10 Wisconsin Summer Vacation Destinations Away from the Crowds
Fun for the whole family! Learn about the fifteen species of cranes at the International Crane Foundation and the history of trains at Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Ride an elephant and feed camels at Circus World. Let your imaginations run wild at Dr. Evermor's Art Park, located south of Baraboo across from the Badger Ordnance Plant. Back in Baraboo, refuel after climbing the bluffs at Devil's Lake State Park by indulging in a gourmet burrito topped with cumin sauce at the Little Village Cafe.
2. Cassville/Prairie du Chien
The Mississippi River and two state parks (Nelson Dewey and Wyalusing) offer a wide variety of recreational choices, including boating, hiking, and eagle watching. Visit the Stonefield and Villa Louis State Historic Sites to learn about early European settlers to Wisconsin. Other points of interest: Kickapoo Indian Caverns, St. John Mine, the Cassville Ferry, and Fort Crawford Museum.
3. Cedarburg/Port Washington
For shoppers and antique collectors, historic downtown Cedarburg offers many opportunities to indulge. For the family, there's Cedar Creek Settlement, Pioneer Village, and the Family Farm. Picnic at Covered Bridge Park, featuring Wisconsin's last remaining historical covered bridge. Nearby Port Washington, located on Lake Michigan, has the charm of a New England fishing village. Visit the Lighthouse Museum and Pier Street.
4. Chippewa Falls
Rolling hills in the heart of central Wisconsin provide a beautiful backdrop. Take a tour of Leinenkugel's Brewery or the Cook-Rutledge Museum. For kids, visit the Irvine Park zoo or nearby Fort Bon Secours to see historical reenactments of the French fur trade era. For outdoor enthusiasts, bike on the Old Abe State Bike Trail or hike in Lake Wissota State Park.
5. Dodgeville/Mineral Point/Spring Green
In Mineral Point, visit Pendarvis Historic Site to see how the early Cornish lead miners lived. Shop on historic High Street, and stop in at the Red Rooster Cafe for a pastie. Outside of Dodgeville, visit Folklore Village, then spend the rest of the day swimming and hiking at Governor Dodge State Park. Just down the road, visit the one-of-a-kind House on the Rock. Near Spring Green, see Shakespeare performed outdoors at American Player's Theatre and tour Taliesin, the estate and architectural school built by Frank Lloyd Wright.
6. Green Bay
Green Bay is home to more than Lambeau Field and the Packer Hall of Fame. Did you know it's the oldest settlement in Wisconsin, founded in 1669' Visit Heritage Hill State Park, site of four historical recreations of early life in Wisconsin, and the Oneida Nation Museum. Bay Beach Amusement Park appeals to children of all ages, and the low price can't be beat ' rides are only 20 cents! At the National Railroad Museum, visitors can take a short jaunt on a diesel-engine train.
Home to the great Birkebeiner cross-country ski race every winter, Hayward also offers summer fun. The area boasts 200 lakes and rivers, so fishing and water enthusiasts won't be bored. The nearby Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Take a cruise on the Wilderness Queen or the Denum Lacey and watch for bald eagles, loons, deer and black bear. Visit Scheer's Lumberjack Shows and the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.
Marinette County bills itself as the "Waterfalls Capital of Wisconsin" and publishes a helpful map listing fourteen falls on a scenic route. If you yearn for adventure, try whitewater rafting on the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers. Visit the Peshtigo Fire Museum to learn more about the Peshtigo Fire, a much more deadly fire than the Great Chicago Fire, which coincidentally happened the same day ' Oct. 8, 1871.
There's plenty to see and do in Wisconsin's sister city to Duluth. For outdoor enthusiasts, canoe on the Bois Brule and hike in Amnicon Falls State Park or Pattison State Park. (Both have beautiful waterfalls.) In Superior, visit Fairlawn Mansion & Museum, the Old Fire House & Police Museum, the S.S. Meteor & Maritime Museum, and the Superior Entry Lighthouse.
Host to this year's Farm Technology Days, July 15-17. Canoe the Crystal River or tour the Chain O' Lakes aboard the Chief Waupaca sternwheeler on a narrated cruise. Within Hartman Creek State Park, let the kids play at the sandy beach of Hartman Lake or fish in one of four lakes off limits to motorized boats. Bike the Ice Age Trail and view the Farmington Drumlins, teardrop-shaped hills created by glaciers.
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