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Wisconsin Dells is Much More than Waterparks
Wisconsin Dells is a unique place with roller coasters, escape rooms, t-shirt shops, and a park to pet deer. In addition to the bright lights and bustling crowds, you’ll find incredible hiking trails, lakes, strange rock formations, and lavender fields. For my first time, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It felt like Six Flags, Disney World, the Nashville bar scene, Vegas energy, and some of the most beautiful state parks in the Midwest, all in one place. There’s truly something for everyone in Wisconsin Dells.
I was invited by the Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau to explore this region. All opinions are my own.
1. Kickoff the Day with Caffeine
Bella Goose is a very popular spot for breakfast and there are actually two locations in Wisconsin Dells. Because it’s so popular there is a long wait and the line of people often wraps around the building. If you are looking for a sit-down meal, arrive early! If you just want a quick grab-and-go coffee or tea, visit the Cuppa Mudd drive-thru. You won’t need to exit your car and you’ll get a piping hot beverage immediately.
2. Enjoy a Cocktail at Dells Distillery
The Dells Distillery is located in the center of town. Walk right in and sit at the bar, or find a table in the back or upstairs. This space is huge. Many of the cocktails are made with their own liquors. If you’re not sure what to get, talk to the bartender who can help you. I had the vodka peach smash and my friend had a Moscow mule, both were refreshing!
3. Get Food at Grateful Shed
This food truck park is so unique, I’ve never been to something like this before. Walk around and grab one meal, or try them all. We shared pizza, tacos, cocktails, and a milkshake, all from different trucks. It can be a little chaotic because when you order you are usually given a buzzer to let you know when it’s ready. So the more food trucks you want to try, the more chaotic it can get, but we had fun taste testing it all.
Sit inside some of the trucks turned into tables and chairs, or find a spot in the massive school bus upstairs. Or, head outside to the large patio where you’ll find picnic tables, umbrellas and fire pits.
Shop some of my favorite travel items
4. Visit MACS for Mac and Cheese
This spot is a must! It is highly reviewed and so many people recommended it to me, and for good reason. There are a ton of different toppings to get and three sizes. I enjoyed the mac and cheese with grilled hotdog slices and my friend had a cheeseburger on top. We both ordered the second largest size and it was plenty. They are served in cast iron skillets and are really cheesy!
5. There’s Plenty of Hiking
Wisconsin is known for having a ton of incredible parks, trails, and lakes. In and around Wisconsin Dells, the two most popular spots are Mirror Lake and Devil’s Lake State Park. Mirror Lake is a shallow lake great for walking around or kayaking. This is a great spot for a leisurely stroll with beautiful views. Devil’s Lake State Park is for those looking for an intense workout, but I promise it’s worth it. The hike up to the two famous rock structures is essentially a one-hour hike up steps made out of stones. And of course, you’ll need to turn around and come back down at some point. Our legs were shaking by the end, but it was the highlight of the trip for me!
6. Take an Upper Dells Boat Tour
This two-hour boat tour departs from the heart of town is a super fun way to get on the Wisconsin River. You’ll learn a lot about the area and make two stops along the way to get off the boat and walk around. Witches Gulch is the first stop, which is a narrow canyon carved by wind and water. And the second stop is of Stand Rock, a pillar carved out of sandstone. The captain and tour guide are both so knowledgeable and shared a lot of information with us about the surrounding area throughout the trip.
7. Play Mini-Golf at Pirate’s Cove
This mini golf course is massive with five different courses of varying difficulty. It’s lit up at night so you can enjoy it well into the evening. They closed at 10 p.m. the day we visited. On a summer weekend, it’s a bustling place! Be prepared for a bit of waiting in between holes.
8. Pet Deer at the Park
The Deer Park is certainly a unique place, and they’ve been around for over 50 years. Walk around and pet the deer, or purchase crackers and feed them. They are so friendly and will walk right up to you. There are many other animals you can see, but not touch, including elk, bison, and emu. It’s $14/adult and $10/children. Children ages two and under are free.
9. Every Type of Adventure You Can Imagine
Perhaps what Wisconsin Dells is most known for is a tremendous variety of water parks, escape rooms, a place called Wizard Quest, roller coasters, go-karts, Top Secret, and everything in between. You can literally find something for everyone here, adults and kids alike!
10. Tumbled Rock Brewery & Kitchen
This is the perfect spot to visit after a tough hike at Devil’s Lake State Park. Located just down the road you’ll find three separates indoor spaces, a cozy open concept restaurant with a full bar, a wood fire pizza oven area and a brewhouse with a tap room. There is also a large uncovered outdoor patio. The pulled pork sandwich with pickled veggies and chips was exactly what I needed to refuel after a tough two-hour hike!
11. Walk Through Lavender Fields
I love visiting lavender fields. There’s something so whimsical about the purple plants growing neatly in perfectly planted rows. spend time walking around New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm. Smell the fragrant plants, take photos, or head inside the Farm Store where you’ll find lavender-inspired items such as lavender ice cream, linen spray, body wash, and essential oils. You can also sign up for a tour for $12/adult if you’d like to learn more.
12. Check Out the Unique Shops
Wisconsin Dells has a ton of shops, all with such a variety of items. If you walk around Broadway, the main street in the heart of downtown, you’ll find so many unique gifts and t-shirt shops, candy and fudge stores, jewelry stores, and even a tattoo parlor! Some of my favorites are KDC Traders, DooHickey’s Souvenirs and Gifts, Winnebago Boutique and Gift Shop, Dells Discount Outlet, and Uptown Trading Gifts.
13. Unwind and Recharge at a Marriott
There are so many options for places to stay. We chose Springhill Suites by Marriott because it was outside of the downtown noise and hustle and bustle, yet it’s close enough that it was a short drive to everything we wanted to do. There is a pool and gym and free breakfast each more with eggs, potatoes, bagels, fruit, waffles, cereal, and more! The rooms were very clean and the staff was so friendly.
Wisconsin Dells is a Very Unique Place
Wisconsin Dells is such a unique place and there is so much to explore. Whether you want to head to a water park, eat great food or get into nature, Wisconsin Dells has it all!