Wisconsin, a Midwestern state well-loved for its cheese and its beer, is embraced on two sides by Great Lakes: Superior to the north and Michigan to the west. With a humid continental climate, the state’s seasons swing from hot, humid summers to harsh winters. An abundance of natural beauty and manmade wonders offer travelers more than enough to keep them busy throughout the year, indoors and out.
For outdoor summertime adventures, start with “The Dells” in South Central Wisconsin, the self-proclaimed waterpark capital of the world. Golfers flock to Lake Geneva or to Whistling Straits Golf Club in Sheboygan, with its famous “Pinched Nerve” hole. The course is one of the few to have attained Golf Digest’s five-star rating.
Chippewa River Valley Trail System includes over 70 scenic miles of 10-foot-wide, blacktopped trail from Eau Claire to Durand. This year-round playground is dedicated to hiking, biking and snow sports.
In Milwaukee, countless brewpubs, microbreweries and beer gardens have sprung out of the city’s long tradition of brewing fostered by German immigrants. Recommended is a stop at the grandiose 1892 mansion of sea dog-turned-beer magnate, Captain Frederick Pabst.
The Green Bay area National Railroad Museum and its 70-plus locomotives tell the multifaceted tale of railroading history. There, visitors can board the Polar Express, the Great Pumpkin Train or even Thomas the Tank Engine. Also in Green Bay, explorers of all ages can dig in at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Education Center’s 700 wet and wild acres. Nearby in Appleton, The Building for Kids offers another panorama of entertaining, mind-stimulating exhibits and activities.
Attractions in Madison, the state capital, include the Henry Vilas Zoo (free entry) and Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Architecture buffs can view the many examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s mark on the city. An hour west of town, Taliesin, Wright’s home and studio for 40 years, is open to tours May through October.
Tranquil Door County features 300 miles of waterfront dotted by lighthouses. Enjoy a sleigh ride or a polar bear swim in winter, and in summer, boating, hiking, fishing, cherry picking and picnicking.