From the stunning sea caves of the Apostle Islands to touring cheese factories and breweries in the Cream City, Wisconsin had a diverse geography with easy access to fun activities and exciting museums, shops and more.
Sea Caves in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor adventures in a small town or a bustling metropolis, there’s something for you. Here are 9 must-do Wisconsin experiences to add to your bucket list:
1. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Home to magical sea caves, cliffs, and the highest concentration of lighthouses in North America, the Apostle Islands is one of the most beautiful areas in the Midwest.
Apostle Islands Cruises touring the national lakeshore.
Scattered along Lake Superior near the quant city of Bayfield, the “Apostles” have been carved out by the Great Lake for thousands of years. Eventually, these relentless waters shaped the 21 islands to what they are today.
Apostle Islands Cruises offers narrated sightseeing cruises and charter trips to the islands and other offshore locations throughout the national lakeshore.
2. Door County
A windy road in the fall in Door County, Wisconsin. PC: Unsplashed user @jacob-kiesow
Often referred to as the “Cap Cod of the Midwest,” Door County is an ideal destination for those who enjoy both outdoor activities and cultural experiences. Explore scenic coastal towns, 11 lighthouses, 300 miles of shoreline, top-notch restaurants, sweet local shops and five state parks. The best time to visit it between May and October!
3. Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells has gained a reputation as the ultimate destination for waterpark fun within the state, even earning the title of the “Waterpark Capital of the World.”
Glacier Canyon Water Park in Wilderness Resort. PC: Unsplashed user @Steven Van Elk
Although “the Dells” are where the world’s first indoor water park was developed, the town also boasts the largest collection of outdoor (and indoor) water parks in the world. Be sure to check out Noah’s Ark Waterpark – the biggest outdoor waterpark in the country!
4. Madison State Capital & Farmers Market
Erected back in 1917, the Wisconsin State Capital building is currently the tallest structure in the Madison area. Capital Square, where the building is located, comprises various businesses such as shops and eateries, among others.
Downtown Madison. PC: Unsplashed user @jonah-brown
From April to November, the Dane County Farmers’ Market, which is situated on the beautiful tree-filled grounds surrounding the State Capitol building, runs every Saturday. It’s the largest farmers market in the state, offering everything from local artwork to produce and meats.
5. Devil’s Lake State Park
Devil’s Lake State Park. PC: Unsplashed user @evanthewise
Devil’s Lake is the largest state park in Wisconsin that covers a vast expanse of over 9,000 acres. More than three million visitors annually come to engage in various recreational pursuits such as hiking or camping, observing the diverse wildlife, or taking in the scenic views.
6. Harley-Davidson Museum & Milwaukee Breweries
An old Harley Davidson bike on display. PC: Flickr user Marcus Lomba
Milwaukee is the birthplace of the famous “Hog” and home to the Harley-Davidson Museum. With a collection of over 450 classic motorcycles, the museum is the perfect place to delve deeper into the history and culture of this iconic machine.
If you’re looking to experience the full effect of this museum, consider attending one of their “bike nights,” which are always bustling with fans and owners eager to show off and appreciate these classes motorcycles. The museum offers several self-guided tours that provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of this iconic American company, giving visitors a more in-depth understanding of the brand’s history and significance.
Pabst Brewing Company in Milwaukee. PC: Flickr user John Gosk
Also known as a “beer friendly” city and its brewery tours, experience the grandeur of the Pabst Mansion, a Flemish Renaissance style manor built in the 1890s by the beer mogul, Frederick Pabst, in Milwaukee. This opulent estate is adorned with custom-made furniture, intricate wall coverings, stained glass and ornate woodwork that make it one of the most magnificent houses in the city.
7. House on the Rock
A carousel, House on the Rock. PC: Flickr user Alan Levine.
Sitting atop Deer Shelter Rock in Spring Green, House on the Rock boasts a vast collection of antiques and curiosities. The sprawling complex of buildings is designed to emulate the style of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose Taliesin East residence is just a short distance away. Among the many attractions offered, the 218-foot-long Infinity Room is a must-see, as it creates the optical illusion of disappearing into the horizon.
8. The Wisconsin Great River Road
PC: Unsplashed user @dave-hoefler
Along the border of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Great River Road runs parallel to the Mississippi River for a total of 250 miles. This road has some of the most picturesque views in the Midwest, as it is surrounded by towering sandstone bluffs that stand at 400-feet high, and also features historic river towns where visitors can enjoy a variety of activities including browsing through antique shops, dining on local specialties like catfish, and finding accommodations at century-old inns and bed and breakfasts.
9. Cheese Factories
PC: Unsplashed user @alexander-maasch
With over 126 cheese plants scattered across the state, Wisconsin boasts the highest number of cheese manufacturers in the United States, creating more than 350 varieties of cheese … almost twice the amount produced in any other state!While visiting, you’ll have plenty of shops where you can buy cheese after touring the facilities