Nestled on the shorelines of two Great Lakes, Wisconsin is a great state to road trip around and explore. with protected parks, gorgeous hiking routes and cities that are great for a weekend retreat, it’s a US state that’s well worth exploring as you head across the north of the country. That being said, there are heaps of the best places in Wisconsin to visit dotted all across the state.
As you can imagine, that makes it pretty tough 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 exploring), I wanted to share some of the top places in Wisconsin I think you’ll love.
Have an amazing trip exploring Wisconsin.
1.) Cave of the Mounds
Located near Blue Mounds, and only a 30-minute drive from Madison, Cave of the Mounds is often called North America’s jewel box of caves – and with good reason!
Now, the cave itself is hidden on the southern slope of Blue Mounds. It is popular for the stunning limestone features that have formed over thousands of years inside the cave. Which, you can easily see with the amazing guides on site.
Without going into too much of a history lesson, it might be hard to believe but it was just an accident when Cave of the Mounds was first discovered.
There was so much excitement to see what was inside. So, after a year, the cave was opened to visitors, making it one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit today. Best of all, you can go inside
Of course, you’ll be visiting for the limestone stalactites (which are epic, by the way) but don’t forget about the hiking trails that are nearby in Blue Mounds State Park.
It’s a stunning area of Wisconsin.
Speaking of Madison, no trip to Wisconsin is complete without a little gander around this Wisconsin gem. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best cities to visit in the state – even if it is smaller than some US cities.
Once here, be sure to check out Wisconsin State Capitol. It’s probably the most iconic building in the city and well worth seeing. Just make sure to go inside and visit on a free tour, the interiors are just beautiful. Honestly, the photos don’t do it justice!
The Capitol Building is also the tallest building in Madison, and it was preserved this way, ensuring that no other buildings will surpass its height. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the statue of Athena holding the beaver (Wisconsin’s state animal).
Afterwards, book a show at the Overture Center for the Arts and pop into The Old Fashioned for a brew nearby. Their beer selection is pretty epic.
3.) Lake Geneva
Geneva Lake is one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit for a nice relaxing break. It’s the kind of place that feels like time just slows down – and the countryside and shoreline is amazing, too.
Now, Lake Geneva is pretty big, so make sure you choose your shoreline spots in advance. That being said, it’s nowhere close to being the size of the Great Lakes and I suppose size is relative.
Once here, You can take a stroll along Lake Geneva Shore Path and stop by Riviera Beach which is totally charming. You will basically walk through the backyard of several mansions that are totally historic.
4.) Devil’s Lake State Park
Known as the largest state park in all of Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake is more than 9,000 acres of beauty in 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. Though don’t let that put you off – there’s enough room for everyone and it never really feels crowded.
Once you arrive, make sure to take on some of the incredible 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 Devil’s Doorway.
It’s a huge geological feature that’s pretty famous in Wisconsin and well worth the hike to see.
The port city of Superior is, you guessed it, right on the banks of Lake Superior. It might be small but it’s one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit and can totally act as a gateway to exploring so much more of the region.
Perched on the western tip of Lake Superior, you’ll a heap of things to do, especially in the nearby Pattison State Park. Here, you’ll find the whopping Big Manitou Falls. Not only is it the tallest fall in all of Wisconsin but it also holds deep meaning to local Native American populations that live in the area.
After spending time in the back, head back to Superior and check out Fairlawn Mansion (near Barker’s Island), Thirsty’s, Richard I. Bong Museum and Shooters Saloon.
They’re great places to spend an afternoon or evening and well worth a gander.
6.) Egg Harbor
Look, it might be small but Egg Harbour and the surrounding area of Wisconsin is stunning to see. Considered one of the most beautiful areas of Wisconsin, Door County has sometimes been nicknamed the Cape Cod of the Midwest.
This is where you’ll find Egg Harbor, a must-see place in town. We totally love Egg Harbor Beach and it’s totally gorgeous to visit on a warm summer day. Though, take your sunscreen, that wind can be deceiving!
Not only that, you can also kayak and paddleboard in Egg Harbor, or stroll the shorefront.
Getting peckish? Head to Casey’s BBQ & Smokehouse. Their prime rib sandwich can’t be beaten!
7.) Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Around a 90-minute drive from the city of Superior, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is well worth visiting. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit whilst exploring the state.
Looking for an adventure? You can camp on Madeline Island (which is stunning) before you explore the banks’ sea caves found on the island.
Though, exploring these caves might take you some time, so you might want to allot a day for this and always listen to local advice on conditions. No one likes a reckless explorer.
The pristine water of Lake Superior is just beautiful on a still and sunny day. It’s the perfect place to go kayaking – which is easily organised through Lost Creek Adventures who have some great organised tours.
8.) Door County
As I mentioned, before, with Egg Harbor, Door County is a total paradise to visit, especially if you love the great outdoors.
You see, Door County is a place where you’ll find charming lighthouses and tiny villages that are perfect for a road trip around the area.
Plus, you’ll love the 300-mile shoreline that can easily be explored around spots like Whitefish Dunes State Park and Toft Point.
Oh, and don’t forget to stop off at Cana Island Lighthouse which dates all the way back to the 1800s. It’s well worth taking a gander at.
Heading further up Door County? Stop by Newport State Park Beach. It can be pretty quiet on the weekdays and the beach is totally pristine.
I’m still not quite sure how Bayfield is classified as a city (as it’s really small) but, regardless, it’s a beautiful place to visit in Wisconsin.
Despite being small, and home to around a few hundred individuals, this place is full of history.
Not only that, Bayfield is also the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore’s main gateway, so if you’re heading to the lakeshore. This all makes it really easy to include on a wider itinerary when exploring the best places in Wisconsin to visit.
Here, you’ll find Manypenny Bistro (an informal diner) with the best buffalo wings on this side of Wisconsin. Also, you have museums like Bayfield Maritime Museum which is well worth taking a peek at.
Though I have to be honest, the biggest attraction for me, is the yummy Apple Fest which happens each year in October.
Probably one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit for a city break, Milwaukee is a pretty big city that’s got everything going for it.
Yes, it sometimes gets overshadowed by the likes of Chicago – but don’t let that put you off visiting.
Once here, be sure to check out the Milwaukee Art Museum. Not only is the collection totally incredible but the building is too. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of my favourite buildings in all of Wisconsin.
Afterwards, check out the Harley-Davidson Museum and then pop into Lakefront Brewery for some of their seasonal beers.
11.) Holy Hill Basilica
Not too far from Milwaukee, Holy Hill is a shrine that’s almost 100 years old! It’s totally impressive to see and one of the best places in Wisconsin to visit to see some of the state’s historical sites.
It’s totally beautiful, inside and out, and well worth exploring. Plus, if you fancy, you can join the Holy Hill Trail that’s totally beautiful on a sunny summer day.
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