We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

Carlsbad, CA
14 posts
Save Topic
Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

We planning a trip to Wisconsin this July and need ideas for someplace to go. We've only been to Milwaukee to visit friends so we're looking to branch out this time. I don't really know the state other than Milwaukee. Where do people go during the summer? Someplace with a lot of outdoor activities would be ideal - canoeing, hiking, swimming etc. Our friends have two girls, 12 and under so we need to take that into consideration too. Thanks for your ideas.

Glenview, Illinois
Level Contributor
12 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

You should try Door County. It is about 3 hours north of Milwaukee. A very nice place to stay is Carraig Mor Cottage in Baileys Harbor. If you search this area and cottage you will get plenty of information.

Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
Level Contributor
10,299 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

You might start by visiting web sites, www.travelwisconsin.com, www.wisconsin-tourism.com or www.discoverwisconsin.com

The kids would enjoy Wisconsin Dells, which is a huge summer playground. It is very touristy, but there are nice lakes and woods for outdoor activities also.

You can also find much more secluded lake and wilderness areas furhter north or west in Wisconsin.

Level Contributor
1,146 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

As stated Wisconsin Dells is very touristy and so is Door County. Also both of these areas will have more places to spend more money.

There are other areas in Wisconsin that are much more quiet but still offer outdoor activities. Which are you looking for.

Quiet or Touristy or there are places you can go that offer both of both worlds.

Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
6,104 posts
117 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

suggestions offhand:


Apostle Islands

Madeline Island

gorgeous areas above with endless outdoor activities.

Door County--great beauty and outdoor activities abound

Wisconsin Dells--great for a day of fun at the waterpark and for the Original Wisconsin Ducks boat tour to enjoy nature. Also in nearby Baraboo keep in mind: International Crane Foundation and Circus World Museum, a good balance for both adults and kids to enjoy. Go a little further and you can take in some local kitsch with "The House on the Rock".


Mississippi River road through WI has a lot of neat towns and would offer the outdoor stuff mentioned in your post

Any place really interesting, full of activities or natural beauty can be touristy but it's how you plan. It can be both affordable and enjoyable if you work around some things (going on weekdays vs. weekends for example).

Did you have a particular area within WI or will you consider anywhere in the state?

Closer to Milwaukee are things like the Domes, the Jelly Belly factory (south of), mail boat delivery tour in Lake Geneva. Lake Geneva many fuss about the high prices, but we always work within a low budget just about anywhere and do just fine, if that's a concern. It is a popular area with many things to do. There's a nice beach in Racine, I believe North Beach. Old World Wisconsin in Mukwonago is west of Milwaukee and very interesting for young and old alike, it's a living history museum on I believe 700 some acres.

Level Contributor
242 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

Around here, people tend to spend their time on a lake. The small, family-run lake resorts (the best kind) would be ideal for what you describe, but they book by the week in July. If that works, check out Afterglow Resort in northeast Wisconsin; lots to do there.

For just a few days, there's a lot to do around Baraboo in central Wisconsin -- Devil's Lake State Park (gorgeous, clear lake and fantastic hiking), Circus World and, of course, the Dells, which are touristy but still fun; be sure to take a boat tour.

Door County is great for paddling, hiking and swimming, and if you stick to the Lake Michigan side, it's not that touristy.

For something truly Wisconsin, you could go to an Ojibwe heritage village in northern lakes country near Minocqua and to Hayward for the Lumberjack Championships in late July (also you can see the iconic giant fiberglass musky there).

Not far from Hayward in Spooner, there's a rodeo in July, and a railroad that gives theme excursions, and tubing and canoeing on the Namekagon River.

In southwest Wisconsin, there's a lot of great bicycling (you've probably heard of the Elroy-Sparta Trail), and kids love to visit Amish farms. North America's most crooked river is there, too; it's shallow, so safe for kids.

Families also love to rent cabins or houses on Madeline Island, in the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior. The water is a little chilly, but there's great bicycling, and you can take the ferry over to Bayfield to explore.

If you're going to start in Milwaukee, you might want to try to be there for the Great Circus Parade Festival, July 8-12.

There's more in my story "Wisconsin for kids,''


It's hard to go wrong in July in Wisconsin (but you should reserve now).

Beth at MidwestWeekends.com

Carlsbad, CA
14 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

Wow, thanks everyone. You've given me tons of ideas. Now the fun part begins...planning.

Thanks again all of you.

Winter, WI
Level Contributor
1 post
Save Reply
7. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin


You might enjoy a trip to Winter, Wisconsin. There is hiking, biking, camping, canoing and also motorized sports, if you enjoy that.

Try going to winterwi.com and checking out their site. The "fun maps" button on the opening page will take you to numerous campgrounds, boat launches, biking and canoe routes. Motels and resorts also have their listings on the menue on the left.

July 4th is a great time to be in Winter. There is a fun "July Jubilee" celebration with a fun run and 10 K run with activities throughout the day.

Have fun in the northland.



New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Madison
Level Contributor
1,264 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

I don't think anyone has mentioned the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest which you should also check out. It's big and is near many of the places that have already been mentioned. Here's the web link http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/cnnf/. There are lots of rivers in Wisconsin that are fun to paddle. There are easy ones near Boulder Junction--I think I recall the Trout River as one that might work with younger children. When we were older we loved rafting and canoeing on the Wolf River. Pam

Central Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
Level Contributor
4,624 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin


Just few hours north of Milwaukee and a lot of fun is the Waupaca Area and the Chain-O-Lakes. There is a State campground in Waupaca, there are sternwheeler cruises on the Chain and wonderful hiking and biking trails along with wonderful and intersting stores. Waupaca has one of the nicest most interesting furniture store in the whole state, Stange's!


The chain-O-Lakes consists of a bunch of inter-connected lakes. There is boat and jet ski rentals, wondeful restaurants on the water with live music and other entertainment going on all week long.


Good luck whatever you decide,


Baileys Harbor, WI
8 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Vacation ideas for Wisconsin

I agree with many of the other members. Door County offers a wide variety of things to do. Cultural activities, outdoor activities, shopping, restaurants, etc. Just like any other vacation you will spend money, however Door County can suit many budgets. Definitely check out www.doorcounty.com, the county's visitors bureau as well as www.doorcountyfamilyfun.com for activities for the children. Door County has more shoreline than ANY OTHER county in the country! What's not to love!

Get answers to your questions about Wisconsin