places to visit in wisconsin
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18 Remarkable Places to Visit in Wisconsin You Can’t Miss

Wisconsin, renowned for its cheese and lakes, offers far more to the curious traveler. This guide unveils 18 distinct places to visit in Wisconsin, ensuring unforgettable memories.

Best Places to Visit in Wisconsin

From serene natural landscapes to architectural masterpieces, Wisconsin offers an array of destinations that are simply the best in terms of beauty, history, and culture. Here, we delve into some of the top spots that encapsulate the spirit of the Badger State.

1. Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil's Lake

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Situated in the Baraboo Range in eastern Sauk County, Devil’s Lake State Park is often regarded as one of the crown jewels of Wisconsin’s state parks. The glacially formed lake itself is a serene blue-green, surrounded by 500-foot quartzite bluffs.

Ideal for both adrenaline junkies and those seeking tranquility, visitors can engage in rock climbing, hiking, or simply lounging by the water. As one of the most visited state parks in Wisconsin, it also offers campsites, picnic spots, and winter sports, making it a year-round destination.

2. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Apostle Islands

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Found on the shores of Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands comprise a group of 21 islands, each with its unique charm. Famous for their sea caves, old-growth forests, and historic lighthouses, these islands offer both land and water adventures.

Kayakers can paddle through the intricate sea caves, while history buffs can explore lighthouses like Raspberry Island Lighthouse. In winter, when conditions are right, the frozen sea caves become a spectacle, adorned with icicles that shimmer and gleam, attracting visitors from all over the country.

3. Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee

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A combination of architectural prowess and artistic excellence, the Milwaukee Art Museum graces the city’s lakefront. Designed in part by Santiago Calatrava, its stunning “wings” (the Burke Brise Soleil) open during the day and close at night or during inclement weather.

Beyond its architecture, the museum boasts over 30,000 works of art, from ancient artifacts to contemporary pieces. Its collections span various regions and time periods, including American decorative arts, German Expressionism, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960. The museum isn’t just a visual delight; it’s a journey through art history.

Unique Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Beyond its well-trodden paths, Wisconsin is a treasure trove of unusual and unexpected attractions. These destinations, with their distinct character and stories, promise experiences that are truly one-of-a-kind.

4. House on the Rock

Rock

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Nestled atop Deer Shelter Rock in Spring Green, the House on the Rock is more than just a house; it’s a mesmerizing journey through the eccentric mind of its creator, Alex Jordan Jr. Constructed in 1945, visitors can navigate through its maze of rooms, gardens, and exhibits, each more unexpected than the last.

One of its star attractions is the world’s largest carousel, boasting over 269 carousel animals, 182 chandeliers, and countless angels hanging overhead, all of which are bathed in a kaleidoscope of colors. Another highlight is the Infinity Room, a glass-walled room that extends 218 feet out over the scenic Wyoming Valley below, providing surreal views.

5. Cave of the Mounds

Mounds

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Dubbed the “Jewel Box” of major American caves, Cave of the Mounds in Blue Mounds offers visitors a subterranean experience like no other. Discovered accidentally in 1939, this National Natural Landmark boasts a wide array of crystal formations.

Guided tours lead visitors through chambers adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, and columns. With its cool temperatures, the cave offers a respite during summer months. Beyond the cave, the grounds also offer geological museums, gemstone mining, and beautiful rock gardens to explore.

6. Oshkosh’s EAA AirVenture Museum

EAA

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Located in the “Event City” of Oshkosh, the EAA AirVenture Museum is a tribute to the world of flight. It’s a haven for aviation enthusiasts, home to more than 200 aircraft ranging from antiques and classics to warbirds, homebuilts, and ultralights.

Interactive exhibits, such as the KidVenture Gallery, allow visitors to immerse themselves in the world of aviation. Every summer, the museum grounds also host the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in convention, which is the world’s largest and most significant annual aviation event.

Beautiful Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s breathtaking beauty stretches from its shimmering lakeshores to its dense, verdant forests. This section highlights places that captivate the senses and transport visitors to picturesque settings that seem almost otherworldly.

7. Door County

Door County

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Often referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County is a peninsula that offers over 300 miles of shoreline dotted with lighthouses, sandy beaches, and serene harbors. This picturesque locale is a mosaic of orchards, art galleries, and quaint villages. From enjoying cherry blossoms in spring to partaking in fish boils and witnessing the fiery splendor of autumn leaves, Door County promises a scenic retreat in every season.

8. Taliesin

Taliesin

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Envisioned and designed by the iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin in Spring Green is a testament to harmonious design. Spanning 800 acres, it not only includes Wright’s residence but also other buildings he designed. The estate beautifully integrates architecture with its natural surroundings, using limestone ridges and valleys as backdrops. Tours allow visitors to delve into Wright’s architectural genius and his personal history.

9. Big Manitou Falls

Manitou

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Located in Pattison State Park, Big Manitou Falls stands as Wisconsin’s tallest waterfall, plunging 165 feet into the Black River. This awe-inspiring waterfall is nearly twice the height of Niagara’s American Falls. Surrounded by dense forests, hiking trails around the falls provide multiple vantage points to behold its magnificence. The sound of crashing waters, combined with the lush green backdrop, offers a rejuvenating experience for nature lovers.

Cool Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Some places have an inherent “cool” factor, either from their contemporary offerings or their timeless charm. In Wisconsin, there’s no shortage of spots that offer a unique blend of entertainment, history, and modern-day allure.

10. Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells

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Often dubbed the “Waterpark Capital of the World”, Wisconsin Dells is an exhilarating blend of natural beauty and modern entertainment. The city’s name is derived from the Dells of the Wisconsin River, a breathtaking gorge renowned for its sandstone formations.

While boat tours showcase the splendor of these rock formations, the city itself is brimming with indoor and outdoor waterparks, making it a favorite among families. Besides waterparks, attractions like the Wizard Quest, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, and the H.H. Bennett Studio give visitors a diverse range of activities to choose from.

11. Bayfield

Bayfield

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This charming town is the gateway to the Apostle Islands and offers a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. Recognized for its orchards, wineries, and vibrant arts scene, Bayfield hosts events like the Apple Festival that celebrates the harvest season. For those seeking nautical adventures, sailing, and sea kayaking are popular activities. Moreover, the Apostle Islands Ice Caves, accessible from Bayfield during winter, are a surreal spectacle when the shores of Lake Superior freeze.

12. Kohler Design Center

Kohler

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Located in Kohler, this three-level showcase provides an immersive dive into innovative design and technology for the home. The center exhibits everything from baths and kitchens to engines and generators. Visitors can get inspired by the latest in design aesthetics, explore the history of the Kohler Company, and even see artisans at work in the Kohler factory. It’s an intriguing blend of art, design, and industry.

Fun Places to Visit in Wisconsin

For those seeking a dose of joy and entertainment, Wisconsin has a plethora of vibrant events, amusement parks, and festive celebrations. Dive into these destinations that guarantee smiles, laughter, and memorable moments.

13. Summerfest in Milwaukee

Summerfest

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Every summer, the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee come alive with the sound of music during Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival. Over 11 days, attendees can enjoy more than 1,000 performances spanning almost every genre. From world-renowned headliners to emerging artists, the festival offers musical delights for every taste, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the lake.

14. Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay

Green Bay

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A trip down memory lane, Bay Beach Amusement Park, offers old-school fun without the hefty price tag. This historic amusement park, which opened in 1892, retains its nostalgic charm with classic rides like the Ferris wheel, bumper cars, and a wooden roller coaster. Overlooking the waters of Green Bay, it provides a delightful mix of scenic views and wholesome entertainment.

15. Cheese Days in Monroe

Monroe

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Embracing Wisconsin’s rich dairy legacy, Cheese Days is a jubilant celebration held in Monroe, the “Swiss Cheese Capital of the USA.” The event, which takes place every other year, is a festive mix of parades, music, traditional Swiss entertainment, and, of course, cheese. From cheese tastings to the famous cheese curd throwing contest, it’s a delightful dive into Wisconsin’s cheesy heritage.

Outdoor Places to Visit in Wisconsin

Embracing the great outdoors is a way of life in Wisconsin. With its vast forests, serene lakes, and diverse ecosystems, the state provides countless opportunities for adventure and exploration in nature’s lap.

16. Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Chequamegon

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Encompassing over 1.5 million acres of Wisconsin’s Northwoods, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest offers a vast, unspoiled wilderness. This expansive green canopy is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Its dense forests, clear lakes, and meandering rivers are perfect for hiking, camping, fishing, and bird watching. In winter, the forest transforms into a snowy wonderland, ideal for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

17. Kettle Moraine State Forest

Kettle Moraine

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A unique geological gem, the Kettle Moraine State Forest showcases the dramatic effects of the last Ice Age. The landscape, sculpted by glaciers, features ridges, deep kettles, and beautiful lakes. The forest is divided into two units, Northern and Southern, each offering a range of recreational activities.

The acclaimed Ice Age Trail meanders through the forest, offering hikers panoramic views of the glacial remnants. Additionally, the forest caters to horseback riders, mountain bikers, and campers seeking a tranquil escape.

18. Horicon Marsh

Horicon Marsh

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As the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States, Horicon Marsh is a sanctuary for birdwatchers and nature lovers. This sprawling wetland, designated as a Wetland of International Importance, is a critical rest stop for migrating birds, especially in the spring and fall.

Visitors can expect to spot a myriad of bird species, including the majestic great blue heron, colorful warblers, and the elusive American bittern. The marsh also provides habitats for a diverse range of wildlife, from muskrats to turtles. Boardwalks, trails, and observation decks allow visitors to immerse themselves in this natural oasis, and guided boat tours offer a unique perspective of the marsh’s vast expanse.

Conclusion

From stunning landscapes to unique attractions, these 18 places to visit in Wisconsin capture the heart and spirit of the state, promising adventures for every traveler.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.