8 Bucket List Travel Destinations in Wisconsin
More than Just America’s Dairyland
Wisconsin is a unique midwestern state with coastlines on two Great Lakes and an interior known for farms, beer, cheese curds and cabins on the lakes. With busy cities and quiet state parks, Wisconsin is a beautiful state to visit year round. Read on for my roundup of the eight best places to visit in Wisconsin and let me know in the comments if I missed your favorite Wisconsin town.
Madison is Wisconsin’s capital city so it seems only right to be first on my list. Located just over four hours from the Twin Cities, it’s a great place to visit for a long weekend. Madison is a vibrant and lively city with bike lanes, great restaurants, two beautiful lakes, and the stunning Capitol building. Once you arrive in Madison, just about everything you’ll want to see is within walking distance, making it an easy city to navigate. Read my detailed blog post on Madison here!
Milwaukee, Wisconsin may be one of the midwest’s best-kept secrets. This underrated, laidback city has a scenic riverwalk, easy access to Lake Michigan, tons of historic buildings, several professional sports teams, and a large variety of breweries serving up refreshing beer. It’s an affordable and down-to-earth city with small local businesses, beer gardens, public parks, cheese curds, and epic summer concerts, making it a great place to visit and unwind. Read my detailed blog post on Milwaukee here.
3. La Crosse
La Crosse, Wisconsin is a cute river town just over one hour from Rochester, Minnesota. Known for its golden bluffs in the fall, paddle boarding on Lake Onalaska in the summer, and great restaurants, a brewery, distillery, and cute shops year-round, La Crosse is an exciting place to visit during any season. Read my blog post on La Crosse here.
4. Bayfield & the Apostle Islands
Bayfield is a quaint waterfront town in Wisconsin just over 90 minutes from Duluth with a population of just over 430 people. Spend the day in Bayfield, or take a ferry over to Madeline Island to camp, grab drinks at a bar, or bike. With coffee shops, bookstores, boutiques, and much more Bayfield and the Apostles Islands are an excellent place for a family trip or girls’ weekend. Read my detailed blog post on Bayfield.
5. Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells is a unique place with roller coasters, escape rooms, t-shirt shops, and a park for petting deer. In addition to the bright lights and bustling crowds, you’ll find incredible hiking trails, lakes, strange rock formations, and lavender fields. It feels 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. Read my detailed blog post on Wisconsin Dells here!
6. Eau Claire
Eau Claire, Wisconsin is a hidden gem! Located about 90 minutes from the Twin Cities, this up-and-coming riverfront town has so much to offer. With artwork scattered around town, upscale boutiques, coffee shops, breweries, bike trails, and historic bridges, it’s a unique town that seems to be growing quickly. Read my detailed blog post on Eau Claire here.
7. Vilas County
Vilas County in northern Wisconsin is a beautiful place that includes Minoqua, Boulder Junction, and Manitowish Waters. With cute downtowns, tons of shops, boutiques, restaurants, breweries, and beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls, this is a great place to visit any time of the year, but it really comes alive in summer. Read my detailed blog post here.
8. Door County
Maybe the most popular summer destination in Wisconsin, Door County should definitely be on your list! This small peninsula juts out into Lake Michigan and is known for its crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches, art galleries, and New England vibe. You’ll also find a plethora of wineries, orchards, and breweries, each with its own unique twist. Door County is super unique compared to the rest of Wisconsin and even the Midwest. Read my detailed blog post here.
Plan Your Next Trip
Wisconsin truly has so much to offer amongst a truly varied landscape. Whether you want to eat cheese curds and drink beer in the city, or go hiking and fishing in a quiet park, there’s something for everyone in Wisconsin. Looking for more inspiration? Check out two unique places I stayed in Wisconsin including Big Rock Creek and The Havens.