which is a favorite for its untouched beauty. 

You can spend an entire day exploring Sand Island with its lighthouse, hiking, and sea caves, while Oak Island has some of the highest bluffs on Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline. Alternately, Devils Island is the farthest of the island archipelago and features some of the area’s most alluring sea caves and cliffs under its lighthouse. 

7. Follow Waterfall Hikes in Copper Falls State Park

What to do in Wisconsin: Copper Falls State Park

Copper Falls State Park offers an adventurous day outdoors with its long list of natural wonders, which include ancient lava flows, deep gorges, and impressive waterfalls. It’s easily one of the most beautiful state parks in Wisconsin, favored for its photogenic hiking trails and scenic overlooks. 

For some of the best views in the park, follow the 17 miles of hiking trails, which offer vistas of the 80-foot-deep gorge from several overlooks. You can hike or bike the Takesson Trail for views of the Bad River, while the CCC 692 Trail leads to a 65-foot observation tower for views of Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands, and Penokee Range. 

The 1.7-mile Doughboy’s Nature Trail, which follows along the Bad River, is considered one of the best hikes in the state. On this trail, you can get prime viewing of Copper Falls, Brownstone Falls, and the Tyler Forks cascades. 

You’ll find a long list of other activities to enjoy, from camping and biking trails to fishing and swimming opportunities in Loon Lake. Make sure to see the log buildings that date back to the 1930s, which add to the park’s historic charm. 

8. Paddle the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

Pack your paddle and sense of adventure and head to Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. Formed by the Saint Croix and Namekagon rivers, this riverway offers 255 miles of crystal clear waters and is a paradise in Wisconsin for kayaking, canoeing, boating, sailing, and fishing. 

The exciting stretch from Nelsons to Soderbeck is ideal for adventure-seeking paddlers, while Interstate Parks to Osceola Landing offers stunning views of the St. Croix Dalles, a deep gorge formed thousands of years ago. Big Bend to the Namekagon River Visitor Center is one of the area’s most scenic stretches, making it a hotspot for tubers, paddlers, and fishing enthusiasts. 

For a calm float, paddle the Lower Namekagon from Whispering Pines to McDowell, where white pine tower above the canopy and you can see turtles nestled in the sandy banks. If you’re looking to get away from it all, the Lower Namekagon River from County K to Whispering Pine is great for wildlife viewing and far away from roads and highways. 

If you prefer to stay on dry land, you can also explore this area on foot. There are plenty of scenic walking trails where you can enjoy waterside views, while camping and biking are other popular activities. 

9. Photograph Waterfalls in Amnicon Falls State Park

Fun Things to do in Wisconsin: Amnicon Falls State Park

A great destination to go waterfall chasing, Amnicon Falls State Park features a series of cascades and rapids along the Amnicon River. Families will love this natural oasis in South Range with its picnic spots, covered footbridge, and unique geological formations. 

Walk along the 55-foot-long covered bridge for views of the lower falls or follow the two miles of trails along the rocky shore of the river. Here you can learn about the Douglas Fault, which is the 500-million-year-old crack that created the falls. 

While the Upper Falls and Lower Falls are the park’s main attractions with their 20-foot-high cascades, there are also a few less powerful waterfalls. Snake Pit Falls is actually the tallest in the park but sees less flow, while Now and Then Falls is a tiny waterfall that only flows when river levels are high. 

Amnicon Falls State Park boasts a scenic day-use area that features picnic tables nestled under towering red and white pines, while it’s also a delightful park for camping, with a rustic campground that features mostly shaded sites. Kids will love the swing set, sandbox, and large field perfect for burning off some steam. 

10. Follow the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Interstate State Park

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Hikers will want to add Interstate State Park to their Wisconsin travel itinerary. Not only is it the oldest state park in the state (established in 1900), but this St. Croix Falls attraction also features scenic river-view hikes that wind past rocky glacial potholes. 

Located along the picture-perfect St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, its most striking feature is a steep-sided gorge called the “Dalles of the St. Croix.” There are more than nine miles of trails for you to take in the spectacular scenery that is famously a part of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. 

One of the most notable hikes is the Pothole Trail, a short 0.4-mile loop with stunning views of the river gorge. You’ll walk on top of the “Old Man” of the Dalles rock formation and come face-to-face with potholes formed by glacial meltwaters. While hiking is popular, you can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and a swimming beach, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter months. 

All ages love exploring the park’s Ice Age Interpretive Center, where you can learn about Wisconsin’s glacial history through films, photographs, and murals. Camping is available and there are also several different picnic areas featuring tables, fireplaces, grills, and restrooms that are perfect for day trips. 

11. Co Camping in Willow River State Park

Cool Things to do in Wisconsin: Willow River State Park

One of the most scenic destinations in Wisconsin, Willow River State Park features over 2,800 acres of picturesque landscapes that include Willow Falls and the Willow River Gorge. You can enjoy year-round recreation in this western Wisconsin park with its campground, boat launch, 400-foot beach, and Nature Center. 

You’re spoiled for choice with nature views, as the park has four overlooks that offer stunning views of the plunging waterfalls and Willow River Gorge. You can also pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic on the 172-acre Little Falls Lake for waterfront views. 

In summer, the park is a hotspot for fishing and canoeing on Little Falls Lake, while Willow River’s campground is one of the most popular in Wisconsin. With 13 miles of hiking trails, you can follow the Willow Falls route to capture beautiful views overlooking the river valley. 

Alternately, opt for a visit in winter to see its landscapes covered in a blanket of snow. Popular activities during this time include snowshoeing, dogsledding, and ice fishing. Wildlife watching during this time is abundant, with a chance to spot deer, chickadee, cardinal, red fox, and bald eagles in the area! 

12. Road Trip Along the Mississippi on Great River Road

Wisconsin Bucket List: Great River Road

Pack your snacks and supplies and hit the road along Wisconsin’s Great River Road, one of the most scenic routes in the Midwest. For 250 miles, drivers will encounter charming river towns, quaint villages, historic sites, and plenty of mom-and-pop restaurants, as well as several state parks and wildlife refuges. 

Only a portion of this national scenic byway passes through the state, as the Great River Road traces the majestic Mississippi River down the eastern United States. Wisconsin’s portion traces the river from Kieler in the southwest corner to Prescott, where the St. Croix River dumps into the Mississippi. 

While this journey takes you through 33 historic Wisconsin towns, some spots are particularly noteworthy. La Crosse is a waterside city known for its Mississippi River views, scenic hikes, and lively college atmosphere, with Grandad Bluff a highlight for outdoor enthusiasts. Bagley is home to Wyalusing State Park, one of Wisconsin’s oldest state parks, while Stockholm is beloved for its antique shops and Maiden Rock Bluff State Natural Area

Add Trempealeau to your list of Wisconsin activities, where you can stroll its historic main street, go wine tasting at Elmaro Vineyard, and pick your own apples at Ecker’s Apple Farm. Mississippi River views can also be seen from the town’s stunning Perrot State Park

13. Go Underground in the Cave of the Mounds

Must do things in Wisconsin: Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds is an excellent addition to your Wisconsin bucket list if you enjoy offbeat adventures. Located near the Blue Mounds area of the state, this natural attraction gives you the chance to explore an underground limestone cave.

Dubbed the “jewel box” of major American caves, the geologic wonder is known for its speleothems, which is a type of mineral deposit. On a self-guided tour of the subterranean caves, you will journey along paved, lighted walkways through the interior, which is filled with an array of natural formations in shades of vibrant colors. 

The National Natural Landmark was discovered in 1939, but it dates back much further to about 488 million years ago. It’s a great attraction for all ages, as you’ll learn about the cave’s interesting stalactites, stalagmites, and columns, as well as other notable formations of limestone rock. 

See if you can spot one of its most notable formations, the “soda straws,” which are delicate hollow tubes made of minerals. After going underground, you can head back to ground level to hike the scenic Karst View Trail for stunning views of the surrounding countryside. 

14. Make a Splash at Wisconsin Dells’ Many Waterparks

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Waterparks

If you’re ready for some fun in the sun, Wisconsin Dells is the place to be! Known as the “Waterpark Capital of the World,” this corner of the state is a hotspot for outdoor activities in the glacier-carved gorges along the Wisconsin River.

Only 50 miles northwest of Madison, this kid-approved getaway is loved for its waterpark resorts and old-fashioned amusement parks. Noah’s Ark Water Park is one of the largest water parks in the country, featuring lazy rivers, bumper boats, slides, and rides, while Mt. Olympus offers a classic theme park experience with roller coasters and rides. For a resort and waterpark combo, stay overnight at Great Wolf Lodge

It’s a popular vacation destination for families in the US for a reason, as you’ll find a long list of activities that appeal to everyone in the group. Aside from the waterparks, it’s also home to a quaint downtown area with shops and restaurants as well as breweries and distilleries.

If you want a glimpse of the Dells’ signature sandstone cliffs, hop aboard a double-decker boat for a sunset cruise. For a unique way to see the city, splash into the Wisconsin River and Lake Delton on an iconic Original Wisconsin Ducks tour!

15. Ski, Snowboard & Snow Tube at Cascade Mountain

Unique Things to do in Wisconsin: Cascade Mountains

A visit to Cascade Mountain is one of the best things to do in Wisconsin if you’re a winter sports enthusiast. Located in Portage, it’s a top spot in the state for skiing and snowboarding and is home to over 40 adrenaline-pumping trails that range in difficulty.

You’ll be whisked to the top of the mountain with a ski lift, then discover three terrain parks designed for various skill levels, from expert to first-time beginners. After skiing and snowboarding, snow lovers of all ages can take the plunge down the fun snow tubing slides. Enjoy the thrilling ride down the 900-foot-long chutes, then ride a surface lift back up for another round!

Designed for little ones, the Cascade Kids program offers two-hour group lessons for children. Grouped by age and ability level, they will have fun while learning about safety and improving their skiing and snowboarding skills. 

16. Hike to Huge Rock Formations in Devil’s Lake State Park

Fun Things to do in Wisconsin: Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park is one of the coolest things to do in Wisconsin, home to a collection of towering 500-feet-tall quartzite bluffs overlooking a 360-acre lake. It attracts nature lovers throughout the year with its range of outdoor activities, including climbing, boating, kayaking, and camping, while the warmer months see a wave of sun-seekers flocking to its picturesque beaches. 

Anchoring more than 27,000 acres of parkland and natural areas, a hike in this popular state park is a must! Most hikers come here to see the collection of photogenic rock formations along the East Bluff, Balanced Rock, and Devil’s Doorway trails. With nearly 30 miles of hiking options, the best flat trails are Tumbled Rocks and Grottos Trail. 

After a hike, head to the swimming beaches and picnic areas that are just a quick walk from the main parking lots. Go for a swim or stroll the shoreline, then take advantage of the family-friendly area with picnic tables, grills, and concession stands. 

If you coincide your visit to this park with the fall season, you can also have the opportunity to admire some of the state’s best foliage viewing. The leaves are usually at their peak in mid-October, but anywhere from late September to late October is a great time to visit! 

17. Stop to Smell the Roses at Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Established in 1952, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a top attraction in Madison. You can easily spend a few hours exploring the enchanting gardens here, which feature 16 acres of stunning landscapes and a tropical conservatory with exotic plants and a waterfall. 

Nature lovers of all ages will enjoy strolling through the beautiful outdoor gardens, which display Midwest-hardy plants that can withstand the frigid winters. A highlight is the colorful two-acre Rose Garden, as well as the Thai Garden with a pavilion that is the only one of its kind in the continental United States. 

Available year-round, Olbrich Botanical Gardens also features impressive floral displays in its specialty gardens too, including the Perennial Garden, Meadow Garden, and Herb Garden. The formal, traditional, English-style Sunken Garden features an elegant 80-foot-long reflecting pool.

Escape to the tropics in the garden’s Bolz Conservatory, a sunny 50-foot-high glass pyramid that features more than 650 tropical plants. It’s a feast for the senses when you enter the space, with a cascading waterfall, free-flying birds, and blooming orchids.

18. Marvel at Historic Airplanes at EAA AirVenture Museum

Must Do Things in Wisconsin: Experimental Aircraft Association
Images courtesy of EAA AirVenture Museum, photographed by Jason Toney

The EAA AirVenture Museum is one of the most unique things to do in Wisconsin, home to about 200 historic airplanes within its world-class facilities. Featured exhibits showcase anything from personal memorabilia of astronauts to antique and classic aircraft. 

Step back into the golden age of aviation while admiring planes dating back as early as 1918, then explore the Women Flyers of WWII to learn about the heroic women pilots who served the country. Let kids browse the KidVenture Gallery, which features interactive exhibits and half-scale models. 

From May to October, a short tram ride from the museum takes you to Pioneer Airport, which is a unique “living history” re-creation of what airports were like during the early days of travel. In the hangars are more than 50 vintage airplanes. 

If you visit in summer, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual end-of-July AirVenture is a popular event. Located at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, it features a week of thrilling air shows and displays of unique planes, from double-decker jets to fighter jets and warbirds, as well as camaraderie with fellow aviation enthusiasts. 

19. Glimpse Lake Michigan from Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve

Located in Grafton, Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve is one of the last stretches of undeveloped bluff land along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline. Hikers can follow the adventurous trek for a glimpse of the park’s monumental 100-foot-tall bluffs.

There’s plenty to see and do here, with hikes leading to boardwalks through wetlands, a giant staircase that descends through the forest, and miles of beachfront. The wilderness retreat is also home to pristine wetlands, a pond, and a salmon-filled stream. 

A short drive away is Harrington Beach, which features more than a mile of shoreline along Lake Michigan. The 715-acre park is a popular spot for sunbathing, camping, and bird watching, while volleyball courts are also available.

Kohler-Andrae State Park is another popular nearby attraction for enjoying the outdoors, where you’ll discover a photogenic landscape of enchanting sand dunes. With miles of golden sand, you can camp overnight and enjoy views of the dazzling blue waters of Lake Michigan. 

20. Admire Masterpieces in Milwaukee Art Museum

Fun Things to do in Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum

​​Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee Art Museum boasts more than 30,000 works of art. It’s famous for its striking exterior, which includes wings that fold and unfold over the architectural landmark. 

The massive 341,000-square-foot museum has four floors and over 40 galleries for you to explore, with art regularly rotated. Famous artists are represented, such as Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Claude Monte, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol. 

You don’t have to be an art aficionado to appreciate the displays in Wisconsin’s largest art museum, as the collection features fascinating artifacts that span from ancient times to the present day. The museum also boasts one of the largest collections by Wisconsin native Georgia O’Keeffe.

Considered some of the best in the nation, its highlights include American decorative arts, German Expressionism, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960. You also don’t want to miss the 15th– to 20th-century European and 17th– to 20th-century American paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs. 

21. Explore the Historic Third Ward in Milwaukee

Wisconsin Bucket List: Historic Third Ward in Milwaukee

A nationally-listed Historic District in Milwaukee, the Historic Third Ward is a revitalized warehouse district and a great place to explore. Located south of downtown, it is comprised of a 10-square-block space and features over 70 historic buildings.

Spend an afternoon exploring the Historic Third Ward to see its collection of cultural attractions, which include studios, galleries, boutiques, theaters, and historic sites. The area is known as a creative hub, while you’ll also discover a range of eclectic eateries and bars.

Two of its most notable landmarks include the award-winning Milwaukee Public Market and the nationally acclaimed Third Ward Riverwalk. The public market is an excellent destination when hunger pangs hit, offering a selection of freshly prepared foods from local vendors. 

One of the best ways to see the Historic Third Ward is via the electric streetcar system, but if you’ve got the time, explore the trendy neighborhood on foot to see it all. Along the lakefront is Henry Maier Festival Park, a popular area in summer with live concerts and entertainment.  

22. Climb the Observation Tower at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Cool Things to do in Wisconsin: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Images courtesy of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center features scenic hiking trails that traverse 185 acres of forests, ponds, prairies, and shoreline. It’s just 15 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee but might as well be a world away with its comprehensive nature center, raptor program, and bird habitat. 

Lace up your boots to explore the park’s six miles of trails, then climb the 60-foot observation tower for a stunning view of the property and Lake Michigan from above the tree canopy. While this is a must-see attraction in the fall with the seasonal foliage, the Milner Lake Michigan Viewing Deck is another hotspot for serene lake views on the north end of the Lake Terrace Trail. 

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

You can also visit Mystery Lake to see the frogs, turtles, waterfowl, and other wildlife, or head to the Raptor Exhibit in the Visitor Center to observe the red-tailed hawk named Sky Walker! As you explore the trails, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife conservation efforts that include bat boxes, an insect hotel, and nesting boxes for birds. 

Bring the little ones along, as they’ll love the live animal exhibits. Say hello to Emerson, the snapping turtle, or explore one of the other interactive, kid-friendly exhibits. All ages will enjoy relaxing in the wooden rocking chairs on the tranquil waterfront veranda. 

23. Stroll Lakeside Paths in Lake Geneva

Best Things to do in Wisconsin: Lake Geneva

For a scenic getaway, add Geneva Lake to your Wisconsin itinerary. The famously clear natural wonder is surrounded by 19th-century mansions, vacation homes, and luxury resorts, with the charming town of Lake Geneva set on its east end. 

From here, you can enjoy a quiet lakeside stroll along the town’s 26-mile-long Geneva Lake Shore Path as you gaze at the tranquil scenery that includes sailboats bobbing in the water. Alternately, you can hop on the Lake Geneva Cruise Line for a closer look at the elegant Victorian estates, including the historic Queen Anne-style Black Point Estate that dates back to 1888. 

In town, the Geneva Lake Museum features a re-created Main Street for a glimpse of what life was like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Spend your afternoon browsing Lake Geneva’s quaint cafes and shops, and don’t miss a visit to Studio Winery + Lake Geneva Lake Distilling for live music, art workshops, and wine or spirit tastings. 

If you’re visiting Lake Geneva with the family, you can head to Riviera Beach for sun and sand. Big Foot Beach State Park is a popular spot for hiking, swimming, and camping, while the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre puts on kid-friendly magic and illusion shows. 

Book a 1-Hour Lake Geneva Cruise

24. Explore “America’s Little Switzerland”

Unique Things to do in Wisconsin: New Glarus Brewing Company
Images courtesy of New Glarus Brewing Company photographed by Sue Moen

You can get a European setting without the hefty price of a plane ticket by visiting New Glarus, a small southern Wisconsin town known as “America’s Little Switzerland.” Originally settled by Swiss immigrants in the mid-1800s, expect colorful Alpine-style architecture, a rich history, and old-world charm.

The picturesque community showcases its heritage through its architecture and cuisine, with residents observing Swiss traditions throughout the year. Get the full story by visiting the Swiss Historical Village Museum, which showcases a traditional Swiss bee house, replica cheese factory, and original schoolhouse. 

You can’t leave without visiting the family-run New Glarus Brewing Company, as this landmark attraction offers samples of its award-winning brews. If you’re not a beer drinker, head to Edelweiss Cheese for decadent artisan cheese varieties or the New Glarus Bakery for sweet Swiss delicacies, such as buttercream cakes and butter cookies.

Founded in 1893, Puempel’s Olde Tavern is more than just a local drinking establishment with old-world Swiss traditions, as the welcoming space has been welcoming visitors for over a century. However, when you’re ready to burn all those calories, you can hop on a bike and follow the abandoned railroad line on the Sugar River State Trail.

25. Take a Behind-the-Scenes Brewery Tour

Unique Things to do in Wisconsin: Brewery Tour

An activity for the 21 and up crowd, you can dive into Wisconsin’s brewing legacy on a behind-the-scenes tour. In addition to seeing the process of bottling the beers, you’ll have the chance to sample a few of these delicious adult beverages! 

In Milwaukee, you can visit Miller Brewing Company, Sprecher, and Lakefront breweries. The Wisconsin Brewing Company is another favorite in Verona, featuring a backyard bar that is kid and dog friendly. An award-winning brewery, 1840 Brewing Company is one of Milwaukee’s best. 

Alternately, opt for a tour of the elegant Pabst Mansion to get a peak of its elaborate wall coverings and stained glass within the 1890s Flemish Renaissance mansion. You can even stay overnight in the Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery, as the famous Brewhouse Inn & Suites is set within Milwaukee’s Brewery District. 

Head to Badger State Brewing Company to sample Wisconsin-brewed beers, or enjoy beers and a golf simulator in the taproom at 3 Sheeps Brewing Co in Sheboygan. Located in Brookfield, Biloba Brewing Company is a family-run establishment that has a cozy taproom inspired by German beer halls.

There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Wisconsin. What’s your favorite thing to do in the Badger State?

Planning a trip to Wisconsin? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


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