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What Is A Good Day Trip In Wisconsin


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Andrei Cade



Welcome to Wisconsin, a state known for its natural beauty, friendly people, and rich history. Located in the heart of the Midwest, Wisconsin offers an abundance of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, a food lover, or a fan of art and culture, Wisconsin has something for everyone.


One of the best ways to experience the charm and beauty of Wisconsin is by taking a day trip. With its diverse landscapes, from rolling hills and expansive forests to picturesque lakes and vibrant cities, there are plenty of options for memorable day trips in the state.


From historic sites and museums to outdoor activities and scenic drives, Wisconsin has a wealth of attractions that will leave you in awe. Take a journey back in time as you explore the state’s historic sites and museums, or immerse yourself in the beauty of nature through hiking, biking, or fishing.


If you’re looking for a leisurely drive through breathtaking scenery, Wisconsin’s scenic drives will not disappoint. And for those seeking thrills and excitement, there are water-based adventures, amusement parks, and theme parks waiting to be explored.


Wisconsin is also a state of great taste, with its renowned food and drink experiences. From cheese factories and breweries to farm-to-table restaurants and local farmers markets, you’ll savor the flavors of Wisconsin.


And if shopping is your passion, Wisconsin offers a unique blend of modern retail centers and charming antique shops. You can find everything from trendy fashion to one-of-a-kind treasures.


So whether you’re a local looking for a day trip or a visitor exploring all that Wisconsin has to offer, get ready for an unforgettable adventure. Join us as we delve into the top day trip destinations in Wisconsin, each offering its own unique charm and allure.


Historic Sites and Museums

Wisconsin is home to a rich history, and exploring its historic sites and museums is a fantastic way to learn about the state’s past. From Native American heritage to European settlers and industrial advancements, there are numerous attractions that showcase Wisconsin’s historical significance.


One must-visit destination is the Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, which is the largest outdoor museum in the Midwest. It features over 60 historic structures that have been meticulously restored to give visitors an authentic experience of 19th-century Wisconsin. You can step into the shoes of early settlers, explore farmsteads, and even participate in hands-on activities.


If you’re interested in Native American history, be sure to visit the Oneida Nation Museum in Oneida. This museum offers a comprehensive look into the history, culture, and traditions of the Oneida people. You can discover artifacts, artwork, and exhibits that showcase their rich heritage.


Another notable site is the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison, the state’s capital. It offers an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that chronicle Wisconsin’s history from prehistoric times to the present day. From Native American artifacts to the story of Wisconsin’s involvement in the Civil War, there is something for everyone to explore.


If you’re fascinated by maritime history, a visit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc is a must. This museum showcases the state’s maritime past and its connection to the Great Lakes. You can learn about the shipbuilding industry, explore interactive exhibits, and even climb aboard a fully restored World War II submarine.


For those interested in architecture, the Taliesin in Spring Green is a must-see. This iconic home was designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright and serves as a showcase of his genius. Explore the stunning interiors and beautiful surroundings as you learn about Wright’s impact on American architecture.


These are just a few of the many historic sites and museums that Wisconsin has to offer. Whether you have a passion for history or simply want to learn something new, exploring these destinations will provide you with a deep appreciation for Wisconsin’s rich cultural heritage.


Outdoor Activities

For nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts, Wisconsin offers a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy. With its lush forests, sparkling lakes, and expansive parks, the state is a haven for outdoor recreation.


One of the most popular outdoor activities in Wisconsin is hiking, and there are countless trails that cater to all fitness levels and preferences. Head to Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo for stunning views of the glacially formed lake and challenging trails that lead you through towering cliffs and dense forests. If you prefer a more leisurely hike, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Bayfield offers picturesque trails that meander along the shoreline, providing breathtaking views of Lake Superior.


Wisconsin is also a great destination for biking enthusiasts. The Elroy-Sparta State Trail is a must-visit, as it is the nation’s first rail-to-trail bike path. This 32-mile trail winds through tunnels and over bridges, offering a unique biking experience. If you’re looking for a more rugged terrain, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin features miles of challenging mountain biking trails.


If you’re a water lover, there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is a paddler’s paradise, with its interconnected waterways and pristine wilderness. For a scenic kayaking experience, the Door County peninsula is a popular destination, offering stunning coastal views and calm waters.


Wisconsin is also known for its winter wonderland and offers a wide range of winter activities. Head to Wilmot Mountain in the southern part of the state for downhill skiing and snowboarding fun. If cross-country skiing is more your style, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and Madeline Island are popular destinations.


For camping enthusiasts, Wisconsin has numerous state parks and campgrounds where you can set up camp and enjoy the great outdoors. From the picturesque Kohler-Andrae State Park along Lake Michigan to the secluded Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest in the Northwoods, there are plenty of options for camping and immersing yourself in nature.


These are just a few examples of the outdoor activities available in Wisconsin. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find something to suit your interests and create unforgettable memories in Wisconsin’s great outdoors.


Scenic Drives

Wisconsin is renowned for its scenic beauty, and there’s no better way to experience it than through a leisurely drive. The state is blessed with an abundance of picturesque landscapes, charming small towns, and winding roads that are perfect for a scenic drive.


One of the most iconic scenic drives in Wisconsin is the Great River Road, which hugs the Mississippi River for over 250 miles. This route takes you through charming river towns, offers stunning views of the river, and allows you to explore the unique natural beauty of the area. Be sure to stop at overlooks and parks along the way to fully immerse yourself in the scenic splendor.


If you’re looking for a drive that showcases Wisconsin’s rural charm, the Driftless Area in southwestern Wisconsin is a must-visit. The rolling hills, picturesque valleys, and winding roads make for a truly idyllic drive. The region is also home to a number of wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, and artisanal shops, adding to the appeal of this scenic drive.


For breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, take a drive along the Door County Coastal Byway. This scenic route winds along the Lake Michigan shoreline, offering stunning vistas, charming lighthouses, and access to the charming towns and villages that dot the peninsula.


If you’re in the mood for a drive through dense forests and serene lakes, the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest Scenic Byway is the perfect choice. This 55-mile route takes you through one of the largest state forests in Wisconsin, offering a peaceful and scenic journey through nature’s beauty.


For a drive that combines natural beauty with a touch of history, the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway is an excellent option. This route takes you along the picturesque coastline of Lake Superior, passing by historic lighthouses, quaint fishing villages, and pristine beaches.


These are just a few examples of the incredible scenic drives that Wisconsin has to offer. Whether you’re seeking awe-inspiring natural landscapes, charming small towns, or historic sites, these scenic drives will take you on a memorable journey through the beauty of the state.


Wildlife and Nature Parks

Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and nature parks, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. From lush forests and pristine lakes to diverse ecosystems and rare wildlife, the state offers a wealth of opportunities to experience the wonders of the natural world.


One of the most iconic wildlife destinations in Wisconsin is Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Spanning a vast area in the northern part of the state, this region is home to numerous lakes, forests, and wildlife species. Explore the countless trails in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest or embark on a wildlife viewing adventure in the Pennsylvania Island Wilderness, known for its population of majestic bald eagles.


The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is another must-visit destination for nature lovers. This remote and picturesque archipelago in Lake Superior is home to unique ecosystems and a variety of wildlife species, including otters, falcons, and even black bears. Explore the islands’ secluded beaches, sea caves, and hiking trails for an unforgettable nature experience.


If birdwatching is your passion, then a visit to the Horicon Marsh is a must. Located near Horicon, this is one of the largest freshwater marshes in the United States, attracting a diverse array of bird species throughout the year. Join a guided tour or venture out on your own to spot herons, egrets, pelicans, and more.


For a truly unique wildlife experience, head to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of cranes worldwide. Explore the exhibits, take part in a guided tour, and witness these magnificent birds up close.


Wisconsin also boasts a number of nature parks where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the great outdoors. The Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo is a popular choice, offering stunning rock formations, hiking trails, and swimming opportunities. Peninsula State Park in Door County is another gem, with its picturesque shoreline, wooded trails, and panoramic views of Green Bay.


These are just a few examples of the incredible wildlife and nature parks that Wisconsin has to offer. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a wildlife photographer, or simply seeking tranquility in the great outdoors, Wisconsin’s parks and natural areas will leave you awe-inspired and connected to the beauty of nature.


Cultural and Artistic Attractions

Wisconsin is a thriving hub of culture and creativity, with a vibrant arts scene and a rich cultural heritage. From world-class museums and galleries to theaters and music festivals, there are plenty of cultural and artistic attractions to explore in the state.


If you’re a fan of visual arts, a visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum is a must. Known for its stunning architecture, this museum is home to over 30,000 works of art, spanning various periods and styles. From classic masterpieces to contemporary art installations, there’s something for every art lover to admire.


For a unique cultural experience, head to the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison. This museum showcases a diverse collection of artworks from around the world, including European paintings, African sculptures, and contemporary photography. The museum also hosts special exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year.


For those interested in history and culture, a visit to the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bayfield is highly recommended. This historic church is known for its beautiful Norwegian stave architecture and stunning stained glass windows. Take a guided tour or attend one of the music events held at this cultural landmark.


Wisconsin is also renowned for its music festivals and performing arts venues. The Summerfest in Milwaukee is one of the largest music festivals in the world, featuring a diverse lineup of musical acts across various genres. If you’re a fan of theater, be sure to catch a performance at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, known for its exceptional Shakespearean productions in an outdoor setting.


For a taste of Wisconsin’s cultural heritage, visit the Old World Wisconsin in Eagle. This living history museum not only provides insights into the state’s early settlers but also showcases traditional crafts and folklore. Take a stroll through the recreated 19th-century village and interact with historical interpreters for a truly immersive experience.


Lastly, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a plethora of cultural and artistic attractions. From world-class music performances at the Wisconsin Union Theater to thought-provoking exhibitions at the Chazen Museum of Art, there’s always something happening on campus that caters to a diverse range of artistic interests.


These are just a few examples of the many cultural and artistic attractions that Wisconsin has to offer. Whether you’re a lover of visual arts, music, theater, or history, exploring these attractions will broaden your cultural horizons and enrich your overall Wisconsin experience.


Amusement Parks and Theme Parks

For thrill-seekers and families seeking fun-filled adventures, Wisconsin is home to several amusement parks and theme parks that offer a range of exciting attractions and entertainment for all ages.


One of the most popular amusement parks in the state is Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells. As America’s largest waterpark, Noah’s Ark offers thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and interactive play areas, providing endless ways to cool off and have a blast during the summer months.


If you’re looking for a mix of water slides and thrilling rides, Mount Olympus Water & Theme Park in Wisconsin Dells is a great choice. This park offers a variety of thrilling roller coasters, go-kart tracks, and water attractions, ensuring a day full of adrenaline-pumping excitement.


For a unique amusement park experience, a visit to Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay is a must. This family-friendly park offers classic rides like Ferris wheels and carousels, as well as a wooden roller coaster and a giant slide. With affordable prices and a beautiful waterfront location, Bay Beach is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.


If you’re a fan of wildlife and adventure, The Wild Animal Park in Chittenango is an excellent choice. This park combines an animal safari experience with amusement rides and exhibits. You can take a safari tour to see exotic animals up close, enjoy thrilling rides, and even feed giraffes and other friendly animals.


For a nostalgia-filled experience, head to The Little Amerricka in Marshall. This quaint amusement park features a collection of vintage rides and attractions that harken back to a bygone era. From classic wooden roller coasters to a charming carousel, The Little Amerricka offers a delightful throwback experience for the whole family.


These are just a few examples of the amusement parks and theme parks that Wisconsin has to offer. Whether you’re seeking water slides, thrilling rides, or a family-friendly atmosphere, these parks provide hours of entertainment and unforgettable memories.


Water-based Adventures

With its abundant lakes, rivers, and waterways, Wisconsin offers a wide range of water-based adventures for outdoor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers. From scenic cruises to exhilarating water sports, there are plenty of opportunities to make a splash and enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin’s waterways.


One of the best ways to experience Wisconsin’s lakes is by taking a scenic boat cruise. Whether it’s a leisurely cruise on Lake Geneva, with its stunning mansions and picturesque shoreline, or a narrated tour on the Wisconsin River, where you can admire the majestic sandstone cliffs of the Wisconsin Dells, these cruises offer a unique perspective of the state’s natural beauty.


If you’re looking for more adrenaline-pumping water adventures, Wisconsin has you covered. Head to Door County, a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts. Try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding along the scenic coastline or get your heart racing with thrilling jet skiing or wakeboarding adventures on the lake.


For a truly unique experience, explore the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. Here, you can embark on a sea kayaking adventure through the stunning sea caves, featuring magnificent rock formations and crystalline waters. You can even spend the night on one of the remote islands and experience the tranquility of this pristine wilderness.


Wisconsin is also known for its excellent fishing opportunities. With thousands of lakes and rivers, anglers can cast their lines for a variety of freshwater species, including bass, walleye, musky, and panfish. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, Wisconsin’s waterways offer endless fishing possibilities.


For a more leisurely water-based adventure, consider renting a pontoon or a paddleboat and exploring a scenic lake. Many of Wisconsin’s parks and recreational areas provide boat rentals, allowing you to soak in the sun, relax, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.


Last but not least, don’t miss the chance to visit the Wisconsin Dells, often referred to as the “Waterpark Capital of the World”. With a variety of indoor and outdoor waterparks, you can slide down thrilling water slides, float along lazy rivers, and splash in wave pools, providing hours of fun for the whole family.


These are just a few examples of the water-based adventures that Wisconsin has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing cruise, an adrenaline-fueled water sport, or a fishing excursion, Wisconsin’s lakes and waterways provide endless opportunities for aquatic fun and memorable experiences.


Food and Drink Experiences

Wisconsin is renowned for its rich culinary tradition and delicious food and drink offerings. From cheese and beer to farm-to-table cuisine and local specialties, the state offers a diverse range of flavors and experiences that will satisfy any food lover’s cravings.


When it comes to cheese, Wisconsin is at the top of the charts. With over 600 varieties produced in the state, cheese lovers are in for a treat. Take a tour of a local cheese factory to learn about the cheese-making process and sample some of Wisconsin’s finest cheddars, goudas, and blues. Don’t forget to pair your cheese with a glass of local wine or beer for the ultimate tasting experience.


Speaking of beer, Wisconsin is home to a thriving craft beer scene. From small breweries to large-scale operations, you’ll find a wide variety of unique and flavorful brews to suit every palate. Take a brewery tour and sample a range of beer styles, from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, while learning about the art of brewing.


For those seeking farm-fresh flavors, Wisconsin’s farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets are a must-visit. Indulge in dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, showcasing the bountiful produce, meats, and dairy products the state has to offer. Explore the vibrant farmers markets throughout the state, where you can find everything from juicy fruits and vegetables to homemade baked goods and preserves.


Wisconsin is also known for its “Friday Fish Fry,” a beloved tradition in which restaurants serve up a hearty meal of fried fish, often accompanied by coleslaw, fries, and rye bread. Join the locals in this weekly ritual and experience the warmth and camaraderie of Wisconsin’s dining culture.


If you’re looking for a sweet treat, indulge in a Wisconsin classic: the cream puff. Enjoy this delectable pastry filled with sweet cream, available at festivals and fairs throughout the state. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving more than one!


Lastly, don’t miss the opportunity to taste Wisconsin’s unique regional specialties, like the bratwurst. Whether served at a local pub or enjoyed at a summer cookout, these flavorful sausages are a staple of Wisconsin cuisine. Pair them with a side of sauerkraut, mustard, and a cold beer for a truly authentic experience.


These are just a few examples of the food and drink experiences that Wisconsin has to offer. With its rich culinary heritage and diverse flavors, Wisconsin is a food lover’s paradise. So come hungry and be prepared to indulge in the delicious creations that await you in the Badger State.


Shopping and Antiquing

Wisconsin is a haven for shoppers and antique enthusiasts, offering a treasure trove of unique stores, charming boutiques, and antique shops. Whether you’re on the hunt for one-of-a-kind collectibles, stylish fashion, or locally crafted goods, the state has something to cater to every taste.


If you’re looking for a shopping experience that combines modern retail with a touch of charm, head to the Third Ward in Milwaukee. This revitalized historic district is home to an eclectic mix of boutiques, art galleries, and specialty shops. Stroll along the cobbled streets and discover unique fashion finds, artisanal crafts, and beautiful home decor.


For a more upscale shopping experience, explore the Shops at Woodlake in Kohler. This open-air shopping center features high-end retailers, including designer boutiques, home furnishing stores, and gourmet food shops. Enjoy a day of luxury shopping while taking in the picturesque surroundings.


If you’re an antique lover, Wisconsin is filled with hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Head to towns like Antigo, Mineral Point, or Cedarburg, where you’ll find charming antique shops lining the streets. Explore these treasure troves and uncover unique vintage furniture, retro clothing, and collectibles that will add character to any home or wardrobe.


For a unique shopping experience, visit the Flea Market at Elkhorn. Held on the Elkhorn Fairgrounds, this vibrant market features a wide range of vendors selling antiques, vintage items, crafts, and much more. Spend a day browsing through the stalls, haggling for a bargain, and uncovering hidden treasures.


If you’re looking for a shopping destination that combines a love for antiques with a taste for art, make your way to the Surroundings Gallery & Boutique in Delafield. This unique store offers a curated collection of antiques, handcrafted jewelry, art pieces, and home decor. Browse through the selection and discover beautiful pieces that reflect Wisconsin’s artistic heritage.


When it comes to food and drink, don’t miss out on visiting Cheese Chalet in Kenosha. This iconic shop specializes in Wisconsin’s famous cheese offerings, with over 100 varieties to choose from. Sample different cheeses or create your own cheese platter to take home and savor.


These are just a few examples of the shopping and antiquing experiences that Wisconsin has to offer. Whether you’re a fashionista, a vintage aficionado, or simply love to browse and explore, Wisconsin’s diverse shopping scene will delight and inspire you.



From its rich history and stunning natural landscapes to its vibrant cultural scene and delicious culinary offerings, Wisconsin truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, an art lover, or a foodie, the state offers a plethora of attractions and activities that will leave you enthralled and wanting more.


Explore the historic sites and museums that bring Wisconsin’s past to life, from the early settlements of European immigrants to the indigenous heritage of Native American tribes. Embark on outdoor adventures, hiking through scenic trails, cruising along shimmering lakes, or experiencing the thrill of water sports.


Immerse yourself in the state’s cultural and artistic attractions, from world-class museums and galleries to live performances and music festivals. Indulge in the rich flavors of Wisconsin through cheese tastings, brewery tours, farm-to-table dining, and regional specialties.


Shop ’til you drop in charming boutiques, antique stores, and local markets, discovering unique treasures and supporting local artisans. And throughout your journey, bask in the warm hospitality and friendly demeanor of the people who call Wisconsin home.


Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, Wisconsin’s day trip destinations offer endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and prepare to be captivated by the beauty, history, and charm that await you in the Badger State.


Remember, this article is just a glimpse into the wide range of experiences available in Wisconsin. So, go ahead and tailor your day trips to match your interests and preferences. Whether you want to delve into history, revel in nature, or savor the flavors of the state, Wisconsin is ready to welcome you with open arms and unforgettable experiences.