The 11 Best Places in Wisconsin to Visit — Handbags Only
Located on the shores of two great lakes, Wisconsin is a great country to take a road trip and explore. With protected parks, great hiking trails, and cities that are great for a weekend getaway, it’s an American state worth exploring as you head through the north of the country. However, there are heaps of the best Wisconsin places to visit scattered all over the state. As you can imagine, this makes it very difficult to make a concise plan on what to do and where to visit. So, to help you along the way (so you can focus on the all-important exploration), I wanted to share some of the best places in Wisconsin that I think you’ll love. Have a great trip exploring Wisconsin. 1.) Cave of the Mounds Located near the Blue Mounds, and only a 30-minute drive from Madison, the Cave of the Mounds is often called North America’s jewel box of caves—and for good reason! Now, the cave itself is hidden on the southern slope of Blue Mounds. It is known for the amazing limestone features formed over thousands of years inside the cave. Which you can easily see with the amazing guides on site. Without going into too many history lessons, this might be hard to believe, but it was just an accident when the Cave of the Mounds was first discovered. There was a lot of excitement to see what was inside. So, a year later, the cave was opened to visitors, making it one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit today. Best of all, you can go inland of course, you’ll visit limestone stalactites (which are epic, by the way) but don’t forget the nearby hiking trails in Blue Mounds State Park. It is an amazing area in Wisconsin. 2.) Madison Speaking of Madison, no trip to Wisconsin is complete without a little wander around this Wisconsin gem. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best cities to visit in the state—even if it’s smaller than some American cities. Once you get here, be sure to check out the Wisconsin State Capitol. It is probably the most famous building in the city and well worth seeing. Just be sure to go inside and visit on a free tour, the interiors are just beautiful. Honestly, the pictures don’t do it justice! The Capitol Building is also the tallest building in Madison, and has been preserved in this way, ensuring that no other building exceeds its height. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the statue of Athena holding a beaver (Wisconsin’s state animal). Afterwards, book a show at the Opening Arts Center and pop into The Old Fashioned for a drink nearby. Their beer selection is pretty epic. 3.) Lake Geneva Lake Geneva is one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit for a nice relaxing vacation. It’s the kind of place where time seems to slow down – and the countryside and coastline are gorgeous too. Now, Lake Geneva is pretty big, so make sure you choose your coastal spots beforehand. However, it is not even close to being the size of the Great Lakes and I think the size is relative. Once here, stroll along the Lake Geneva shoreline path and stop at the utterly charming Riviera Beach. You will basically walk through the backyards of several quite historic mansions. 4.) Devil’s Lake State Park Known as the largest state park in Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake is home to more than 9,000 acres of beauty in the Baraboo Range. Not only is it beautiful, but millions of visitors flock to Devil’s Lake State Park each year. This makes it one of the most visited parks in Wisconsin. Although don’t let this disappoint you – there is enough space for everyone and it never feels crowded. Once you arrive, be sure to do some of the amazing hikes that criss-cross the park itself. It’s a great way to explore the park and see the wildlife around this beautiful area of Wisconsin. Of course, you have to follow the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (after all, the lake was formed by ancient glaciers). Oh, and don’t forget to see the Devil’s Door. It is a huge geological feature that is very famous in Wisconsin and well worth a hike to see. 5.) Superior Superior is a harbor city, you guessed it, on the shores of Lake Superior. It may be small but it is one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit and can serve as a gateway to exploring more of the region. Perched on the western end of Lake Superior, you’ll find a host of things to do, particularly in nearby Pattison State Park. Here, you will find the massive Big Manitou Falls. Not only is it the tallest fall in all of Wisconsin but it also holds deep meaning for the Native American people who live in the area. After some time out back, head back to Superior and check out the Fairlawn Mansion (near Parker Island), Thirsty’s, the Richard I. Bong Museum, and Shooters Saloon. They are great places to spend an afternoon or evening and deserve attention. 6.) Egg Harbor Look It may be small but Egg Harbor and the surrounding area of Wisconsin is amazing to see. Door County is considered one of the most beautiful parts of Wisconsin and has sometimes been called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. This is where you will find Egg Harbour, a must-see in the city. We absolutely love Egg Harbor Beach and it is absolutely wonderful to visit on a warm summer day. Take sunscreen though, these winds can be deceiving! Not only that, but you can also kayak and paddle board at Egg Harbor, or take a stroll on the beachfront. Getting hungry? Head to Casey’s BBQ & Smokehouse. Their prime rib sandwich can’t be beat! 7.) Apostle Islands National Lakeshore About a 90-minute drive from the city of Superior, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is well worth a visit. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it is one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit while exploring the state. Looking for an adventure? You can camp on Madeline Island (which is amazing) before exploring the offshore sea caves on the island. Exploring these caves can take some time, though, so you may want to set aside a day for this and always listen to local advice about conditions. Nobody likes a reckless explorer. The clear waters of Lake Superior are beautiful on a calm, sunny day. It’s the perfect place for kayaking – easily organized with Lost Creek Adventures offering some great organized tours. 8.) Door County As I mentioned earlier, with Egg Harbor, Door County is a complete heaven to visit, especially if you love the great outdoors. As you can see, Door County is where you’ll find charming lighthouses and small villages perfect for a road trip around the region. Plus, you’ll love the 300-mile coastline that can be easily explored around areas like Whitefish Dunes State Park and Toft Point. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the 19th-century Cana Island Lighthouse. Worth taking a look at. Are you heading further into the Door County? Stop by Newport State Park Beach. It can be very quiet on weekdays and the beach is pristine. 9.) Bayfield I’m still not quite sure how to classify Bayfield as a city (because it’s really small) but regardless, it’s a nice place to visit in Wisconsin. Although it is small and home to about a few hundred individuals, this place is full of history. Not only that, Bayfield is also the main gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, so if you’re headed to the lakeshore. All of this makes it really easy to include in a broader itinerary when exploring the best places in Wisconsin to visit. Here, you’ll find the Manypenny Bistro (casual restaurant) with the best buffalo wings this side of Wisconsin. Also, you have museums like the Bayfield Maritime Museum that are worth taking a peek at. Although I have to be honest, the biggest attraction for me is the delicious Apple Fest that takes place every year in October. 10.) Milwaukee Perhaps one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit for a city break, Milwaukee is a pretty big city that has it all. Yes, it is sometimes overshadowed by the likes of Chicago – but don’t let that put you off visiting. Once here, be sure to check out the Milwaukee Museum of Art. Not only is the collection great but the building as well. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is one of my favorite buildings in all of Wisconsin. Next, check out the Harley-Davidson Museum and then pop into the Lakefront Brewery for some seasonal beers. 11.) Holy Hill Church Not too far from Milwaukee, Holy Hill is an almost 100-year-old shrine! It is quite impressive to see one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit to see some of the historical sites of the state. It is absolutely beautiful, inside and out, and well worth exploring. In addition, if you wish, you can join the Holy Hill Trail, which is absolutely beautiful on a sunny summer day. 14 of the best things to do around Lake Erie, USA Check out the best of Great Britain! Head over to our YouTube channel for travel videos!